It's hard to believe that summer has already come and gone. But as we bid adieu to warm weather, beach excursions and horrible sunburns—seriously, I may have lost any ability to tan—it's time to welcome back the world of television into our lives! Sure, summer TV shows like So You Think You Can Dance, The Newsroom and Political Animals have kept us entertained these past few months, but now it's time for the full onslaught of fall premieres to start filling up our DVRs and completely taking over our schedules.
Before you know it, old favorites like Modern Family and The Big Bang Theory will be back, accompanied by shiny new shows like The New Normal and The Mindy Project. Inevitably, some of these newcomers will flop despite their greatness (hello, Lone Star) and some of them will thrive despite their many, many flaws (hello, 2 Broke Girls). It's always best to go into the fall TV season with a cautiously optimistic outlook, realizing that the show with the amazing pilot might quickly fizzle or the show you assumed would be awful might become the "next big thing."
It can all be a little overwhelming at first, so that's why I've crafted a lineup to help you out. Here are the shows I'll be tuning into this fall:
8-8:30pm - How I Met Your Mother (CBS) - Starts Sept 24
8:30-9pm Partners (CBS) - Starts Sept 24
9-10pm RuPaul's All Stars Drag Race (LOGO) - Starts Oct 22
Mondays are a little light this fall, which is a blessing considering the sure-to-be-necessary DVR catchup you'll need after Sunday's packed lineup (more on that below). How I Met Your Mother could be facing its final season, which means we may finally get to see how Ted meets the mother. More likely, however, is that CBS won't be willing to let go of the show and its post-syndication ratings surge just yet. Regardless of whether this is the end or not, I'm really hoping we meet the mother within the first half of this upcoming season. Seriously, we can't keep this going forever. The gay man/straight man buddy comedy Partners comes from the creators of Will & Grace, so it's at least worth a shot, though early reviews aren't too glowing. Ugly Betty fans will be happy to see Michael Urie back on TV, and hopefully some of that W&G magic will work its way into this new series. And if Partners doesn't work out, you can at least start getting excited for RuPaul's All Stars Drag Race in October.
8:30-9pm Ben and Kate (FOX) - Starts Sept 25
9-9:30pm Go On (NBC) - Starts Sept 11
9-9:30pm Happy Endings (ABC) - Starts Oct 23
9-9:30pm New Girl (FOX) - Starts Sept 25 (episodes at 8pm and 9pm)
9:30-10pm Don't Trust the B---- in Apt. 23 (ABC) - Starts Oct 23
9:30-10pm The Mindy Project (FOX) - Starts Sept 25
9:30-10pm The New Normal (NBC) - Starts Sept 11
10-11pm Vegas (CBS) - Starts Sept 25
With ABC, NBC and FOX all launching huge comedy blocks on Tuesdays, things start getting a little crazy and my U-verse "record up to 4 shows at a time" DVR really starts to show its worth. In all likelihood, Ben and Kate is not going to last long on this list; the pilot was barely passable, but I'll keep watching for a few episodes just for Lucy Punch as hilarious British BFF BJ. Then come the real showdowns. First up at 9 is Happy Endings vs. New Girl vs. Matthew Perry newcomer Go On. Happy Endings doesn't come back until October, at which point we'll know if Go On banks on the promising parts of its pilot or fizzles quickly. Then at 9:30, it's Apt 23 vs. The Mindy Project vs. The New Normal. Both new shows had excellent pilots (though Ryan Murphy's track record has me a bit nervous for New Normal), and the show to most likely be relegated to Friday night DVR catchup is Apt 23 for a little Van Der Beek fix. In an attempt to force myself to watch new dramas, I'm putting Dennis Quaid's '60s-based Vegas on here. We'll see how that goes.
8-9pm Arrow (The CW) - Starts Oct 10
8-10pm The X Factor (FOX) - Starts Sept 12
9-9:30pm Modern Family (ABC) - Starts Sept 26
9:30-10pm Suburgatory (ABC) - Starts Oct 17
10-11pm Nashville (ABC) - Starts Oct 10
ABC pretty much owns my Wednesday night attention. Modern Family keeps its tight hold on the 9pm time slot, this year leading into Suburgatory, a show I gave up on early into last season but have since given a second chance and plan on watching again. Then at 10 comes Connie Britton in Nashville, which I could give you more information about except really all you need to know is that it's Connie "Mrs. Coach" Britton, so tune in. The CW is attempting to replace Smallville's vacancy with the new superhero show Arrow and I'm willing to give it a shot, while I'm putting The X Factor on here only because it'll be interesting to see how Britney does. I might not actually watch it, but it'll be good to keep on the DVR and fast forward until she or Simon talk, right?
8-8:30pm 30 Rock (NBC) - Starts Oct 4
8-8:30pm The Big Bang Theory (CBS) - Starts Sept 27
8:30-9pm Up All Night (NBC) - Starts Sept 20
9-10pm Glee (FOX) - Starts Sept 13
9-10pm Grey's Anatomy (ABC) - Starts Sept 27
9:30-10pm Parks and Recreation (NBC) - Starts Sept 20
10-11pm Elementary (CBS) - Starts Sept 27
10-11pm Scandal (ABC) - Starts Sept 27
And just when you thought Tuesdays were going to be hard, welcome to Thursdays. On NBC, 30 Rock and The Office (which has been officially removed from my schedule) are both embarking on their final seasons, while Up All Night enters its second season after a ratings nose dive at the end of last year and Parks and Rec continues its dominance as the best comedy on television, despite what those damn Emmys say. Elsewhere, The Big Bang Theory will once again be the Thursday night ratings juggernaut, and Glee will try to pick up some of its lost viewers by going on after The X Factor's results show. Shonda Rhimes' usual Thursday night block returns with Grey's Anatomy and the sophomore season of Scandal. I skipped out on the midseason show last year, but it got pretty great reviews so I might jump in and see what all the fuss is about. And hopefully all you Benedict Cumberbatch fans don't get upset, but I'm going to give CBS's new Elementary a shot for Lucy Liu as Watson more than anything else.
8:30-9pm Community (NBC) - Starts Oct 19
What was once a no man's land for television is... well, still no man's land for television, except NBC has decided to banish Community there with a 13-episode season. The show's rabid fan base has never yielded any ratings worth being excited about, so a Friday night time slot is not really likely to help. It will be interesting to see how new showrunners Moses Port and David Guarascio fit in to the crazy world Dan Harmon created (and was then banished from), even if it is for only a short while.
8-9pm The Amazing Race (CBS) - Starts Sept 30
9-10pm The Good Wife (CBS) - Starts Sept 30
9-10pm Revenge (ABC) - Starts Sept 30
9-10pm The Walking Dead (AMC) - Starts Oct 14
10-11pm 666 Park Avenue (ABC) - Starts Sept 30
10-11pm Homeland (Showtime) - Starts Sept 30
Use your weekend to get outside and see your friends and family... just make sure they understand that your Sunday nights are spoken for. I took a hiatus from The Amazing Race, but the inclusion of Josh and Brent (aka The Fabulous Beekman Boys) is enough to get me back on the wagon. After that is the fourth season of The Good Wife, and don't forget that for both shows you'll need to set your DVR to record for at least an extra two hours because of the usual NFL delays. Over on ABC, Revenge is making the move to Sunday nights, most likely as an attempt to replace Desperate Housewives, and will act as a good lead-in to Terry O'Quinn and Vanessa William's horror show 666 Park Avenue, which the network hopes will be the new "guilty pleasure" show of the year. After The Walking Dead spent half of its second season twiddling its thumbs on that stupid farm, I swore I wouldn't be watching Season 3. I'm going to attempt to stick to that promise, but it's on here in case any of you are glutton for punishment. And although I don't have Showtime and can't watch new episodes of Homeland, that doesn't mean you can't, you lucky bastards.
It looks like a lot, but thank goodness for DVRs, right?
Just a quick PSA: if you didn't watched the pilots for The New Normal or Go On during the Olympics (or on Hulu), NBC is airing them again tonight at 10 and 10:30pm, respectively, and will air new episodes tomorrow in their normal time slots, so now is the time to catch up!
What are you planning on watching this fall and what are you passing on? Are you sticking with The Office through the bitter end? Are you dropping The Walking Dead? And which new shows have you the most excited?
[Image Source: NBC]