“Playboy Club”:http://www.nbc.com/the-playboy-club/ (Premiers Monday, September 19; 10/9 c on NBC)
Truth be told, we can’t wait to watch this show, not because we think it will live up to the absurd claim that it is at all empowering to women, but because we’re curious as to just how chauvinistic it’s going to get. A few months ago, famed feminist Gloria Steinem, who once went undercover as a Playboy bunny to expose its exploitation of women, spoke out against the show and urged people to boycott it. We agree with Steinem that the show probably won’t be a truthful representation of the Playboy Club and that the premise does not lend itself to strong female characters  like the creators claim, but the controversy has piqued our interest. We suspect ratings will peak too for the same reason.
“Revenge”:http://beta.abc.go.com/shows/revenge (Premiers Wednesday, September 21; 10 p.m., ET on ABC)
We weren’t sold on this much-hyped drama at first, but when the folks at ABC sent us an exclusive sneak peak at the pilot , we decided to give it a shot. Granted, the plot is far-fetched and the pilot spends more of its time taking the audience through the ins and outs of a convoluted storyline than developing the characters, but there are a few qualities that will keep us coming back in the hopes that the drama lives up to its promise. For one, the setting (a summer in the Hamptons) is the perfect premise to indulge all your preconceived notions of the wealthy elite—the parties, the cheating, the plotting. How delicious! Plus, the cast is gorgeous, and if the pilot is any indication of what’s to come, you’re going to be able to see each impossibly toned and flawless character entwined in every combination of love affair. If you’re a fan of Gossip Girl, but like a little more sex and murder-mystery than headbands and high-school drama, you’ll probably love this show for its similar melodramatic plot twists and cliff-hanger endings. Plus, Gossip Girl fans will see a familiar face on the show: Connor Paolo (who plays sweet Eric van der Woodsen) appears on Revenge as a suave, girl-crazy man’s man. Watching little Eric transform (or at least try to) into a playboy is reason enough for us to tune in again.
“Up All Night”:http://www.nbc.com/up-all-night/ (Premiers Wednesday, September 21; 8 p.m. on NBC)
Finally, TV-gold Will Arnett is returning to our small screens. (We’re still mourning the loss of Arrested Development and are hopeful that this show will offer a well-deserved place for him after a couple failed projects). Cristina Applegate and Maya Rudolph join Arnett, making up a stellar cast of hilarious individuals in their own right. But that’s not the only reason we’re looking forward to watching these veterans play new parents. We like how the show promises to take a look at today’s modern parents—people who decide to have kids later in life, but who are no more prepared for the transformation that parenthood demands. Oh and there’s a twist: Arnett plays a stay-at-home-dad while Applegate’s character has the big-time career. So that’s refreshing, if in an obvious, politically correct way. We expect hilarity and tender moments. What’s not to love about that?!
“Pan Am”:http://beta.abc.go.com/shows/pan-am (Premiers Sunday, September 25; 10/9 c on ABC)
Cable television certainly has Mad Men fever! Will this period show come anywhere near the complex character development we’ve seen in Don Draper and Peggy Olsen? Can it possibly cast as nuanced a picture of life in the sixties? Well, the bar is set pretty high. But we can’t resist an opportunity to see some retro fashion! Plus it’s fun to indulge our fantasies of life as a flight attendant, while ignoring all realities related to the hell that it is to travel. (We suspect this show will leave out the recycled-airplane air and baggage-claim battles we can expect from air travel these days, as well as the inconvenient truths of being a woman in the sixties.) If this show can deliver snappy dialogue and retro images, it might just hold us over until Mad Men returns in 2012.