Past and present programs pop into prevalence

By Lisa Henderson

New Girl, Beavis and Butt-head and Pan Am have raised the bar for this fall’s television entertainment.

Let’s be honest – it’s the consistent existence of entertaining television shows that gets us through long work weeks. Without sympathetic tears and laughs at the expense of likeable fictional characters, we’d all be just a bit more tightly wound. This fall promises an exceptional lineup of television shows, some new and some returning to the small screen for the first time in almost a decade.

Whether it’s for lack of creative ideas for new shows or simply due to popular demand, a large handful of programs from our childhood days have returned to television. This summer, Nick at Nite introduced what is known as The 90s Are All That, a portion of late-night airtime during which they run some of the most popular Nickelodeon programs of the 1990s, including All That, Kenan and Kel, Clarissa Explains It All and Doug. Now, it seems that MTV and VH1 are both following in Nick’s footsteps and hopping on the train to Throwback Town.

It’s 1996. You’ve just returned home from a long day at elementary school, stationed yourself in front of the family room TV and are now catching your favorite music videos on VH1’s Pop Up Video. Not only were music videos the main focus, they were also accompanied by “bubbles” that would appear sporadically and feature interesting facts about the video and the artist. It may be true that music videos have taken a backseat to reality programs, but not everyone has lost hope in the once-prevalent art-form. Pop Up Video returned to VH1 on Oct. 3, much to the delight of 90s enthusiasts.

MTV has followed suit. Premiering Oct. 27, Beavis and Butt-head will make a comeback. New episodes of this crude, hilarious animated series have not aired since 1997, yet the two delusional teens from the fictional town of Highland, Texas will still appear to be the same age as they were almost 15 years ago.

Nostalgic fans of the ’90s can always expect a new bunch of quirky reality stars on The Real World each fall. This season is sure to be cause for talk, as the cast has already taken note of their extreme differences; no one was sure of Sam’s sex until she revealed herself to be a woman, and Frank has yet to show us his alcoholic, emotional tendencies.  All of the housemates are sure to provide a hearty helping of melodrama which was made obvious during the season’s premiere on Sept. 28.

This summer’s controversy revolving around Charlie Sheen has yet to be put to rest. Two and a Half Men concluded Sheen’s involvement by killing his character off in a tragic train accident, which allowed for the transitional welcoming of Ashton Kutcher’s character, an Internet billionaire. The new season’s ratings have dropped steadily since its premiere, but its huge fan base is likely to keep the show on its feet for a long time.

The programs that our generation cherished in our childhood years will always hold the keys to our hearts, but this fall brings brand new additions to the primetime lineup that may tug at those heartstrings as well. Zooey Deschanel stars in New Girl, a comedy-sitcom that premiered on FOX in late September. The plot centers on Jess, a quirky girl who was in search of a new apartment following a painful breakup and decides to move in with three single young men. The story takes us through the inner-workings of Jess’s love life and highlights all of the awkward, odd situations in which she finds herself.

Keeping on the comedy track, Sept. 19 saw the introduction of 2 Broke Girls, a sitcom starring Kat Dennings (Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist). 2 Broke Girls introduces viewers to an alternate side of Dennings’ talent, revealing her comedic prowess as she plays a witty waitress with a hard-biting tongue and quickness for smart comebacks.

ABC introduced the period-drama Pan Am in late September. Starring Christina Ricci, the plot takes us through the fictional lives of flight attendants who worked for the well-known Pan American World Airways in the early 1960s. Drama buffs may also appreciate American Horror Story, which premiered on FX on Wednesday. A dysfunctional family is unaware that the house they’ve just purchased is haunted. This series could not have been released at a more fitting time for all of you Halloween fanatics.

Escaping into television is a perfect way to de-stress during these first few hectic months of the semester. The fall lineup seems promising, but it’s up to you to decide what’s worth viewing and choose your favorites. Oh, and don’t forget – Jersey Shore’s season will soon conclude, so be sure to support the ever-so talented cast members as they bid “arrivederci” to Italy!

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