Narrowing this list down to five shows returning this fall was the most difficult thing in the world. So I didn’t. Instead I made it 10; which was still a difficult number. People might question why I left off perennial favorites, like shows about zombies and Prohibition era gangsters, but I’ve always had a quirky loyalty to certain shows and have followed a few of these from the beginning. Here we go:
10. Parenthood (NBC, Tuesdays, 10/9c)
This drama won’t blow you away, but it will provide good show about a family that you can watch with your entire family. It started it’s fourth season on Tuesday and because there are so many characters, it’s hard to follow unless you’ve seen it before. I was slightly disappointed in the season premiere, and worry if this might be the season it goes from being a solid, above-average show into a nosedive it can’t back out of. I still am a firm believer that Adam’s family (with a son who has Asperger syndrome) is the most compelling storyline. Yet Sarah has been my favorite character to watch unfold.
9. American Horror Story (FX, October 17, 10/9c)
A horror anthology? I didn’t think I’d ever like such a thing, but I watched the majority of last season thanks to two friends who loved it, and while I was scared out of my mind (I can’t handle suspense), I loved it. I dig the fact that it’s going to be an anthologized series and even if you miss one season it won’t matter. A new story every year means it can remain fresh for as long as the writers want it to be. This year we’ll be dealing with an insane asylum as the season will officially be called American Horror Story: Asylum. Talk about spooky.
I’ve had a love hate relationship with this show. I loved it when it came out. It was, simply put, fun. Say what you will about laugh tracks (I still love them) and basic comedies that don’t try to be Modern Family/30 Rock smart, but this one started off as nerdy fun. Then it got a little annoying. Characters started popping up and it took me a few seconds to understand that this was okay. Deep exhale. I missed all of last season, but am scrambling to catch up before this season’s premiere. As I’m typing this I’m chatting with an editor at Paste who just said, “but it’d SO BAD” – how can a show that’s won Emmy’s for acting and get nominated twice for Best Comedy series be so polarizing?
7. Sons of Anarchy (FX, Tuesdays, 10/9c)
The fifth season just premiered on Tuesday and I have to admit that when this show first came out I thought for sure that it wasn’t my cup of tea. Well, years later and I realized I was an idiot. It’s everything a badass show needs to be. That’s a new genre, by the way. The SAMCRO crew is brutal, but also have heart. The complexity of the characters is what drives me to want to continue watching it. I’m sure people who watch the show don’t necessarily watch it for character development and they don’t have to. There’s a lot of shocking, thrilling and badass moments that makes the show extremely action packed. See my review of the fifth season premiere over at Paste.
6. Modern Family (ABC, September 26, 9:00/8:00c)
Yes, I, who hated this show am now stoked for the new season. Last season was the first one I watched (I’ve subsequently caught up) and now I’m rooting for this show. I still hate Gloria and Manny, though not as much as I have in the past, and love, love, love the Dunphys. They could have a show all to their own and I’d still watch it. Seriously, how good is Phil? He’s everything I want to be as a father. Nerdy, sensitive and completely clueless. I also want to take this time to say that “Virgin Territory” was the best episode of last season.
5. Parks and Recreation (NBC, September 20, 9:30/8:30c)
This season is going to be a game changer. Leslie is in office and Ben is in Washington DC. Will it jump the shark? Probably not. The show is too smart for that. I’m excited to see how they keep it all together. I’ve had my problems with the show in the past (like Andy and April’s quick courtship to marriage transition), but I’ve settled down with the nit-picky stuff. And what does a brother need to do to get some more Donna up in his life?
4. Dexter (Showtime, September 30, 10:00/9:00c)
Okay, okay, okay. The past two seasons have been shadows of its former self. The Trinity season will go down in history and the the fifth and sixth will be forgotten about. But this new season will be bananas. It’s do or die for Dexter. Both the character and the show. We have two seasons left and producers have already stated last season’s finale is basically like the pilot for the remainder of the show. In 24 episodes we’ll know the fate of Dexter, love it or hate it.
3. Community (NBC, October 19, 8:30/7:30c)
Dan Harmon isn’t coming back? So what?! Yeah, I said it. He created the show and was the creative backbone, but I have full confidence in the writers to continue with his vision and make this upcoming season amazing. Season four might be its last one on the air and I’m okay with that. I’m okay with it going out as one of the funniest shows ever. I’m actually worried about the shows ability to sustain such a high level of hilarity past this one. I really think the gang is one of the best ensemble casts in television history and I can’t wait to see what this new era of the show has to offer.
2. How I Met Your Mother (CBS, September 24, 8:00/7:00c)
Say what you will about HIMYM, but I love it. I’ve loved the show since its inception and won’t jump ship now. There’s been a lot of ups and downs, but last season set up a lot of good. The show still makes me laugh a lot and cry just enough. It’s a terrific romantic comedy regardless of how annoying some of the characters may seem. They’re just realistic people, people! No one can be lovable all of the time. By this point in time you’ve either stuck with it or lost interest long ago. It’s a shame for those who have stopped watching. I’m going to do what writers have done too much by stealing one of the show’s most famous lines, and I’m not even ashamed to be unoriginal. This season is going to be legend, wait for it…
1. Homeland (Showtime, September 30, 9:00/8:00c)
Claire Danes. Claire fucking Danes. If she doesn’t win Best Drama Actress I’ll be shocked. I’ll be devastated. I’ve already seen the first episode of the second season and it doesn’t let you down. It picks up the same level of intensity the first season left us with. I’ve read reviews on sites that say this show is awful and I think, “What are they talking about?” I think this is one of those shows (like Breaking Bad, Mad Men, etc.) that no one can dislike. So re-watch the first 12 episodes (which I’m currently doing) and get ready for the best show on television‘s return.