The cast of “Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.”

The fall television season is upon us and there is a bevy of nerd-tastic shows to make your geek radar buzz with excitement. There are always a ton of choices when it comes to the list of shows the networks will roll out each year, and the key is figuring out which ones are worth your time and which should be shelved immediately. Of course, as word of mouth spreads, some will live while others will go the way of dozens of probably best forgotten shows of the past.
Let's look at a few of the top selections to hopefully narrow down the viewing experience and make sure your screen is filled with the best of the best while avoiding the worst attempts at a science fiction/fantasy show.
At the top of the list is the show that has the most promise, the most push and the best team behind it — ABC's new series “Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” There's so much to like about this show that if it doesn't end up being the new big hit of the year, more than a few network executive's heads will roll. None other than the godfather of nerds himself Mr. Joss Whedon, is behind the series.
Whedon was the mastermind behind shows such as “Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” “Angel” and “Firefly” as well as the man who brought The Avengers to the big screen just a couple of years ago, managing to gross over $1.5 billion worldwide. To make it clear, Whedon only wrote and directed the first episode of the season.  His brother Jed Whedon will take over the show as executive producer once the show gets rolling, but Joss will still oversee all of the scripts and story lines as they progress.
What makes “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” a guaranteed hit is the formula it was working with before its debut earlier this week on ABC. The show has one of the most popular and well known directors and screenwriters attached to the project (Whedon). They have a recognized product from a slew of Marvel films where S.H.I.E.L.D. agents already appeared. They have the potential for crossover elements with a laundry list of major films coming up including Thor: The Dark World, Captain America: The Winter Soldier and if the show sticks around long enough The Avengers 2: Age of Ultron, which will be released in 2015.
With that kind of anticipation the pressure is certainly ratcheted up on “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” to succeed, but given the kind of promotion that Marvel and ABC are putting behind the show, it's going to be a juggernaut and a fan favorite from the moment it debuts.
From a guaranteed hit like “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” we now move to one of the shows debuting this fall with no previous background to rely upon for a built in audience to tune in on from day one. This one does have, however, a powerful name behind its inception because, in the world of science fiction and fantasy, there may not be a brighter star right now than J.J. Abrams.
Abrams is leading the charge as the new Star Wars: Episode VII director, but just because he's up to his neck in Jedis and ewoks, his production company Bad Robot has plenty of time to spin out new shows like one debuting on Fox on November 4,  “Almost Human.”
It stars Karl Urban (Star Trek reboots) as a cop in a dystopian future where crime rules the streets and police officers are required to team up with synthetic android partners. If you think you've heard this concept before, you probably have — about a hundred times by now — but there are a few positives on the side of “Almost Human.” Abrams' name being attached raises the bar right away, although he has had a few stinkers over the years as well (who remembers “Alcatraz?”), but he's always going to serve up a good sized audience for at least a few episodes. The cast in “Almost Human” is fantastic with Urban leading the way and his android partner will be played by criminally underused actor, Michael Ealy. A few years ago, before “Homeland” became one of the most popular shows on Showtime, Ealy was starring in a miniseries called “Sleeper Cell.” It was one of the most compelling shows (that unfortunately should have stopped after one season) that Showtime had ever produced up to that time, and Ealy took center stage as the lead undercover agent attempting to infiltrate a radical terrorist group hell bent on picking up where 9/11 left off.   
“Almost Human” isn't coming into the fall season without a few knocks against it either. The futuristic, sci-fi setting with a cop and android has been done before as noted. And a show like this is generally going to attract an audience like those that would tune into SyFy every week for a new series, but not necessarily pull the kind of ratings Fox will want to keep the show active beyond a single season. The pieces put in place for the show are really solid, so come November this is one to definitely keep an eye on for at least the first month.
The final show to go under the microscope before being eradicated almost immediately is the new series “Dracula” from NBC.
This new series (about the same Dracula we all know and love) comes from “Carnivale” creator Daniel Knauf. “Carnivale” was a show that went the way of “Firefly” (cancelled far, far too early and the network behind it didn't seem to show it much support), so in that effort Knauf put forth one of the best science fiction/fantasy series of the last 20 years. This time he's handcuffed to old mythology, poorly executed scripts and a network (NBC) that is woefully behind on the ratings compared to every other broadcast company out there.
Dracula stories have been told for centuries it seems, and there are only so many ways to recreate the same character before enough is enough. Well before this one even debuts, it might be time to say enough is enough. As bad as NBC has been lately with new scripted dramas, even they don't seem to be putting much faith in “Dracula,” which will debut October 25 and air on Friday nights. For those who don't know, Fridays are generally the night scripted shows go to die because ratings are almost always very low as people tend to be out of the house after a long work week, particularly around 10pm when “Dracula” will air. The show will begin its season with a wooden stake already hovering over an open rib cage and it's probably not going to take much for the network to turn this one to dust after only a few episodes.
One quick bonus: A show that should have been terrible, and certainly, based on the premise, was behind the 8-ball from the moment it took shape, is the new Fox drama “Sleepy Hollow.” The show resurrects an ancient Ichabod Crane into modern times where he teams with a sassy police officer for a new buddy cop show that's equal parts Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure and National Treasure.  The craziest thing about this show? It works.
Yep, you heard correct, at least based on the first episode, this is a fun, campy thrill ride that definitely doesn't take itself too seriously. It's not Sharknado (so bad that it's good), but “Sleepy Hollow” is a show that may start out on fire and burn into a cinder inside of a single season (see “Heroes” for how that model works). But at least through the early going of season one, it's a show worth watching. “Sleepy Hollow” is currently airing on Fox, Monday nights at 9pm.