9 TV Shows We Love: What to Expect This Season

parenthood-smallIt’s been a long, hot summer without much in the way of new tv show action, but that is all about to change.

When I was a kid, I was enough of a dedicated couch potato that I’d take the tv guide from the weekly newspaper and circle all of my favorite shows. It’s hard to remember sometimes now, but in the days before DVR and On-Demand, you actually had to watch the show when it was on. If you missed it? You waited for the random rerun.

How we survived under these oppressive conditions, I just don’t know.

Now, our DVRs runneth over, and our ability to catch up with all of our favorite tv shows is often just as far away as our iPhone or table. But if you’re about making a schedule to make sure you don’t miss the first episode of some of Fall of 2013’s best tv options in real time, it’s a good idea to check out what’s on deck for the new season.

Things kicked off already with last Sunday’s premiere of Breaking Bad. Here’s a full series recap if, like me, you’re just getting started. It sounds intense, but I’m trusting everyone in the world who’s told me it’s worth the watch. With the exception of Glee that starts back up on August 22, most of my picks are in late September. Do not try to reach me on Thursday, September 26, at 10 p.m. Eastern, basically, because the Bravermans are back in town with a new season of Parenthood. I should be embarrassed about how excited I am about this, but nah. Do you want a Season Five First Look as much as I did? Parenthood has your Pinterest board for this. And here’s a trailer too, if you’re really into it.

Check out my nine picks for Fall 2013 tv shows worth watching, along with brief recaps of last year’s action, and what we might be able to expect this time around. And get comfy on that couch.

  • Glee 1 of 9

    What happened: Rachel, Kurt, and Santana held down the (argumentative, dramatic) fort in NYC. Mr. Schue and Emma got married -- FINALLY -- in the choir room, no less. The over-long "catfishing" story with Drew and Unique finally sputtered to a conclusion. Blaine went ring-shopping. And, finally, the New Directions won Regionals, so it's onward, again, to Nationals. 

    What to expect this fall: The death of star Cory Monteith, who played Finn Hudson, will determine the course of the season, in my opinion. Ryan Murphy has said that the show will feature Finn's death, and that the cast has been involved in determining the story's direction. It's a truly sad situation for the Glee cast and crew, so I'm not predicting this one. I'd expect a sensitive tribute of some sort, hopefully helpful and healing for the cast, crew, and viewers who loved Finn's character and were saddened by the loss of Cory. 

    Why I love it: Glee asks me to suspend just a little bit more of my reality than usual, and gives up some fun songs and even a few relevant storylines about teenagers coping with social issues in the process. They lost me a couple of seasons ago when things went off track just a bit too much, but I've never quit it. I don't see a reason to start now. 

    When to Watch (or set the DVR): Thursday, August 22, 8 p.m. (7 p.m. Central) on Fox

    Image credit: Amazon

  • Homeland 2 of 9

    What happened: Carrie couldn't quit Brody, not even a little bit, and this continued until the end of the season when she gets him safely to the Canadian border following a massive explosion at Langley (CIA Headquarters) that killed the director. Brody is presumed responsible, and Carrie's new goal is to clear his name. 

    What to expect this fall: Abu Nazir is dead, but who is his next in line? I also don't expect Brody to stay in Canada very long. Just a hunch. If Carrie keeps up the Brody obsession (I'm going to take a wild stab and say "yes," I'd expect her conflicts with acting CIA director Saul to get more explosive. 

    Why I love it: I blew through the first two seasons of Homeland On-Demand in a week. It's that over-the-top, and still somehow irresistible. And whereas some people tune in for some Damien Lewis eye candy (and yes, great acting, fine) or Clare Danes's Carrie histrionics, I'm mostly on board for Mandy Patinkin. Saul is one of my favorite characters on television. 

    When to Watch (or set the DVR): Sunday, September 29, 10 p.m. (9 p.m. Central) on Showtime. 

    Image credit: Amazon

  • Sons of Anarchy 3 of 9

    What happened: It was the first season with Jax and Tara as king and queen, and it was intense

    What to expect this fall: More growing pains and conflict between Tara (who clearly takes no prisoners) and Gemma. Jax going to his usual lengths to protect SAMCRO and his family from RICO and whomever else may pose a threat. 

    Why I love it: Jax and Gemma, basically, and a Hamletesque storyline that's better written than just about anything else on tv, ever. I'd quit in protest of the Opie situation, but...I don't want to. Some things are in the service of the story, 

    When to Watch (or set the DVR): Tuesday, September 10, 10 p.m. (9 p.m. Central) on F/X. Russell Brand will host the live premiere chat

    Image credit: Amazon

  • The Good Wife 4 of 9

    What happened: The election the election the election

    What to expect this fall: I'm sure it'll pick up with the Peter/Krestiva campaign drama, and the question of whether Cary will set up his own firm, for real. Beyond that, it's unclear, besides the usual interesting cases and Alicia/Peter/Will et al drama. I hope Kalinda keeps getting great story lines, because she's a great character to watch.  

    Why I love it: I don't understand why everyone doesn't watch this show, but I'd watch Julianna Margulies in a carpet cleaner commercial, so perhaps I'm biased. If you're not, just know that it's smart, interesting, and has some of the strongest female leads on television. I also like its non-traditional approach to relationships. Sometimes they're just messy, and there is really no way to work them out, but people stay in your life anyway. I like how this show handles that reality. Oh, and there are also some interesting cases about technology and other current topics -- sexual assault in the military, a child dead from drinking an energy drink -- that weave in current legal issues in interesting ways.

    When to Watch (or set the DVR): Sunday, September 29, 9 p.m. (8 p.m. Central) on CBS. 

    Image credit: Amazon

  • Modern Family 5 of 9

    What happened: The season wrapped up with the whole clan in Florida to support Phil after the death of his father. 

    What to expect this fall: A wedding for Mitch and Cam now that Prop 8 is no more? Addressing the downfall of DOMA and Prop 8 is possible. 

    Why I love it: I just don't seek out or enjoy many, if any, 30-minute comedy shows anymore. Modern Family is the exception. It's funny without being too mean, the individual family story lines within the larger group are always fun, and the writing is fast and snappy. 

    When to Watch (or set the DVR): Wednesday, September 25, 9 p.m. (8 p.m. Central) on ABC. 

    Image credit: Wikipedia

  • Nashville 6 of 9

    What happened: Juliette lost her mom to drug addiction. Rayna told Deacon he was Maddie's father, then -- a terrible car accident. 

    What to expect this fall: I need to know what happened to Rayna before I can go anywhere past that. It's just that simple. 

    Why I love it: I'm a sucker for a music industry setting, Connie Britton, Nashville itself, interesting writing, and a few cute men. Done. 

    When to Watch (or set the DVR): Wednesday, September 25, 10 p.m. (9 p.m. Central) on ABC. 

    Image credit: Amazon

  • Parenthood 7 of 9

    What happened: Last season was a doozy. Kristina made it through cancer treatment and got the all-clear just in time to go to Hawaii for summer vacation. Crosby and Jasmine announced they were going to be parents again. Ryan and Amber were almost engaged. The Grahams made it to Victor's official adoption, and the whole Braverman clan showed up to make it official. Hank and Sarah's endless awkward series of fights and coffee-drinking ended (for now) with him deciding to move to Minnesota to be near his daughter. 

    What to expect this fall: Crosby and Jasmine pregnancy shenanigans. I'm also expecting Ryan and Amber wedding ups and downs, and beyond that, I'm really not sure. I'd like to think Hank won't come back from Minnesota to try to fix things up with Sarah, but I know too much about foreshadowing to think that won't happen. They just don't work for me as a couple. 

    Why I love it: Even when it's overwrought, which it can be on occasion, I'm just interested in what happens to these characters, and I enjoy watching it all play out. Sometimes it's just that simple. (Plus I love Dax Shepard and Lauren Graham. No-brainer.) 

    When to Watch (or set the DVR): Thursday, September 26, 10 p.m. (9 p.m. Central) on NBC.

    Image credit: Amazon


  • Grey’s Anatomy 8 of 9

    What happened: Typical cliffhanger madness. Meredith and Derek's baby arrived in the horrible storm and power outage. Bailey stepped up to help out, so his name is -- you got it -- Bailey. (Last name may or may not be McDreamy.) Jackson survived a bus crash, but Richard may not, after possibly suffering electrocution in a storm-related accident. Elsewhere, April must decide between Jackson and Matthew, Callie and Arizona are on the rocks, and Cristina can't figure out if she and Owen are meant for the long haul. 

    What to expect this fall: First of all, what in the world is wrong with Richard? Will he make it? The biggest new news is that Sandra Oh will leave sometime this season. She's been through therapy over this, she says, and she is ready to let Cristina go. (Sometimes real life is just as dramatic as fiction.) The idea of a Cristina-less Grey's is a bit much to take, but it makes sense that after a decade Oh would be ready to move on. Meredith will need a new foil, stat. 

    Why I love it: It's Grey's. I don't watch it every week anymore, but if it's on I'll watch, and I somehow always know what's going on with whom. Some friends you just can't break up with for no reason.  

    When to Watch (or set the DVR): Two-hour premiere, Thursday, September 26, 9 p.m. (8 p.m. Central) on ABC. 

    Image credit: Amazon

  • Breaking Bad 9 of 9

    What happened: I admit it. I have never watched Breaking Bad. I'm including it here because if there is one show no one can stop telling me to watch, it's this one. I give up. I give in. I'll watch it. 

    That means I'm just catching up with this one, but Walt's brother-in-law Hank's discovery that Walt is actually Heisenberg was a big deal. Also, Walt got weary of the business, and said he wanted to quit. This seems unlikely. 

    What to expect: This is reportedly Breaking Bad's last season, so I'd imagine loose ends will either tie up or not, depending on how the story needs to be told. The show came back last week to an internet overflowing with expectation of what would happen in this, its final season. Expect a focus on Hank's struggle with knowing who Walt really is, and much drama in Walt and Skyler's marriage. 

    Why I love it: I don't know yet, I've never watched it, but it's next on my list of must-see-tv shows. If this many people are this excited about a show, I have to check it out, even if it's almost over. (Thank heaven for On-Demand and DVDs. Time really doesn't matter that much these days, does it?) 

    When to Watch (or set the DVR): Sundays, 9 p.m. (8 p.m. Central) on AMC

    Image credit: Amazon

Image credit: Amazon

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