New TV series attempt to fill void left by long-running shows

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The 2012-2013 television season bids adieu to many fan-favorites — NBC was dealt a particularly brutal hand, waving goodbye to popular comedies “The Office” and “30 Rock” last year. The CW has suffered significant losses as well, left to recapture the fandom teen soap staples “Gossip Girl” and “90210” enjoyed. With many celebrated series sharing their final scenes this past spring, the question of what will take their place becomes all-important.

FOX has certainly been working overtime to find a worthy replacement for J.J. Abrams’ beloved underdog “Fringe.” Fox is slated to introduce “Almost Human,” another sci-fi series from Abrams, as well as a television version of the classic legend “Sleepy Hollow.” But generating the most buzz of all is FOX’s police force comedy “Brooklyn Nine-Nine.” Andy Samberg stars as a goofy yet brilliant detective alongside his no-nonsense captain, played by Andre Braugher. Created by Michael Schur and Dan Goor of “Parks and Recreation,” “Nine-Nine” may have the promise to compete with FOX’s current slate of popular comedies.

Despite the recent loss of two of its top comedies, NBC’s fall line-up seems more invested in drama. NBC is offering a home to James Spader as a fugitive-turned FBI asset in “The Blacklist,” and Blair Underwood as an unrelenting cop in “Ironside.” Keeping with dark trends, NBC has also introduced a bloodthirsty Jonathan Rhys Meyers as a complicated Jay Gatsby-like bachelor in “Dracula.” The series sinks its teeth into the time of the Industrial Revolution, and markets the era by adding deception, reincarnation and vampires. Clad with a supernatural love triangle, the series may very well attract a new loyal fan base for NBC.

CBS is gearing up for a stellar season. Sarah Michelle Gellar, Robin Williams, Toni Collette, Dylan McDermott, Margo Martindale, Will Arnett, Anna Faris and Allison Janney are all among the network’s most recent additions. Riding the coattails of a seemingly unstoppable “Two and a Half Men,” creator Chuck Lorre introduces us to a new dysfunctional family with “Mom.” Likable Faris and the always exquisite Janney share their quick wit as mother and daughter in this live-audience comedy.

In a new, sci-fi laden CW, “Reign” steps up to fill the void left by the network’s soapiest entries. The series follows Mary Stewart — a teenage Mary, Queen of Scots — as she explores adolescence in 16th century France. Possessing a fairly unknown cast and a world plagued by drama, the fact remains to be seen whether the CW has a hit on its hands.

These days networks are quick to cancel shows, with several of last year’s programs axed after just a few episodes. Staying on the air has become a much greater challenge than achieving overall quality. Whether comedy or drama, fantasy or family, the new fall series deserve a chance — here’s to hoping that the latest crop of shows have the potential to elevate the struggling networks to new heights.

A version of this article appeared in the Tuesday, Sep. 3 print edition. Isabel Jones is entertainment editor. Email her at ijones@nyunews.com.

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