FALL SCI-FI TV PREVIEW: Your guide to 30 new and canceled shows

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Dec 15, 2012

Summer's over, and your TV is about to be filled with bright and shiny new programming. As always, there's sadness for the departing series and excitement about the new shows that are filled with promise ... at least until they air for the first time. So check out part one of three of our Fall Sci-Fi TV Preview to review what we've lost and welcome what we're about to gain.

Sci-fi series got the short end of things this season, with significant shows like Smallville, Caprica, The Event, Stargate Universe and V being canceled. Coming this season, it's all about ghosts (and we mean LOTS of ghosts, aka American Horror Story), fairy tales (Grimm) and magic (The Secret Circle), with only Terra Nova (and possibly Person of Interest) holding up the sci-fi end of the spectrum.

Here's our list of the canceled shows you may want to mourn over (or not!), and the new shows that will be vying for your attention in the weeks to come.

Canceled Shows

  • Camelot, Starz
  • The Cape, NBC
  • Caprica, Syfy
  • Eureka, Syfy - although there's an entire season next summer to come
  • The Event, NBC
  • The Gates, ABC
  • Human Target, Fox
  • Medium, CBS
  • No Ordinary Family, ABC
  • Outcasts, BBC America
  • Smallville, The CW
  • Stargate Universe, Syfy
  • Sym-Bionic Titans, Cartoon Network
  • Tower Prep, Cartoon Network
  • Undercovers, NBC
  • Unnatural History, Cartoon Network
  • V, ABC
  • Wizards of Waverly Place, Disney

New Shows

American Horror Story, FX

Premieres Wednesday, Oct. 5, at 10 p.m.

What it's about: This "psycho-sexual thriller" comes from Glee's Ryan Murphy, and according to the co-creator it's supposed to be a metaphor for marriage. What we know is that the action begins after a couple and their daughter move from Boston to L.A. into a haunted Victorian mansion and some very freaky stuff goes down. The series stars Dylan McDermott, Connie Britton, True Blood's Denis O'Hare as Larry the Burn Guy and Jessica Lange.

Our take: The pilot is 90 minutes long, has eight cliffhangers and features a fanged creature with claws. So if you can take something that sounds as strange as Twin Peaks that might just have a weird-for-weird's-sake attitude go for it. As for us, American Horror Story is this year's The Walking Dead, and we're so there.

Here's a preview:

Bedlam, BBC America

Premieres Saturday, Oct. 1, at 10 p.m., then moves to its regular timeslot on Oct. 8 at 9 p.m.

What it's about: When the living begin moving into a newly renovated apartment building, the tortured spirits who passed on at the former insane asylum are none too happy. The series stars Charlotte Salt, Theo James and Ashley Madekwe. As is standard with British shows, only six episodes have been ordered.

Our take: Bedlam will certainly be more straight-out horror than American Horror Story, but it will also likely have more self-contained episodes. So while this series may not be as much of an "event" as the FX take on horror, it may end up being more satisfying.

Here's a preview:

The Dead Files, Travel Channel

Premieres Friday, Sept. 23, at 10 p.m.

What it's about: Medium Amy Allan and retired New York homicide detective Steve DiSchiavi travel the country to help people dealing with paranormal experiences in their home and workplaces. In the first season, they travel to Tampa Bay, Key West, North Carolina and Syracuse, N.Y.

Our take: If you like paranormal reality shows, this is an interesting take on the genre, as Allan and DiSchiavi approach the haunt with separate investigations. While the two investigators certainly come from different worlds and approach things differently, it makes things interesting when they come together for the big reveal. Then Allan offers suggestions in dealing with some of the more troublesome spirits.

Death Valley, MTV

Premiered Monday, Aug. 29, at 10:30 p.m.

What it's about: Vampires, werewolves and zombies roam the streets of California's San Fernando Valley, and it's up to the Undead Task Force to capture and/or kill them. And it's up to the camera crew that's following them to capture all the action.

Our take: This monstrous take on Reno 911 has already started, so if you like raunchy cop on monster humor, it's for you.

Here's a preview:

A Gifted Man, CBS

Premieres Friday, Sept. 23, at 8 p.m.

What it's about: CBS gets back into the ghost business with this drama about a brilliant surgeon who finds his life turned upside down when his ex-wife pops in to teach him the meaning of life. The problem ... she's a ghost. A Gifted Man stars Patrick Wilson, Jennifer Ehle and Dexter's and Angel's Julie Benz.

Our take: This is another quality drama from CBS, which undoubtedly picked up this series in spite of the fact that it features a ghost. However, then they stuffed it on Fridays, because apparently a show with a ghost only can fit into Ghost Whisperer's old slot. Still, we're rooting for it. There's nothing quite like it on the air right now.

Here's a preview:

Grimm, NBC

Premieres Friday, Oct. 21, at 9 p.m.

What it's about: When a hotshot cop named Nick starts seeing strange things, he discovers he's a Grimm. That means he's the last descendant in a line of elite hunters who protect the human race from supernatural creatures who pretend to be human. It turns out the Brothers Grimm were profilers, and the fairy tale creatures they identified are real. Unfortunately for Nick, they're not all well-behaved. Grimm stars David Guintoli, Kate Burton, Russell Hornsby, Silas Weir Mitchell and Sasha Roiz.

Our take: There's some fun to be had in this fairy tale-cum-police procedural. Silas Weir Mitchell is a standout as a Big Bad Wolf who's trying to go straight and not go after the Little Red Riding Hoods of the world. But this series is up against Fringe and Supernatural, two of the best shows on television. That doesn't bode well for its odds in making it through the season, especially since it's getting a late start date.

Here's a preview:

Long Island Medium, TLC

Premieres Sunday, Sept. 25, at 10 p.m.

What it's about: This new half-hour series follows Theresa Caputo, a Long Island mom and psychic medium who takes care of her family and then takes on clients who have unresolved issues involving those who've passed on.

Our take: Yet another ghost entry. TLC hasn't posted a preview yet, so we're not sure if this one's going to be worth anyone's time.

Once Upon a Time, ABC

Premieres Sunday, Oct. 23, at 8 p.m.

What it's about: Lost's Adam Horowitz and Edward Kitsis dig into story about what happens when fairy tales and the modern world collide. In the series, a 28-year-old bail bonds collector and her son end up in Storybrooke, a New England town filled with strange characters who may just be fairy-tale creatures who have forgotten who they are. Once Upon a Time stars Jennifer Morrison, Lana Parrilla, Ginnifer Goodwin, Josh Dallas, Jared Gilmore and Stargate Universe's Robert Carlyle as Rumpelstiltskin.

Our take: We have to admit we weren't too excited about this one, but it's better than it sounds. And it does have Horowitz and Kitsis going for it, who know how to take fantastic material and ground it. Still, we don't expect this to be another Lost.

Here's a preview:

Paranormal Witness, Syfy

Premiered on Wednesday, Sept. 7, at 10 p.m.

What it's about: Syfy's latest paranormal series is a docudrama that explores the real stories of people and their experiences with the paranormal. Six episodes have been ordered.

Our take: It seems like ghosts are popping up everywhere this year. But after years of Ghost Hunters it does sort of seem like they belong on Syfy on Wednesday nights.

Here's a sneak peek:

Person of Interest, CBS

Premieres Thursday, Sept. 22, at 9 p.m.

What it's about: Lost's Michael Emerson stars as a billionaire named Finch, a software genius who invented a pattern-recognition program that can identify when people are about to be involved in a violent crime. So he decides to recruit presumed dead former CIA agent Reese (Jim Caviezel) to help him stop bad things from happening. From Lost's J.J. Abrams and The Dark Knight's Jonathan Nolan. According to Nolan, Person of Interest takes place "5 minutes into the future, or maybe it's right now."

Our take: We don't know if this is really sci-fi or not, but there's loads of potential here, and we love Michael Emerson and J.J. Abrams and Jonathan Nolan. ... In fact, what's not to love about this new show? And, luckily, CBS seems to love it too. They've even given it CSI's timeslot.

Here's a preview:

The Secret Circle, The CW

Premieres Thursday, Sept. 15, at 9 p.m.

What it's about: When a high school girl, Cassie, loses her mother in a fire, she moves in with her grandmother in Chance Harbor, Wash. However, unknown to Cassie, she's a powerful witch, and she's now living in a town filled with magic and witchcraft. Based on the novel series by L.J. Smith (The Vampire Diaries) and from executive producer Kevin Williamson (The Vampire Diaries) and creator Andrew Miller. The series stars Britt Robertson, Thomas Dekker, Gale Harold and Natasha Henstridge.

Our take: If you love The Vampire Diaries, you're going to love this one too. It's the same mix of magic and young star power, and yet the series builds its own unique universe. And with Diaries' Williamson running the show, it looks like another hit for The CW.

Here's a preview:

Terra Nova, Fox

Premieres Monday, Sept. 26, at 8 p.m.

What it's about: From Steven Spielberg and Star Trek's Brannon Braga, this series follows the Shannon family, who escape a dying future Earth to travel through a fracture in time into the far past. Once there they discover man-eating dinosaurs are not the only dangers they'll face. The series stars Jason O'Mara, Elisabeth Shannon and Avatar's Stephen Lang.

Our take: The most anticipated series of fall promises a return for Spielberg to dinosaurs and is actually sci-fi. The first hour is lavish and offers a terrific introduction into the series. While dinos aren't roaming around every tree, the opening lays down plenty of mythology to give the series a place to go this fall, as well as offering up dynamic characters for us to get caught up in. Now let's just hope the Chuck slot isn't the kiss of death for Terra Nova.

Here's a preview:

Tomorrow, check out part two of our Fall Preview, which covers fall's Returning Shows. And then on Monday, part three will dig into what's coming for Movies, Specials and Midseason and Beyond.

What show are you sad to see go? What new series will you check out?

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