Saturday, August 4, 2012

7 TV Show Substitutions to Tide You Over Until Fall

If you're like me, you're eagerly waiting for the return of your favorite fall shows. Sure, there are some great summer shows (such as Breaking Bad and shockingly Teen Wolf), but fall programing offers a much wider selection. While you're waiting, here are substitutions for some popular fall shows.

1) If you like Once Upon a Time, you should try The 10th Kingdom.

If you're still watching Once Upon a Time, you're clearly fine with cheesiness. You may find this hard to believe, but Once Upon a Time isn't the cheesiest of them all. The 10th Kingdom, a mini-series from 2000, is quite possibly the cheesiest show I've ever seen, and I devoured all 400 or so minutes of it in one weekend. Like Once Upon a Time, it mixes the fairy tale world with our world; a girl and her father from our world are sucked into a magical world with an obligatory evil queen. There's also plenty of familiar faces, including Ed O'Neill as a troll and Gilmore Girl's Scott Cohen as a werewolf.

2) If you like Hart of Dixie, you should try Everwood.

Admittedly I've only seen about one and a quarter episodes of Hart of Dixie, but Everwood's premise is so similar that I feel it would make a good substitution. Both shows feature a city doctor's move to a small town. Granted, widowered father of two Andy Brown of Everwood is somewhat different from the shorts-wearing young woman Zoe Hart of Hart of Dixie; so if you're just watching Hart of Dixie for the hot southern guys, you may not fill that void with Everwood. If you, on the other hand, love the small town medicine in Hart of Dixie, Everwood might be right up your alley.

3) If you like The Vampire Diaries, you should try Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

I have such a weak spot for supernatural teen dramas. The Vampire Diaries started out as Twilight-esque mess worth of little more than eye rolls, but by the middle of the first season, it had developed into a fun, twisty ride worthy of only a few eye rolls here and there (although season three drew quite a few more of them). If you're a Vampire Diaries fan and have never experienced Buffy the Vampire Slayer, get thee to Netflix and get your marathon on. The shows share more than a few elements in common, and there's seven whole seasons of Buffy to tide you over until The Vampire Diaries returns. You might be thrown off by the extreme 90s cheesiness of Buffy at first, but once you get to season two, you may even find yourself looking forward to the next Buffy episode more than the next Vampire Diaries one.

4) If you like How I Met Your Mother, you should try Happy Endings.

Unlike the other substitutions on this list, Happy Endings is actually still on the air. It's such a great show that I couldn't help but include it. It doesn't have the same framework as How I Met Your Mother, but they both fall into the group of Friends-esque comedies. While I was ready to swear off Happy Endings after its lackluster pilot, it quickly found its footing. Season one had some great episodes, but season two was full of them. There's nothing wrong with just re-watching How I Met Your Mother reruns of FX (particularly if they're from the golden years of HIMYM), but if you're looking for some new material, Happy Endings shouldn't disappoint you.

5) If you like Castle, you should try Firefly.

On the surface, a police procedural and a sci-fi western may not seem to have that much in common. Okay, they may not have that much in common internally either. What they do have in common, however, is Nathan Fillion. It's hard to imagine Castle achieving the level of success it has had without Fillion's charm, and those of you suffering from Nathan Fillion withdraw can get that fix from Firefly. Don't be turned off by the show's genre; a sci-fi western didn't sound very appealing to me, but I thoroughly enjoyed the show's short run. Plus, after watching Firefly, you'll be able to understand the references to it on Castle.

6) If you like The Office, you should try Summer Heights High

If you've never seen Summer Heights High, you're in for a treat. Like The Office, it's a mockumentary featuring kooky cast of characters. Unlike The Office, the three main characters are all played by the same actor.  Chris Lilley plays all three excellently, but I'm partial to snobby, private school girl Ja'mie. While Summer Heights High features a similar off-color humor as The Office does, I should give a warning that the language used on it is somewhat stronger than the language on The Office. I doubt that many people are actually looking forward to The Office's next season (sorry, I had to throw a jab in), but if you are or are looking for a show that's reminiscent of The Office in its glory days, you should check out Summer Heights High.

Alternative: I hated to give another currently airing show as my main suggestion, but fans of The Office should also consider watching Parks and Recreation if they've yet to do so. It's similar to The Office but with more heart. It starts out a bit weak but really finds its footing starting in season two. It's hilarious, and the characters are fantastic.
7) If you like Revenge, you should try Veronica Mars.

I confess: I raked my brain for any current show resembling Veronica Mars because it felt wrong to write a list of TV show recommendations and not include it. Revenge and Veronica Mars aren't exact matches, but they have plenty of similar elements. Although Veronica is more of white hat and and Emily's more of a black hat, both enter their series with revenge for a loved one on their mind. Both are strong female leads, both go on undercover missions, and both pilots start in medias res (okay, the similarities are getting little thin). I'd recommend Veronica Mars to just about anyone, but I feel like Revenge fans will particularly enjoy it.

What fall shows are you eagerly awaiting the return of? Do you have any suggestions of TV show substitutions? Leave a comment, and let me know.

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