A rogue nuclear sub takes over the world; an aging country singer tries to keep her career afloat; a Park Avenue apartment building is owned by the devil; and Sherlock Holmes comes to America.
These are among the more intriguing scenarios on new television series coming to the broadcast networks this fall.
More than 20 new series will start rolling out this month. But it appears to be a lackluster season with nothing generating great buzz. It's easier to spot the losers than winners.
A few recognizable names will be in primetime: Dennis Quaid, Ellen Barkin, Michael Chiklis, Andre Braugher, Lily Tomlin, Reba McEntire, Lucy Liu and Connie Britton.
Science fiction, fantasy, mystery, crime and medical dramas are in the mix along with updates of fictional characters such as fairytale stars Beauty and the Beast, comic book hero The Green Arrow and super sleuth Holmes.
Several newcomers feature gay characters, including "The New Normal" (with Barkin as an outrageous bigot). This one is already sparking controversy among conservative groups because the gay couple on the show hires a surrogate to carry their child.
Most of the new comedies are getting thumbs down from the nation's TV critics while five dramas are generating the most interest:
ABC's "Nashville," starring Britton has a fading country music star challenged by a ruthless newcomer (Hayden Panettiere).
NBC's "Revolution," from "Lost" creator J.J. Abrams, is set in a future world where civilization has crumbled after a mysterious event in which all power, technology and transportation has been wiped out.
CBS's "Elementary," a modern take on Sherlock Holmes featuresJonny Lee Miller and Lucy Liu (as Dr. Jean Watson).
In "Vegas" on CBS, Quaid stars as a real-life former Nevada Sheriff Ralph Lamb who battles a mobster played by Chiklis in 1960s Las Vegas.
ABC's "Last Resort," stars Braugher as the commander of a nuclear submarine that goes rogue and holds the world hostage.
Among the comedies that might survive are ABC's "Malibu Country" with McEntire as a single mom trying to rekindle her music career (with Tomlin as her salty mother) and NBC's "Go On" with Matthew Perry as a sarcastic sports radio talk host in group therapy with some oddball characters.
And for guilty pleasures there's ABC's "666 Park Avenue," with "Lost" star Terry O'Quinn as the devilish owner of a New York apartment building where renters don't check out alive, and several of The CW's lightweight dramas such as the update of "Beauty and the Beast."
The list of losers is much longer and includes NBC's sitcoms"Guys With Kids" and "Animal Hospital" (featuring a monkey as a vet assistant); CBS's gay buddy comedy "Partners; Fox's ridiculous "The Mob Doctor" and ABC's oh-so-awful attempt to be "wacky" with "The Neighbors," about a blue collar family that moves into a gated community filled with aliens from outer space.
Fall TV picks by night