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10 promising shows coming on networks hungry for some hits

ALMOST HUMAN: Executive-produced by Emmy Award winner J.J. Abrams creator J.H. Wyman starring Karl Urban ALMOST HUMAN is high-tech high-stakes

ALMOST HUMAN: Executive-produced by Emmy Award winner J.J. Abrams and creator J.H. Wyman and starring Karl Urban, ALMOST HUMAN is a high-tech, high-stakes action drama set 35 years in the future, when police officers are partnered with highly evolved human-like androids. An unlikely partnership is forged when a part-machine cop (Urban) is forced to pair with a part-human robot (Ealy) as they fight crime and investigate a deeper cover-up in a futuristic new world. The high-tech, high-stakes action drama ALMOST HUMAN premieres late fall on FOX. ©2013 Fox Broadcasting Co. Cr: Liane Hentscher/FOX

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Updated: September 5, 2013 7:46AM



Broadcast TV’s new shows last fall had a pretty abysmal success rate.

Of the dozen dramas that debuted on ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox and the CW, half lived to see a second season. Two words sum up the situation with last autumn’s freshman comedies: epic fail. Fox’s “The Mindy Project” and ABC’s “The Neighbors” were the sole survivors among nine new sitcoms.

So with plenty of holes to plug on the schedule, broadcast nets are rolling out nearly 30 new scripted series in the coming weeks. Here are 10 of the most promising:

‘Sleepy Hollow’ (Sept. 16)

Fun and suspenseful, this retelling of Washington Irving’s classic mashes up the Revolutionary War and present-day Sleepy Hollow, N.Y., where the Headless Horseman is wreaking havoc with his ax and an 18th century Ichabod Crane — played perfectly by Tom Mison (“Salmon Fishing in the Yemen”) — is trying to save the day (and wrap his head around modern man’s obsession with Starbucks). 8 p.m. Mondays on WFLD-Channel 32

‘Brooklyn Nine-Nine’ (Sept. 17)

Co-creators Michael Schur and Dan Goor take their “Parks and Recreation” humor and apply it to the po-po in the season’s best new sitcom. Andy Samberg and Chicago’s own Andre Braugher head up the rock-solid comedic cast. 7:30 p.m. Sept. 17 on WFLD-Channel 32

‘The Blacklist’ (Sept. 23)

In a role tailor-made for James Spader, one of the FBI’s most wanted fugitives teams up with a female rookie profiler to catch elusive criminals. Spader is devilishly cool as the master manipulator, but when it comes to his “mysterious” connection to his new partner, the pilot seems to be telegraphing what’s surely intended to be a big reveal later in the season. 9 p.m. Mondays on WMAQ-Channel 5

‘Hostages’ (Sept. 23)

With a shorter than usual 15-episode season, this thriller based on an Israeli format puts a surgeon (Toni Collette, “United States of Tara”) in a pickle when she’s ordered to kill the U.S. president in order to save her family. Think of it as a smarter, more suspenseful “Mob Doctor.” 9 p.m. Mondays on WBBM-Channel 2

‘Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.’ (Sept. 24)

A team of agents led by Phil Coulson (back from the dead in “The Avengers”) protects ordinary humans from extraordinary threats looming in the Marvel universe. You don’t have to be a cosplaying fanboy to appreciate the action and whiz-bang special effects — and plenty of dry wit — in Joss Whedon’s impressive pilot. 7 p.m. Tuesdays on WLS-Channel 7

‘The Goldbergs’ (Sept. 24)

A nostalgic romp through the ’80s, this “Wonder Years”-like comedy is based on creator Adam Goldberg’s actual childhood, which he documented in great detail with the help of his clunky handheld videorecorder. Chicago’s own Jeff Garlin does a turn as gruff family patriarch. Newcomer Sean Giambrone, 14, from Park Ridge plays young Adam. 8 p.m. Tuesdays on WLS-Channel 7

‘Trophy Wife’ (Sept. 24)

Beneath the bad title lies a decent laffer from Chicago comic Sarah Haskins. A recovering party girl (Malin Akerman, “Childrens Hospital”) marries an older man (Bradley Whitford, “West Wing”) and takes on three kids and a pair of ex-wives in the process. What could go wrong? 8:30 p.m. Tuesdays on WLS-Channel 7

‘The Michael J. Fox Show’
(Sept. 26)

The universally liked actor returns to series television in this feel-good family comedy. A semi-autobiographical tale, it’s about a man with Parkinson’s disease who returns to his TV career much to the relief of his exasperated wife and children. 8:30 p.m. Thursdays on WMAQ-Channel 5

‘The Tomorrow People’ (Oct. 9)

Northwestern alum Greg Berlanti (“Arrow”) is the brains behind this sci-fi series that’s gone through multiple incarnations since its debut in Britain in the ’70s. Clever writing and an intriguing-but-not-overwhelming mythology make this a respectable addition to the CW canon of shows about good-looking young people grappling with supernatural powers. 8 p.m. Wednesdays on WGN-Channel 9

‘Almost Human’ (Nov. 4)

This sci-fi police procedural with a heavy “Fringe” pedigree takes place 35 years in the future, when cops are paired with robots to fight crime. Karl Urban (“Star Trek”) is the main draw as an emotionally and physically damaged detective. 7 p.m. Mondays on WFLD-Channel 32

Email: lrackl@suntimes.com

Twitter: @lorirackl



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