We’re absolutely stoked for the new Fall Television Season. So we asked some of regular television writers to tell us what debuting and returning shows have them on the edge of their seat.
Luke Kalamar: Television Editor
Returning Show:Family Guy
I pick Family Guy for one reason and one reason only: the season premiere. This is when we get “Simpsons Guy,” the hotly anticipated Family Guy and The Simpsons crossover special. As a huge fan of both programs, this is a dream come true for me. But my excitement goes far beyond that. To this day, many people still consider Family Guy a blatant clone of The Simpsons. Matt Groening himself has pointed this out with several references to Family Guy in his monumental cartoon sitcom. A personal favorite of mine is from “Treehouse of Horror XIII” where Peter Griffin can be seen among a crowd of Homer Simpson clones. The brief clips of “Simpsons Guy” paints it as one self-depreciating hour filled with these exact jabs, and I cannot wait. Pawtucket beer is actually watered down Duff? Count me in.
New Show: The Flash
There is a lot coming out this season that I’m excited for. To pick just one is surprisingly difficult for me. But after a lot of consideration, I’d say I’m most excited for The Flash on The CW. Despite being one of the most prominent DC comics superheroes, the Flash has never reached live action media saturation on the level of Batman and Superman. This television series is the first wholly Flash show since the one season endeavor in 1990, and it’s really about damn time. I’m excited for Gotham on FOX, don’t get me wrong, but it’s long since time to give Bats and Supes time to rest while their equally awesome teammates gets the spotlight. I mean, look how awesome Arrow is!
Returning Show: Boardwalk Empire
The fifth and final season of HBO’s Boardwalk Empire returns on Sunday, September 7th. I’ve been an ardent fan of the Atlantic City-centric historical drama since day one and have stuck with the show even during its less-than-stellar post-Jimmy Darmody run which saw many fans drop off. What intrigues the hell of me for this final season is that the show will take place seven years after last season’s finale, sticking Nucky Thompson (Steve Buscemi) and company smack in the middle of The Great Depression. It’s going to be really interesting to see how these characters, who have been lavishing in the corrupt and opulent world of the Roaring Twenties for four seasons, deals with the harrowing (no pun intended, fans) times that was the the 1930s in the country. The show has done an excellent job at closing out seasons, so I’m pushing all my chips to the center of the table to see what Terence Winter and company have in store for us for the series finale. Do I worry that the former Sopranos producer will pull an ambiguous and unsatisfying ending like he did with the other Jersey gangster epic he’s known for? Yes and no — but I’m willing to gamble on that.
Maybe I’m in the minority, but I really dug the big screen version of Constantine, so obviously I’m stoked on NBC’s small-screen version. What really has me excited for Constantine is that it will be inhabiting Hannibal‘s timeslot, and if you watched that series, you know they took a lot of creative chances with that show and pushed the envelope of violence on television. I think that could work for a show like Constantine, because a de-fanged series about battling demons will just come off extremely hokey. Would this show have benefited from being on cable or a premium channel? Sure. But, I’m willing to give NBC the benefit of the doubt here. The trailer for the series looks like a combination of quick-witted, wanky British humor (always a plus) and some kick ass sci-fi supernatural suspense. This could be a true sleeper for Friday nights, a historically dead night for TV.
Lauren Stern: Managing Editor
Returning Snow: The Mindy Project
When The Mindy Project first aired two years ago, it was not on my radar at all. In my defense, I only had a few episodes of The Office under my belt at the time, so my awareness of the greatness that was Kelly Kapoor was severely lacking. When I look back on those years without that show in my life, I seriously question how I even survived. Thank God for syndication.
Anyway, it was our editor-in-chief Bill who suggested I review it for the site, and since then my life has never been the same. And really, neither has Mindy Kaling’s, the show’s writer and star. Since the show aired, her fan base has significantly grown, and was even bigger after the saucy Season 2 midseason finale. Once it was revealed that Kaling’s character Mindy Lahiri would wind up with Danny Castellano (Chris Messina), it was if the ears of all women and men between the ages 18-34 rung simultaneously. I know mine did, but I’m biased. Whatever Mindy Kaling does, I follow.
New Show: Girlfriend’s Guide to Divorce
As for new shows, I think the number one pilot I’m most excited for Girlfriends Guide to Divorce. Bravo’s first scripted series tells the story of a recently divorced self-help book author who begins to navigate the dating world. To be honest, I had a bit of skepticism about this show, but the trailers reeled me in, which says a lot because I’m usually indifferent until I see the first episode. Lisa Edelstein is also a perfect pick for the main character Abbey. This show is definitely perfect for the Bravo fanatics and rom-com lovers. I’m totally excited to see what it’s all about on December 2nd.
Marla Pachter: Senior Writer, Featured Columnist
Returning Show:Brooklyn Nine-Nine
While anyone who knows me knows that I am excited for the TV season to start up again in general, the returning show I am hands down most excited for is Brooklyn Nine-Nine. It was one of the most solid first seasons of any comedy I’ve ever seen. To talk about why it’s amazing, I would need an entire article, so I’ll just say this: Great creative team, amazing cast, perfect group of characters, comedic timing to die for – Brooklyn Nine-Nine is everything I ever wanted out of a sitcom. With several of my favorite comedies getting cancelled in the past few seasons, or simply losing their comedic flair, and Parks and Rec ending this year with a shortened season, I legitimately don’t know what I would do without B99.
New Show: Mulaney
To say that I am excited for John Mulaney’s new sitcom Mulaney would be a disservice to my feelings towards it. Last year when NBC passed on the show, I was completely beside myself. When I found out Fox was picking it up, I think I probably peed my pants with excitement, changed into new pants, peed in those, put on a diaper, peed continually for 24 hours, then suffered the worst diaper rash of my adult life. And IT WAS WORTH IT.
Legitimately, you never really know if a show is going to be good. You can’t. Even with a great team, weird factors can end up creating a disaster. But I’ve been a fan of Mulaney’s for years. I think he’s a comedic genius, and I think the world will be a better place now that he has his own show. Plus, Nasim Pedrad and Martin Short. That is all.
Asia Martin: Staff Writer
Returning Show: Sleepy Hollow
Scandal lost me last season, even though ABC tried to prevent other networks from overthrowing its reign. But Sleepy Hollow swept me off my feet with Ichabod Crane’s (Tom Mison) sudden interaction with today. I’m looking forward to the adventurous fusion of religious stories and urban legends centered around affairs and “platonic” love. I can’t wait to see what the FOX has concocted for this season.
New Show: Constantine
CONSTANTINE! Out of all of the shows displaying the creatures and paranormal things that go bump in the night, the televised story of a modern-day Constantine is my favorite. After watching the previews, I am sure that I will tune in and then binge watch Matt Ryan’s portrayal of the legendary Constantine. It’s about time NBC tried to get back on the horse of fantasy and sci-fi after Heroes became a cult classic.
Laura Dengrove: Staff Writer, True Blood Columnist
Returning Show: American Horror Story: Freak Show
The returning show I am most excited for is American Horror Story: Freak Show. With the fabulous cast and interesting plot, the show is sure to be a hoot. Plus, anything with the likes of Kathy Bates, Jessica Lange, Francis Conroy, and Denis O’Hare is sure to be great. More potential scenes with Mr. O’Hare, from True Blood fame and previous seasons of American Horror Story, is also something I am extremely excited for.
The new show I am most excited about is Fox’s Gotham. It is a prequel for the Batman story, which is exciting because we get a look at the mini-Dark Knight before he got his big boy wings, and the pre-mustache Detective Gordon. The show’s potential, however, in my book resides in the young versions of classic Batman villains we have all come to love/hate. They cover everyone from Catwoman to The Penguin and The Riddler to Poison Ivy. The gang’s all here and hopefully all the necessary chemistry for a great show will be there too.
Allison Lips: Staff Writer
Returning Show:The Voice
Usually, it’s hard to be excited for a show that goes through two cycles a year, but The Voice is different because they are changing it up with two new judges. Granted, the entire gimmick of The Voice is that it’s become the Adam Levine and Blake Shelton show featuring two other famous singers, so on some level it is odd that I’m excited about the addition of Gwen Stefani and Pharrell Williams.
The reason I am looking forward to the new season is that Gwen’s knowledge of music genres is greater than Shakira’s or Christina’s. She started as the lead singer in a ska-punk band and became one of the biggest stars of the early 2000s with the abomination called “Hollaback Girl” and a CD full of dance-pop. As for Pharrell, he can accurately be described as one of today’s biggest music stars. So while The Voice will be the same old thing, this time around they chose judges who should be more memorable than Shakira and Usher.
New Show: None. If you insist, a reluctant The Mysteries of Laura.
The past few television seasons I have had a hard time getting excited about any show. Ever since Go On was canceled, I learned not to put my heart into a show until it gets picked up for a second season. Sure, there are shows I’m looking forward to, such as The Mysteries of Laura, but that’s only because I saw Debra Messing and thought, “I liked her in Will & Grace. Let’s give this a shot.”
David Oliver: Contributor
This is a tough one, but I have to say I’m most excited about Parenthood coming back. For its final season, Jason Katims (showrunner) teased a storyline that involves all the characters, similar to the crisis they faced with Kristina’s breast cancer but with more far-reaching effects. Gulp. This show is a guaranteed cry-fest, but the characters are so well-written and fresh out of reality that it makes it all the more gripping. I can’t wait to watch it ride off into the sunset, especially if it’s anything like how Katims closed my all-time favorite series, Friday Night Lights.
New Show:How to Get Away with Murder
I’m most excited for How to Get Away with Murder on ABC. Viola Davis is a powerhouse actress, and from what I’ve seen in the trailer and already read up on, she’s going to be incredible. With Shonda Rhimes backing it and a “killer” (had to) premise, it seems like it’s going to be another strong drama for ABC. Plus, it will probably do well coming off a Scandal lead-in, hopefully getting to air all its episodes for its first season, a strong plus when it comes to a new show.
Justin Matchick: Staff Writer
No show will bring me more joy when it returns this Fall than Bob’s Burgers. Coming back on October 5th, this year’s Emmy Winner for Outstanding Animated Program is arguably one of the most consistently funny television shows on any of the major networks right now. While also being one of the funniest, the show also has its fair share of feel-good moments. The show will often make a point to remind us just how dire the family’s financial situation is, but also always makes sure to remind us of how much the family cares for one another in spite of that. The show has been steadily growing in popularity as it enters its fifth season, and Fox finally has a worthy successor to The Simpsons and Futurama as a critical and commercial animated hit.
As far as new debuts go, The CW’s The Flash and its October 7th premiere has been at the top of my must-see list for months. After finding success in bringing the Green Arrow to television in Arrow, the network now seeks to spin-off another hit as it follows the adventures of the speedster superhero. Whereas Arrow followed the “Dark Knight” formula and went for the more realistic and gritty depiction of superhero life, The Flash looks to deal with the daily travails of a superhuman with a little more lightheartedness and a lot more sense of wonder and awe as he defies physics. Aside from Grant Gustin reprising his role as The Flash from his appearances on Arrow, the show will also star Law & Order’s Jesse L. Martin, Ed’s Tom Cavanaugh, and even John Wesley Shipp, who played The Flash in the 90s television series.
Matt Haviland: Staff Writer
Okay guys. I’m not excited for new shows. Doesn’t mean there won’t be great stuff, but unlike True Detective this past year (what an awesome trailer—what spectacular returns) and Enlightened two years before that (another great payoff on maximum excitement), I haven’t heard about any new shows that make me quake with anticipation. Taking on a new series is a big commitment. I’m sort of going stag this year (“Anyone want a bloodstained corsage from 2013?”).
Returning shows, however? Since Mad Men isn’t coming back until April (but fingers crossed Matthew Weiner pulls out seven episodes this November like the greatest Thanksgiving cornucopia since people actually filled them with fruit; Don’s arm sticking out with an Accutron watch spinning in crazy circles, “Strawberry Fields Forever” floating through some wormhole, and Peter shouting, “Draperrrrr!” before we hear thudding noises all the way down Sterling Cooper & Partners neverending staircase), and since my frothing enthusiasm for The Simpsons and Family Guy are stuck back in some nineties Superbowl commercial break, there has been a cleaned slate for Fall 2014. Oh wait, The Middle. How could I forget? I’m sort of excited for The Middle. And thus the show’s quiet buzz finds it lost even in the long paragraph where I explain why it’s my only excitement for Autumn. Should I catch up on two seasons’ worth of Parenthood in the next few weeks, I’m excited for that, too. With perhaps even less buzz than The Middle, Parenthood is the most thoroughly human ensemble family drama I’ve seen since Six Feet Under. Unlike that one, there’s no catchy synopsis (“A family who runs a funeral home?”). It’s just a biggish modern family (cough, cough) living out their lives out in California. Highly recommended, and somewhat excited, though unlike showstoppers like Mad Men and True Detective (though that will come winter, with the intoxicating Girls), not much about Parenthood makes me want to shout through the streets. It’s just wholesome. With a cast that feels like your old catcher’s mitt. And this is apparently the final season. Who doesn’t love seeing final seasons? Everything grooves together. Oh Mad Men. Soon enough.