Which TV Shows Are Taking Aim at Your Teen This Fall?
Every fall, TV networks debut a handful of new shows, and execs cross their fingers that something will stick. Many shows are rehashes of previous hits or follow a formula that's worked in the past. And occasionally something original hits the airwaves. But whether your teen is a fan of the tried-and-true or only tunes in for something really special, chances are he or she will hear about -- and maybe even want to watch -- these new network shows with strong teen appeal.
City kid moves to the 'burbs in edgy comedy.
This clever fish-out-of-water comedy features a top-notch cast and plenty of edgy humor. Jane Levy (Shameless) stars as Tessa, a cool city kid who's whisked off to the supposedly safe suburbs when her dad (Jeremy Sisto) finds a package of condoms in her dresser drawer. She and her dad arrive to find a cast of wacky suburban characters (like the potroast-weilding Sheila Shay, played by Saturday Night Live's Ana Gasteyer) who both irritate and charm the jaded teen -- who soon begins to realize that even though she's unlikely to ever drink as much sugar-free Red Bull as her new peers, she may find a place to call home in the end. Expect lots of sexually laced jokes and language ("gangbanger," "nymbo," "get laid," "screw"), some mild swearing ("crap," "bee-atch," "b------ "), and some over-the-top stereotypes about city- and suburban-dwellers.
Secret Circle (CW)
Romance and teen angst in a small town of witches.
Based on a book series by the same author who wrote The Vampire Diaries, this supernatural teen thriller about witches is also produced by the folks behind the hit vampire TV series. Teens and parents who have watched that show will have an idea of what to expect here: Attractive teens struggling with a mystical situation, plus teen angst, sexual tension, and drama-filled friendships. Cassie Blake (Britt Robertson) is a thoughtful, independent teen whose mother dies in a freak accident, sending her back to her parents' hometown to live with her grandmother. She quickly discovers that she and many of the town's other teens have supernatural powers. While Cassie decides how -- or even if -- to participate in this coven, the town's adults seem to be dabbling in something darker than the teens can even imagine. While we expect the series to teeter on the edge of age-appropriate content, Secret Circle will likely explore edgy topics without veering too far into adult territory.
The X Factor (Fox)
Upbeat vocal competition with Simon and Paula together ... again.
The X Factor is a Simon Cowell venture based on a British show of the same name that looks strikingly similar to American Idol. Both Cowell and Paula Abdul star as judges, with The p----cat Dolls' Nicole Scherzinger and Antonio "L.A." Reid filling out the roster. Some of the differences? Auditions are open to all ages and even groups, performers will audition in front of a live audience, and judges will drink Pepsi instead of Coke. Huge promotional efforts and the Cowell and Abdul's star power will likely attract a broad audience to this undoubtedly family-friendly fare.
Intrigue and betrayal all glossed up and set in the Hamptons.
This dark, glossy drama about a beautiful young woman (Emily VanCamp, Everwood) who returns to the luxurious life of the Hamptons to wreak havoc on the lives of those who betrayed her father is bound to get juicy. With backstabbing, gossip-mongering, affairs, and cocaine, the series feels like a slightly more mature Gossip Girl -- and will likely appeal to a similar teen demographic. But clichéd characters ranging from the vicious socialite (Madeline Stowe) and the working class guy with a heart of gold to the wacky Internet billionaire mean that this drama is unlikely to stand the test of time ... unless it becomes a guilty pleasure.
Terra Nova (Fox)
Big budget supernatural thriller with a family at its heart.
Lavishly produced and backed by Steven Spielberg, this sci-fi drama is a hugely anticipated addition to prime time. Centered on a family of five who leave their overpopulated city in 2149 to participate in a radical attempt to save humanity by traveling back to prehistoric times, the drama is clearly hoping to take the place of Lost in fearless families' TV roster. Adult and teen characters seem to get equal screen time, so 17-year-old Josh (Landon Liboiron, Degrassi: The Next Generation), his potential love interest Skye (Allison Miller), and Josh's sister, Maddy (Naomi Scott), might make the show attractive to teens. But with lots of gunfire and other military-like action, along with an eerie tone and scary monsters, younger kids and sensitive viewers may want to steer clear.
Allen Gregory (Fox)
The Simpsons meets Family Guy with Jonah Hill in the middle.
Jonah Hill (Get Him to the Greek, Superbad) stars in this animated comedy as the voice of Allen Gregory De Longpre, a hilariously pretentious 7-year-old. When Allen Gregory's father's life partner decides to quit as his stay-at-home dad/homeschool teacher, the wise-beyond-his-years boy must enter elementary school for the first time. There he alienates kids with his references to Charlie Rose and infuriates his teachers with his lunchtime pinot grigio. In typical Jonah Hill style, the humor is quick and decidedly edgy. Kids too young to understand Allen Gregory's role as an anti-role model should sit this one out, but it remains to be seen just how raunchy the comedy will go -- and whether parents will feel comfortable with teens watching.