Obviously, not all the new television series can make fall's top 10. Here are quick takes on the rest of the freshman class, night by night:
Partners(CBS, 8:30 ET/PT, Sept. 24). When two funny men —Will & Grace's creators David Kohan and Max Mutchnick— write a sitcom about their own partnership, you sort of expect it to be funny. Which will lead you to wonder: What went wrong with Partners? The pilot, with David Krumholtz as a straight man whose engagement is almost upended by a gay best friend (Michael Urie), is surprisingly, disappointingly flat.
The Mob Doctor(Fox, 9 ET/PT, Sept. 17). An ill-cast Jordana Spiro stars in this unintentionally funny series as a Chicago surgeon who moonlights for the Mafia, willingly patching up their broken hitmen, though less willing when it comes to actually killing her patients. However will she free herself? The smart money's on cancellation.
Emily Owens, M.D.(CW, 9 ET/PT, Oct. 16). We've had overly chatty characters before. We've had shows that rely to an excessive degree on voice-over narration. But seldom have the two sins combined to the degree they do in Emily Owens, M.D.— a series about a newbie intern (Mamie Gummer) who, when not talking, is telling us what she's thinking. At great length and in appallingly juvenile fashion.
The Mindy Project(Fox, 9:30 ET/PT, Sept. 25). As a writer and as a performer, The Office's Mindy Kaling has clearly acquired a considerable fan base, at least in the media. How far that base extends into the general public is something The Mindy Project will test.
Animal Practice(NBC, 8 ET/PT, Sept. 26). You know, the show with the monkey. Yes, more could be said about this feeble comedy, which NBC foisted upon an unwilling public during the Olympics. But if you remember it at all, you most likely remember it as "the show with the monkey."
The Neighbors (ABC, 8:30 ET/PT, Sept. 26, 9:30). Do you miss big, broad, extremely silly sitcoms? ABC must think you do, as it keeps trying to revive the genre, last season with the cross-dressing flop Work It, and this season with this comedy about a New Jersey couple (Jami Gertz and Lenny Venito) who move next door to a coven of space aliens. It's the kind of stupid-but-harmless comedy you could imagine ABC pairing with Mork & Mindy and airing on a Friday night. In 1980.
Guys With Kids (NBC, 8:30 ET/PT, Sept. 12, 10). Three different kind of guys raise kids. We're supposed to find that novel, but every joke, every character and every performance is as bland and generic as the title.
Chicago Fire (NBC, 10 ET/PT, Oct. 10). With some shows, it's not whether you've seen them before, it's how many times you've seen them before. The latest series from Law & Order's Dick Wolf, Fire has been patched together out of leftover bits from every squadhouse drama from Emergency to Third Watch— and trods on territory immeasurably better explored by Rescue Me.
Beauty and the Beast (CW, 9 ET/PT, Oct. 11). CBS' late-'80s hit Beauty and the Beast gave us Linda Hamilton as an assistant district attorney who discovers Ron Perlman's leonine beast-man Vincent living in a strange "tunnel world" under Manhattan. This Beast substitutes a mundane government conspiracy, with Catherine (Kristin Kreuk) a homicide detective and Vincent the buff, handsome, non-beastly, super-powered result of a military experiment gone wrong. Thank goodness his scars become more pronounced when he's angry, or you wouldn't be able to pick him out of a crowd.
Malibu Country (ABC, 8:30 ET/PT, Nov. 2). Wasting this much talent should be a crime. Reba McEntire stars as Reba Gallagher, a former singer married to a country star whose husband gets caught cheating. So she moves her family, Mom (Lily Tomlin) included, to Malibu, where they're embraced by an overly sunny, new-age neighbor (Sara Rue). All do their best, but the show just lies there, like some dying fish that's washed up on a Malibu beach.
666 Park Avenue (ABC, 10 ET/PT, Sept. 30). There's nothing much more useless than a scary show that isn't scary. This Rosemary's Baby wannabe is about an apartment building run by a mysterious couple (Terry O'Quinn and Vanessa Williams), but owned, it seems, by the Devil. The tenants get everything they wish, but eventually the rent comes due. Will the sweet new managers (Dave Annable and Rachael Taylor) succumb to the building's temptations? Will you stay awake to find out?