You know what would be a fun job?
Coming up with all the weird and wacky TV shows the networks trot out each year.
All you have to do is browse the list of new shows premiering on the broadcast networks in the coming weeks to realize that there’s nothing too strange, too trite or too off-the-wall to become a TV show these days.
It must be fun to think of the craziest idea you can and have a network executive say, “Sounds like a hit to me.”
Consider the fantasy-crime drama “Beauty and the Beast,” premiering on the CW. Its heroes are a police detective solving crimes with a man/beast who becomes super-strong and vicious when enraged by the injustices of the world.
Then there’s “Revolution” on NBC, where we can watch a family struggle in a world where all the technology has stopped working. “The iPad has gone dark! Oh, the horror!”
Or “The Mob Doctor” on Fox, focusing on a new doctor who has to pay off her debts — med school costs big bucks — by working for the mob and occasionally killing off a patient or two.
Matthew Perry (“Friends”) will play a recent widower attending grief counseling in “Go On.” It’s a comedy, because what’s not funny about losing one’s wife?
The new fall TV season also signals some farewells, including the final season of the once-hit comedy “The Office” on NBC, which hasn’t been the same since Steve Carell left anyway. And after six seasons of setting fashion trends in the 15-to-16 age group, “Gossip Girl” on the CW is ending as well.
Rumors had Maine’s very own TV star, Patrick Dempsey, leaving ABC’s “Grey’s Anatomy,” but he will indeed be back for at least one more season.
For a closer look at what the programming gurus are trotting out on the broadcast networks this fall, see the list below. And for a look at some returning faves on the networks, see list below right.
“THE NEIGHBORS” — Premieres 9:30 p.m. Sept. 26. Will air 8:30 p.m. Wednesdays.
The Plot: A couple (Lenny Venito and Jami Gertz) move with their kids into a new neighborhood, only to find that everyone else is an alien.
The Buzz: Sounds like a funny “Saturday Night Live” skit, but can the premise sustain a whole series? Several of the alien characters are named for famous athletes — Reggie Jackson, Dick Butkus — so maybe sports fans will tune in by mistake.
“LAST RESORT” — Premieres 8 p.m. Sept. 27. Will air 8 p.m. Thursdays.
The Plot: The crew of a ballistic missile submarine gets orders to fire nuclear weapons — over a channel that is supposed to be used only if the U.S. has been wiped out. What will they do?
The Buzz: Starring Andre Braugher as the commander, the show has the potential for intense drama on the scale of “24.” On the other hand, it might be fairly boring. They either push the button or they don’t, right?
“666 PARK AVENUE” — Premieres 10 p.m. Sept. 30. Airs 10 p.m. Sundays.
The Plot: Mysterious hotel owner (Terry O’Quinn of “Lost”) will grant all his guests’ desires, for a price — their souls.
The Buzz: Sounds like a darker version of “Fantasy Island” set in a New York hotel. But if the individual storylines of folks selling their souls aren’t compelling, it’ll be viewers who start checking out.
“NASHVILLE” — Premieres 10 p.m. Oct. 10. Will air 10 p.m. Wednesdays.
The Plot: Aging country music star (Connie Britton) struggles to re-invent herself and her career as much melodrama develops around her.
The Buzz: “Dallas” meets “Hee Haw,” except without the creative genius of Buck Owens to draw viewers. Might work if they had some actual country music stars in the show.
“MALIBU COUNTRY” — Premieres 8:30 p.m. Nov. 2. Will air 8:30 p.m. Fridays.
The Plot: Aging country music star Reba McEntire plays a woman who put her own country music career on hold for her husband’s country music career. But he cheated — just like a country song — and now she’s raising her kids in California with the help of her mother (Lily Tomlin).
The Buzz: Two country music shows may be too many for ABC. Then again, Reba can sing, so she brings a little something extra to the role. And Tomlin is always good.
“PARTNERS” — Premieres 8:30 p.m. Sept. 24. Will air 8:30 p.m. Mondays.
The Plot: Sitcom about two men — one gay — who find their longtime “bromance” tested when one of them gets engaged.
The Buzz: Since most men would never admit they’re in a bromance, the audience for this show might be somewhat limited. But it’s based on the real-life bromance of its creators, David Kohan and Max Mutchnick, so it might come across as realistic and touching.
“VEGAS” — Premieres 10 p.m. Sept. 25. Will air 10 p.m. Tuesdays.
The Plot: In Las Vegas in the 1960s, a cowboy-hat wearing lawman (Dennis Quaid) is tasked with cleaning up the town and trying to squash the rackets of a mobster boss (Michael Chiklis).
The Buzz: Cool Vegas vibe and smalltown law man. Sounds like “Mad Men” meets “McCloud.” Quaid and Chiklis are both heavy hitters when it comes to acting, so it’s probably worth checking out.
“ELEMENTARY” — Premieres 10 p.m. Sept. 27. Will air 10 p.m. Thursdays.
The Plot: A modern-day New York detective is named Sherlock Holmes (Jonny Lee Miller), and he solves crimes with the help of Dr. Joan Watson (Lucy Liu).
The Buzz: Yes, Sherlock Holmes is still cool after all these years, but do people really want to see him in New York in 2012?
“MADE IN JERSEY” — Premieres 9 p.m. Sept. 28. Will air 9 p.m. Fridays.
The Plot: Drama about a street-smart Jersey girl who competes among more pedigreed colleagues at a Manhattan law firm.
The Buzz: “Working Girl” without the funny parts. Stars little-known Janet Montgomery.
On The CW
“ARROW” — Premieres 8 p.m. Oct. 10. Will air 8 p.m. Wednesdays.
The Plot: A billionaire playboy was shipwrecked for five years. When he comes back to his life, he becomes a mysterious vigilante known as Arrow to try to make up for his past.
The Buzz: Comic book action heroes are big in films these days, so maybe it’s time to try the same formula on TV.
“BEAUTY AND THE BEAST” — Premieres 9 p.m. Oct. 11. Will air 9 p.m. Thursdays.
The Plot: Sit down for this one: A young woman witnesses the murder of her mother and would have been killed too, but an unknown person — or thing — saves her. Years later, she becomes a detective and finds the man who saved her — who has the curse of becoming a terrifying beast when he’s enraged.
The Buzz: The title makes you think of Disney and singing teapots, but the plot is more like “The Incredible Hulk” meets “Law & Order.” Too confusing.
“EMILY OWENS, M.D.” — Premieres 9 p.m. Oct. 16. Will air 9 p.m. Tuesdays.
The Plot: A young doctor gets assigned to a hospital where here old boyfriend — and her high school nemesis — also work.
The Buzz: A hospital as high school, with all the gossip, back-stabbing and drama. No wonder the executive producer of this also brought us “90210.”
“THE MOB DOCTOR” — Premieres 9 p.m. Sept. 17. Will air 9 p.m. Mondays.
The Plot: A young Chicago doctor (Jordana Spiro) tries to save lives while also repaying her family’s debt to the mob.
The Buzz: Two hit formulas — the medical drama and the mob drama — in one. It begs this question: Would Christopher of “The Sopranos” be alive today if he had gone to medical school?
“BEN AND KATE” — Premieres 8:30 p.m. Sept. 25. Will air 8:30 p.m. Tuesdays.
The Plot: Single-camera sitcom focusing on a brother and sister who are very different. She (Dakota Johnson) is a very responsible single mom, but he (Nat Faxon) is something of a flake.
The Buzz: Hey, plot development guys: I think we need a little more here. But it’s probably OK, because we’ve got these big-name stars — not.
“THE MINDY PROJECT” — Premieres 9:30 p.m. Sept. 25. Will air 9:30 p.m. Tuesdays.
The Plot: A young doctor (Mindy Kaling of “The Office”) is the focus of this sitcom about looking for life’s happy endings.
The Buzz: Kaling is the creator/producer, and she’s also a best-selling author in real life. So this one may have a little more creative spark than the plot suggests.
“THE NEW NORMAL” — Premieres 9:30 p.m. Tuesday. Will air 9:30 p.m. Tuesdays.
The Plot: Two men want to have a baby, so they find themselves a surrogate mom to have the child for them. But she comes with some baggage — a crazy grandmother (Ellen Barkin).
The Buzz: Creator and executive producer Ryan Murphy has had some offbeat successes (“Nip/Tuck,” “Glee”), so this may bear watching.
“GO ON” — Premieres 9 p.m. Tuesday. Will air 9 p.m. Tuesdays.
The Plot: A radio talk-show host and recent widower (Matthew Perry of “Friends) has to attend grief counseling to keep his job.
The Buzz: Previews of this sitcom show the other grievers as a bunch of a hilarious misfits. Because dealing with death is always funny. Right?
“GUYS WITH KIDS” — Premieres 10 p.m. Wednesday. Will air 8:30 p.m. Wednesdays beginning Sept. 26.
The Plot: Sitcom about three new dads in their 30s trying to hold onto their youths while navigating fatherhood.
The Buzz: Jimmy Fallon is the executive producer, so one can hope it’s better than it sounds.
“REVOLUTION” — Premieres 10 p.m. Sept. 17. Will air 10 p.m. Mondays.
The Plot: A family struggles to survive in a world where every piece of technology — electric lights, computers, smart phones, iPads — have mysteriously blacked out forever.
The Buzz: J.J. Abrams (“Lost”) has a knack for this kind of stuff. But this plot might be too frightening for most people nowadays to handle. Might work better as a reality show — “Survivor: Unfriended on Facebook Edition.”
“ANIMAL PRACTICE” — Premieres 8 p.m. Sept. 26. Will air 8 p.m. Wednesdays.
The Plot: Wacky New York City veterinarian is better with animals than people.
The Buzz: From executive producer Scot Armstrong, who brought us “The Hangover II” and “Old School.” So it should be thoughtful and subtle.
“CHICAGO FIRE” — Premieres 10 p.m. Oct. 10. Will air 10 p.m. Wednesdays.
The Plot: Drama following the day-to-day lives of the crew at Chicago Firehouse 51.
The Buzz: From “Law & Order” executive producer Dick Wolf, so you can’t count it out. But for those of us brought up on the classic NBC drama “Emergency!” there is, and will forever be, only one Squad 51.
Staff Writer Ray Routhier can be contacted at 791-6454 or at: [email protected]