Jewish Journal

Old favorites take on fresh roles in fall TV season

by Shoshana Lewin Fischer

Posted on Sep. 3, 2008 at 8:58 pm

"90210" cast (from left) AnnaLynne McCord as Naomi, <br />
Dustin Milligan as Ethan, Shenae Grimes as Annie, Tristan <br />
Wilds as Dixon, Jessica Stroup as Silver, Michael Steger <br />
as Navid. Photo by Art Streiber/The CW

"90210" cast (from left) AnnaLynne McCord as Naomi,
Dustin Milligan as Ethan, Shenae Grimes as Annie, Tristan
Wilds as Dixon, Jessica Stroup as Silver, Michael Steger
as Navid. Photo by Art Streiber/The CW

After a summer filled with Olympics, political conventions and bizarre reality shows ("I Survived a Japanese Game Show" anyone?) TV viewers are aching for something different. The new offerings this fall range from international imports like "The Ex List" and "Life on Mars" to surprise comebacks like "90210" and the mini-turned-maxi series "The Starter Wife." This new crop of shows featuring Jewish actors or characters joins returning favorites such as "Big Bang Theory," "Pushing Daisies" and "Heroes." So peruse our guide, pick up that remote and get ready to record your soon-to-be favorites.

Show: "90210"
Channel: The CW
Airs: Tuesdays, 8 p.m.
Why You Should Watch:
The rich, hormonal guys and gals at West Beverly are back, but this time the student body actually reflects the real Beverly Hills High's large Iranian-American population. While tuning into this re-launched Aaron Spelling guilty pleasure won't curb your longing for the days of Andrea, Brandon and Steve, the return of Kelly (Jennie Garth) and Brenda (Shannen Doherty) might help. Throw in David and Kelly's half-sister, the rebellious Silver (Jessica Stroup), and "Arrested Development's" Jessica Walter as an alcoholic former-actress grandmother, and those thoughts of Dylan's sideburns should fly right out of your head.

Show: "Sons of Anarchy"
Channel: FX
Airs: Wednesdays, 10 p.m.
Why You Should Watch:
Ron Perlman ("Hellboy") heads a gun-running motorcycle club in a rural California town, and his nephew, Jax, is having second thoughts about joining "the family" -- much to the chagrin of Jax's mom (Katey Segal). For those who miss "The Sopranos," including Drea de Matteo, this could become your next addiction after second two of "Mad Men" ends in October.

Show: "Dancing With the Stars"
Channel: ABC
Premieres: Monday, Sept. 22, 8 p.m.
Why You Should Watch:
The folks behind "Young Frankenstein: the Musical" said Cloris Leachman, 82, was too old to handle eight performances a week. Tune in to the seventh season of "Dancing With the Stars" to see the original Frau Blucher, the oldest dancer on the show thus far, compete against Susan Lucci and Toni Braxton to become the queen of the dance floor.

Show: "The Ex List"
Channel: CBS
Premieres: Friday, Oct. 3, 9 p.m.
Why You Should Watch:
Just like with "Numb3rs," CBS once again puts a Jewish show on Friday night (thanks guys). Be sure to record this adorable import from Israel about a city-dwelling single gal named Bella Bloom (Elizabeth Reaser), who learns from a fortune-teller that Mr. Right was a former boyfriend. Thus, the "ex list" comes in to play for Bella and her friends (Rachel Boston, Adam Rothenberg, Alexandra Breckenridge and Amir Talai). It made it big it Eretz Yisrael as "Mythological X," and considering the "Bachelor" doesn't start until January, this romantic dramedy makes a great substitute.

Show: "Kath & Kim"
Channel: NBC
Premieres: Thursday, Oct. 9, 8:30 p.m.
Why You Should Watch:
Another import, this time from Australia, features recent newlywed-turned-divorced daughter Selma Blair and mom-who-won't-grow-up Molly Shannon. Sandwiched between network hits "My Name Is Earl" and "The Office," the scheduling could prove promising for this bawdy comedy.

Show: "Life on Mars"
Channel: ABC
Premieres: Thursday, Oct. 9 at 10 p.m.
Why You Should Watch:
If you're feeling nostalgic for the 1970s -- especially now that "Swingtown" is off the air -- the American version of this BBC show might fill the void. Sam Tyler, a police detective in 2008, lands in 1973 after a car crash. Harvey Keitel plays Sam's boss who, of course, doesn't believe this "I'm from the future" shtick. But how will Sam's love life with 21st-century girlfriend Lisa Bonet play out in the space-time continuum?

Show: "Testees"
Channel: FX
Premieres: Thursday, Oct. 9, 10:30 p.m.
Why You Should Watch:
"South Park" writer and "Kenny vs. Spenny" creator-star Kenny Hotz enters the world of experimentation, where 30-something roommates Peter (Steve Markle) and Ron (Jeff Kassel) work as human guinea pigs at TESTICO, a not-quite-normal product testing facility. Every week the two test a new product -- with ridiculous side effects -- and then have to live their lives as best they can. It's a comedy. No, really.

Show: "The Starter Wife"
Channel: USA
Premieres: Friday, Oct. 10, 10 p.m.
Why You Should Watch:
Emmy-winner Debra Messing returns in the show based on Gigi Levangie Grazer's best-seller about a divorcée who restarts her life when her husband dumps her for a younger woman. Many Angelenos should be able to relate to this humorous hit mini-series turned maxi-series that pokes fun at all things Hollywood. Of course, it's another one that's on Friday nights, but, luckily, DVRs can record two shows at once.

Show: "Surviving Suburbia"
Channel: The CW
Premieres: Sunday, Nov. 2, 7:30 p.m.
Why You Should Watch:
Bob Saget slips back into the dad role sans Olson twins. Given the lack of hit family sitcoms, the show's premise about a normal family and their crazy neighbors with the distractingly hot daughter could be fun to watch. Think "Married With Children," but in reverse.

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