TV Land: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly of Fall 2011

It’s September. And everyone knows what that means. The fresh smell of school supplies, annual “International Talk Like a Pirate Day,” and of course, new TV shows. If only the powers that be could combine those last two, then we’d have something to get excited for. So, in the spirit of the season, I’ve combed through the dregs of Fall 2011 pilots (and there were some pretty hot messes out there) to offer up the sometimes promising, but mostly disappointing trends that will soon be permeating the airwaves.

1. Girls! Girls! Girls!

More than any other type of TV show, this Fall boasts a number of half-hour sitcoms revolved around the ladies. In particular, ladies who seem to fight with other ladies as in CBS’ “2 Broke Girls” in which two girls (one rich, one poor. one blonde, one brunette) have cat fights in poorly constructed, made-to-look-like-New York-but-completely-obvious-it’s-L.A. sets. Or, in ABC’s totally dissimilar series, “Apartment 23” in which a blonde and a brunette duke it out in slightly better looking sets with James Van Der Beek (a.k.a. Dawson sans the Creek) aimlessly wondering about his life choices in the background.

2. “Mad Men” Rip-Offs

It seems that until “Mad Men” returns next year, our insatiable desire for ’60s sexism and smoking will just have to be fulfilled by ABC’s “Pan Am” and NBC’s “The Playboy Club.” Though they both seem like viable premises, with “Pan Am” taking the whole female lib angle and “The Playboy Club” taking the whole “boobs are nice to look at” angle, both are fairly transparent in their yearning to be another “Mad Men.” This is, of course, an impossible feat since neither show seems to have the kind of duplicitous Don Draper lead which makes “Mad Men” so compelling.

3. Guys! Guys! Guys! (nope, doesn’t have the same ring as Girls! Girls! Girls!)

Move over ladies! Go take your estrogen-fueled problems over to Lifetime where they belong. It’s man time. More specifically, it seems to be man time on ABC, which is premiering two new sitcoms about men coming to grips with their manhood. Wait. That sounds like a show about guys holding their penises, which is probably a more original premise than what Tim Allen’s new vehicle “Last Man Standing” or “Man Up!” have to offer.