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Fall TV Sneaks: Mary McNamara's top 5 new shows, what else is new and where we left off

The 2010 Fall TV season is here, and that means our Fall TV Sneaks is too. New shows, new faces; returning shows and old friends. What will be our new obsessions and our new disappointments? It all begins Monday (with the exception of HBO's new "Boardwalk Empire," which premieres Sunday).

Los Angeles Times TV critic Mary McNamara wants to help with all the competition for your attention. Here's her Top 5 of the newbies:

But you don't have to take just Mary's word for it.  Here's what Los Angeles Times critic Robert Lloyd thinks of all of the new fall programs, including "Hawaii 5-0," "Nikita" and "Undercovers":


If you've been missing Gleeks, Dr. House, the Fringe Division and Dexter Morgan, but your mind is fuzzy about where you last saw them, here's a guide to some of the most popular returning shows:


-- Maria Elena Fernandez



Complete Los Angeles Times Fall Sneaks coverage

Complete Fall TV schedule

Photos: Top: "Hawaii 5-0" duo Alex O'Loughlin and Scott Caan (Credit: CBS); "Nikita's" Maggie Q (Credit: The CW) and "Undercovers" duo Boris Kodjoe and Gugu Mbatha-Raw (Credit: NBC). Bottom: "Glee" cast, "House's" Hugh Laurie and "Fringe's" John Noble (Credit: Fox) pictured with "Dexter's" Michael C. Hall (Credit: Showtime).

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I hope Mary McNamara is joking about these television programs. The complete lack of originality, repetitious story lines and uninspired writing just goes to show the downward spiral television is taking in this country. Networks are resorting to trying to sell the public on updated television shows of the past (Hawaii Five-O) much like General Motors tried to sell us on retro looking cars (Ford Thunderbird). If they're not doing that, then they're taking shows from the British and trying to reinvent them here. (Too many to list) The ever declining education system in this country is starting to show. The dumbing of America is upon us and it is coming shining through in the television shows of today. But don't ask Mary McNamara about that.


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