There’s an unprecedented clash of comedies at 9 p.m. with ABC, Fox and NBC going head-to-head-to-head with doubleheader laughs. CBS follows its dependable NCIS franchise with promising newcomer Vegas. Sons of Anarchy remains the night’s best show.
Ben & Kate (Sept. 25)
Fox feels it’s found the ideal show to pair with Raising Hope in this quirky comedy about an irresponsible dreamer (Nat Faxon) who moves in with his uptight sister (Dakota Johnson) to help raise her five-year-old daughter. Lucy Punch, who plays Kate’s British best friend, has impressed the critics. Showrunners Neil Goldman and Garrett Donovan came over from Community, another good positive sign.
Go On (Sept. 11)
NBC introduced the new Matthew Perry comedy to a large audience during the Olympics, and received good feedback. Perry, whose previous sit-com Mr. Sunshine failed on ABC, plays a cocky radio sportscaster who enters group therapy after his wife is killed in a car accident. The question is whether the premise will hold up over the long run. Go On faces comedy competition from New Girl and Happy Endings.
The Mindy Project (Sept. 25)
Projected to be the season’s best new comedy. The Office’s multi-talented Mindy Kaling plays a OB/GYN obsessed with romantic comedies. She navigates through her personal and private life — original show title: “It’s Messy”– with the help of a supporting cast that includes Chris Messina (Damages), Anna Camp (The Good Wife), Stephen Tobolowsky, Amanda Setton (Gossip Girl), and British comedian Ed Weeks. NBC passed on the project; Fox snapped it up.
The New Normal (Sept. 11)
Ryan Murphy (Glee, American Horror Story) tries a sit-com. His modern family consists of a gay couple, the surrogate helping the couple to have a baby, and the surrogate’s own daughter and grandmother. Co-created by Ali Adler (No Ordinary Family, Chuck), the Fox show stars Andrew Rannells (The Book of Mormon), Justin Bartha (The Hangover), Georgia King and Ellen Barkin.
Emily Owens, M.D. (Oct. 16)
The CW’s new doctor show — which could use a better title — may be worth watching because of appealing star Mamie Gummer, Meryl Streep’s daughter. She plays a first-year intern at a Denver hospital who finds that life as a grown-up at her new job is just like high school. Emily’s med-school crush (Justin Hartley) and her high school nemesis (Aja Naomi King) also work there.
Vegas (Sept. 25)
It’s a good bet that CBS has another winner in this 1960s-era drama based on the true story of rodeo cowboy-turned-Las Vegas sheriff Ralph Lamb, played by Dennis Quaid in his TV series debut. Michael Chiklis co-stars as a mobster who clashes with the lawman, while the cast also includes Carrie-Anne Moss (The Matrix), Jason O’Mara (Terra Nova), and Sarah Jones (Alcatraz). Vegas was created by Nicholas Pileggi (Goodfellas, Casino) and Greg Walker (Without a Trace).
Don’t Trust the B—- in Apt. 23 (Oct. 23) – Actors Mark-Paul Gosselaar and Frankie Muniz will play themselves on the second-year ABC comedy. Busy Philipps guests in a story that revolves around a Dawson’s Creek reunion.
Happy Endings (Oct. 23) – ABC trusts its popular third-year comedy to anchor a new Tuesday night comedy block. This season’s guests include Rob Corddry and Brian Austin Green (returning from last year).
Hart of Dixie (Oct. 2) – The CW’s easy-going Southern series barely earned a second season. Last season’s love triangle between Zoe (Rachel Bilson), George (Scott Porter) and Wade Kinsella (Wilson Bethel) continues.
NCIS (Sept. 25) – CBS’ top drama returns for its 10th season, picking up where it left over with last season’s emotional cliffhanger that put everyone in peril. Richard Schiff returns as terrorist bomber Harper Dearing.
NCIS: Los Angeles (Sept. 25) – Season 4 opens the next day with Callen having been suspended from duty while he’s under investigation for shooting the Chameleon. Tension between team members hits an all-time high.
New Girl (Sept. 25) – The hit Fox comedy seems to be ramping up the sex. Jess questions everything after she loses her job. Her reaction: sleeps with someone she hates (David Walton). Josh Gad will also attempt to nail Jess. Cece, free of Schmidt, gets a new boyfriend.
Parenthood (Sept. 11) – The superlative NBC family drama gets only 15 episodes in season four, but we’ll take it. Ray Romano will appear in multiple episodes as a new friend for Lauren Graham’s Sarah, while Matt Lauria (Friday Night Lights) will have a recurring guest role.
Private Practice (Sept. 25) – Creator Shonda Rhimes promises more ambitious stories in the ABC medical drama’s sixth and likely final season. Tim Daly, who played Pete Wilder for five seasons, has already said goodbye.
Raising Hope (Oct. 2) – Fox’s comedy returns to the 8 p.m. time slot for season three. Melanie Griffith (as Sabrina’s mom), Tippi Hedren (as Sabrina’s grandmother who dies in the first episode), Wilmer Valderrama, Chris Klein and Jenny Slate are on the guest star roster.
Sons of Anarchy (Sept. 11) – FX’s most successful season begins season 5 with Jax (Charlie Huffman) taking over for Clay (Ron Perlman) as leader of the motorcycle gang. Guest stars include Jimmy Smits, Harold Perrineau (Lost), Ashley Tisdale (High School Musical), and Joel McHale (Community).
Bomb Girls (Sept. 11) – Meg Tilly and Peter Outerbridge star in Reelz’s World War II-era drama about women who work in a munitions factory.
Brickleberry (Sept. 25) –Daniel Tosh is the executive producer of this new Comedy Central animated comedy about a dysfunctional group of park rangers.
Underemployed (Oct. 16) – Five recent college graduates struggle through adult life in a new MTV dramedy from Craig Wright (Dirty Sexy Money).