Once Upon A Time, season premiere at 8pm on ABC
– To ensure that no one in fairytale land—especially Snow White—had any more “happily ever afters,” Evil Queen Regina cast a curse which trapped the fairy tale characters, frozen in time, and brought them into our modern world. Although still alive, they had no knowledge of their former selves and were sleepwalking through life—ageless—for 28 years, until a savior arrived in the form of Emma Swan. Unbeknownst to Emma, she was the daughter of Snow White and Prince Charming, who had whisked her out of Fairy Tale Land and into our world as an infant to save her from The Curse. When Emma’s 10-year-old son, Henry—whom she had given up for adoption years earlier—appeared on her doorstep with a book of fairy tales and a wild story about how Emma was the progeny of fairy tale characters trapped in a town called Storybrooke, she thought he was crazy. But curiosity got the better of her, and when she brought Henry back to the town—where Regina, ever the control freak, had made herself mayor and was also Henry’s adoptive mother—Emma soon discovered that Storybrooke was more than it seemed. Over time she came to believe the stories were true, began to see cracks in the curse, and was finally able to break it. Reality and myth were merged as the fairy tale characters began awakening, once The Curse was lifted, and remembered who they were in the season one finale. But to their dismay they were not transported back to fairy tale land. And to make matters worse, Rumplestiltskin—aka Mr. Gold—in an effort to gain the upper hand in his power struggle with Regina, introduced magic into the town. In fairy tales magic has its place, but in our world it can have unfathomable consequences. Now the fairy tale characters must contend with magic in their quest to find a way home, as new fairy tale characters are revealed, old acquaintances are revisited, and some we had come to believe could be trusted will turn against their own kind.
The Amazing Race, season premiere at 8pm on CBS
– The nine-time Emmy Award-winner for best reality-competition series hosted by eight-time Emmy Award-winner Phil Keoghan is a known as television’s most compelling and exciting race around the world. Entering its 21st season, the show pits 11 teams, each comprised of two members, against each other on a trek around the world for approximately 25 days. At every destination, each team must compete in a series of challenges, some mental and some physical, and only when the tasks are completed will they learn of their next location. Teams who are the farthest behind will gradually be eliminated as the contest progresses, with the first team to arrive at the final destination winning $1 million. This season’s group—featuring Chippendale’s dancers, a double amputee who’s also a snowboarding champ, and monster-truck drivers—will travel to nine countries including Indonesia, China, and France.
Call the Midwife, series premiere at 8pm on PBS
– Call the Midwife is a moving and intimate insight into the colorful world of midwifery and family life in 1950’s East London. We are introduced to the community through the eyes of young nurse Jenny Lee as she arrives at Nonnatus House to live and work as a midwife alongside an Order of Nuns. As Jenny comes to terms with her new life, we meet some phenomenal people who prove that their warmth, resilience and determination are to be admired beyond measure. At the heart of this world are the Sisters of St. Raymond Nonnatus who have been active in the East End as Anglican nursing nuns since the beginning of the 20th century. The Sisters and the midwives of Nonnatus House carry out many nursing duties across the community. However, with between 80 and 100 babies being born each month in Poplar alone, their primary work is to help bring safe childbirth to women in the area and to look after their countless newborns.
The Simpsons, season premiere at 8pm on FOX
– Now the longest-running scripted show in television history, The Simpsons immediately struck a chord with viewers across the country more than 20 years ago as it poked fun at itself and everything in its wake. With its subversive humor and delightful wit, the series – now entering its 24th season – had made an inedible imprint on American pop culture, and the family members have become television icons. In the season 24 premiere, America’s favorite Midwestern family travels to New York City to track down Bart’s long-lost love (guest voice Zooey Deschanel). Other upcoming adventures this season include Grampa (Don Castellaneta) escaping from his retirement home; Homer finding out his bowling buddy (guest voice Steve Carrell) is an accountant for the mob; and Bart discovering the cool new neighbors’ son (guest voice Patton Oswalt) isn’t as cool as he appears to be.
Bob’s Burgers, season premiere at 8:30pm on FOX
– The animated comedy Bob’s Burgers returns for a well-done third season. The series follows the ups and downs of Bob (H. Jon Benjamin), who runs Bob’s Burgers with the help of his wife and their three kids. Bob has big ideas about burgers, but his family falls short on service and sophistication. Despite the greasy counters, lousy location and dearth of customers, Bob and his family are determined to make every “Grand Re-Re-Re-opening” a success. This season, Bob’s eccentric landlord Mr. Fischoeder (guest voice Kevin Kline) purchases a mechanical shark that threatens the town’s safety; the kids unwittingly get jobs working for a pair of married pot farmers; and Louise has an identity crisis when a bully steals her bunny ears.
Family Guy, season premiere at 9pm on FOX
– Entering its tenth season, Sunday-night staple Family Guy continues to entertain fans with its outrageous humor, cutting-edge animation and epic episodes. Since its debut, the show has reached cult status among fans, and its breakout star, a talking baby, has become one of the greatest TV villains of all time. The show follows the adventures of an endearingly ignorant dad, Peter Griffin (Seth MacFarlane), and his hilariously odd family of middle-class New Englanders in Quahog, RI. Lois (Alex Borstein) is Peter’s wife, a stay at home mom with no patience for her family’s antics. Then there are their kids: 17-year-old Meg (Mila Kunis) is a social outcast and the Griffin family punching bag; 13-year-old Chris (Seth Green) is a socially awkward teen who doesn’t have a clue about the opposite sex; and 1-year-old Stewie (MacFarlane) is a diabolically clever baby whose burgeoning sexuality is very much a work in progress. Rounding out the Griffin household is Brian (MacFarlane), the family dog, a member of Mensa with a penchant for dry martinis and dumb blondes.
The Good Wife, season premiere at 9pm on CBS
– The Good Wife is an Emmy-nominated drama starring Emmy Award winner Julianna Margulies as a wife and mother who boldly assumes full responsibility for her family and re-enters the workforce after her husband’s very public sex and political corruption scandal lands him in jail. Pushing aside the betrayal and crushing public humiliation caused by her husband, Peter, Alicia Florrick started over by pursuing her original career as a defense attorney. Now a senior associate at a prestigious Chicago law firm, she joined her longtime friend, former law school classmate and firm partner Will Gardner, with whom she had a steamy romance last season. Alicia found an ally and a friend in Kalinda, the firm’s tough and mysterious in-house investigator, until Alicia discovered Kalinda had slept with Peter during his first term as State’s Attorney and Kalinda has been trying to make it up to Alicia ever since. Gaining confidence every day, Alicia transforms herself from embarrassed politician’s scorned wife to resilient career woman, especially for the sake of providing a stable home for her teenage children Zach and Grace. Season 4 will find the firm in serious financial trouble (cue recurring guest star Nathan Lane as its appointed trustee in the premiere), Alicia struggling to decide how much she and the kids can be used in Peter’s (Chris Noth) gubernatorial campaign, and Kalinda (Archie Panjaba) pushing the envelope of sex on network TV when her dangerous estranged husband Nick (Marc Warren), reenters the picture.
Dexter, season premiere at 9pm on Showtime
– He’s smart, he’s good looking, and he’s got a great sense of humor. He’s Dexter Morgan (Michael C. Hall), everyone’s favorite serial killer. As a Miami forensics expert, he spends his days solving crimes, and nights committing them. But Dexter lives by a strict code of honor that is both his saving grace and lifelong burden. Torn between his deadly compulsion and his desire for true happiness, Dexter is a man in profound conflict with the world and himself. Last season Dexter stalked the Doomsday Killer, a vicious, deluded, religious fanatic who displayed his victims in grisly, Biblical-themed tableaux. Debra catching Dex mid-murder was only the beginning. If you were frustrated by the Showtime drama’s wonky sixth season, the intense fall premiere just might win you back as Lt. Debra Morgan (Jennifer Carpenter) starts to piece together her brother Dexter’s secrets. Season 7 also introduces a mysterious woman (Chuck’s Yvonne Strahovski) who helps Miami Metro with a case, and a Ukranian crime lord (Rome’s Ray Stevenson) who’s heading toward a “big showdown” with Dexter. But the real fireworks will come from Deb and Dex’s seemingly impossible new relationship.
Revenge, season premiere at 9pm on ABC
– ABC’s hit primetime soap drama is back on a new night with something to prove. Wealth, beauty and status define the people in the Hamptons, but one woman is willing to destroy everyone for the sake of revenge. Last season, Emily Thorne (Emily Van Camp) was the new rich girl in town. But the truth is that Emily wasn’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. Emily, who is in fact Amanda Clarke, is the daughter of convicted terrorist David Clarke. The real Amanda (not to be confused with fauxmanda aka the real Emily Thorne) has returned to her childhood home in the Hamptons to seek vengeance on behalf of her now-deceased father against the people that framed him: the rich and powerful Grayson family and all their accomplices. In the (literally) explosive season one finale, Charlotte Grayson overdosed on prescription pills after learning her mother, Grayson matriarch Victoria (the brilliant Madeleine Stowe), presumably perished in a plane crash orchestrated by her estranged husband Conrad on her way to testify against him. Revenge picks up eight weeks later, at the start of the Hamptons’ summer season. Like last fall’s, the premiere will flash-forward to a dramatic and terrifying event that the first half of season 2 will work toward. Creator Mike Kelley promises we’ll get answers to burning questions regarding the fates of in-peril characters Charlotte, Victoria, and Lydia (who was also onboard the plane).
American Dad, season premiere at 9:30pm on FOX
– This animated comedy from Family Guy creator Seth MacFarlane follows staunch GOP supporter and CIA agent Stan Smith (Seth MacFarlane) and the misadventures of his unconventional family in Langley Falls, VA. The series returns for an eighth season this fall. After seven seasons, this Sunday-night staple is still showing us new sides to its characters. In the premiere, we discover Hayley’s (Rachel MacFarlane) musical talents when she becomes the house singer in the bar Roger opens in the attic. Other highlights this season will include cameos by Rupert Grint, Community’s Alison Brie, Castle’s Nathan Fillion, and Mad Men’s Jon Hamm. Fans can also look forward to the show’s most warped Christmas episode yet: Danny Glover will guest as Krampus, the mythical creature who, according to Germanic legend, kidnaps naughty children. But this one sings! (Charles Bradley provides the singing voice.)
666 Park Avenue, season premiere at 10pm on ABC
– What would you do to have everything you desire? Step inside 666 Park Avenue, New York’s most seductive address. We all have some burning needs, desires and ambitions. For the residents of The Drake, the premier apartment building on Manhattan’s Upper East Side, these will all be met – for a price – courtesy of the building’s mysterious owner, Gavin Doran (Terry O’Quinn). But be careful what you wish for, because the price you have to pay is your soul. When Jane Van Veen (Rachael Taylor, Grey’s Anatomy) and Henry Martin (Dave Annable), an idealistic young couple from the Midwest, arrive in New York City, the glamorous center of industry and media, they are offered the opportunity to manage the historic Drake. Jane, a small town girl with big ambitions, always knew she wanted to be an architect. Henry, a member of the Mayor’s staff, is grounded, intelligent and tenacious. They are lured by the intoxicating lifestyle of New York’s wealthy elite. Gavin, who has many skeletons in his own closet, is at the height of his world and commands the dark power of The Drake. Olivia (Vanessa Williams), his beautiful but enigmatic, supportive wife, wears her elegance, wealth and position in society as armor… but cracks will slowly be revealed. Jane and Henry not only fall prey to the machinations of Gavin and Olivia, but unwittingly live in the dark embrace of the building’s supernatural forces which endanger the lives of its residents. Sexy, enticing and captivating, home to an epic struggle of good versus evil, The Drake maintains a dark hold over all of its tenants in this new, chilling drama, tempting them through their ambitions and desires.
Homeland, season premiere at 10pm on Showtime
– The Emmy award winning series for best drama, best drama actor and best drama actress enters its second season with much well-deserved buzz and anticipation. M.I.A. in Afghanistan for eight years and subjected to unthinkable torture at the hands of al-Qaeda, Marine Sgt. Nicholas Brody (Emmy winner Damian Lewis) finally came home, was declared a national hero, and is even being prepped for a political career. CIA officer Carrie Mathison (Emmy winner Claire Danes) believes he has been turned and become part of a plot to be carried out on American soil. But the volatile Carrie has some demons of her own as she tries to prove her theories are real and not a figment of her wild imagination, which is aggravated by her bipolar disorder. At the end of last season, Brody’s failed terrorist attack (thanks to a malfunctioning explosive vest) confirmed Carrie was right but without any evidence to expose Brody as a terrorist, his political career is on the rise and Carrie may be out of a job. In the season two premiere, an asset from Carrie’s former life comes in from the cold, and Brody discovers that Abu Nazir may not be content with his nonviolent approach to affecting change in American foreign policy.
The Mentalist, season premiere at 10pm on CBS
– The crime drama stars Golden Globe Award nominee Simon Baker as Patrick Jane, an independent consultant with the California Bureau of Investigation (CBI), who has a remarkable track record for solving serious crimes by using his razor sharp skills of observation. Within the Bureau, Jane is notorious for his blatant lack of protocol and his semi-celebrity past as a psychic medium, whose paranormal abilities he now admits he feigned. Jane’s role in cracking a series of tough, high-profile cases is greatly valued by his fellow agents; however, no-nonsense Senior Agent Teresa Lisbon alternates between reluctantly acknowledging Jane’s usefulness and blasting him for his theatrics, narcissism and dangerous lack of boundaries. Lisbon’s team includes agents Kimball Cho, Wayne Rigsby and Grace Van Pelt, who all think Jane’s a loose cannon but admire his charm and knack for clearing cases. With the crime drama switching to a new night for its fifth season, its basically a new start for the show. There will be major developments in Patrick Jane’s (Simon Baker) quest to nab Red John, the serial killer who murdered his family (although in the season’s second episode, Jane will meet a girl who claims to be his dead daughter). Jane and his CBI cohorts are forced to collaborate with a team of FBI agents, led by Rome’s Polly Walker. Red John’s lackey Lorelei Martins (Emmanuelle Chriqui)—introduced in last season’s finale—will stick around for several episodes as a foil, possible informant, and risky love interest for Jane, much to the chagrin of Agent Lisbon (Robin Tunney).