ABC switched Revenge to Sundays, but replacement Nashville is the most anticipated new show of the fall. The CW supplies the thrills with the inspired pairing of newcomer Arrow and old favorite Supernatural. FX’s American Horror Story returns with a new batch of chills.
Arrow (Oct. 10)
Forget Smallville. Stephen Amell plays Green Arrow in The CW’s harder-edged modern retelling of DC Comics billionaire-turned-crimefighter. Greg Berlanti (No Ordinary Family, Political Animals) and Marc Guggenheim (TV’s Eli Stone, writer for DC and Marvel) are the driving forces behind this impressive superhero series. The strong cast includes John Barrowman (Torchwood), Katie Cassidy (Melrose Place) and Australian actress Jessica De Gouw as The Huntress.
Animal Practice (Sept. 26)
Justin Kirk (Weeds) is a surly New York veterinarian who gets along better with his animal patients than with his fellow humans, who include the always-amusing Tyler Labine (Reaper) and JoAnna Garcia-Swisher. Crystal the Monkey stole the pilot — which NBC aired during the Olympics Closing Ceremony annoying scores of viewers. The show needs to improve on its debut if it hopes to hang around.
Guys With Kids (Sept. 12)
Three immature men who are clueless new fathers. Zach Cregger (Friends with Benefits), Jesse Bradford (The West Wing), and Anthony Anderson (Law & Order) star as the dads, with support from Jamie Lynn Sigler (The Sopranos) and Tempestt Bledsoe (The Cosby Show). Terrible reviews but since it’s produced by Jimmy Fallon, NBC — which is airing the pilot several times — will give the show a stay of execution.
The Neighbors (Sept. 26)
What was ABC thinking giving this show a cushy timeslot between The Middle and Modern Family? A family moves into a gated New Jersey community… and discovers its human-looking neighbors are actually space aliens from the planet Zabvron. With sports names like Reggie Jackson and Jackie Joyner-Kersee. Jamie Gertz — who’s getting roasted in reviews for being too grating — and Lenny Venito play the humans.
Chicago Fire (Oct. 10)
Dick Wolf (Law & Order) sold NBC on this generic drama about the Chicago fire department. Don’t expect Rescue Me with its mature themes and strong characters. The cast includes Jesse Spencer (House), Taylor Kinney (Vampire Diaries), Eamonn Walker (Oz), David Eigenberg (Sex and the City), Jason Beghe (Californication) and Monica Raymund (Lie to Me). Against CSI and Nashville, Fire could flame out quickly.
Nashville (Oct. 10)
The music-themed series has the potential to become a big hit for ABC. The drama, filmed on location in Nashville, centers on an aging country music star (Friday Night Lights’ awesome Connie Britton) and her young rival (a well-cast Hayden Panettiere). Both actresses will do their own singing on original songs written for the series. The superb cast also includes Powers Boothe (Deadwood) and Eric Close (Without a Trace). From Callie Khouri, the Oscar-winning screenwriter of Thelma & Louise. Highly recommended.
Criminal Minds (Sept. 26) – The big news on the CBS procedural as it enters its eighth season is new cast member Jeanne Tripplehorn (Big Love), who replaces Paget Brewster, who has left the series for good, this time.
CSI (Sept. 26) – No cast changes on the CSI mothership as it begins season 13. Elisabeth Shue, who replaced Marg Helgenberger midway through last season, returns, along with Ted Danson, a welcome addition as the new boss last season.
Law & Order: SVU (Sept. 26) – NBC’s sole remaining Law & Order series begins its 14th season. This season’s guest stars include Adam Baldwin, Anna Chlumsky and Paget Brewster.
The Middle (Sept. 26) – The underrated ABC family sitcom, starring Patricia Heaton, returns for a fourth season with an hourlong premiere.
Modern Family (Sept. 26) – With bigger paychecks after a brief salary-related holdout, the entire cast of the two-time Emmy-winning ABC series returns for the show’s fourth season. Major plotline: Gloria’s pregnancy.
Suburgatory (Oct. 17) – Series creator Emily Kapnek said she left a lot of loose threads in last season’s finale so ABC would have no choice but to give her series a second season. No problem. ABC likes the show so much it is moving it to the post-Modern Family timeslot.
Supernatural (Oct. 3) – The cult favorite joins rookie Arrow on The CW’s super Wednesdays. Season 8 sees Dean return from purgatory… and Castiel (Misha Collins) returns for at least eight episodes. Jeremy Carver, a writer on the show for seasons 3-5, will take over as the new showrunner.
Survivor (Sept. 19) – The 25th edition of the CBS reality competition will be set in the Philippines for the first time, and will switch back to a three-tribe format, with one returning contestant from a past season on each tribe.
The X Factor (Sept. 12) – Britney Spears and Demi Lovato replace Paula Abdul and Nicole Scherzinger as judges on the second-year Fox singing competition.
American Horror Story: Asylum (Oct. 17) – The FX’s miniseries (some of the old cast returns but all characters are new) sets season 2 at a creepy East Coast mental institution in 1964. Jessica Lange will have a major role as the nun who runs the asylum. New cast members include James Cromwell, Joseph Fiennes, Adam Levine and Chloe Sevigny, who will play “Shelly the Nymphomaniac.”
Hot in Cleveland (Nov. 28) – Heather Locklear and Jay Harrington will have recurring roles in the TV Land sitcom’s fourth season.
Key & Peele (Sept. 26) -- Comedy Central’s sketch comedy series returns for a second season that will feature guest appearances by Billy Dee Williams and Wayne Brady.
South Park (Sept. 26) – Season 16, and the Comedy Central classic still hasn’t lost its touch.