The best of the fall pilot season

September ushers in not only the start of fall, but also the beginning of pilot season.

No, it's not a period of time that celebrates aircraft operators, but actually when television networks begin airing the new TV shows set to replace shows that ended or were canceled.

Each network releases promotions of their pilots to elicit interest and hopefully attract viewers. I've selected the four that look the most promising based on the promos and general premise of each show:

"New Girl"

(Fox Sept. 20)

A beautiful young woman named Jess (Zooey Deschanel) breaks up with her boyfriend and moves into a new apartment with three guys. Since Jess is still suffering from the breakup blues, her attractive new roommates try to help her out of her rut. If you're a fan of Deschanel and her quirky antics, you'll probably love this show. Though the promo provided plenty of chuckles, "New Girl" definitely seems to have a sweet side as well.  


(CW Sept. 13)

Sarah Michelle Gellar returns to television with "Ringer," playing the dual role of identical twins: the troubled Bridget and the wealthy Siobhan. When Siobhan mysteriously vanishes on a boat trip, Bridget decides to take on the life of her sister in order to reduce suspicion and to deal with her own financial problems. The premise is interesting, and this is the kind of role Gellar revels in. The promo though, however intriguing, makes it seem like the drama might take itself too seriously.

"Terra Nova"

(Fox Sept. 26)

The year is 2149. Mankind is suffering, and life seems bleak. In order to save the human race, scientists have developed a time machine that allows people to travel back to prehistoric times and build a new colony. The colony, appropriately named Terra Nova, seems perfect – until gigantic dinosaurs appear. While the promo features lots of special effects and breathtaking imagery, it downplays the acting, suggesting that the human element of the show might not be its strongest selling point.  

"Up All Night"

(NBC Sept. 14)

Reagan and Chris (Christina Applegate and Will Arnett) are completely clueless parents to a newborn baby. They curse in front of the infant and can barely change its diapers, while sleep becomes a rarity. Traditionally conceived gender roles are flipped as Chris stays home to take care of the baby while Reagan goes back to work. The preview clip made me consistently smile and laugh out loud. This show could be the next comedic hit.