Sunday, September 26th
Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, 2-hour season premiere at 7pm on ABC
– This feel-good, tearjerker (at least for me, every single episode without fail) of a reality series will be undergoing its own makeover in season 8. No longer will hottie host Ty Pennington arrive at a family’s home to announce that they’ve been selected. Instead, he will surprise the family when they least expect it, like on a family outing to the Yankees game. They will also be expanding their definition of “home” to include schools, group homes, and community organizations. In the 2-hour season premiere, the team is joined by the kid stars of Modern Family to help renovate the building for Boys Hope Girls Hope in Baltimore. Other cool celebrity guests helping out this season include Cedric the Entertainer, Shaq, Raven-Symone, and Kristin Chenoweth, the last of whom will perform a Broadway number during a demolition—I am so there.
The Simpsons, season premiere at 8pm on FOX
– Now the longest-running comedy in television history, the hit animated comedy series immediately struck a chord with viewers across the country as it poked fun of itself and everything in its wake. With its subversive humor and delightful wit, the series has made an indelible imprint on American pop culture, and the family members have become television icons. In the season premiere, Lisa goes to a performing-arts camp that becomes “Elementary School Musical.” Glee’s Lea Michele, Cory Monteith, and Amber Riley guest star as fellow campers singing a version of “Good Vibrations.”
The Amazing Race, season premiere at 8:30pm on CBS
– Season 17’s Brook and Claire are already famous from the hilarious watermelon in the face mishap that went viral. The race around the world premieres with a 90-minute episode. The team that wins the first leg will receive “a real gamechanger” of a surprise, according to host Phil Keoghan. The new teams include a pair of YouTube sensations, home-shopping hosts, and Ivy Leage a cappella singers. They will be trotting the globe from Bangladesh to Ghana to the Arctic Circle, all new destinations for the show.
The Cleveland Show, season premiere at 8:30pm on FOX
– The Family Guy spin-off from creator Seth MacFarlane follows Peter Griffin’s soft- spoken neighbor Cleveland Brown as he and his son Cleveland Jr. relocate to Cleveland’s hometown of Stoolbend, VA to create a new family unit with his high school sweetheart and her two misbehaved children. Coming off a shaky start and mixed reviews, the show has found it’s groove and now features a promising list of guest stars, almost all musicians, for it’s sophomore season. The premiere episode features Kanye West voicing as 19-year-old Kenny West, an aspiring rapper who Cleveland takes under his wing, they write a song and West is signed to a record deal. Other artists appearing this season include T-Pain, will.i.am, and Justin Timberlake. Timberlake will be playing the gay fiancé of Cleveland’s friend/co-worker Henry as well as singing a ballad he co-produced about the last booger 5-year-old Rallo plans to eat. I can’t possibly pass up on that piece of musical genius, can you?
Desperate Housewives, season premiere at 9pm on ABC
– There is something to rejoice in the fact that comedy series Ugly Betty got cancelled and that is that Vanessa Williams makes the perfect addition as Wisteria Lane’s fifth housewife. After Dana Delaney’s Katherine had a mental breakdown, turned gay, and moved out of the cul-de-sac last season, there was a void in Wisteria Lane’s clique of frenemies. Williams plays glamorous socialite Renee Perry (Vanessa Williams) who is married to a Yankee, a player on the team not a Northerner, and also happens to be Lynette’s old college roommate. Perry strolls into the Lane in a limo and chatting on the phone. She’s bound to make waves with her nouveau-riche lifestyle and attitude that I’m sure Gaby will find great issue with, because they are so similar. Also bringing a good dose of drama this season is Mary Alice’s widower, the sketchy Paul who returns with his new wife Beth.
Family Guy, 1-hour season premiere at 9pm on FOX
– After a phenomenal season that continued to push the boundaries (the 150th episode entitled “Brian and Stewie” was a one-hour one-scene episode), the hit adult animated comedy series that satires American culture and society is back for more jabs. The season premiere is a murder mystery in Quahog and exec producer Steve Callaghan says they will kill off a few characters. Oh well, that only opens the door for some new ones to come in and spice things up in the quaint little Rhode Island town. After under attack this season is Santa Claus! The hour-long Christmas episode features Stewie vowing to travel to the North Pole to kill Mr. Claus after the local mall Santa leaves before the homicidal tot gets his turn. The episode also features four musical numbers—score!
Dexter, season premiere at 9pm on Showtime
– Last season ended with a crazy twist that seems impossible to top! In the dramatic season finale, Dexter (Michael C. Hall) finally killed the Trinity Killer (John Lithgow) and was feeling proud until he discovered that before he was offed, the Trinity Killer killed Dexter’s wife and left her in a bathtub next to her infant son, crying in a pool of Mommy’s blood. Gives me the chills just recounting it. This season, Dexter goes from happily married husband to guilt-ridden single dad. How will it affect his ability to maintain an average-guy facade while satisfying his need to kill? As Dexter’s secret life and new responsibilities threaten to overwhelm him, his ability to remain focused — and undetected — are being tested like never before.
Brothers & Sisters, season premiere at 10pm on ABC
– The adult family drama series is like that awkward family reunion, where everyone is airing their dirty secrets at the dinner table. The thing is, with the Walkers, they’re dropping these bombshells at every meal. The Walkers appear to be the perfect all-American family, but it’s up to matriarch Nora Walker (Sally Field) to hold everyone together as they cross paths with divorce, infidelity, addiction, war, politics, prejudice and death. This season, the producers aim to make more self-contained episodes. The cast has also been cut by three—Rob Lowe and Balthazar Getty are out, and after three episodes so is Emily VanCamp. The action picks up a year after May’s car-crash cliff-hanger, as widow Kitty (Calista Flockhart) mulls a new career and a new man. Nora will land her own radio show called Ask Mom, as well as a man.
Bored to Death, season premiere at 10pm on HBO
– The dark comedy series follows the misadventures of Jonathan Ames (Jason Schwartzmann), a young Brooklyn writer who is feeling lost and down on his luck. Rather than face reality, Jonathan turns instead to this fantasies—moonlighting as a private detective—because he wants to a man of action like his heroes from the classic private detective novels. Meanwhile, Jonathan’s boss, the pot-loving magazine editor George (Ted Danson), is having a career crisis as he contemplates whether the printed word is still relevant in today’s culture. And in order to deal with his troubles, he smokes more pot…should be amusing. Zach Galifianakis (“The Hangover”) plays Jonathan’s best friend Ray, a talented but not-yet-financially-successful cartoonist. He’s Sancho Panza to Jonathan’s Don Quixote.
Undercover Boss, season premiere at 10pm on CBS
– The reality series follows high-level chief executives as they slip anonymously into the rank and file of their companies. The first season of the series, last year’s most watched new program, clearly resonated with Americans. As a result of the show’s popularity, the producers had to concoct new and imaginative wars to convince suspicious workers that they weren’t being filmed for a hit reality show. The show’s success also made it much easier to persuade more companies to participate since they truly believe it’s a valuable work experience that will significantly enhance a boss’s ability to lead successfully.
Sister Wives, series premiere at 10pm on TLC
– Nowadays there is a reality show about almost anything, and if a Mormon family with numerous wives makes for a hit HBO drama series, why can’t it be a reality series? And who better to exploit the unique and rather large families than TLC? Meet husband Kody Brown — along with his three wives: Meri, Janelle and Christine and their combined 13 children — and see how they attempt to navigate life as a “normal” family in a society that shuns their lifestyle. From their unconventional family structure and living arrangements to financial challenges, each half hour episode exposes the inner workings of a polygamist household, revealing the unexpectedly tight-knit and loving relationships between Kody’s wives. The series begins with Kody announcing to his three wives of 16 years that he is bringing a new wife and her three kids into the family. Bringing on a fourth wife could easily disrupt the balance, changing lives forever. The series chronicles the growing pains as Robyn and her kids assimilate into the family and the sister wives work through the insecurities and uncertainties that are inevitable to their chosen way of life. Sister Wives also captures the intense dynamics surrounding a man juggling three wives while attempting to keep it a secret from the outside world.
Eastbound & Down, season premiere at 10:30pm on HBO
– Arrogant, washed-up big league pitcher Kenny Powers (Danny McBride) thought he’d scored a shot at a comeback in the majors, but the offer turned out to be bogus. Now, having left his North Carolina life behind, he’s making a fresh start in a small Mexican town, and bless the locals with his awesomeness. Powers hooks up with a crappy south-of-the-border team, then finds a temporary fix for the hole in his heart left by April by falling for a local hottie named Vida.
Monday, September 27th
Sesame Street, season premiere at 7am on PBS
– Sesame Street’s 41st season is the subject of much controversy lately due to Katy Perry’s exposed cleavage during a musical number with Elmo. Well that skit was cut due to parents complaining it was inappropriate for young children, but other female celebrities guest starring this season include Amy Poehler and Kyra Sedgwick.
The Buried Life, season premiere at 10:30pm on MTV
– The docu-series about four cute boys on a mission to cross items off their bucket list began with a simple question: “What do you want to do before you die?” Out of it grew an inspirational TV show and a grassroots movement that has allowed viewers to live vicariously through four friends — Ben, Jonnie, Duncan and Dave — as they put themselves in the most incredible and unexpected situations while traveling the country trying to complete a list of “100 things they want to do before they die.” For every item they cross off their list, they help a perfect stranger accomplish one of their dreams. Season two of the series promises more elaborate capers and inspirational moments as people from around the world share their own lists and ask the guys for help. Crashing a parade, capturing a fugitive and raising $1,000,000 in a week, are just a few of the list items they will attempt to pull off. The guys will also try to help two sisters make an important motorbike journey across Florida to bury their father’s ashes, build a skate park for a community that has lost four teenagers to tragedy — and help a struggling rock band get signed to a record label.
Tuesday, September 28th
No Ordinary Family, series premiere at 8pm on ABC
– The Powells are about to go from ordinary to extraordinary. After 16 years of marriage, Jim (Michael Chiklis, The Shield Fantastic Four) feels disconnected from his workaholic wife, Stephanie (Julie Benz, Dexter), and two teenage children, Daphne (Kay Panabaker, Summerland) and JJ (Jimmy Bennett, Star Trek). To encourage family bonding time, Jim decides the family will join Stephanie on her business trip to South America. When their plane crashes into the Amazon River, they barely enjoy a moment to celebrate their survival before returning to the grind of everyday life. But they will soon realize that their lives have been forever changed. Each member of the family starts to show signs of new, unique and distinct super powers. For the Powells, embarking on a mission to understand their new abilities becomes the key to rebuilding their family life, as they learn what defines and unifies them. Despite the fact they can collectively lift a car, run at lightning speed, read your mind and calculate the dimensions of the Eiffel Tower — all before you say “superhero” – they are first and foremost an average family with everyday problems.
Stargate Universe, season premiere at 9pm on Syfy
– In 1994, mankind discovered a network of Stargates that took them to the farthest reaches of the universe and unlocked some of history’s greatest secrets. Since that time, they’ve carried us through travels to numerous planets and battles against relentless villains. They’ve brought to the surface the wonders of Atlantis and led us to conflict with the dreaded Wraith. Now, humanity is about to cross a new threshold with the activation of a new Stargate that links to incredible Ancient technology. A group of soldiers, scientists and civilians, fleeing an attack, find themselves stranded far from Earth on a mammoth Ancient ship known as the Destiny. They must live in the limbo of time and space, cling to the notion of hope, locked on an unknown course in search of home. Now the group’s fates lie at the mercy of the ship as they face the challenges of meeting the most basic needs of food, water and air. Through the danger and adventures, some will be revealed as heroes, some will be shown as villains…and some won’t make it out at all.
The Good Wife, season premiere at 10pm on CBS
– Last year’s critics’ pick for favorite new drama is back for a new season of tense legal and marital melodrama. Emmy Award winner Julianna Margulies stars as Alicia Florrick, 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 public humiliation caused by her husband, Peter, Alicia starts over by pursuing her original career as a defense attorney. As a junior associate at a prestigious Chicago law firm, she joins her longtime friend, former law school classmate and firm partner Will Gardner. Last season, Will and Alicia, who have been pining over each other since college, shared their first kiss followed by a shit ton of awkwardness. In the finale, we saw Alicia choosing to go stand with her hubby behind the podium over answering Will’s phone call, ouch. Well in the season premiere we find out that Will left a swoon-worthy message, which was promptly deleted by sketchy Eli. Also this season, Alicia’s gay brother visits and appears on YouTube saying that Peter is uncomfortable with gays, oh damn.
Wednesday, September 29th
Law & Order: Los Angeles, series premiere at 10pm on NBC
– In the wake of the original Law & Order’s retirement, they decided to relocate the show to Los Angeles and start all over again with another spin-off in the style of the CSI franchise with location-themed shows. The newest addition to the Law & Order brand, the crime procedural fuses classic ripped-from-the-headlines storytelling with the distinctive backdrop of LA – delving into the unique attitudes, cultures and crimes of the West Coast. As members of the Los Angeles Police Department’s elite Robbery Homicide Division, Detective Winters (Skeet Ulrich) is a straight-shooting ex-Marine with a clear-cut worldview as stubborn as he is, while TJ (Corey Stoll), who grew up the son of an Oscar-winning Polish cinematographer, knows too well the dark underside that is behind-the-scenes Hollywood. Deputy District Attorney Morales (Alfred Molina) is a sarcastic realist who believes moral righteousness is great in theory, but ineffective in a street fight. Though he knows how to manipulate both his public image and the behind-the-scenes politics, he’s still a killer in the courtroom who lives to see justice served.
Friday, October 1st
The Increasingly Poor Decisions of Todd Margaret, series premiere at 10pm on IFC
– Created, written by, and starring Arrested Development’s David Cross, the freshman comedy series follows the awkward misadventures of an American office temp and convenient liar named Todd Margaret. Margaret bluffs his way into a senior sales position heading up the London office for the new energy drink Thunder Muscle. Cross’ out-of-control farce reaches epic proportions when his character’s gaffes and misfortunes wreak havoc on the city of London. His antics are often fueled by Dave, (Blake Harrison), his mysteriously devious and sometimes useless assistant. Complicating matters is Todd’s misplaced attempts to win the affection of Alice (Sharon Horgan), his uninterested UK love interest. The series also features fellow Arrested Development alum Will Arnett as Todd’s hard-ass, foul-mouthed boss. Amber Tamblyn also guest stars as Todd’s American “girlfriend.”