A few thoughts and observations:
Wednesday at 9 is a completely overhauled hour -- six hour-long shows, four of them brand new and two of them being moved into the timeslot from elsewhere. Lost figures to win the hour, but it will be fun to watch the rest of them (Criminal Minds, E-Ring, Head Cases, Veronica Mars, and Related) fight it out for second.
Most annoying new timeslot conflicts: Alias vs. Survivor on Thursday; The West Wing vs. The Simpsons on Sunday. Thank god for Tivo.
Everyone seems to have decided that there's room for competition on Thursday at 8. Survivor and The O.C. return, along with (inexplicably) Joey; they're joined in the time slot by Alias, Smallville, and UPN's new Chris Rock-produced sitcom.
Most lethally dull timeslot of the week: Friday at 8. Supernanny, Ghost Whisperer, Three Wishes, Bernie Mac, What I Like About You, and WWE Smackdown. I don't think I could have designed a less appealing assortment of shows.
Notable trends: The supernatural/aliens; more strongly serialized dramas; the continuing popularity of crime shows; a dramatic decrease in the amount of reality (Three Wishes is the only new reality show announced); the continuing decline of the sitcom.
Jerry Bruckheimer breaks Aaron Spelling's record for producing the most hours of television in the lineup. In addition to his current six hours (three CSI shows, Cold Case, Without a Trace, The Amazing Race), he adds Close to Home, E-Ring, and Just Legal; his first sitcom, Modern Men, is due midseason on WB.
Shows that make me curious enough to watch at least an episode or two:
- Commander-in-Chief (though I fear there's going to be not enough "Madam President" and too much "President Mommy")
- How I Met Your Mother (Neil Patrick Harris and Alyson Hannigan? What's not to like?)
- Close to Home (could be as sappy as Judging Amy, but I fell in love with Jennifer Finnigan in Committed, so she gets a chance)
- Prison Break and Reunion (both because I like long-form, serialized story telling)
- My Name Is Earl
- Just Legal