Fri. Apr 19th, 2024

The changing seasons not only give us a chance to watch the leaves change, but also to see what’s on our beloved televisions as well. From the return of old favorites like “Dexter,” “Californiacation” and “House” to the brand new batch of shows like “Bored to Death,” “Flashforward,” “Modern Family” and “The Cleveland Show.”The newest in the line of HBO original series, “Bored to Death” stars Jason Schwartzman (“Rushmore” and “The Darjeeling Limited”) as Jonathan Ames, a young Brooklyn writer who starts moonlighting as a private detective. His live-in girlfriend leaves him and the many noir novels he reads make it seem increasingly heroic. Supported by Zach Galifianakis (“The Hangover”) as a comic book illustrator and Ames’ closest confidant, and Ted Danson as his magazine editor and at times chummy companion, the half hour long comedy utilizes a “mystery of the week” dynamic while the highly competent cast builds the characters for the series. Smart, funny and at times wickedly awkward, “Bored to Death” holds much promise for the rest of its’ inaugural season. Th show airs Sundays at 9:30 p.m. EST.

Looking for laughs and don’t have HBO? Try out ABC’s “Modern Family” Wednesdays at 9 p.m. EST.

The comedy-mockumentary (think of the format for NBC’s “The Office,” but a little cleaner) focuses on the family of Jay Prichett (Ed O’Neill from “Married with Children”). The supporting characters include his much younger wife Gloria and her son from a previous relationship, his daughter Claire, her husband, Phil, and their three children, and Mitchell, his homosexual son, whom, along with his partner, Cameron, just adopted a baby from Vietnam.

The cast is what makes this 22 minute show sing as they deliver smart, devastatingly funny dialogue whilst never missing a beat.

The casting of the children and their resulting performances in the pilot were flawless and compose a major part of the laughs. A real surprise enjoyment that cannor bw recommendmore is that all episodes are available online for free from

If a seemingly “Lost” inspired drama is more what you’re after, ABC is also offering “Flashforward” every Thursday at 8 p.m. EST. Channeling the hit show in a big way (and even featuring some advertisements for “Oceanic airlines” in the background), and the show uses Sonya Walger and Dominic Monaghan of “LOST” fame.

The show starts with seemingly everyone on the planet losing consciousness for two minutes and 17 seconds during which they are granted a glimpse of the future six months from now.

The show also boasts some recognizable faces, from Joseph Fiennes (“Shakespeare in Love”) to John Cho (The “Harold and Kumar” flicks) as FBI agents charged to find out what happened and why and a recognizable voice in “Family Guy” creator and voice actor Seth MacFarlane.

The pilot showed glimmers of greatness and the high production value is nothing to sneeze at, but whether the show has legs or not is something only time can tell.

Seth MacFarlane also had a show of his own hit the air recently in the form of “The Cleveland Show,” a spinoff of one of his hit shows, “Family Guy.”

The show sees long time staple Cleveland Brown (voiced by Mike Henry) pick up his roots along with his son and leave Rhode Island for greener pastures, ending up with a new wife and family in Virginia. Fans of the original will find more of the same thing they came to love plus a talking evangelical grizzly bear!

The show is not an exact carbon copy as it finds its footing in a place that is slightly subdued when compared to the show it is spun from. Fox has already ordered 22 episodes of the show which runs on Sunday nights at 8:30 p.m., between “The Simpsons” and “Family Guy.”

Returning to Showtime this fall are two of the network’s largest shows, “Dexter” and “Californiacation.”

Those without the channel need not fret about the season premieres as Showtime is offering both for free online. “Dexter” starring Michael C. Hall is entering its fourth season where the program’s serial killing namesake finds himself with a wife, a new baby, a house in the suburbs, and a body in his trunk.

Fans of the show are in for another wild ride, but the season premiere leaves plenty of room for those new to the show to get onboard.

“House” is back on fox as well and this season it seems like the hour long medical procedural gets a transplant of something it was sorely missing: a heart.

The sixth season airs Monday at 8 p.m. and the two hour season premiere is available on FOX’s web site. Non-fans take note of this premiere, the coined “dickish-ness” of House (Hugh Laurie) gets toned down and sure enough, we get to see a fleshed out character. On Fox!

Fall may bring the drudgeries of school and midterms, but if nothing else it does promise entertainment on the small screen.

Kory Dench can be reached at

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