September 19, 2011 at 12:35 PM

...there's not a lot of commercial tube in our house.

Media Rare #7

"My Inner Tube: Fall TV 2011"

By Casey St. Charnez

Media Rare

Casey St. Charnez has been video editor for Leonard Maltin's Movie Guide since 1986 and buyer for Lisa Harris' Video Library since 1981. He likes Lisa, cats, crosswords, and the Metropolitan Opera, probably in that order.

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Although I'd written down all the network premieres in my Audubon engagement calendar, still I missed one. Spaced it.

A most unusual occurrence. Not the spacing-out part. Not the calendar-entry part. I mean the writing-down-the-premieres part. For this is the first year that I've, like, completely totally ever done such a thing.

Network TV doesn't mean a lot to us. Lisa and I time-shift only the new Simpsons and Saturday Night Live. The one show I have permanently timered is All My Children...but that's about to end. Other than the occasional Syfy Channel embarrassment that I just have to watch, there's not a lot of commercial tube in our house.

Yet, here are the penciled-in reminders for shows I want to try this fall. Of the 127 offerings set to bow or return, eight spoke to me in a way series television has never done before. Neither Lost nor Alias, Desperate Housewives, any of the CSI incarnations--nary a one.

Because you asked nicely, the eight are: Ringer (CW 09/13), The Playboy Club (NBC 09/19), Revenge (ABC 09/21), Charlie's Angels (ABC 09/22), Pan Am (ABC 09/25), Terra Nova (Fox 09/26), Grimm (NBC 10/21), and Once Upon a Time (ABC 10/23).

Obviously the debut I missed was Ringer, because my New Jersey friend Camille was visiting, and we'd spent two weeks on Planet Santa Fe, a place few locals get to see. Didn't even think to set the timer. Kind of a shame--based on what I've read about Ringer's complex plotline, there'll be no catching up next week.

But what has brought on such unprecedented interest in these assorted time-killers? For one thing, I'm very impressionable, and the onslaught of ads has made certain titles irresistibly tempting. There are reminders of the fall season everywhere, all the way to promotional flags on poles at the State Fair, would you believe.

Also, this autumn sure has my number, what with sci-fi from Steven Spielberg, the pleasant anticipation of at least a little Bunny and Angel skin, the anomaly of fairy tales in real life, the tang of vengeance served cold (especially mouth-watering to a half-Sicilian like Lisa), and nostalgia for eras seemingly less complicated.

Some will turn out to be lousy, others canceled, leaving perhaps only a worthwhile few, and with staying power, so that time invested is not time lost (yeah, The Event, I'm talking to you).

Since one of humankind's mandates is to be entertained--superficial as that sounds, and it is--then it follows that a good diversion is more rewarding than lesser fodder. Down time seems essential; spending it wisely, even more so.

Turns out, though, that the engagement calendar is only step one. Setting the timer weekly for the rest of the shows is step two, and I'm off to do that after this. Step three is remembering to turn on the cable box.   

Here's hoping.

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