Summer's over. As we turn off the grill and step back inside, it's time to settle into our couches for the annual crop of new TV shows. Here are the dramas, comedies, and reality trainwrecks to get excited about.
We haven't seen the majority of these new fall shows, but we've been checking out the previews and promos, trailers and teasers to figure out what we're going to be watching both on the networks and cable. Here's what we're saving room for on our DVR, some info about our returning favorites, and a list of the other series that will be foisted on you over the coming months. What looks great/horrible? What will be the first show to be canceled? What's going to be the next big thing? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments and happy autumn!
Network: The CW
Premiere: Wednesday, Sept. 8, 9pm
Why We're Watching: Bitchy cheerleaders, skimpy costumes, and choreographed dance numbers. What's not to love? This is going to put the "guilty" in guilty pleasure. And those kids on Gossip Girl are getting a little old anyway.
Top Chef: Just Desserts [video]
Premiere: Wednesday, Sept. 15, 11pm
Why We're Watching: Top Chef just won an Emmy and its formula of putting chefs in precarious positions while competing for a prize is always fun to watch. Add host Gail Simmons—who we love!—to all that chocolate and icing and our sweet tooth is satisfied. It might not be as good as the original (how will they cope with the long baking times?) but our stomachs are rumbling.
Boardwalk Empire [video]
Premiere: Sunday, September 19, 9pm
Why We're Watching: A period drama on HBO? With a pilot directed by Martin Scorsese (which cost $20 million to make)? About gangsters in Atlantic City? And starring Steve Buscemi? Is there anything else that needs to be said?
Hawaii Five-O [video]
Premiere: Monday, Sept. 20, 10pm
Why We're Watching: Every season you need at least one really stupid show to make you happy. One in which beautiful people do really silly things in a really gorgeous locale. This show seems to fit the bill. Starring Scott Caan, Lost's Daniel Dae Kim, and Battlestar Galactica's Grace Park, there sure is some excellent scenery to take in.
Raising Hope [video]
Premiere: Tuesday, Sept 21, 9pm
Why We're Watching: The cast. If Martha Plimpton, Cloris Leachman, and Deadwood's Garret Dillahunt can't bring the funny on this series about a trashy family trying to raise a baby, then no one can.
Premiere: Wednesday, September 22, 8pm
Why We're Watching: I'd trust just about anything that JJ Abrams has to offer, but this yarn about a husband-and-wife spy team trying to balance espionage careers, their love life, and running a restaurant looks slick, sexy, and superb.
My Generation [video]
Premiere: Thursday, Sept 23, 8pm
Why We're Watching: OK, so this is a scripted drama that is posing as a reality show about people from a high school class reuniting. This is either going to be an awesome, genre-defying triumph or a horrible abomination. Also, we've seen the faux-documentary used for comedy in several series, so we're curious to see how it works when laughs aren't the main objective.
$#*! My Dad Says [video]
Premiere: Thursday, Sept 23, 8:30pm
Why We're Watching: Because it's going to be so so bad, this Twitter-to-tube adaptation is probably going to be full of laughs. We'll probably only watch the first couple of episodes, though, because schadenfreude wears off quickly.
No Ordinary Family [video]
Premiere: Tuesday, Sept 28, 8pm
Why We're Watching: Members of a seemingly normal family are involved in a mysterious plane crash and they emerge with superpowers. It seems like the perfect blend of the personal and the fantastical, but then again so was Heroes and look at how quickly that went off the rails.
The A List [video]
Premiere: Monday, October 4, 10pm
Why We're Watching: This show, which we've been calling the "Gay Housewives of New York," is going to be absolutely horrible. But we wouldn't miss it for the world. Since Danielle Staub is leaving Real Housewives of New Jersey we need some new reality TV "stars" to detest.
The Walking Dead [video]
Premiere: Sunday, October 31, 10pm
Why We're Watching: It's a zombie show on Halloween! Get it? The preview makes it look like a serial version of 28 Days Later, but between the quality programming we've been getting from AMC and the quality of the source material from the comic book of the same name, we have high hopes that it will be both thoughtful and action-packed.
Gossip Girl [video]
Network: The CW
Premiere: Monday, Sept 13, 9pm
What to Expect: Chuck and Blair, Dan and Serena, Nate and his manbangs, Vanessa looking ugly, and Jenny acting a fool. Same old, same old. Oh, but they go to Paris. That will be cute.
Premiere: Wednesday, September 15, 8pm
What to Expect: Yes, this grandfather of reality TV competition shows is still on the air. Yes, it's still great. In fact, last season was perhaps the show's best yet, and this iteration in Nicaragua should be fantastic, especially with former Dallas Cowboys' coach Jimmy Johnson as a castaway.
Premiere: Tuesday, Sept. 21, 9pm
What to Expect: Singing, Dancing, Sue Motherfucking Sylvester, Britney Spears, Kurt's boyfriend, Cheyenne Jackson, diva antics from Charice, and tons of sunshine and fun! Hurray!
Premiere: Thursday, September 23, 8:30pm
What to Expect: We don't know much about the new season, but does it even matter? You know it's going to be hilarious. Don't forget there's a live episode on October 14.
Real Housewives of Atlanta [video]
Premiere: Monday, October 4, 9pm
What to Expect: More of the trademark antics from the southern-most ladies of this franchise. Plus Lisa Wu Hartwell is out and two new Real Housewives are in. Which do you think will be the first to pull off Kim Zolciak's wig?
The Rest of the Fall Season Freshman Class
Nikita, Thursday, Sept. 9, 9pm (CW)
Outlaw, Wednesday, Sept. 15, 10pm (NBC)
Lone Star, Monday, Sept. 20, 9pm (Fox)
The Event, Monday, Sept. 20, 9pm (NBC)
Mike & Molly, Monday, Sept. 20, 9:30pm (CBS)
Chase, Monday, Sept. 20, 10pm (NBC)
Running Wilde, Tuesday, Sept. 21, 9:30pm (Fox)
Detroit 1-8-7, Tuesday, Sept. 21, 10pm (ABC)
Better with You, Wednesday, Sept. 22, 8:30pm (ABC)
The Whole Truth, Wednesday, Sept. 22, 10pm (ABC)
The Defenders, Wednesday, Sept 22, 10pm (CBS)
Outsourced, Thursday, Sept. 23, 9:30pm (NBC)
Blue Bloods, Friday, Sept. 24, 10pm (CBS)
Law & Order: Los Angeles, Wednesday, Sept. 29, 10pm (NBC)
School Pride, Friday, Oct 15, 8pm (NBC)
Secret Millionaire, TBA (ABC)
Body of Proof, TBA (ABC)