90210 returns Tuesday, September 13 at 8PM on The CW
The rich and entitled characters of Beverly Hills take their melodrama to college in season four. I watched the final two episodes of the third season out of curiosity and found myself perplexed by the one female character that nearly killed herself because the ghost of another female told her to. Even more perplexing was the marriage between two characters because the male's destined to die. The last scene of the series revealed that the main female character's pregnant with the smart guy's baby. The press release promises new relationships and friendships for the various characters in the fourth season. Name one teenage melodrama that didn't introduce tertiary new relationships once the college years arrive. Expect an unrealistic portrayal of college. Also, the show has two new show runners.
GOSSIP GIRL returns Monday, September 26 at 8PM on The CW
TheWB and, now, The CW employ the lazy pregnancy device every year. I remember several years ago when nearly every WB show concluded their season with a surprise pregnancy. Pregnancy arcs aren't interesting. Lo and behold, two of the female characters enter Gossip Girl with child (or possibly with child). Apparently, the season also concluded with a heart-wrenching decision from Chuck Bass to allow Blair to begin a new life as 'princess-to-be' with some fellow named Prince Louis. From what I've read and heard, Chuck Bass is a reprehensible character who possesses no redeeming qualities yet the female audience sympathizes with him and even roots for him. I don't understand what's heartbreaking about Blair pursuing a life where she isn't treated like an object. Expect some royal wedding fun in the new season.
NIKITA returns Friday, September 23 at 8PM on The CW
The CW's the only network to provide informative press releases for their returning series. In comparison, the NBC press releases were from November 2010. I don't care for the Nikita franchise. I won't try to write informatively about the new season. Instead, I present the informative press release:
(from The CW's press release, May 2011) In season one of this sexy and suspenseful series featuring international action star Maggie Q in the title role, the charming and deadly Nikita waged a war against Division, the agency that created her. Michael - the man who trained her, a man she trusted - was hunting her. But Nikita had an ace up her sleeve: Alex, a girl she trained to infiltrate this secret unit of the government. At the end of season one, Nikita and Alex's relationship had been shattered, and Nikita and Michael's relationship was restored. Now, Nikita and Michael are on the run with a hard drive containing the government's darkest secrets and conspiracies. Together, they are going to right the wrongs that Division has committed over the years, one mission at a time. But leading the hunt for them this time is Alex...and she knows all of Nikita's tricks.
SUPERNATURAL returns Friday, September 23 at 9PM on The CW
Supernatural heads into its seventh season. During its middle seasons, the show received great coverage for its addictive and entertaining seasons. Entertainment Weekly devoted a number of pages to the show once upon a time. Soon, the creator departed and Supernatural's not as beloved. The events of season six are confusing for someone who hasn't watched the show. In season seven, Sam and Dean will meet a foe unlike any other, which is daring since the brothers battled Lucifer, the King of Hell, etc. The brothers won't be able to use their old familiar tricks because the new foe's rendered them useless. So...game on then.
THE VAMPIRE DIARIES returns Thursday, September 22 at 8PM on The CW
The Vampire Diaries just produced two terrific seasons in a row. The narrative's told at a break-neck pace with enough twists to impress George R.R. Martin. The second season concluded with Klaus successfully bringing the beast out of Stefan following his successful transformation into a were-vamp. Damon and Elena grew closer when Damon battled a werewolf bite that threatened to kill him. Jeremy saw the ghosts of his two ex-girlfriends. In season three, we'll learn more about Klaus' plans. We'll witness Damon and Elena's growing bond as well as what kind of message Vicki and Anna have for Jeremy. Also, a war between the Forbes and Lockwoods might break out. I'm excited to return to Mystic Falls. TVD's terrific television.
THE WALKING DEAD returns Sunday, October 16 at 9PM on AMC
I'm sure anyone reading already knows about the Darabont/Mazzara switch. No one knows why Darabont resigned. It's assumed that he was forced to re-sign but who knows. Mazzara recently gave an interview to EW about the upcoming second season. He revealed that the season would follow Kirkman's comic. We'll meet Hershel, a farm owner, who houses the season one characters. The farm storyline will make up the majority of the season. Interestingly, the season one folk become as troublesome for Hershel as the zombies were for them during season one. It's an interesting twist. I'm always in favor of shifting perspectives in a narrative. I didn't enjoy season one but season two seems more promising. For more on the season, check out ew.com.
LUTHER returns Wednesday, September 28 at 10PM on BBC America
Luther's execution separates the series from generic procedural--it's an intense and fierce police procedural set in England, led by the hulking presence of Idris Elba. The series returns to BBC America for a four part sequel. The first season ended with a crazy cliff-hanger. I'm not sure how it'll be resolved. Luther will join a new police force and solve various crimes while dealing with the murder of his ex-wife. Like many procedurals, Luther's a complicated character in the mold of Vic Mackey. The line between menace and officer of the law's very thin. Elba's terrific in the role. I hope the four part sequel has room for Ruth Wilson's Alice Morgan.
SOUTH PARK returns Wednesday, October 5 at 10PM on Comedy Central
The mid-season finale motivated nearly every TV blogger and critic to speculate about the future of the show as well as Trey and Matt's love for it. In response, Comedy Central's launching the second half with aplomb. Before the actual premiere, there'll be a documentary about the last fifteen years of the series. The 15th season's been dubbed "The Season of the Fan." I'm not sure what the premiere will be about. I doubt Matt and Trey know (or will know until the week before the premiere). The long-running animated series won't be going anywhere for three years. Bloggers, fans and critics can relax and take their new criticism perspective of the show elsewhere.
WORKAHOLICS returns Tuesday, September 20 at 10:30PM on Comedy Central
I've never seen an episode of Workaholics. I had no idea such a show was on the air. I'll assume the series has a decent following. The new season's back with more stories about the characters' lives from 9 to 5 and 5 to 9.
If interested, Nick Swardsen's Pretend Time returns October 5 (a Wednesday) at 10PM. Tosh.0 is back Tuesday, September 20 at 10PM.
SONS OF ANARCHY returns Tuesday, September 6 at 10PM on FX
I'm going to use a familiar phrase for Sons of Anarchy. Kurt Sutter seems caught between a rock and a hard place. The second season of the show delighted fans so much that it's become the gold standard of the show. Last season, Sutter broke formula, took SAMCRO to Dublin to rescue Jax's child and then put them in prison. People didn't like the season. Now, SAMCRO's back in Charming, beating people up and stuff (presumably). Early reviews haven't been great. The show's in no-win territory, apparently. Charlie Hunnam and Kurt Sutter have gotten into public squabbles recently, so the fans aren't alone in their frustrations with the show's creative direction.
IT'S ALWAYS SUNNY IN PHILADELPHIA returns Thursday, September 16 at 10PM on FX
The promos for the new season have delighted me. The show's been presented as a Lifetime tear-jerker. Every so often, there's an actual promo with footage from the new season. Indeed, Mac's 50 pounds heavier and the gang's as politically incorrect and offensive as ever.
ARCHER returns Thursday, September 15 at 10:30PM on FX
I don't know how many people watch Archer. The ones who do adore the show. Jon Benjamin's been extremely successful since Archer launched. FX will air only three episodes of the successful animated series in the fall before it's 2012 return with 13 episodes.
THE LEAGUE returns Thursday, October 6 at 10:30PM on FX
The League had an extraordinary second season. I barely watched any of it but the buzz tells me that the comedy's above-average with great characters and great episodes. I'm sure there'll be some famous faces dropping by and some football humor.
BOARDWALK EMPIRE returns Sunday, September 25 at 9PM on HBO
Terrence Winters' ambitious period piece has its critics. Occasionally, the narrative meanders without purpose or direction. There stretches when I wondered what the point of an episode was. The second season's poised to inject consistent energy. When season one ended, Nucky's republican president won the election battle and he reunited with his woman. He overlooked the ocean from the boardwalk, content and happy, unaware that the commodore and Jimmy have begun conspiring. Nucky's enemies are everywhere--in Chicago, in his family, in New York, in politics, in the KKK. The man's excellent diplomatic abilities prevented the tensions from exploding but they're closing in now. Season 1 concluded terrifically and the promos for season 2 have been tremendous. If you're interested in the series, you could watch from season two but I'd recommend renting season one first.
HUNG returns Sunday, October 2 at 10PM on FX
Hung's still churning, eh?
HOW TO MAKE IT IN AMERICA returns Sunday, October 2 at 10:30PM on HBO
How to Make It in America's either underrated, properly rated or overrated (depending on whom you hear it from). I've heard comparisons between this series and Entourage. America seems more authentic and grounded than Entourage's Hollywood fantasy. For the second season, I presume the characters will continue their attempts to sell shoes and make a life for themselves in the city that never sleeps. HBO ordered eight episodes--an order that could mean cancellation because 10's the magic number for comedies; however, 8 might be the new 10 now.
BORED TO DEATH returns Monday, October 10 at 9PM on HBO
Bored To Death also returns for an eight episode second season. The show hasn't been the hit the premium channel wanted. Zach Galifianakis, Ted Danson and Jason Schwartzman are funny individuals. Presumably, the comedy would produce never-ending laughter. From what I've read, the comedy's unremarkable. It's got that quirky quality that nearly every HBO series has, which is annoying. I don't know what the exact issue with the series is as I don't watch it. Perhaps it's not a whole show. Maybe the characters or the cases aren't defined enough. I don't know. HBO's airing the show on Mondays because they want two nights of original programming. I don't think this is the show to experiment with.
DEXTER returns Sunday, October 2 at 9PM on Showtime
I don't know what's in store for season six of Dexter. I heard mixed opinions about the fifth season and Julia Stiles as Luman. Luman left the show after she lost the desire to kill people. She and Dexter worked together to kill and, in the process, became romantically involved. I haven't found information about the new season. I'll guess that Dexter targets another serial killer or something. Isn't it time for the sister to learn about her brother's hobby? The discovery seems like the natural place for the narrative to go. If that happens, though, the show probably wouldn't be able to continue.
SANCTUARY returns Friday, October 7 at 10PM on Syfy
The Syfy show's about a 160 year old professor who protects people and creatures with abilities while containing the dangerous ones. I don't think anyone new to the show would understand the fourth season without watching the previous three. I read about armies, a place called Praxis, someone named Magnus and possibly a rogue Abnormal. I'm in no place to comment on the show, so here's the press release about season four:
(from Syfy's press release, August 2011) The 13 all-new episodes of Season 4 change everything. With the arrival of the Hollow Earth refugees, the balance between Abnormals and humans is severely upset. In order to keep the peace, Magnus and team must throw out the rulebook. But forging their own way means they're not just dodging dangerous Abnormals anymore, now they've got world governments and new villains nipping at their heels.
PSYCH returns Wednesday, October 12 at 10PM on USA
The longest running USA show returns for its sixth season and, apparently, Shawn might pop the question to his girlfriend in between solving crimes, with his buddy Gus and his father, by using his acute powers of observation and deduction. William Shatner, Kristy Swanson, Corey Feldman and Danny Glover will guest star this season.
COVERT AFFAIRS returns Thursday, November 1 at 10PM on USA
USA's airing the second half of season two this fall, in hopes the show finding success in the fall (possibly?). Annie's transformation into a seasoned operative continues while she tries to restore the trust between her and her sister following her confession about her true job as an operative. Like many procedurals, the series mixes the personal with the business.
THE YOUTUBE CLIP OF THE WEEK