Fall Arts Preview: Hit the couch!

Ichabod Crane, Andy Samberg, and Malin Akerman are ready for prime time
By JESSE PAPINEAU  |  September 11, 2013

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ON THE TRAIL OF THE HORSEMAN Beharie and Mison in 'Sleepy Hollow.'

Contrary to popular belief, the start of fall doesn’t only mean that all your coffee, beer, pastries and dips are required to be pumpkin spiced. No, just as the weather is changing, so is your TV viewing schedule, for better or worse. As they do every year, the networks are rolling out hordes of new shows, throwing every idea at the wall and seeing what sticks, from intriguing big-budget shows (Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.,Almost Human) to charming workplace sitcoms (The Michael J. Fox Show, Brooklyn Nine-Nine) and to the utterly absurd genre-bender (looking at you, Sleepy Hollow). As always, there are some good, some bad and most falling somewhere in between. So before you mix yourself a pumpkintini and plop down on the couch, consult our guide to find out what’s worth your time, what you should skip, and what deserves a hate-watch.

Sleepy Hollow | FOX | Mondays @ 9 [premieres September 16] | I have absolutely no idea what to make of this confounding, intriguing, and potentially offensive new show based on Washingtons Irving’s nearly 200-year-old tale. The premise is perplexing: Ichabod Crane (Tom Mison) “dies” during a mission in 1790, but wakes up in modern-day Sleepy Hollow, along with the Headless Horseman, who promptly begins a killing spree. Crane teams with the newly appointed town sheriff (Nicole Beharie) to bring the Horseman down. Yeah, seriously. But I must add that it’s co-created by Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci, who wrote the recent Star Trek flicks and produced Alias and Fringe, so at least this insane idea is in good hands. Even if it does have all the makings of a train wreck, you can expect some fun (read: funny) moments before it crashes (read: gets cancelled).

Brooklyn Nine-Nine | FOX | Tuesdays @ 8:30 [premieres September 17] | The hilarious Andy Samberg finally gets his post-SNL vehicle in which he’ll play a skilled but immature detective forced to adjust to life under his new, no-nonsense captain (Andre Braugher). What could have been a groan-inducing odd couple comedy should work well guided by the master of the workplace comedy, Michael Schur (The Office, Parks and Recreation) and co-creator Dan Goor, who crafted one of the fall’s funniest pilots. And supporting players Terry Crews and Chelsea Peretti are always good for a laugh or two.

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A COMIC BOOK PROCEDURAL The cast of 'Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.'

Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. | ABC | Tuesdays @ 8 [premieres September 24] | After The Avengers obliterated the box office last summer, Disney’s Marvel handed Joss Whedon the keys to the franchise and a TV series to boot. While this should please fanboys, Whedon’s track record on the small screen has been iffy, ratings-wise (Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, Firefly). Though there are nods to the film and its heroes scattered throughout, none of the show’s main characters are supes, so this is ultimately a procedural with a sprinkling of comic book mythology here and there. But this could be the first successful superhero show since Smallville, and it will certainly be interesting to see how Whedon can sustain the premise from week to week.

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