It’s no big challenge coming up with five TV highlights for a week such as the one coming to a close today.
That’s because it was the first official week of the new fall season — reason enough to assemble our Top Five from the many shows that started their seasons this week. The only real challenge: Which five will they be?
1) “Modern Family” is always a great place to start: Especially with this revered ABC comedy series winning yet another Best Comedy Emmy award last Sunday night (plus awards for cast members Eric Stonestreet and Julie Bowen). The season premiere of “Modern Family” Wednesday night drew 14.44 million viewers. It reigned as the highest-rated comedy of the week right up until Thursday night, when “The Big Bang Theory” started its own new season on CBS with an audience of 15.309 million.
2) Sherlock and his gal Watson: We’ve been intrigued by this new Sherlock Holmes series on CBS called “Elementary” ever since it was unveiled last spring. We wondered: How on Earth is this series a “Sherlock Holmes” series? Yes, the brilliant, obsessive detective played by Jonny Lee Miller is named Sherlock Holmes. And he pals around with a doctor named Watson, although here she’s a comely young woman played by Lucy Liu. But he’s not prowling the fogbound backstreets of 19th century London like the Holmes of old. This time around, Holmes is in modern-day New York “helping” the police department do its work. So, except for his name, he doesn’t seem to us to be very Sherlock-like, except in his detecting skills. Well, whatever … We wondered if viewers would embrace this new Holmes and 13.288 million tuned in at 10/9c Thursday night, following the season premiere of “Person of Interest.”
3) ‘Dancing’ into the new season: The new season got off to a strong start on ABC with the two-hour premiere of “Dancing With the Stars: All-Stars” on Monday. What can we say? This show is a juggernaut (and host Tom Bergeron just won an Emmy too). In case you missed it …
4) Fox’s really new girl: The newest girl on Fox, Mindy Kaling, introduced her own new show Tuesday night after “New Girl” — “The Mindy Project” — and 4.67 million tuned in. That’s not a disastrous number in this day and age, but certainly Fox is hoping the audience for “Mindy” will grow in Week Two. We happen to be fans of Mindy Kaling, but the cold, hard truth is this: She comes from a show — “The Office” — that’s critically acclaimed but ratings-challenged. Now she has a challenge of her own — building an audience for her solo “Project.”
5) Voyage to the bottom of the sea: Submarine shows are few and far between on TV, and we seem to remember one from the ’60s. What was that one called again? Well, we’ll remember it eventually. But meanwhile, here in the present day, ABC’s new submarine thriller, “Last Resort,” shoved off for parts unknown Thursday night — and attracted just under 10 million viewers. This is one of those shows that challenges a viewer to accept a complicated premise, in this case: A United States nuclear sub whose commander (Andre Braugher) rejects an order to fire his nuclear missiles and thereafter, he and the sub’s crew are declared enemies of the United States. Implausible as that might sound, the show was pretty good.