This week’s list is in honor of the upcoming fall television season. We will be looking at my top eight returning shows. I’m just going to focus on returning television shows and leave the new original programming for another day, another list. Some of the programs on my list have just recently made their return to television. Most have not. Some are entering their final season and looking to go out on a high note. Others have been with us for years and are looking to continue their success. I’ve even thrown in an honorable mention for a show that won’t be returning until March. Let’s get to it…
Honorable Mention. Game of Thrones-This show won’t be back with us until March of 2013 but I just can’t resist including it here. Rarely do we ever see the fantasy genre done as well as it is in this HBO drama. Based on the George R. R. Martin novels, this is an epic if there ever was one. With its abundance of political intrigue, gore, and nudity, HBO has crafted a winner and this geek cannot wait for its return this spring.
#8. 30 Rock-The multiple Emmy award winning comedy is entering its sixth and final season. I was never a big Tracy Morgan fan, but after watching all the previous seasons this summer on Netflix, I have to say he’s definitely grown on me. Alec Baldwin and Tina Fey are both genius and I just hope that this show goes out with as much amusement as it has brought for the last six years. Season seven is planned for only 13-14 episodes and debuts on October 4th on NBC.
#7. Fringe-This sci-fi thriller is also entering its final season albeit on Fox. It has developed a cult following during its previous four years on the air and despite low ratings has managed to avoid the proverbial axe that we all know Fox loves to drop on its underperforming television shows. (Firefly or Dollhouse anyone?) Season five will take place in a dystopian future where our favorite Fringe Division agents are battling the Observer takeover alongside other resistance fighters. It is scheduled for 13 episodes and will premiere September 28th on FOX.
#6. Once Upon A Time-This series premiered just last season but quickly caught on with viewers. It became ABC’s highest rated debut in five years and cemented itself as the highest rated non-sports programming on Sunday nights. Heavily influenced by the cult hit Lost (which both of the show’s writers previously worked on), this program gives a modern day twist on all the fairytales we are familiar with. It snaps back and forth in time between the lives of these classic characters in the story books and their current lives in the real world town of Storybrooke, Maine. None are aware of their true fairytale origin, save for a few, due to a curse brought on by the Evil Queen. Despite its childish roots, this show is very well written and just happens to be this geek’s wife’s favorite show. Season two will once again revolve around Jennifer Morrison’s character, Emma, and her quest to break the curse. Once she is finally convinced there IS such a thing as the fairytale universe. Season two premieres September 30th on ABC.
#5. Doctor Who-This is the first show on this list which has actually already premiered its fall season. Matt Smith returns once again as the time traveling Doctor along with his Tardis and litany of evil alien enemies. This season will be the final one for companions Amy Pond and Rory Williams. They are being replaced by Jenna-Louise Coleman beginning with this year’s Christmas special. I won’t go into much detail about the premiere, only to say go read our own Rachel Bookout’s review of it right here. Doctor Who airs on Saturday nights on the BBC.
#4. Community-Arguably one of the funniest shows on television, this NBC sitcom focuses on a myriad of characters all attending Greendale Community College. It is chalked full of pop culture references, meta-humor, and hilarious story lines. After its hiatus last year, it was reported that Community would not be returning for a fourth season. But the failure of other NBC sitcoms and the drop in ratings of others convinced the execs to renew the show for another year. It will be returning WITHOUT its creator and executive producer, Dan Harmon. As well as without multiple other executive producers and writers from seasons past. With a whole new team running the show I am interested to see if it continues to excel without its original driving force. Season four is scheduled for 13 episodes and premieres October 19th on NBC.
#3. Sons of Anarchy-This is the only other show on my list to have already made its debut this season. Premiering this past September 11th, the show entered its fifth season. It is the FX network’s highest rated show in history and those ratings are well deserved. In my opinion, one of the best dramas on television, SOA follows the lives of a fictional California motorcycle club and their constant run-ins with the law. From hijackings, gun running, drug running, and quite a bit of murder, this show is practically non-stop action. It is one of those programs where the lives of its characters progressively degenerate to the point of madness for both them and the viewer. Just when you believe things cannot get any worse for them, showrunner Kurt Sutter proves you definitively wrong. With all that said, I recommend reading our own Eric Bookout’s review of the season premiere right here. SOA airs on Tuesday nights on the FX network.
#2. Dexter-Everyone’s favorite serial killer returns this fall in the seventh season of the Showtime hit based on the Jeff Lindsay novels. Last year’s finale ended with Dexter’s sister, Debra, witnessing her brother’s depravity for the first time. Something tells me that explaining his “code”, taught to him by his father, for choosing his victims, will not placate his police detective sister. Michael C. Hall has received a Golden Globe, deservedly so, for his chilling portrayal of Dexter Morgan. The show has been renewed for this season and the next. With executive producers stating that season eight will be its last. When a show this good is aware of exactly how many episodes it has left, I expect nothing but good things from this season. Leading us up to next year’s series finale. Season seven premieres September 30th on Showtime.
Finally, my number one most anticipated returning show this fall. Drum roll please……..
#1. The Walking Dead-Not being a huge fan of the zombie genre I did not begin watching this show until after season one hit Netflix. It started off a bit slow but by the third episode I was hooked. Based on Robert Kirkman’s comic book series by the same name, this show has made millions ask themselves the question of, “What would you do during a zombie apocalypse?”. Season two’s premiere broke cable ratings records and season two’s finale drew nine million viewers. Making it the single most-watched basic cable drama telecast in history. With the addition of the Prison, as well as the characters of the Governor and Michonne, season three is primed to be the best yet. Look for even more gruesome zombie deaths, gruesome character deaths (no character is safe on this show), and most likely even higher ratings this year. Season three will be 16 episodes and split into two eight episode runs. It premieres October 14th on AMC.
And there you have it! My list of the most anticipated returning shows this fall. Did your favorite make the list? If not…well it’s probably just not that good. If it did…then congratulations you have very good taste. Either way, tell me about it in the comments section below and enjoy the fall season!
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