One of the biggest successes of the fall TV season is Fox’s New Girl. This makes me happy because one of its stars, Max Greenfield, is a Dobbs Ferry native. (He plays Schmidt — the one who has to keep putting money in the d-bag jar because he can’t help how lame he is.) Here’s how he described his character to New York’s Vulture: “The original conception of the character was maybe a little cooler than he’s turned out to be. At first read, he was a little bit more like Vince Vaughn-y cool… But then we did the pilot and we were doing wardrobe fittings; we put on an outfit that I was supposed to wear to the cowboy party, and it was so ridiculous and I looked so unbelievably weird in it. I think it kind of just dawned on everybody once we saw that outfit, that it was like, ‘Oh, he’s that guy. He’s a ridiculous idiot.’ ”
Dobbs Ferry, represent!
Ridiculous idiots hailing from Westchester? I love it! I hope there are more in the pipeline. The new year also brings some new network premieres. Here are some shows that debut throughout the next month. (Hopefully, the next Schmidt is lurking somewhere in there.)
Alcatraz (8 p.m. on Fox)
J.J. Abrams, executive producer of Lost, tries tying your mind into knots once again. In this series, a SFPD officer investigates a supposedly-dead inmate from the famed Alcatraz prison — only to find that the killer had escaped, killed again, is still walking the streets… and the whole thing’s been covered up. Also, the killer hasn’t aged a day in decades. Mind blown?
Smash (10 p.m. on ABC)
Taking a run at musical shows like Glee, Smash is a fictional series about putting together a new Broadway show from scratch. Singing and dancing comes courtesy of American Idol contestant Katharine McPhee, who plays the wide-eyed ingénue.
Work It (8:30 p.m. on ABC)
Trying to channel Bosom Buddies, this sitcom is about two guys who — for reasons not yet clear to me — need to cross-dress as women to find jobs. No word yet on how they feel about making $0.70 for every dollar they used to make.
The River (9 p.m. on ABC)
For Lost fans worried that Alcatraz will miss the appeal of the uncharted jungle, this drama is about a wildlife expert who goes missing in the Amazon, and the crew of family and friends who set out to find him. Of course, you can believe that it’s not just birds, snakes, and fish they come across on their rescue mission.
Are You There, Chelsea? (8:30 p.m. on NBC)
This new NBC comedy is based on comedian Cheslea Handler’s book (which had the saucier title of Are You There, Vodka? It’s Me, Chelsea). That ’70s Show’s Laura Prepon takes on the booze-soaked title role.
Touch (9 p.m. on Fox)
After reading the description on the Fox Web site 15 times, I still can’t tell you what Touch is about. Something about disparate, unrelated people “who affect each other in ways seen and unseen.” (I’m thinking something like the movies Crash or Babel.) But the important thing is that Kiefer Sutherland is in it, right?
Missing (8 p.m. on NBC)
If you’ve ever wanted to see the globe-hopping locations of The Amazing Race blended with the parental instincts of the movie Taken, this is the one for you. Ashley Judd plays a mother who heads on a worldwide search for her son after he disappears on a study-abroad trip. Hopefully, it won’t make you want to lock up your kids.
Rob (8:30 p.m. on CBS)
CBS is doing so well as a network, it doesn’t really need to shift anything around in its schedule. So the fact that it’s making room for Rob, a sitcom starring Rob Schneider as a dude who marries into a Mexican-American family, means they must have some kind of confidence in it, even though I can’t really remember the last time I laughed at Rob Schneider doing anything.
The Finder (9 p.m. on Fox)
This show, from the creators of Bones, is just what it sounds like: Things go missing, and the main character, played by Michael Clarke Duncan in one of those quirky-eccentric-genius roles, helps track them down. But can he help me find my keys when I lose them in the bottom of my giant handbag?
The Firm (10 p.m. on NBC)
NBC wants you to think back to a time long ago — 1993 — when the world was buzzing about Tom Cruise’s performance in a feature film based on the John Grisham novel of the same name. This series takes place 10 years after the events of that film. Guess what? Mitch McDeere and his family are still having run-ins with the mob.
Napoleon Dynamite (8:30 p.m. on Fox)
Remember 2004, when Napoleon Dynamite made everyone wear those “Vote for Pedro” t-shirts and complain that their lips hurt real bad? Fox tries to deliver that kind of offbeat humor every week with an animated cartoon based on the characters from the movie’s original creators.
GCB (10 p.m. on ABC)
Networks have tried to redo the Dallas-style primetime soap a few times already with varying degrees of success — but this show actually takes place in Dallas. “GCB” stands for “Good Christian Belles” (which, of course, is the exact opposite of what the main characters really are). The series follows a group of Texan high-society socialites, y’all.
What show are you most excited about? Let me know in the comments.