Question: I snapped up TV Guide's Fall Preview issue, and I find it a mixed blessing. While I appreciate the behind-the-scenes reportage and the luxurious layout, there's one crucial aspect that I miss greatly: your Picks (and yes, the capital P is deliberate). Of course, there were the "10 Shows with Buzz," but they included some shows you don't even like (Gossip Girl, etc.). And while you gave a helpful day-by-day analysis of the new programming, I and no doubt many other readers miss the days when you essentially said, "Here are the best dramas and comedies airing." And so, for old times' sake, I put in this plea: What is your must-see list among 2007's new crop?
Answer: I would think it's pretty clear from reading those nightly roundups which shows I'm crazy about, and I state pretty bluntly that Pushing Daisies is unquestionably my favorite pilot. Everything else, even those I more or less like, pale by comparison in terms of ambition and execution. But in a nutshell, my short list of personal gotta-sees includes Daisies, Chuck and Reaper, all quasi-fantasies with a distinctly fun comedic touch. Emphasis here on fun. It is a really short list this year, and I'll admit I'm not convinced any of these shows will be able to keep the quality up week to week, though for now I'll stay hopeful. Otherwise, I'm fond of the comedy pilots Back to You, Aliens in America and Samantha Who?, but I'm not sure they'll be on my regular viewing list. Back to You is the most likely, because of the stars (Patricia Heaton, Kelsey Grammmer, Fred Willard) and its classic tone. Shows I'll probably keep up with and have high hopes for include Dirty Sexy Money, The Big Bang Theory, Gossip Girl and maybe Bionic Woman, if it lightens up a bit. Everything else feels like work or, in the case of Cavemen, Carpoolers, Life, Big Shots and Viva Laughlin, torture.