The Thick Of It (BBC Four) — Saturday, September 8
The British are quick out of the gate with new TV in September — and the best comedy on British television is already two episodes into its fourth season. The Thick Of It is from Armando Iannucci, who has recently created an American spin-off with Julia Louis Dreyfus in Veep. (Along with the Oscar nominated In The Loop film, which featured cast members from both the British and American shows.) This season is going to be concentrating on the Conservative/Lib-Dem coalition that currently runs things at 10 Downing.
Downton Abbey (ITV/PBS) — Sunday, September 16
Last season, Downton Abbey did a great job of showing how the First World War shook the foundations of the patriarchal Victorian British class system. And this season, with the war over, we're looking forward to seeing what the fallout is. As Maggie Smith's character put it, "The war may be at an end, but the upheaval is only beginning." (And heck, the show's so beautiful, we're pretty sure we'd keep watching it even if it was nothing but establishing shots of the abbey.)
Survivor: Philippines (CBS) — Wednesday, September 19
Yup. This show is still going.
Parks and Recreation (NBC) — Thursday, September 20
Parks and Recreation may very well be our favourite American sitcom right now. And we were pretty thrilled with last season, as the loveable Leslie Knope ran for city council. This year promises plenty of more fun if the first three episode titles are any indication: "Ms. Knope Goes To Washington", "Soda Tax" and "How a Bill Becomes a Law". Um, at least fun for political nerds like us.
There was no doubt in our minds about what the best new American sitcom of last year was. And while Will Arnett and Amy Poehler broke our hearts in real life by announcing the end of their 9-year marriage, at least we still have the fictional version: Will Arnett married to Christina Applegate raising their little daughter.
The Office (NBC) — Thursday, September 20
Well, we've made it through one season now without Michael Scott (and we can't agree on whether it was the best season in a long time or a total disaster). Now, a whole shitload of other characters are leaving or reducing their roles too: Toby, Kelly, Ryan, Jim, Andy, Dwight.... from the way things sound, there will be barely anything of The Office left. We're guessing there will be a lot of story lines about the accounting department in what they're promising will finally be the show's last season.
Treme (HBO) — Sunday, September 23
The new show from David Simon, the creator of The Wire, may not be one of the top two greatest dramas in television history, but it's not too far off either. Season three of the show, which tells the story of people in New Orleans as they try to put their city back together after Katrina, kicks off on Sunday night.
The Mindy Project (Fox) — Tuesday, September 25
If we're excited about one new sitcom this year, it's probably The Mindy Project from Mindy Kaling. Even if she's leaving The Office to do it — one of the reasons we despair for that show this year. You can check out the trailer for her new gig here.
Modern Family (ABC) — Wednesday, September 26
To be honest, Modern Family doesn't make us laugh nearly as much as it used to. (Seriously, Cam is outgoing and Mitch is reserved. We get it.) But the first season did make us laugh an awful lot. The new season promises to explore the big revelation from the end of last season: that Gloria is pregnant. Which could be awesome. Or pretty meh.
The Amazing Race (ABC) — Sunday, September 30
Yup. This one's still going too.
30 Rock (NBC) — Thursday, October 4
30 Rock's seventh season is going to be its last. So we've only got 13 episodes left (although the final one will be an hour long). The victory lap starts in a couple of weeks as it takes its slot in NBC's Thursday night line-up.
Nashville (ABC) – Friday, October 5
We're not entirely sure how excited to be about this one. One one hand, this is new a drama about a country music star, which, you know, sounds like it could be pretty schlocky. But when that country music star is played by Connie Britton (who absolutely fucking RULED on Friday Night Lights), who finds herself overshadowed by an up-and-coming New Country star played by Hayden Panettiere (who we're probably unfairly annoyed at because Heroes turned out to be such a disappointment), it sparks our interest. And when it turns out the show was created by Callie Khouri who wrote the screenplay for Thelma & Louise. Well, we're sure as hell going to give it a chance. You can check out the trailer here.
It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia (FX) — Thursday, October 11
Amazing. Somehow, our favourite show about the worst (and yet most hilarious) people on earth has made it all the way to an eighth season despite their affinity for episodes about dead babies and cannibalism and crack. And they've already been renewed for another new season after this one!
The Walking Dead (AMC) — Sunday, October 14
One of our favourite things to do is to make fun of how terrible The Walking Dead is. And the show's second season gave us plenty of fodder: lots of boring hanging on a farm, very few zombies, lots of ridiculous dialogue and incomprehensible decision-making by the show's baffling characters. It was almost too much to take. But the trailer for the third season, which kicks off in mid-October has us hoping it might actually be watchable again. (We already wrote a little bit about it here.)
Community (NBC) — Friday, October 19
Who knows what's going to happen with Community this year? It has been one of the best shows on TV ever since it started. But thanks to that clusterfuck of a network, NBC, the show's creator and some of the producers, writers, and even Star Burns aren't coming back for the new season. Fingers crossed it goes okay. But, of course, if all does all go to shit, they can always just give the time slot to Jay Leno.
Happy Endings (ABC) — Tuesday, October 23
So, remember how a few blurbs ago we said Parks and Recreation may very well be our favourite American sitcom? Well, Happy Endings is the reason we have to use the word "may". We can't wait to welcome Elisha Cuthbert, Damon Wayans Jr. and the rest of the cast back into our television-watching lives. Not to mention the potential for another Megan Mullally guest appearance. (Who knew that the annoying lady from Will & Grace would be guesting on two of our favourite sitcoms at the same time?)
Fresh Meat (Channel 4) — October
Channel 4 hasn't announced an official date for the premier, but they've promised that another one of our favourite British sitcoms will be back sometime in October. We loved the first season of the show about undergrad housemates, created by the same writers who created Peep Show. Which brings us to:
Peep Show (Channel 4) — Autumn
There doesn't seem to be any official word that Peep Show is coming back this season, but the Internet seems to suggest that it'll be back sometime this Fall.
The Hour (BBC Two) — Autumn
Here's another British show without an official return date. But whispers say it should be coming back sometime soon. It stars, among others, The Wire's Dominic West (McNulty) as part of the team putting together a news show on the BBC in the 1950s. It's got all the style and social commentary of Mad Men with the political intrigue of the Suez Crisis and the spy games of um, well, a spy movie. Here's hoping season two will be on our screens by the end of the year.