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2012 Fall A+E Guide: TV worth watching

Josh Bell watched 24 fall pilots so you wouldn’t have to

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These girls are the bomb: Bomb Girls showcase munitions factory workers during WWII.

Go On (Tuesdays, 9 p.m., NBC; premieres September 11) Matthew Perry’s typically charismatic lead performance anchors this uneven comedy about a self-centered jerk dealing with the death of his wife. The pilot has a tough time balancing the tone, but there’s a lot of potential in the main character’s support group full of quirky, damaged people.

Ben and Kate is the season's best new comedy—despite the rather simple premise.

Ben and Kate (Tuesdays, 8:30 p.m., Fox; premieres September 25) The best new comedy of the season takes a rather simple, hackneyed premise (a slacker brother and a straitlaced sister move in together) and mines it for goofy, sweet and offbeat humor. Nat Faxon and Dakota Johnson are great as the title characters, and Maggie Jones has just the right balance of cute and tart as Kate’s young daughter.

Bomb Girls (Tuesdays, 10 p.m., Reelz Channel; premieres September 11) This Canadian period drama offers a unique angle on chronicling World War II, focusing on the women who work in a Toronto munitions factory. It can be a little hokey and awkward, but the historical detail is intriguing, and the story highlights an underrepresented aspect of 1940s life.

Revolution (Mondays, 10 p.m., NBC; premieres September 17) Epic serialized sci-fi has not fared very well on network TV since Lost (see: The Event, Flash Forward), and this post-apocalyptic drama, set in a future where electricity no longer functions, suffers from many of the same problems as past failed shows. But it also has a solid hook, a decent cast and a great cliffhanger at the end of the pilot that will keep you coming back for at least one more week.

The Mindy Project (Tuesdays, 9:30 p.m., Fox; premieres September 25) Mindy Kaling breaks out from The Office in a big way with this comedy that both embraces and subverts rom-com clichés. As creator, executive producer and star, she puts her personal stamp on the story of a successful OB/GYN whose personal life is, naturally, a mess.

Once again, Vegas is on the small screen in Vegas, about Clark County Sheriff Ralph Lamb.

Vegas (Tuesdays, 10 p.m., CBS; premieres September 25) Based loosely on the life of former Clark County Sheriff Ralph Lamb (played by Dennis Quaid), Vegas is a surprisingly successful mix of typical CBS crime procedural and period drama in the vein of Boardwalk Empire. Quaid is great as the rugged cowboy-turned-lawman, and Michael Chiklis is nicely menacing as Lamb’s (fictional) Mob rival. The only hitch is the terrible special-effects work meant to recreate vintage Vegas.Click here to get to know the real Ralph Lamb.

Last Resort (Thursdays, 8 p.m., ABC; premieres September 27) The Shield creator Shawn Ryan is behind this high-concept drama about an American nuclear submarine crew setting up a rogue state on a sparsely populated island. The pilot plays like the first hour of an excellent feature film, but still offers plenty of juicy setup for future installments. And the cast is bursting with talent, including Andre Braugher, Scott Speedman, Autumn Reeser and Robert Patrick.

Call the Midwife(Sundays, 8 p.m., PBS; premieres September 30) This period drama was a huge hit in the UK, and its look at midwifery in 1957 London is gritty and involving, if sometimes a little sentimental and heavy-handed. Star Jessica Raine is winning as a naïve nurse helping the inner-city poor deliver babies.

Scary apartment building + evil overlord = 666 Park Avenue

666 Park Avenue (Sundays, 10 p.m., ABC; premieres September 30) Fans of ABC’s run of Stephen King miniseries in the ’90s and ’00s will recognize plenty in this cheesy but entertaining supernatural drama, full of obvious scares and hammy performances, most notably from Lost’s Terry O’Quinn as the evil overlord of a sinister NYC apartment building.

Nashville (Wednesdays, 10 p.m., ABC; premieres October 10) This drama set in the country-music industry overemphasizes soapy relationships at the expense of potentially fascinating behind-the-scenes intrigue, but it has great original songs (produced by T-Bone Burnett) and a promising range of characters at various positions in the Nashville hierarchy.

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