Summer may be gone, but who cares? It’s TV time! Fall TV 2013 will prove among the more exciting seasons in recent years, including everything from the premiere of Marvel’s ‘Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.’ to the return of our beloved ‘Walking Dead’ for season 4, but with so many options to choose from, which of the offerings are really must-see?
We break down the 20 can’t-miss premieres from the ABC to the NBC to the BBC, including those that will have us talking for months on end and a score of saucy secrets from each of fall TV’s best!
'Boardwalk Empire' Season 4
Premiere: Sunday, September 8 on HBO
Raise your glasses, ‘Boardwalk Empire’ is back for season 4! Now that the threat of Gyp Rosetti has come and gone, Nucky must reunite his Eastern allies, as race takes center stage in the form of Chalky White’s new club and ominously well-spoken Harlem leader Dr. Valentin Narcisse (Jeffrey Wright).
We’ll hit everywhere from the boardwalk to New York, Chicago and even Florida, as Nucky Thompson (Steve Buscemi) looks to keep the peace and expand his operation. Not only that, but we’re excited to see what new guest stars Ron Livingston, Patricia Arquette, Brian Geraghty, Domenick Lombardozzi and Eric Ladin bring to the table, and who might bite the bullet in their wake.
'Sons of Anarchy' Season 6
Premiere: Tuesday, September 10 on FX
The boys of SAMCRO are back for season 6 and somehow managing to make things an even bloodier mess than the previous year. The new season of FX’s biker drama will open with both Tara and Clay behind bars, while Jax and the club deal with the continued threat of disgraced US Marshal Lee Toric (Donal Logue) and any number of divided loyalties that promise to tear the club apart forever.
New faces for the season include ‘Deadwood’ vet Kim Dickens, ‘The Shield’ star CCH Pounder, C. Thomas Howell, ‘Shameless’ star Steve Howey and even ‘RoboCop’ himself, Peter Weller! And let’s not forget about ‘Sons of Anarchy'’s brand-new online talk show, ‘Anarchy Afterword,’ to discuss the explosive events of season 6 after key episodes with cast and crew!
Premiere: Monday, September 16 on FOX
These days, attaching the name J.J. Abrams to a project doesn’t mean very much (we remember you, ‘Undercovers’), but placing ‘Star Trek’ writers Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman at the helm of a new sci-fi mystery procedural certainly has our attention.
The modern update of the classic tale sees Ichabod Crane (Tom Mison) transported to the modern day to face his immortal nemesis, The Headless Horseman, while the pilot gave us just enough to go on for an enthralling mystery that doesn’t oversell its premise. We’re keeping a cautious eye to be certain, but ‘Sleepy Hollow’ will be one to watch.
Premiere: Tuesday, September 17 on FOX
We’ll have to get used to seeing Andy Samberg portraying the more down-to-earth “Comedy McNulty” over his usual ‘SNL’ and Lonely Island personas, but it’s been no secret that ‘Brooklyn Nine-Nine’ has proven among the best-received comedies of the fall.
Created by ‘Parks and Recreation’ minds Mike Schur and Dan Goor, and featuring such comedy heavy hitters as Terry Crews, Joe Lo Truglio and a surprisingly well-fit Andre Braugher, FOX’s dysfunctional cop comedy may hit a few growing pains over the inaugural season but should prove a fall-favorite to watch.
'New Girl' Season 3
Premiere: Tuesday, September 17 on FOX
When last we left the ‘New Girl’ crew, Nick (Jake Johnson) and Jess (Zooey Deschanel) were headed off to parts unknown in exploration of their newfound romantic connection, while Schmidt (Max Greenfield) was left to decide between Cece (Hannah Simone) and college love Elizabeth (Merrit Wever).
We haven’t heard of all-too-many mind-blowing guest stars for season 3 thus far, but the arc of returning ‘Happy Endings’ star Damon Wayans, Jr. in his pilot role of “Coach” has us more than excited to get the loft gang back together. Will Nick and Jess’ newfound relationship keep the funny from falling flat? We’ll find out!
‘How I Met Your Mother’ Final Season
Premiere: Monday, September 23 on CBS
It may have taken us nine years to finally get the titular characters to meet, but we’ll surely miss the ‘HIMYM’ gang when the final season closes out Barney and Robin’s wedding weekend in style, putting Ted Mosby face to face with the as-yet-unnamed girl of his dreams (Cristin Milioti).
We’re a bit curious about the flashing back, forward and sideways to accommodate the wedding weekend format, but new and familiar faces, like Wayne Brady, John Lithgow and even ‘True Blood'’s Anna Camp, should make the farewell tour of ‘How I Met Your Mother’ a year to remember.
Premiere: Monday, September 23 on CBS
Sure, the cynic in us isn’t apt to give series creator Chuck Lorre another soulless sitcom win on the big eye, adding to the ranks of ‘Two and a Half Men,’ 'Mike & Molly’ and the unstoppable juggernaut that is ‘The Big Bang Theory,’ but a cast comprised of Anna Faris, Allison Janney and ‘Breaking Bad’'s Badger (Brandon Mayhew) more than deserves a look-see. We certainly dug the pilot, but will ‘Mom’ climb to the heights of its predecessors?
Marvel's 'Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.'
Premiere: Tuesday, September 24 on ABC
As if you hadn’t heard everyone and their mysteriously resurrected mother shouting it from the rooftops already, Marvel’s first live-action TV series will debut on ABC this fall to continue Phil Coulson’s post-‘Avengers’ adventures with an all-new team of non-super heroes.
We’ve seen the pilot enough to know that Marvel fans new and old will love the trademark Whedon wit and humor, but, given all the secrecy, will the subsequent episodes sustain the same highs? You can bet we’ll be tuning in to find out.
'Revolution' Season 2
Premiere: Wednesday, September 25 on NBC
If you thought the first season of NBC’s post-apocalyptic thriller ‘Revolution’ was electric, you ain’t seen nothing yet! The season 2 premiere will pick up months after we left off attempting to defuse a nuclear threat from eliminating what remains of the United States, while the new run of episodes will feature such guest stars as ‘Falling Skies’ and ‘7th Heaven’ lead Stephen Collins, Zeljo Ivanek and ‘Supernatural’ vet Jim Beaver.
‘Revolution’ season 2 will likely prove even more illuminating as the gang attempts to track down the remains of the scattered Monroe Republic, but what role will a surviving US president have to play within it all? And will we adjust to life without electricity ... again?
'Parks and Recreation' Season 6
Premiere: Thursday, September 26 on NBC
Don’t let the fact that Ann Perkins (Rashida Jones) and Chris Traeger (Rob Lowe) are leaving get you down, or that ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ star Chris Pratt will only make limited appearances; there’s still plenty of ‘Parks and Recreation’ goodness to be had in season 6.
Not only will the gang literally head to London for the hourlong premiere, but we’ll also get to meet baby Swanson and ‘Parks’ department doppelgangers from the likes of Kristen Bell, Sam Elliott, June Diane Raphael, Billy Eichner and more! And speaking of doppelgangers, how's about ‘Orphan Black’ star Tatiana Maslany guesting as a new love interest for Tom?
'Elementary' Season 2
Premiere: Thursday, September 26 on CBS
We’re not as beholden to ‘Elementary’ as our beloved ‘Sherlock,’ but we have to admit that the first season of CBS’ Jonny Lee Miller-Lucy Liu-starring drama made quite the impression, going beyond the bounds of a typical procedural while managing to incorporate famous Sherlock Holmes mythology in inventive new ways.
The season 2 premiere will prove no slouch either, tapping ‘The Amazing Spider-Man’ star Rhys Ifans as Sherlock’s brother, Mycroft, for a potentially recurring role, showing us a bit of Sherlock’s old life in London as well. Might we be in for more Moriarty or, at least, more Irene Adler (shh!)? We’ve got a clue, but we’re not telling!
'Once Upon A Time' Season 3
Premiere: Sunday, September 29 on ABC
The magic of ‘Once Upon A Time’ may not be for everyone, but even we’re curious to see how the ABC fantasy drama handles the incorporation of Peter Pan as a mysteriously villainous figure while the gang heads to Neverland to rescue Emma’s son Henry.
Throw in ‘The Little Mermaid’'s Ariel (JoAnna Garcia Swisher), 'Supernatural' star Gil McKinney as Prince Eric, Tinkerbell (Rose McIver) and more Disney characters to come, and we’re on board to check out the new season, or at least the spinoff!
'Homeland' Season 3
Premiere: Sunday, September 29 on Showtime
The CIA has been left in tatters, while Nicholas Brody has gone on the run as the world’s most-wanted and falsely accused terrorist. 'Homeland' tensions will be high between Carrie (Claire Danes) and Saul (Mandy Patinkin) this year, as Carrie works to clear Brody’s name while Saul desperately tries to preserve the CIA’s good name in the wake of the devastating attack.
And even though Brody might not pop up for the first few episodes, his family will remain very much in the limelight this year as they come to grips with Nicholas’ apparent actions. We’re excited to see Showtime's Emmy winner build a new mystery out of the ashes of Abu Nazir, though Lord help us if Carrie gets too cry-facey during one of her jazz freakouts.
'Supernatural' Season 9
Premiere: Tuesday, October 8 on The CW
The Winchester boys are back for season 9, and, boy, do they have company! After season 8 finale “Sacrifice” saw the angels of heaven all falling powerlessly to Earth, the new season for Sam and Dean will see any number of new ‘Supernatural’ menaces arise, some less obviously menacing than others.
The angels and demons are all still on the table, but what’s this we hear about a ‘Wizard of Oz’-themed hour? Maybe the returning Bobby (Jim Beaver) or Charlie (Felicia Day) could shed some light on the matter? At least tell us before we spin off into a new monster-centric series set in the Windy City!
'Arrow' Season 2
Premiere: Wednesday, October 9 on The CW
Still wary though we are that ‘Arrow’ season 2 intends to do away with the “no powers” rule and incorporate DC superhero the Flash into its arc, the first season in Starling City left us with more than enough goodwill to see things through.
This season will see such genre favorites as Summer Glau portraying DC villainess Isabel Rochev, also leaving room for ‘The Dark Knight’ star Michael Jai White as Bronze Tiger, ‘True Blood’'s Kevin Alejandro as Sebastian Blood and ‘The Killing’'s Bex Taylor-Klaus as Sin.
We can even expect appearances from Amanda Waller and the League of Assassins, as led by Al-Owal (‘Homeland’’s Navid Negahban), already marking ‘Arrow’ as one of our top picks for the year.
‘American Horror Story: Coven’
Premiere: Wednesday, October 9 on FX
Aspiring not to prove quite so dark as its predecessor, ‘Asylum,’ ‘American Horror Story’'s third cycle, ‘Coven,’ will see the action relocated to New Orleans for an all-new story of witches vs. voodoo, populated by a familiar cast, to say the least.
Details and likely a few guest appearances remain under wraps for the moment, though new faces for season 3 include the ‘Misery’-laden Kathy Bates, Angela Bassett, Patti LuPone, Gabourey Sidibe, Christine Ebersole, Emma Roberts and comedian Leslie Jordan.
We’re on board to see what Ryan Murphy and co. come up with for season 3, because it can’t prove any more insane than the alien-demon-nazi mash-up of season 2, right? Right?
'The Walking Dead' Season 4
Premiere: Sunday, October 13 on AMC
‘The Walking Dead’ season 3 finale “Welcome to the Tombs” through us for a loop as far as expectations to follow the Robert Kirkman comic books of the same name, but it seems another deadly threat will arrive in the absence of Woodbury’s deposed Governor (David Morrissey), one deadlier than either walkers or fellow humans.
The new season for AMC’s monster hit will pick up some months later with Rick’s group having taken in the Woodbury survivors and made some major living improvements, but how long will it be before the Governor returns for revenge? Will Michonne manage to hunt him down first? Will Daryl make it through another season? Answers to all these and more lie just inside the prison gates!
'Grimm' Season 3
Premiere: Friday, October 25 on NBC
Just when you thought you’d never be able to pronounce another ‘Grimm’ creature’s name, the surprisingly resilient NBC supernatural drama returns for a third season on its familiar home of Friday nights. This season will see Nick coming to grips with his new zombified condition, but don’t expect any ‘Walking Dead’ references just yet.
Even more exciting, ‘Grimm’ season 3 will reunite ‘Grimm’ producer David Greenwalt with ‘Angel’ alum Alexis Denisof, as the Buffyverse star begins a multi-episode arc as Viktor Albert Wilhelm George Beckendorf, the cunning, smart, funny and ruthless first cousin to Eric Renard (James Frain).
Premiere: Friday, October 25 on NBC
Even with the vampire pantheon of TV well past its apex, we’re willing to give NBC’s Jonathan Rhys-Meyers-led ‘Dracula’ a shot. The new incarnation will make a fitting companion for ‘Grimm’ as it returns vampire mythology to the period pomp.
Dracula arrives in Victorian London in the guise of an inventor, all the while seeking revenge on those who have wronged him. It might prove a bit slow in going under a Friday time slot, but a genre cast that includes ‘Game of Thrones’ star Nonso Anozie, ‘Arrow’ star Jessica De Gouw and ‘King Kong’’s Thomas Kretschmann as Abraham Van Helsing should earn a few eyes.
‘Doctor Who’ (50th Anniversary Special)
Premiere: Saturday, November 23 on The BBC
Alright fine, so we’re cheating a bit! But who among us ‘Doctor Who’ fans can resist talking about the upcoming 50th anniversary special, returning fan-favorite David Tennant to the role of the 10th Doctor alongside Billie Piper’s Rose Tyler?
Details are light on the special other than seeing Matt Smith and Tennant join forces with the “forgotten” Doctor, played by John Hurt, while alien opponents the Zygons will make their first appearance since 1979. And however the 50th anniversary special shakes out, let’s not forget Matt Smith’s big goodbye in the 2013 Christmas special, set to introduce Peter Capaldi as our new 12th Doctor for the years to come!
Geronimo, allons-y, and so forth!