The Geekend's fall 2012 sci-fi and fantasy TV preview

Which fall 2012 sci-fi/fantasy TV shows should earn time on your DVR hard drive, and which are unworthy of even Internet forum scorn?

The major U.S. broadcast networks have set forth their fall 2012 program schedules, and more than a few sci-fi and fantasy shows have made the cut. The question remains: are any of them worth watching? Your faithful Geekend media snob lays out his cynically educated guesses for each show on the following scale, from worst to first: Skip It, TBD, Wait for DVD, DVR It, or Watch It Live.


Once Upon a Time [8pm | ABC]

Against all odds, the fairy-tale-characters-exiled-to-a-Desperate-Housewives-suburb series got renewed, and this season all the fables know they've been cursed to normalcy—and who is responsible for it. That should up the melodrama nicely.

Geekend rating: Wait for DVD

Season two of Once Upon a Time begins Sept. 30. [Video preview]

666 Park Avenue [10pm | ABC | New]

Locke from Lost and his wife, Vanessa Williams, own a cursed but irresistible Park Avenue condo complex that eats souls (or something). Could be an awesome Tales from the Crypt successor if it wasn't on broadcast TV, where it looks to be tamed into bland oblivion.

Geekend rating: Skip It 666 Park Avenue premieres Sept. 30. [Video preview] Do No Harm [10pm | NBC | New]

The latest Jekyll & Hyde riff, this time chronicling a neurosurgeon with an evil alternate personality that can no longer be suppressed with experimental drugs. It would remind you of the similar 2008 Christian Slater series My Own Worst Enemy—except no one watched My Own Worst Enemy. And you know what they say about those who forget history....

Geekend rating: Skip It

Do No Harm premieres Sept. 14. [Video preview]


Bones [8pm | FOX]

The sci-fi-in-everything-but-name science detective show is still kicking, but whether it can survive the consummation of sexual tension between the lead characters played by David Boreanaz and Emily Deschanel is anybody's guess.

Geekend rating: Wait for DVD

Season eight of Bones begins Sept. 17. [Video preview]

Revolution [10pm | NBC | New]

It's enough that creators J.J. Abrams (Fringe and Lost) and Eric Kripke (Supernatural) are tag-teaming for a genre show, but when Jon (Iron Man) Favreau is directing the pilot and the concept is apparently "inspired" (read: ripped off) by S.M. Stirling's Emberverse book series, this becomes the must-see geek TV debut of the year. Short version: A mysterious event shuts down all electronics on Earth, leaving warlords and militias in charge of the retro-industrial aftermath. The story centers on a young girl who may hold the secret to turning the power back on, and the cadre of irregulars keeping her alive to pull it off.

Geekend rating: Watch It Live

Revolution premieres Sept. 17. [Video preview]


Nothing on the nerd-o-scope, so this is your weekday DVR catch-up evening.


Arrow [8pm | CW | New]

A reboot of the superhero Green Arrow that thankfully has nothing to do with the wretched version that appeared on Smallville. Of course, this is the same network that inexplicably kept Smallville on the air for a decade, so don't get your hopes too high.

Geekend rating: Wait for DVD

Arrow premieres Oct. 10. [Video preview]

The Neighbors [8:30pm | ABC | New]

A typical suburban family moves into a gated community that is actually the beachhead for extraterrestrial invaders. Awesome idea, except it's a sitcom. Could be 3rd Rock from the Sun, more likely to be ALF.

Geekend rating: Skip It

The Neighbors premieres Oct. 3. [Video preview]

Supernatural [9pm | CW]

The CW continues its tradition of refusing to let shows die even after the creators and cast are ready to stop, which is ironic given this show's concept of demon hunters fighting an endless battle against evil they can never give up but never win.

Geekend rating: Wait for DVD

Season eight of Supernatural begins Oct. 3. [Video preview]


The Big Bang Theory [8pm | CBS]

Still not sure if this chronicle of modern geekdom is laughing with us, or laughing at us. Still not sure it matters.

Geekend rating: DVR It

Season six of The Big Bang Theory begins Sept. 27. [No preview yet]

Last Resort [8pm | ABC | New]

An American missile sub that refuses to launch a nuclear attack on the Middle East is forced to go on the lam—by taking over a Caribbean island. That high-concept spy-fi is enough to merit interest, but the fact that it stars Andre Braugher and showrunner Shawn Ryan is the man who brought us The Shield seals the deal.

Geekend rating: Watch It Live

Last Resort premieres Sept. 27. [Video preview]

Save Me [8pm | NBC | New]

Anne Heche stars in this Joan of Arcadia-as-a-sitcom concept as a suburban housewife who believes she's the next Biblical prophet. Because the public loves it when Hollywood mocks a mainstream religion.

Geekend rating: Skip It

Save Me premieres Sept. 6. [Video preview]

The Vampire Diaries [8pm | CW]

The emo teen rip-off of Twilight by way of Gossip Girl continues to give its fans exactly what they want. I have no idea what that is, but c'est la vie.

Geekend rating: Skip It

Season four of The Vampire Diaries begins Oct. 11. [Video preview]

Beauty and the Beast [9pm | CW | New]

Smallville's Kristin Kreuk resurfaces to play the Linda Hamilton part in this reboot of the classic 1980s fantasy-romance series, but she does so alongside an unbeastly Tiger Beat-handsome beast designed to appeal to the CW's teen-soap demographic. If you like The Vampire Diaries, you'll like this.

Geekend rating: Skip It

Beauty and the Beast premieres Oct. 11. [Video preview]

Person of Interest [9pm | CBS]

The superhero-in-everything-but-name show with a surveillance society twist made it to season two and, like all J.J. Abrams series that clear that hurdle, is threatening to hit its stride. It's worth watching to find out if the retired CIA assassin/reformed panopticon hacker/idealist cop trio can keep saving New York from itself, and say something along the way.

Geekend rating: DVR It

Season two of Person of Interest begins Sept. 27. [No preview yet]

Elementary [10pm | CBS | New]

As soon as Steven Moffat wowed critics with his modern-day BBC reboot of Sherlock Holmes, you knew at least one American network would steal the concept. Right on cue, we Yankees cast Jonny Lee Miller as Holmes and, either boldly or bizarrely, Lucy Liu as Dr. Watson. As with most U.S. remakes of British hits, the fact that we didn't bring Moffat along for the ride means we're stealing the music, but not the musician, and we all know how rarely cover songs are as good as the original tune.

Geekend rating: DVR It

Elementary premieres Sept. 27. [Video preview]


Touch [8pm | FOX]

The tale of Kiefer Sutherland and his super-genius autistic son heads into season two with both on the run from the law. Yes, this is quickly turning into Rain Man meets The Fugitive by way of Numb3rs and, no, we have no idea how that's going to work.

Geekend rating: Wait for DVD

Season two of Touch begins Oct. 26. [No preview yet]

Fringe [9pm | FOX]

The final season for J.J. Abrams's The X-Files rip-off that somehow turned into the most intriguing and ambitious sci-fi show on mainstream TV no longer has to hold anything back. The final season promises more time travel, more alternate universes, more invading post-human overlords, more John Noble out-acting everyone this side of Peter Dinklage and, above all, more evil Leonard Nimoy. Buckle up.

Geekend rating: Watch It Live

Season five of Fringe begins Sept. 28. [Video preview]

Grimm [9pm | NBC]

The surprise survivor of last season's genre sacrifice to the Friday Night Death Slot, the story of a cop cursed with the family gift of hunting monsters from the original, un-Disney-fied fairy tales has found its cult audience and is threatening to become the new Supernatural. Which, given it's got Angel and Buffy alums on the production team, shouldn't be surprising.

Geekend rating: DVR It

Season two of Grimm begins on a special day and time: Monday, Aug. 13 at 10pm. [Video preview]


Nothing geek-centric to be found here, but it's kind of nice that no geek shows have been sent to Saturday to die a slow, lingering, unwatched death.

Midseason replacements

These shows will be dropped into weekly schedules after the Super Bowl to replace cancelled series or to fill time when it's once again safe to program timeslots now dominated by the NFL.

Crossbones [NBC | New]

The story of a spy sent to the Caribbean isle of New Providence in 1715—the first democracy in the Western Hemisphere—to assassinate the country's ruler, Blackbeard the pirate. Yes, seriously. No cast yet, so the jury is still out, but color us intrigued.

Geekend rating: TBD

[No preview yet]

Zero Hour [ABC | New]

Anthony Edwards stars as the editor of a skeptics magazine who becomes embroiled in an actual, honest-to-Crowley paranormal conspiracy. More simply, this is The Da Vinci Code, the series, with a heavy dose of Lost wannabe-ism. Approach with caution.

Geekend rating: Wait for DVD

Zero Hour premieres Feb. 13, 2013. [Video preview]

Which fall TV shows will earn space on your DVR hard drive, and which are unworthy of even Internet forum scorn? Statler and Waldorf await your predictions in the comments section.

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Jay Garmon has a vast and terrifying knowledge of all things obscure, obtuse, and irrelevant. One day, he hopes to write science fiction, but for now he'll settle for something stranger — amusing and abusing IT pros. Read his full profile. You can a...

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