This fall, don't look for innovative network TV series like the lush feast of last season's Glee, Modern Family and The Good Wife.
But when the fall season gets fully under way next week, you will find the equivalent of mom's home cooking, with a bunch of familiar series that you can settle down to watch knowing there's something satisfying nonetheless. As usual, crime runs amok and dominates the lineup. And for those nostalgic for some good Friday fare, the networks have put on five new series to pump up the night.
Here's a look at what's new.
HELLCATS, 9 p.m. Wednesdays, The CW; debuted Sept. 8.
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Law student Marti Perkins (Aly Michalka) might be hip and cool, but she needs to join the cheerleading squad when her college scholarship is discontinued. Enter Mean Girls, stage left.
If you like ... Popular, the dark high school drama about cheerleaders vs. nerds, you might see a resemblance in this Popular Lite series.
NIKITA, 9 p.m. Thursdays, The CW; debuted Sept. 9.
Troubled teen Nikita (Maggie Q, above) gets absorbed into a secret agency and trained to be an operative in a covert spy operation. She eventually discovers that "the Division" is evil and decides to bring it down.
If you like ... Alias or the previous versions of Nikita, this series has the same sexy action with a beautiful lead.
OUTLAW, 10 p.m. Fridays, NBC; debuted Sept. 15.
Jimmy Smits, above, stars as former Supreme Court Justice Cyrus Garza, son of a Cesar Chavez-like activist, who turned into a politically conservative, womanizing gambler. Cyrus returns to private practice, where he can help "the little guy" by using insider knowledge.
If you like ... CBS's The Mentalist, both feature protagonists who know how to get inside corrupt minds because they have been there themselves.
MIKE & MOLLY, 9:30 p.m. Mondays, CBS; debuts Sept. 20.
Melissa McCarthy (Gilmore Girls), is Molly, above, a fourth-grade teacher who meets her soul mate, police Officer Mike (Billy Gardell), at an Overeaters Anonymous meeting.
If you like ... The Office's romance between Jim and Pam, ultimately this is a love story that offers up the same smart dialogue and tender moments.
LONE STAR, 9 p.m. Mondays, Fox; debuts Sept. 20.
This Texas drama centers on affable con man Robert Allen (James Wolk), who wants to go straight. Yet he doesn't want to give up his wife or his girlfriend, who know nothing about his duplicitous lifestyle.
If you like ... the oil dealings of the old soap Dallas coupled with a dash of Big Love, this complex drama has it all.
THE EVENT, 9 p.m. Mondays, NBC; debuts Sept. 20.
This thriller stars Jason Ritter (above, with Sarah Roemer) as Sean Walker, who is caught up in a government cover-up that is so secret even the president (Blair Underwood) doesn't know what "the event" is. Oh, and there's a plane on a crash course.
If you like ... Lost with all its mythology and unanswered questions, this thriller promises to keep you just as distracted and uninformed. Did we mention a plane?
HAWAII FIVE-O, 10 p.m. Mondays, CBS; debuts Sept. 20.
Alex O'Loughlin, left, and Scott Caan team up as reluctant police partners Steve McGarrett and Danny "Danno" Williams. Lots of explosions and great scenery. It also stars Daniel Dae Kim (Lost) and Grace Park (Battlestar Galactica).
If you like ... the original Hawaii Five-O, this series offers even better banter between McGarrett and Danno.
RAISING HOPE, 9 p.m. Tuesdays, Fox; debuts Sept. 21.
Jimmy (Lucas Neff, above) has a one-night stand with a murderer (Bijou Phillips) that results in an infant daughter. His slacker family isn't suited to help raise the kid. His only hope is new friend Sabrina (Shannon Woodward), a sardonic checkout clerk whom he met at the local grocery store.
If you like ... Malcolm in the Middle, you're in luck. We haven't seen a family this jacked up, or so funny for so many wrong reasons, since that Fox series left the air.
RUNNING WILDE, 9:30 p.m. Tuesdays, Fox; debuts Sept. 21.
An immature wealthy playboy (Will Arnett, above, Arrested Development) hopes to hook up again with his former childhood crush Emmy (Keri Russell, Felicity). Emmy's out to save the world, and self-absorbed Steven just wants to win back his first love.
If you like ... Arrested Development, then hope for the best. Creator Mitch Hurwitz made comic magic with Arnett with that show, but this hurried pilot doesn't show off the considerable talents of either.
DETROIT 1-8-7, 10 p.m. Tuesdays, ABC; debuts Sept. 21.
Sopranos star Michael Imperioli, above right, tries another round of being on the right side of the law after his former stint on the short-lived Life on Mars. This time, he's a driven, damaged homicide cop who torments his new partner (Jon Michael Hill).
If you like ... damaged cops like Jimmy McNulty of The Wire, then you'll find Imperioi's character intriguing.
UNDERCOVERS, 8 p.m. Wednesdays, NBC; debuts Sept. 22.
Producer J.J. Abrams created this spy drama about a married couple getting back into the business after cooking up a new career as caterers. Both realize they need to spice up their careers — and their marriage. Stars Boris Kadjoe and Gugu Mbatha-Raw, above.
If you like ... Chuck with a couple juggling their day jobs with their spy jobs, then target this spy thriller.
THE DEFENDERS, 10 p.m. Wednesdays, CBS; debuts Sept. 22.
Jim Belushi, above left, and Jerry O'Connell star as two rascals who also happen to be Las Vegas attorneys. The two take on the more colorful defendants in a glitzy city.
If you like ... Vega$ — the 1970s PI series starring Robert Urich — you'll like this insider's look at Sin City.
THE WHOLE TRUTH, 10 p.m. Wednesdays, ABC; debuts Sept. 22.
This series ponders the question of guilt or innocence by portraying both sides of the coin. Maura Tierney, above, stars as a tough criminal prosecutor.
If you like ... the balance of Law & Order, you'll like this show's more personal stories, and for those frustrated over the years by the L&O franchise's arbitrary endings, you'll get real closure here.
$#*! MY DAD SAYS, 8:30 p.m. Thursdays, CBS; debuts Sept. 23.
Part-time Kentuckian William Shatner stars as Ed, a guy with no restrictor plate on his mouth. The comedy is based on a popular Twitter feed by writer Justin Halpern whose real-life dad is a Northern Kentucky native and a University of Kentucky grad.
If you like ... Red on That '70s Show, you'll bond with Ed, who also colorfully derides his son for his inadequacies.
OUTSOURCED, 9:30 p.m. Thursdays, NBC; debuts Sept. 23.
A novelty company specializing in such must-have items as fake vomit and foam fingers relocates its call center from the Midwest to India. Todd (Ben Rappaport) is the manager who moves to India to teach American culture to his new Indian team.
If you like ... The Office, then NBC's banking on this similarly themed series that's joining the Thursday night comedy block.
BODY OF PROOF, 9 p.m. Fridays, ABC; debuts Sept. 24.
A brilliant neurosurgeon (Dana Delaney) who put her career ahead of her personal life loses her surgical abilities after a car accident and goes to work as an obnoxious medical examiner. She solves the mysteries, but she can't quite crack the code when it comes to personal relationships.
If you like ... House, this drama covers the same ground, but this time it's a woman who plays the brilliant but socially challenged doctor.
BLUE BLOODS, 10 p.m. Fridays, CBS; debuts Sept. 24.
Tom Selleck, above right, heads this family cop drama as the New York police commissioner trying to solve crimes and keep his family in line.
If you like ... Brothers & Sisters, you'll see that this is just the same type of rocky multi-generational relationship show.