Fall TV 2012: New shows a huge letdown, but returning faves still deliver appointment television (Commentary)

Two years ago, I labeled Fall 2010 as the worst batch of new shows ever. The highlights were “Law & Order: Los Angeles,” which was hardly a new concept; “No Ordinary Family,” which was throwaway fun; and “The Walking Dead,” which wasn’t the show then that it is now.

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First episode impressions: ‘Ben and Kate’ (TV review)

Nat Faxon, the Ben in “Ben and Kate” (7:30 p.m. Central Tuesdays, Fox) is a mix of Ed Helms from “The Office” and the more likable side of Adam Sandler. He’s a complete goofball, but — like Mindy Kaling of “The Mindy Project,” this fall’s other exciting new sitcom — he’s also a writer, and he has impeccable comedic timing.

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Fall TV: 5 new shows and 5 returning shows to watch (Commentary)

Ah, fall TV. And, in a nice old-school twist, the Entertainment Weekly Fall TV Preview issue highlighted a single show on its cover rather than using a collage (the featured show: “Homeland,” which seems worthy, although I’ve never seen it). The fall lineup isn’t particularly deep this year, but it’s pretty respectable at the top. I’ve picked out five new shows to watch and five returning shows I’m excited about (“Parenthood” returns tonight!). All times are Central.

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