Fall is an exciting time for the television-lovers of the world; on the one hand, there are the Emmy awards (which are of dubious relevance, but still fun) and on the other, a fresh crop of new shows arrive like a harvest.
But just as exciting—or perhaps more exciting, if the freshman programs happen to suck—is the return of beloved shows that have spent the summer aestivating and are ready to return to our screens. What would fall be without a new semester at Greendale with the gang of Community, or some fresh-cooked meth from Walter White?
Here’s a list of the buzz-worthy shows returning this fall which will hopefully help you forget that Charlie’s Angels was ever re-booted.
Returning comedies worth watching:
Bored to Death
A kick-ass cast of Jason Schwartzman, Zach Galifianakis and Ted Danson make this neo-noir comedy a treat. Series creator Jonathan Ames has created a lovable group of terrible private investigators in this HBO comedy. Bored to Death returns October 10th at 9 on HBO.
How I Met Your Mother
This popular CBS multi-camera sitcom has lagged in recent seasons, but the HIMYM fanbase remains rabid. How I Met Your Mother returns September 19th at 8 on CBS.
I wrote about MTV’s impressive new sitcom Awkward. last week. Awkward. is a charming high school sitcom centered around Jena (Ashley Rickards), whose world is turned upside down when an unfortunate accident leads her high school peers to think she attempted suicide. Awkward. airs on Tuesdays at 10 on MTV.
This well-constructed and widely adored sitcom has become a powerhouse in the television world. Taking home multiple Emmys last year including Best Comedy, Modern Family has become one of the highest rated comedies on network television. Modern Family is poised to dominate the Emmys again this Sunday with seven major nominations. Modern Family returns September 21st at 8 on ABC.
Not much to say about this one, a classic is a classic. Creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone keep churning out memorable and funny plot lines for the inhabitants of South Park, Colorado. Last season’s finale of South Park was surprisingly thoughtful and poignant. Parker and Stone have been at this a long time and hopefully they can sustain this quality for even longer. South Park returns October 5th at 10 on Comedy Central.
Community stands as one of TV’s most ambitious shows. Headed by Dan Harmon, this NBC comedy is smart as a whip while still being one of the goofiest shows on the airwaves today. Armed with an incredible roster of guest stars including John Goodman, Martin Starr (Freaks and Geeks, Party Down), and Michael K. Williams (The Wire’s Omar), Community’s third season looks like a comedy nerd’s wet dream. Community returns September 22nd at 8 on NBC.
Parks and Recreation
Widely regarded as network TV’s best comedy, Parks and Rec has a big reputation to live up to in its fourth season. Creators (and Office alumni) Mike Schur and Greg Daniels have pulled together the strongest comedic ensemble on television anchored by an amazing lead performance from Amy Poehler. With the additions of Adam Scott (Party Down) and Rob Lowe (The West Wing) in the third season, P&R looks like it will continue its streak of great comedy. Parks and Rec returns September 22 at 8:30 on NBC.
It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia
Always Sunny has made a completely improbable rise to popularity throughout its run. Originally, Sunny was a low budget, hand held, single camera comedy on FX, starring nobody any viewers would recognize. The fact that Sunny is where it is today is amazing. Now entering its seventh season, IASIP looks to churn out another strong season despite an uneven 6th season. Things look good for this season, considering Rob Mcelhenney (Mac) has gained 50 pounds for his role this season. Fat Mac should be a treat to watch. It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia airs Thursdays at 10 on FX.
Returning Dramas Worth Watching:
Now returning for its final season, House needs to focus on its strongest asset—Hugh Laurie’s performance. Now that Lisa Edelstein has left the show, House can get away from the ridiculous House/Cuddy relationship and get back to what it does best: medical drama that reflects on its titular character’s problems. House returns October 3rd at 9 on FOX.
Sons of Anarchy
SOA has also already premiered—and it did so with a bang. The 90 minute premiere episode garnered about 5 million viewers which is a 20% rise from its third season premiere. Sons of Anarchy airs Tuesdays at 10 on FX
The best sci-fi on TV right now is Fringe. Following a brain-melting season 3 finale, Fringe looks to continue strong this year (which will likely be its final season). Anna Torv’s lead performance has been a pleasure to watch while John Noble’s supporting performance as Walter has been a tour de force. Fringe returns September 23rd at 9 on FOX.
Breaking Bad’s 4th season has been running for a while now, but its Breaking Bad, so it has to be mentioned. Creator Vince Gilligan has made something very special here. Easily the best show on TV right now, and probably one of the best of all time, Breaking Bad should be mandatory television. Breaking Bad airs Sundays at 10 on AMC.
After a lackluster 5th season, I’m not holding my breath for this year’s season of Dexter to blow me away like seasons 1 and 4. I am hopeful though. Michael C. Hall’s incredibly strong central performance has kept this series afloat and hopefully it can find its footing again. Dexter returns October 2nd at 9 on Showtime.
The Walking Dead
The Walking Dead had one of the strongest pilot episodes I have seen, but the rest of The Walking Dead’s first season never reached the same level of emotional storytelling. Now that series creator Frank Darabont has left the show, it remains to be seen whether The Walking Dead can sustain itself at a high quality. The Walking Dead returns October 16th at 9 on AMC.