A new fall season of TV programming is upon us and enough weeks have passed to sort through the clutter. These are the new shows that are worth your precious screen time.
1. “Community” – 7 p.m., Thursdays on NBC
Giving “The Soup’s” Joel McHale a well-earned spot on network TV, NBC’s new comedy “Community” takes a look into life at a community college. Bolstered by a mostly unfamiliar cast, this series brings the laughs.
McHale plays Jeff Winger, a semi-successful lawyer sent back to undergraduate school. Together, Winger and his eccentric classmates strive for passing grades and a purpose in their underwhelming lives. Best of all, actor Chevy Chase has returned to the spotlight, showing he hasn’t lost his touch.
2. “Bored to Death” – 8:30 p.m., Sundays on HBO
HBO doesn’t usually miss with comedy series. Riding the success of shows like “Flight of the Concords” and “Eastbound & Down,” the network has managed another hit with “Bored to Death.”
Starring Jason Schwartzman (“The Darjeeling Limited”), Ted Danson and Zach Galifianakis (“The Hangover”), “Bored to Death” tells the story of Jonathan Ames, a down-and-out writer who decides to take on private investigation. Ames, guided by his beloved detective novels, tackles numerous mysteries, leaving even more to laugh about.
3. “The Cleveland Show” – 8:30 p.m., Sundays on FOX
When FOX announced that Cleveland from “Family Guy” would be getting his own show this fall, the reluctant excitement was valid. After all, TV watchers already have “American Dad” to fill their animated-comedy needs when Peter Griffin isn’t on.
But “The Cleveland Show” has turned out to be pretty humorous, thanks in part to it keeping its distance from “Family Guy’s” signature style. The series features Cleveland’s life after Quahog and his pursuit in Virginia of a high school crush.
4. “Modern Family” – 9 p.m., Wednesdays on ABC
Since new episodes of “Lost” won’t air until January, ABC had to think of a new way to confuse its audience. This fall, the network premiered “Modern Family,” a supposed documentary/comedy that offers a peek into the lives of three very interesting families.
Phil and Claire want the best for their three kids but struggle to keep up with the fast-paced lives of their children, while another couple deals with its big age difference and partners Mitchell and Cameron face adoption challenges.
5. “Trauma” – 8 p.m., Mondays on NBC
A new medical-drama that chronicles the work of San Francisco first-responders, NBC’s “Trauma” premiered Sept. 29. The opening episode went all out with action-packed scenes of helicopter crashes and exploding cars, setting up a full season of ultra-intense emergency rescues.
Those with high-definition TV sets will undoubtedly get their fill of entertainment with “Trauma.” But beside the impressive effects, this new show offers room for a meaningful plot, as long as its cast, full of fresh faces, can handle the pressure.
Grant Goerke can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org