A geek's guide to the fall TV lineup

Wally Bahny says the fall lineup of TV shows may provide the average geek with at least several hours of entertainment a week outside of video games. What geeky TV shows are you watching?

We're past the halfway point in September now, which means the regular TV season for most stations in the United States has already started. While the broadcast and cable networks are chock full of programming, very little of it has any interest to geeks. Fortunately, there may be just enough -- if you stretch your imagination -- to provide the average geek with at least several hours of entertainment a week outside of video games. Let's take a look at what's out there for geeks.

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Chuck - Returning for its fourth season September 20th at 8:00/7:00C on NBC, most geeks are already watching this if they're interested. For those who aren't already watching the show, Chuck Bartowski is a regular guy who leads a double life as a secret agent. Follow him this season as he goes on mission after mission, leading him toward discovering what has happened to his mom. The Event - In what is perhaps the Lost replacement, The Event (as NBC's synopsis states) is a "suspense-filled journey where the answers only lead to bigger questions". Also premiering on NBC on September 20th, but at 9:00/8:00C, The Event will probably be the show to leave on after Chuck and give a few episodes a try. (Related TechRepublic post: Conspiracy theories for geeks.) Hawaii Five-O - Yes, I said Hawaii Five-O. A remake of the classic TV series set in modern times and starring Alex O'Loughlin, Daniel Dae Kim, and Grace Park, this will either soar or bomb, but many sources are leaning towards "soar." Another September 20th premiere, this is on CBS at 10:00/9:00C. Castle - Returning for its third season on ABC opposite Hawaii Five-O, Castle is a cop drama that follows an NYPD homicide detective and a thriller writer (played by Nathan Fillion). Many geeks have tuned into this in the past and may continue, unless Hawaii Five-O piques their interest.


No Ordinary Family - When an ordinary family decides to travel with mom on her business trip to South America and experiences a plane crash in the Amazon River, most people would assume a Lost-type show or at least a family drama. What we get instead is a family that begins to show signs of superpowers and must learn to use and adapt to them. No Ordinary Family premieres on ABC on September 28th at 8:00/7:00C. Glee - Returning for its second season on FOX opposite No Ordinary Family, Glee is musical comedy centered around a group of students who are striving to win at a national competition, even though they were beaten by arch-rivals Vocal Adrenaline. Glee premiers on September 21st. Stargate: Universe - Also returning for its second season but on Syfy, SG:U premieres on September 28th at 9:00/8:00C. SG:U is the latest in the Stargate spin-offs; this series takes place aboard a ship, Destiny, that they don't know how to control. Caprica - The premiere of the show's second season will air October 5th on the Syfy channel at 10:00/9:00C. Caprica, which is a prequel to Battlestar Galactica, is a story about two rival families who are competing in the world of the peaceful 12 Colonies. Follow them to learn how the Cylons were first created and how their culture became that of BSG. (Related TechRepublic post: Do you have beefs with the sci-fi show 'Caprica'?)


MythBusters - Starting slightly later than most fall premieres, MythBusters is back in action on October 6th on the Discovery Channel at 9:00/8:00C. Join Jamie and Adam as they test tornados, revisit the myth about a convict outsmarting and outrunning his pursuers, and much more. (Related TechRepublic post: Video: MythBusting the moon landing.)


Thursday is potentially a TiVo night with any of three geek-oriented shows to choose from at a time. It will all depend on which fringe or fringes of geekdom you're interested in, however.

The Big Bang Theory - Returning for its fourth season to CBS on a new night at 8:00/7:00C, The Big Bang Theory is a show about CalTech physicists who would rather spend their nights playing games than anything else until a beautiful, free-spirited woman moves in next door and piques the interest of one of the guys. (Related TechRepublic posts: The Big Bang Theory: My geeky TV show 'obsession' and 20 things that make Dr. Sheldon Cooper TV's biggest geek.) $#*! My Dad Says - The show based on the Twitter feed of the same name, $#*! My Dad Says stars William Shatner as Ed Goodson, the father who shoots random and often politically incorrect opinions and observations at anyone within earshot. With William Shatner, the show could be either great or awful, but at least it will be interesting. It premieres September 23rd at 8:30/7:30C. Bones - Returning for its sixth season and running on FOX at 8:00/7:00C, Bones is a show about a forensic anthropologist who is occasionally called upon to delve deeper into identifying a body by finding clues in the victim's bones. Vampire Diaries -Vampire Diaries airs on the CW at 8:00/7:00C. Beginning its second season, we return to the two vampire brothers who are vying for the control of an entire town as well as the same beautiful woman. The Office - On September 23rd, The Office returns for its seventh season on NBC at 9:00/8:00C. The highly popular "mockumentary" will deal with this season's send-off of boss Michael Scott. Outsourced - This NBC new series will premiere on September 23rd at 9:30/8:30C. Outsourced is about a recently-promoted manager who gets sent to India to manage the call center there. I'm sure the show will feature jokes about culture shock and clashes. Fringe - Returning to FOX for its third season at 9:00/8:00C on September 23rd, Fringe is set to pick up after its second season cliff-hanger, which featured Leonard Nimoy. Fringe is all about weird and unlikely scenarios -- just what geeks like. Nikita - New to the CW for 2010, Nikita is a show about a rogue assassin. This show's posters have already spawned some complaints because the lead character wears, let's just say, racy outfits. This show should be interesting. Nikita airs at 9/8C and premiered on September 9th.


Friday is the day for return shows -- there are no new geek-oriented shows on Fridays.

Medium - Returning for its seventh season, and still on CBS, Medium is a real life-inspired drama based on the life of Allison Dubois, a research medium. For those geeks interested in the paranormal, this is a show for you. The show premieres on September 24th at 8:00/7:00C. Smallville - The closest thing we have to comic books on TV, Smallville returns to the CW for its last season on September 24th at 8:00/7:00C. The long-enjoyed prequel to the traditional stories of Superman continues the tale of how Clark Kent lived through his younger years and eventually became Superman. Supernatural - The show begins its sixth season on September 24th on the CW at 9:00/8:00C. Supernatural is the story of two demon-hunting brothers, who faced off the devil himself at the end of last season. Sanctuary - The Syfy channel will be holding off until October 15th for this one, but it will air at 10:00/9:00C, immediately after SG:U. Sanctuary follows a scientist and her team who hold the secret of a group of strange beings that hide among humans and is trying to unlock the secrets of their existence.


The Simpsons - More than 20 years later and it's still going strong. This year, re-join the Homer, Marge, Bart, Lisa, and Maggie as they continue to poke fun at everything. The new season premieres on September 26th at 8:00/7:00C on FOX. (Related TechRepublic posts: Video: Simpsons opening sequence, Star Wars-style and Geek Trivia: Cheaper by the d'oh-zen.)

Stay tuned

If none of these shows sound like they're worth watching, there are at least two new shows that may come out midseason that might interest some geeks: Terra Nova (which is being produced by Steven Spielberg) and The Cape.

What TV shows interest you?

What new and/or the returning TV shows do you plan to check out? To our TechRepublic members who don't live in the United States, what geeky TV shows do you recommend? Are there any other geeky new shows that we should add to this list? Weigh in with your comments.