The Fourth of July holiday is upon us—and that means it’s time to declare your independence from subpar television.
All this week, TVWeek.com has beeb turning the spotlight on some of the small screen’s most promising new series, young shows with breakout potential.
We’re calling these shows the Buzzmakers. You’ll call them signs of intelligent life in a TV universe dominated by summer reruns and reality retreads.
"Being Erica" (SoapNet) – The Canadian drama first premiered up north on CBC Television, but found a following in the states after a run on SoapNet. The series has earned positive notes from The New York Times (“a sweet, blender smoothie of a concoction”), Entertainment Weekly (a “rare find—a smart, funny single-girl show that’s shockingly relatable for being about a gal who can time travel”) and USA Today (“a time-traveling, funny, romantic drama” that “reminds me a lot of ‘Felicity,’ a tad of ‘Lost’ and has a bit of ‘90210’-esque soap-y flavor thrown in”).
"Better Off Ted" (ABC) – “Better Off Ted” is giving NBC’s “The Office” a run for its money as TV’s most so-true-it’s-funny workplace comedy. The show has enjoyed critical raves and a loyal viewer following stemming from Fresco’s previous cult comedy “Andy Richter Controls the Universe,” giving the network that inexplicably kept renewing “According to Jim” some major credibility in the comedy department. Alan Sepinwall of the New Jersey Star-Ledger called it “one of the funniest shows on TV right now,” while Entertainment Weekly’s Ken Tucker raved that a recent installment had “more good jokes per minute than on any other sitcom this year.”
"Party Down" (Starz) – With a dream cast featuring regular Judd Apatow players (Martin Starr, Jane Lynch, Ken Jeong), numerous cult film and TV stars (Ken Marino, Lizzy Caplan) and a gaggle of regular cast (Ryan Hansen, Adam Scott, Marino) and guest stars (Kristen Bell, Jason Dohring, Enrico Colantoni) from co-creator Rob Thomas’ canceled fan-favorite “Veronica Mars,” each cast member of “Party Down” brings his or her own built-in fanbase.
"Sons of Anarchy" (FX) – While some critics were slow to embrace "Sons" when it bowed last September, by the time season one wrapped up, many were downright giddy with enthusiasm for Sutter’s creation. Alan Sepinwall of Newark’s Star-Ledger raved "the show has improved so much that its continued existence is one of the few things making it easier to accept" the end of "The Shield."