The Easiest Fall TV Cheat Sheet, Ever

What's not to love about fall? The crisp air, the frizz-defeating weather, those colorful leaves.... Eh, who am I kidding? The most important thing to look forward to: TV is back! Sure, networks have started putting out some paltry new offerings over the summer, but everyone knows they save the primo stuff for September.
What does all of that mean? Basically, that our minds are programmed to expect new material every autumn — just blame it on all those years of enforced education. So, to make this about-to-start fall a little easier, we went ahead and made you a neat little cheat sheet to all that's upcoming, breaking down the best (and a few of the worst) options, new and old, All we ask is that you watch the ones that interest you and discuss in the comments.
Currently Playing
The Voice
Adam Levine, Cee Lo Green, and Christina Aguilera’s reign of epic laziness (really, how hard is it to sit in auto-rotating chairs and judge people?) continues with its third (fully addictive) cycle this year. Oh, and Cee Lo now has a pink cockatoo instead of a cat.
Mondays at 8 p.m. ET, results show on Tuesdays at 8 p.m. ET; NBC
Go On
Matthew Perry returns to NBC to play Chandler Bing, only now, his name is Ryan King and he’s a recently widowed sports radio host. His boss orders him to attend group grief counseling because clearly that's well within the realm of what a normal boss might do. Hilarity — well, as hilarious as grief counseling can get — ensues. At least NBC hopes that's the case, anyway.
Tuesdays at 9 p.m. ET; NBC
The New Normal
Ryan Murphy brings his brainpower to the half-hour sitcom: A gay couple (Andrew Rannells and Justin Bartha) decides to have a baby. Enter single mom Goldie — eager to show her precocious daughter Shania how to follow her dreams — who offers up her womb in exchange for law school tuition. Together with Goldie’s homophobic and racist grandmother (Ellen Barkin) and NeNe Leakes, who plays Rannells’ sassy assistant, the family they form is well, you know, “the new normal.”
Tuesdays at 9:30 p.m. ET; NBC
The X Factor
Britney! Demi! The American version of the show that gave us One Direction (although we have yet to see an extremely successful cobbled-together boy band emerge on our shores) continues with a second season. Just a thought: Spears should wear her “I’m a Slave 4 U” snake at all times to show Cee Lo’s cockatoo who’s boss.
Wednesdays at 8 p.m. ET; FOX
Rachel, Kurt, and Santana are off in the big city, alongside Kate Hudson, and the rest of the gang is still in Ohio. The show’s creators swear it will work, you guys.
Thursdays at 9 p.m. ET; FOX
The Real Housewives of Miami
Luckily, Bravo has figured out the main reason people tune into the ten bazillionth iteration of the Housewives juggernaut: Mama Elsa, who’s featured prominently in commercials. If you love batty old ladies who spew pearls of “wisdom,” then this is the show for you.
Thursdays at 10 p.m. ET; Bravo
Picture: Courtesy of Charles Trainor/Bravo; Courtesy of Timothy White/NBC; Courtesy of Mark Seliger/NBC; Courtesy of Mike Yarish/FOX
Week of September 17
What would you do if the world suddenly lost power? That’s what J.J. Abrams’ new high-concept show asks, in the hopes of filling the TV-void left by Lost. We, for one, would be totally out of a job. Thanks a lot, Abrams. You know we know nothing about agriculture or militias!
Premieres Monday, 9/17 at 10 p.m. ET; NBC
Parks and Recreation
Newly-minted Pawnee councilwoman Leslie Knope goes to Washington to see Ben and brings April and Andy along for the sake of Washington Monument penis jokes. (Well, fingers crossed on that last part.)
Premieres Thursday, 9/20 at 9:30 p.m. ET; NBC
Bling It On
Dressmaker Sondra Celli is responsible for many of those bedazzled, extravagant wedding dresses that weigh more than the bride on My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding. Now, she’s getting her own spin-off show chronicling her quest to whip up orders for “a steampunk-inspired ballgown” in less than a week, and for extremely demanding customers. Bring on the visions in neon!
Premieres Thursday, 9/20 at 10 p.m. ET; TLC
Photo: Courtesy of David Giesbrecht/NBC; Courtesy of TLC; Courtesy of Nino Munoz/NBC
Week of September 24
How I Met Your Mother
As the show kicks off season eight, it’s unclear if this will actually be the season where Ted finds his wife. What we do know is that the Mosby kids are like, really patient with this whole long and rambling story about how their father met their mother. Also, remember that whole Barney and Robin thing? yeah, us too. Cue the happy dance.
Premieres Monday, 9/24 at 8 p.m. ET; CBS
The creators of Will & Grace tweak their formula ever so slightly: Two lifelong bros (Michael Urie and David Krumholtz) are partners in both the career sense and the gay man/straight-man-who-are-BFFs sense. Their significant others (Superman Brandon Routh and Sophia Bush) just have to get on board with the fact that the two are a wacky packaged deal.
Premieres Monday, 9/24 at 8:30 p.m. ET; CBS
Ben and Kate
Meet the new Odd Couple: A freewheeling gadabout regularly storms into his sister’s life, but his light-hearted antics are just what the single mom needs. Plus, Nat Faxon (Ben) and Dakota Johnson (Kate) are super adorable in a non-nauseating-family-sitcom-for-young-folks way.
Premieres Tuesday, 9/25 at 8:30 p.m. ET; FOX
New Girl
Last season’s breakout (we promised ourselves we wouldn’t use the word “adorkable” here) comedy hit returns to find Jess getting fired, Schmidt and Cece broken up, and Parker Posey working at Nick’s bar. We highly recommend inviting your friends over for a game of True American, for the premiere.
Premieres Tuesday, 9/25 at 9 p.m. ET (bonus episode will air at 8 p.m.); FOX
The Mindy Project
Mindy Kaling’s much-hyped post-Office gig casts her as a rom-com-obsessed OB/GYN whose own love life is far from reaching “meeting atop the Empire State Building” levels of romance. Apart from the too-obvious M.I.A. scoring the pilot, we loved everything about the first episode. Seriously, everything.
Premieres Tuesday, 9/25 at 9:30 p.m ET; FOX
Modern Family
Gloria is preggers! Does Jay have room in his heart for Stella the bulldog and a new baby? (We're guessing yes; we all know Jay is a total softie when push comes to shove.)
Premieres Wednesday, 9/26 at 9 p.m. ET; ABC
Last Resort
ABC has struggled to find another “marooned on a tropical island” success since Lost went off the air. (That may not actually be true, but TV executives sure do like shows where people are stranded in the wilderness.) This iteration finds Scott Speedman, who has aged magnificently since Felicity, as an XO — that’s “executive officer” to those of us who just had to Google it — on a nuclear missile sub whose crew is forced to go rogue after receiving questionable orders to fire their weapons at Pakistan.
Premieres Thursday, 9/27 at 8 p.m. ET; ABC
You might have thought the Sherlock Holmes update market had reached a point of supersaturation between Robert Downey, Jr. and Benedict Cumberbatch, but it turns out you were wrong, dear friend. Prepare yourself for a modern-day, fresh-outta-rehab Holmes (Jonny Lee Miller) and his sober coach, former-surgeon Watson (Lucy Liu) — but with surprisingly less sexual tension than you see between RDJ and Jude Law. Well, these things take time.
Premieres Thursday, 9/27 at 10 p.m. ET; CBS
Once Upon a Time
The curse has been lifted, and fairy-tale characters roam free in Storybrooke. Now, magic is the currency that controls the town, and old scores need to be settled. Also, so much purple mist.
Premieres Sunday, 9/30 at 8 p.m. ET; ABC
Revenge Jennifer Jason Leigh returns from the dead as Emily Thorne’s long-lost mother. And speaking of dead, did Victoria, Charlotte, or Lydia die in season one’s plane crash cliffhanger? Is Amanda really pregnant with Jack’s baby? Is Nolan ever going to get some non-conniving lovin’? Will Declan still have a weird half-Boston, half-New Yawk accent? Is Emily allowed to smile more than one time per season? So many questions.
Premieres Sunday, 9/30 at 9 p.m. ET; ABC
666 Park Avenue Really, really ridiculously good-looking fella Henry Martin (Dave Annable) and his equally attractive girlfriend become the managers of a swanky Park Avenue building only to find out that once you move in, you can never leave (cue maniacal laughter).
Premieres Sunday, 9/30 at 10 p.m. ET; ABC
Photo: Courtesy of Miranda Penn Turin/FOX; Courtesy of Andrew Eccles/ABC; Courtesy of Craig Sjodin/ABC; Courtesy of Autumn De Wilde/FOX
Week of October 1
Hart of Dixie
The not-so-secret guilty pleasure of many Refinery editors picks up right where it left off: With George on Zoe’s doorstep and Wade in her bed. What’s an adorable, fast-talking doctor to do? (We're not sure, but we will say this: We'll gladly take her sloppy seconds.)
Premieres Tuesday, 10/2 at 8 p.m. ET; The CW
30 Rock
The final season of the beloved comedy has Jenna marrying her drag impersonator, Jack getting Jonathan back from Whitney, and Liz Lemon in nesting (and possibly baby-making) mode with Criss. Premieres Thursday, 10/4 at 8 p.m. ET; NBC
Week of October 8
Gossip Girl
It's the final season for everyone's favorite Upper East Siders, and even though the show's kind of gone off the rails, you know you once loved them. XOXO (aren't you glad that's over, too?).
Premieres Monday, 10/8 at 9 p.m. ET; The CW
Abby’s Ultimate Dance Competition
Abby Lee Miller broadens her horizons beyond terrorizing a group of moms in Pittsburgh, moving on to terrorizing 12 young dancers from around the country hoping to impress a panel of judges that includes Miller, Pussycat Dolls creator Robin Antin, and choreographer Richard Jackson in order to win $100,000 and a scholarship to the Young Dancer Program at the Joffrey Ballet School in New York.
Premieres Tuesday, 10/9 at 9 p.m. ET; Lifetime
If you watch one show this season purely for the eye candy, make it this one. Hello, Stephen Amell. And hello, Stephen Amell’s abs.
Premieres Wednesday, 10/10 at 8 p.m. ET; The CW
Tami Taylor is back, y’all! I mean, she was back last year, too, with American Horror Story, but now she’s like, back back because she’s playing a country star. What we're saying is that Mrs. Coach Taylor Connie Britton is amazing, and we would watch her mime the phone book if we had to. Luckily, the Nashville pilot is a lot more interesting, even if we're hesitant on the whole Hayden Panettiere thing.
Premieres Wednesday, 10/10 at 10 p.m. ET; ABC
The Vampire Diaries
Another not-at-all-secret guilty pleasure returns for season four and — although they’re rarely seen there — high school graduation.
Premieres Thursday, 10/11 at 8 p.m. ET; The CW
Beauty and the Beast
We're only including this because the pilot is so ludicrous. Kristin Kreuk plays a detective tasked with solving the case of a magazine executive editor who is potentially murdered by a beauty editor who wants her job. Because that’s how mastheads and magazines work: If the executive editor dies, the beauty editor gets her job. And most of us editors are totally malicious enough to kill for promotions. Yep, sounds just like real life.
Premieres Thursday, 10/11 at 9 p.m. ET; The CW
The Walking Dead
The zombies are back. Run? Nah, there’s no point.
Premieres Sunday, 10/14 at 9 p.m. ET; AMC
Photo: Courtesy of Craig Sjodin/ABC; Courtesy of Jack Rowand/The CW; Courtesy of Frank Ockenfels 3/The CW; Courtesy of Lifetime
Week of October 15
Emily Owens, M.D.
Mamie Gummer (Meryl Streep’s progeny) is an always-in-her-head young resident just starting out at a hospital in Denver. This show is actually just Grey’s Anatomy on The CW, minus McDreamy and Steamy, but our love for Meryl runs deep enough to demand we give it a shot anyway.
Premieres Tuesday, 10/16 at 9 p.m. ET; The CW
Woe is our generation. No one wants to pay us a lot of money to do exactly what we want. Are we right or what? Such is the premise explored on MTV’s latest scripted venture. Proceed with caution.
Premieres Tuesday, 10/16 at 10 p.m. ET; MTV
American Horror Story: Asylum
Since it’s an anthology, gone are the Harmons, their creepy death house in L.A., Constance, Tate the mass murderer, and the Infantata. Enter the Asylum, Jessica Lange as a nun, Joseph Fiennes as a priest, aliens, “Raspers,” and Adam Levine venturing off his comfy Voice chair and into his first foray into acting.
Premieres Wednesday, 10/17 at 10 p.m. ET; FX
Week of October 22
Happy Endings
We’ll meet the oft-mentioned, never-seen Kerkovich parents, watch Alex and Dave deal with their quasi-relationship status, and Penny will find love in a hopeless place (and by “hopeless place” we mean in 2 Broke Girls cast-off Nick Zano).
Premieres Tuesday, 10/23 at 9 p.m. ET; ABC
Don’t Trust the B-- in Apartment 23
The bitch is back. (TOO EASY)
Premieres Tuesday, 10/23 at 9:30 p.m. ET; ABC
Photo: Courtesy of Bob D'Amico/ABC; Courtesy of Kharen Hill/The CW; Courtesy of Michael Yarish/FX; Courtesy of MTV
Premiering Midseason
1600 Penn
The Book of Mormon’s Josh Gad stars as the black sheep of the first family. Think Tommy Boy but with the president.
A show called Cult is a cult classic with a rabid fan base whose members start disappearing. One of said fans’ brothers is a reporter who teams up with a PA on the show (within the show...I know, it’s a little confusing) to track down the missing people and try to find out what’s really going on with Cult's mysterious creator. It’s super meta, and yet, totally addictive, too.
The CW
The Carrie Diaries
We liked this pilot way more than we should have. Blame it on the ‘80s clothes and sentimental story about young Carrie Bradshaw losing her mother and subsequently coming into her own when she heads off to the big city to intern at a law firm. Or maybe just on that adorable AnnaSophia Robb's charm.
The CW
A wealthy socialite ODs and everyone figures it’s a closed case. One FBI agent doesn’t think so, and he sends a detective who just so happens to be an old family friend back behind the iron gates to discover whether or not things were amiss in the wealthy pharmaceutical empire.
Photo: Courtesy of Mathieu Young/The CW; Liane Hentscher/The CW; Courtesy of J.R. Mankoff/NBC; Courtesy of Chris Haston/NBC

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