It's that time of year again!
Continuing the tradition started by Doctor Hmmm? back in 2010, and followed inconsistently since (2011201320142015201620172018, 2019 and 2020), here's a catchall thread about any and all shows debuting or returning this fall, with an emphasis on the shows that don't generate their own threads.

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Facing an existential threat that could bring down the entire crime lab and release thousands of convicted killers back onto the neon-lit streets of Las Vegas, a brilliant new team of investigators led by Maxine Roby must enlist the help of old friends Gil Grissom, Sara Sidle and David Hodges. This combined force will deploy the latest forensic techniques to do what they do best -- follow the evidence -- in order to preserve and serve justice in Sin City. While there have been numerous spin-offs within the "CSI" franchise, this will serve as the series first sequel.

First episode date: October 6, 2021

Network: CBS

Program creator: Jason Tracey

Starring: William Petersen; Jorja Fox; Wallace Langham; Paula Newsome; Matt Lauria; Mel Rodriguez; Mandeep Dhillon

A returning show, The United States of Al, has to cope with the real world intruding on its premise. From Deadline: "‘United States of Al’ to Address Afghanistan Crisis in Newly-Penned Season 2 Premiere"

That premise: A fish-out-of-water comedy about a Marine who served in Afghanistan readjusting to life stateside, in the company of his interpreter, who also came along and lives in his home. 

This is from The Chuck Lorre Factory, so I've seen innumerable promos for it, and absolutely none of them ever persuaded me to watch it. It came across as resoundingly mediocre, and Al, the Afghani interpreter, seemed a little too much like a Magic Negro.

But can The United States of Al pivot to incorporate these new developments? Unlike medical shows, some of which have incorporated COVID (like Grey's Anatomy) and some that haven't and won't (the new Doogie Kameāloha, M.D.) and some that split the difference (The Good Doctor), The United States of Al pretty much has to.

I've seen a lot of promos for an NBC drama called Ordinary Joe that look halfway interesting. It promises to be a look at the road not traveled for the title character, who, upon graduating college, could possibly be a doctor ... or a police officer ... or a musician ... so the show follows him doing all three, in parallel lives.

After several false starts and years in development hell, the TV adaptation of Y, The Last Man finally sees the light of day. 

I've read the entire run of the Vertigo series, and mostly liked it for the concept; I most definitely did not like the lead character Yorick, for whom the phrase "whiny, useless slacker" was coined. Early reviews of the limited series are mixed, per Rotten Tomatoes. Maybe I'll give it a chance, although I don't have Hulu and it's not clear if it will run on FX.

I had to look this up. Apparently, "FX on Hulu" is a specific thing that is only available to Hulu subscribers.

The FX and FXX cable channels are distinct from "FX on Hulu."  

FX on Hulu has all current and past content from FX plus some exclusive content (like Y: The Last Man) that won't be available on the cable channels.

This isn't exactly a new season entry, it's a summer show, but I'll include it here: the latest version of Fantasy Island.

I well remember the original from ABC back in late '70s/early '80s. I'm not so fond of the late '80s revival (but who is?) that starred Malcolm McDowell as Mr. Roarke, the enigmatic host of the Island. It was a bit more cynical -- in that version, Roarke wore baggy black Hugo Boss suits instead of Ricardo Montaban's tailored white three-piece suits, declaring "white's a little dated."

In this version, white is definitely in, and it's worn by Elena Roarke, the great-niece of our original host, played by Roselyn Sánchez. And where Mr, Roarke (who was first name was never revealed) was ambiguously Latino, Eleana Roarke is most certainly so; in her first scene, she is meditating and asks "The Island" to give her guidance and tell her its secrets. 

And while Mr. Roarke is a cipher, Elena Roarke is an important character in his show and we learn more about her with each episode. Elena Roarke is the steward of The Island, but it wasn't wholly her choice; she is haunted by the engagement she had to break to accept this family responsibility. 

Elena Roarke is joined by Ruby, her right hand. Ruby was an elderly woman dying of cancer who comes to The Island for a last pleasant vacation with her husband. The Island sends Ruby and her husband through rejuvenating waters that make them 50 years younger. And after a period of life as a younger woman, Elena Roarke makes Ruby a proposition: Stay. The Island has told Elena Roarke that Ruby belongs, and with some prodding -- and the full encouragement of her husband -- Ruby does remain.

This show is filmed at Puerto Rico, and nearly outdoes the likes of Magnum P.I. and Hawaii Five-O with eye-popplingly gorgeous scenery. And Roselyn Sánchez is stunnigly beautiful and charming. I'm onboard to the end of the run.

I hadn't heard of that one. I'll have to check it out.

Clark, the Malcolm McDowell version of Fantasy Island is from the 90s. I didn't mind it too much. It had one thing that I loved, that no other version had: Mädchen Amick. Worth it just for her.

I am interested in the new one, too.

That sounds like a great way of continuing Fantasy Island. So many TV dramas have to craft their mythology from scratch -- even remakes have to establish it all anew. But with this, while the details all have to be fleshed out, the mythology of Fantasy Island can immediately be taken as a given, because it's been a part of our cultural consciousness for decades. We know the island grants wishes -- sometimes as a monkey's paw, sometimes not. Before the first episode airs, we've already seen it happen.

I watched the Malcolm McDowell version. While the original show implied a connection to heaven, the second one implied the opposite. I thought it was an interesting take.

I recently watched the movie Fantasy Island (2020) from BlumHouse starring Michael Peña and Maggie Q. It was a careful-what-you-wish-for story which leaned toward horror. It was okay for a single watch.

I've seen a few episodes to the Malcolm McDowell version of Fantasy Island, and I can't say I took note of Mädchen Amick (but then, I didn't notice Margot Robbie on Pan Am, either, since it was Before They Were Stars). Never saw the BlumHouse movie version, but I haven't heard good things about it, even with Michael Peña as Mr. Roarke.

A couple other notes about this revival: There's a scene with Elena Roarke that mocks the "da plane, da plane" cry from Hervé Villechaize's Tattoo that opened the old episodes. But in this version, the pilot is a character. Javier is charming, handsome, and has the hots for Elena Roarke (can't say I blame the guy).

Javier has a fantasy: to share a night of passion with Elena Roarke. It happens after her Jeep gets stuck in the mud, so stuck that his truck also gets stuck in the mud when he tries to tow it out. It's late, so they make camp (and somehow, her white jumper stays pristinely clean, but, hey, it's The Island at work), and then they hike to her family's villa. It's wonderful ... but after it's over, it's over, she makes clear the next morning. But she still wants to be friends. Actually, she frets a lot about that in the following episode. 

Apple+ is launching a new series based on Isaac Asimov's Foundation, which I would definitely watch, but Tracy says we already subscribe to enough channels we never watch.

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