Fall Television Preview

For those of you who were dismayed this summer to find NBC’s “I Want to Be a Hilton” as the only fresh show on network television, rest assured; last season’s favorites will soon be back in full force, along with an array of new primetime choices sure to catch your eye.

As the summer wanes and a fall chill permeates the air, last season’s successes will return from their summer break to solve lingering storylines and add more twists and turns. Building on the formula of last season’s hits, eerie situations like those in “Lost” and witty personal dramas a la “Desperate Housewives” abound this fall. Covering a multitude of genres, this season’s primetime schedule is peppered with mystery, comedy, and reality along with some classic drama.

Taking a lesson from “Lost,” networks are airing shows with supernatural themes, filling the hole in science fiction shows that has existed since “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” left the airwaves. “The Night Stalker” (ABC, Thursdays, 9 p.m.), “Supernatural” (WB, Tuesdays, 9 p.m.) and Jennifer Love Hewitt’s “Ghost Whisperer” (CBS, Fridays, 8 p.m.) all fall into this category.

Taking a different cue from the “Lost” formula, “Invasion” (ABC, Wednesdays, 10 p.m.) slowly unfolds its story of a man struggling to save his town from a hurricane. For a show about an alien takeover, its plot is not quite as geeky as one might predict.

For those willing to embrace another White House drama, the highly touted “Commander in Chief” (ABC, Tuesdays, 9 p.m.) starring Geena Davis as a wife and mother who unexpectedly rises from the vice presidency offers sympathetic characters, humor, and a classic Republican villain.

In “Desperate Housewives” fashion, the lives of six friends (the rich boy, the high school sweethearts) are ripped apart in “Reunion” (FOX, Thursdays, 9 p.m.). The group graduated from high school in 1986 and is seen both then and in 2006, where one of the six has been murdered. Each episode covers a different year between 1986 and 2006, filling in pieces of the past to help explain what led to the murder.

Although similarities can be drawn between the woman of “Desperate Housewives” and those in “Close to Home” (CBS, Tuesdays, 10 p.m.), the women depicted in the latter are even more desperate than the housewives on Wisteria Lane. The new crime drama focuses on domestic crime in the suburbs.

The new drama “E-Ring,”a combination of “CSI,” “24” and “Law and Order” (NBC Wednesdays, 9 p.m.), gives an inside look at the inner workings of the Pentagon. Benjamin Bratt stars as an idealistic military officer assigned to the Pentagon.

On the lighthearted side, "Inconceivable" (NBC, Fridays, 10 p.m.) offers a glimpse into the inner workings of a fertility clinic, complete with surrogate stalking and baby-making melodrama.

When you find a winner, stick with it. This fall, reality television tweaks the familiar hits in an effort to keep old shows from getting too old. “The Amazing Race 8” (CBS, Tuesdays, 9 p.m.) is a family edition of the usual version, allowing children as young as eight to compete on a team. And the latest “Apprentice” spin-off “The Apprentice: Martha Stewart” (NBC, Wednesdays, 8 p.m.) has the domestic diva eliminating young executives through Trump-like challenges.

In the comedy category, “Everybody Hates Chris” (UPN, Thursdays, 8 p.m.) has been praised almost universally by critics as a “Wonder Years” meets “The Cosby Show” look at a family getting through life. Chris Rock narrates a look at his 1980’s Brooklyn youth being raised by loving yet eccentric parents.

“My Name Is Earl” (NBC, Tuesdays, 9 p.m.) finds humor in a small town, small-time crook who wins $100,000 in a scratch-off game and sets out to right his wrongs with his new money.

And for the those who love courtroom dramas, this season’s new legal show, “Head Cases” (FOX, Wednesdays, 9 p.m.), chronicles the partnership of two eccentric lawyers.

The 2005 primetime season appeals to almost any viewing interests. So tune in during the next few weeks: you’ll be sure to find something you like.