The Middle, season premiere at 8pm on ABC
– This realistic comedy series grows on you with its colorful and relatable characters that represent your typical far-from-perfect American family where junk food is dinner and TV is family time. Patricia Heaton stars as Frankie Heck, a loving wife and mother of three, she’s middle class in the middle of the country and is rapidly approaching middle age. Frankie and her husband, Mike (Neil Flynn), have lived in Orson, Indiana, their whole lives. A man of few words (every one a zinger), Mike is a manager at the town quarry and Frankie is the third-best used car salesman (out of the three) at the local dealership. She may not be a high-powered career woman, but when it comes to her family, she’ll go to just about any length. And with kids like these, she had better. There’s Axl (Charlie McDermott), her semi-nudist teenage son conceived while under the influence of Guns N’ Roses; Sue (Eden Sher), the awkward teenage daughter who fails at everything… but with the utmost of gusto; and their seven-year-old son Brick (Atticus Shaffer), whose best friend is his backpack. Spend a couple of evenings watching this charming family try to bond over burgers in front of the tube and you’ll fall in love with them for not trying to be something they are not, and that makes you feel better about yourself.
The X Factor, series premiere at 8pm on FOX
– Since its debut in 2004, The X Factor (aka Simon Cowell’s latest project and American Idol’s biggest competition) has remained the U.K.’s #1 program for the last seven years, peaking with an audience of 21 million for its 2010 finale. The format swiftly broke similar records around the world, where local versions have consistently rated #1. The series has received numerous honors worldwide, and more than 100 million records have been sold by artists launched through the series, including over 90 #1 singles and albums and 150 Top Ten records. In a departure from other singing competition series, the first time contestants audition for the x factor judges, Simon Cowell, Antonio “L.A.” Reid, Paula Abdul and Pussycat Doll Nicole Scherzinger, they will do so in front of an audience of thousands – raising the stakes and increasing the pressure to impress not only the judges, but also a potential legion of fans. This will be the ultimate test to prove they have the vocal ability, charisma and stage presence that it takes to win an unprecedented $5 million recording contract. The whole country is holding its breath waiting to see if the much-hyped show will deliver, with so much pressure it will either be a huge success or fail miserably.
Criminal Minds, season premiere at 9pm on CBS
– The crime procedural drama revolves around an elite team of FBI profilers who analyze the country’s most twisted criminal minds, anticipating their next moves before they strike again. The Behavioral Analysis Unit’s most prominent agent is David Rossi (Joe Mantegna), a founding member of the BAU, who returns to help the team solve new cases, while pursuing some unfinished business of his own. The team is led by Special Agent Aaron Hotchner (Thomas Gibson), a family man who is able to gain people’s trust and unlock their secrets. Five other special agents round out the team, one each bringing his or her own area of expertise to the table as they pinpoint predators’ motivations and identify their emotional triggers in the attempt to stop them.
Harry’s Law, season premiere at 9pm on NBC
– Emmy Award-winning writer/producer David E. Kelley (Boston Legal, The Practice and Ally McBeal) continues his rich storytelling with another season of his acclaimed legal dramedy (which received an Emmy nod for best actress), starring Academy Award winner Kathy Bates – about embracing the unexpected and everything life throws at you. In Season 2, Harry is back with an attitude as she hones her courtroom arguments and winning style. On the heels of Harry’s rising reputation, Harry’s Law and Fine Shoes starts landing larger cases, and alongside her newfound success, Harry is looking to bring in some new hotshot attorneys to help out the team. Expect higher stakes cases, new energy and more drama as the curmudgeonly Ms. Korn continues to lay down the law. Don’t worry though… she’s on your side!
Modern Family, season premiere at 9pm on ABC
– Fresh off a sweep at the Emmy Awards on Sunday for trophies including best supporting actor and actress in a comedy series, best writing for a comedy series, best directing for a comedy series and the big kahuna best comedy series is back for more laughs and adventures with everyone’s favorite Modern Family in a special 1-hour season 3 premiere. The series follows the families of Jay Pritchett (Ed O’Neill), his daughter Claire Dunphy (Emmy Award winner Julie Bowen) and his son Mitchell Pritchett (Jesse Tyler Ferguson) who live in Los Angeles, and compose a closely-knit and unique extended family. Jay recently married Gloria (the beautiful Sofia Vergara), now he is trying hard to keep up with his much younger and hotter Colombian wife, along with her passionate pre-teen son, Manny. Claire, a homemaker mom, is having a hard time raising her own family. Her husband Phil (Emmy award winner Ty Burrell) is great, except that he thinks he’s “down” with their three kids, much to all their embarrassment. And Mitchell and his enthusiastic stay-at-home partner Cameron (Eric Stonestreet) have just made a major life change by adopting a Vietnamese baby named Lily. The show won three awards in important categories at this year’s Emmy awards and it’s fairly obvious why—it’s impossible not to laugh hysterically at every episode of this quick-witted mockumentary comedy series.
CSI, season premiere at 10pm on CBS
– The hit crime procedural that has been a mainstay on the coveted Thursday at 9pm timeslot is finally making a big move to Wednesday, leaving the most competitive timeslot of the week to newcomer Person of Interest. CSI is a fast-paced drama about a team of forensic investigators trained to solve crimes by, here’s a new concept for investigators, examining the evidence. They are on the case 24/7, scouring the scene, collecting the irrefutable evidence and finding the missing pieces that will solve the mystery. Following Lawrence Fishburne’s departure after 2 and a half seasons on the show, Emmy and Golden Globe award winner Ted Danson stepped in to take the lead role. D.B. Russell (Danson), the new CSI Supervisor for the grave shift, comes to the team after heading the Seattle Crime Lab. He’s a family man and scientist, but not a nerd. Son of hippie parents, he’s a “Left Coast” Sherlock Holmes who devours crime novels and looks at every crime scene as if it were a story waiting to be told. Other CSI members include Catherine Willows, the team’s former supervisor and an investigator with a cop’s instinct for reading human behavior; Nick Stokes, the conscience of the team, often driven by his emotional connection to the victim to always get the job done; Sara Sidle, aka Mrs. Grissom, the moral compass of the team who is relentless in her pursuit of criminals; Greg Sanders, once an off-beat tech analyst and now an experienced and intuitive crime solver; and Morgan Brody, an exile from the Los Angeles Crime Lab and the daughter of Undersheriff Ecklie. She’s a natural born investigator who still has a lot to learn about politics and family.
Law & Order: SVU, season premiere at 10pm on NBC
– The longest-running show of the Law & Order franchise still on the air, after the original closed shop last year, is now entering its thirteenth season. This hard-hitting and emotional series chronicles the life and crimes of the Special Victims Unit of the New York City Police Department, an elite squad of detectives who investigate sexually based crimes. Dedicated Detective Olivia Benson (Mariska Hargitay), a seasoned veteran of the unit who has seen it all, heads up the department with empathy and professionalism, all the while dealing with her difficult past – as a product of rape and a witness to her mother’s grief, she can personally relate to each victim she tries to help. Captain Donald Cragen, (Dann Florek), oversees the unit with a tough but supportive approach to the team’s complex cases, guiding the squad through the challenges they face every day. Detective John Munch, (Richard Belzer), a transfer from Baltimore’s homicide unit, brings his acerbic wit, conspiracy theories and street-honed investigative skills to the team. His partner, Detective Odafin “Fin” Tutuola (Ice-T), adds a unique sense of humor and undercover investigative experience, making him a formidable match for Munch. New to the squad are Detectives Nick Amaro (Cold Case’s Danny Pino) and Amanda Rollins (Chase’s Kelli Giddish) to fill the void left by Christopher Meloni’s top detective Elliot Stabler. The newcomers bring their own talents and style of investigation, all the while learning the ropes from senior detectives and facing head-on the emotional toll it takes to work the SVU.
– In case you can’t quite pin down how you’ve heard of this show before, it’s the commercials that show a crazy vindictive young blonde chick trying to kill her mother, or something like that…Wealth, beauty and status define the people in this town, but one woman is willing to destroy everyone for the sake of revenge. Emily Thorne (Emily Van Camp) is new to the Hamptons. She’s met some of her wealthy neighbors, has made a few new friends and seemingly blends into the town. But something is a little odd about a young girl living in a wealthy town all on her own, and the truth is that Emily isn’t exactly new to the neighborhood. In fact, this was once her old neighborhood, until something bad happened that ruined her family and their reputation. Now Emily is back, and she’s returned to right some of those wrongs in the best way she knows how – with a vengeance.