Summer TV has packed its bags, which means our beautiful best friend, new TV, is back in town. We’ve broken down a list of what you can expect in the new crop of shows, and picked out a few old ones to embrace like the beloved companions they are. Read on for our fall TV preview.
Return of the romcom
Remember “Mad About You”? Apparently, so do TV execs, because there are quite a few sitcom rom-coms hitting the small screen this year. The genre may be a bit DOA in the movie world, but TV has shown a knack lately for revitalizing what movies abandon. (Matthew McConaughey, anyone?)
NBC, premieres 9 p.m., Oct. 14
Fans of the tragically underwatched “Happy Endings” should check this out, since it re-pairs series creator David Caspe with cast member Casey Wilson. Also on hand: Ken Marino, who you may recognize from stints on “Party Down,” “Veronica Mars” and “Eastbound and Down.”
‘A to Z’
NBC, premieres 9:30 p.m., Oct. 2
Cristin Milioti finds herself trapped in the confines of yet another “narrated from the future” rom com. This time, Katey Sagal (“Futurama,” “Sons of Anarchy”) tells viewers from the start how long she’ll date Ben Feldman’s Andrew, but presumably there will be a few bumps on the road to happiness. We just hope her character survives this one.
‘Manhattan Love Story’
ABC, premieres 8:30 p.m., Sept. 30
This show offers the chance to hear the thoughts of a couple in Manhattan as they fall in love. Analeigh Tipton, who has popped up in a range of big screen adventures, from “Crazy Stupid Love” to “Damsels in Distress,” here takes the lead as a neophyte New Yorker learning her city.
In a perfect world, all these little flowers would survive and thrive and air six seasons and a movie, but alas, some of them are going to get the boot. Here are our picks for which new shows you might not be seeing for too long.
ABC, premieres 8 p.m., Sept. 30
Someday, someone will find a show worthy of John Cho’s talents. This is not that show. Of course, given the range of terrible things “Sleepy Hollow” put him through, we can’t blame him for trying to find something new.
FOX, premieres 9:30 p.m., Oct. 5
Former “SNL” writer John Mulaney takes his talents to the sitcom world, bringing SNLer Nasim Pedrad with him. Martin Short and Elliot Gould join them, but that didn’t stop NBC from passing on the show. Fox is hoping to overcome tepid word of mouth.
CBS, premieres 10 p.m., Oct. 1
This one caused a bit of controversy when show creator Kevin Williamson got into a spat over Twitter with TV critics who found its constant women-in-peril plots tired and a bit misogynistic. We give this one a 50/50 shot of alienating viewers completely or sucking them in by terrifying them. Williamson is the mind behind “Scream,” after all.
Will they/won’t they watch
These returning shows all sport a central couple that spends a lot of time traveling back and forth along the spectrum of possibly getting together. That may not be the only reason you watch, but we suspect it’s something you’ve been thinking about since the shows had their finales.
FOX, returns 9 p.m., Sept. 22
We don’t really want to admit this one is a will they/won’t they, as obviously Abbie and Ichabod are platonic soulmates, not romantic ones, but we know lots of fans are hoping these two apocalypse-fightin’ kids will get together. But Ichabod’s wife just got released from purgatory, so this season at least will probably not be about his romance with Abbie.
MTV, returns 10:30 p.m., Sept. 23
This MTV show started off with a goofy premise (two girls fake being a lesbian couple to be more popular at their hippie high school) and developed into an occasionally campy but often heartbreaking show about a girl in love with her straight best friend. We’re thinking this one might be a won’t be, but we’ll be rooting for them anyway.
FOX, returns 8:30 p.m., Sept. 28
A surprise winner for the Golden Globe for best comedy last year, the cop show returns for its sophomore year having already raised the specter of its will they/won’t they couple getting together: Andy Samberg’s Jake Peralta asked out Melissa Fumero’s Amy Santiago right before going on a six month undercover mission. The season might start less with “will they/won’t they” and more “are they/aren’t they.”
A few beloved shows are finishing out a final season this year. The best time to think about this sort of thing is in September, when you’ve still got a full season of TV left, and no on again/off again couples have been shoehorned back together to make for a happy ending.
HBO, airs Sundays at 9 p.m.
HBO’s prohibition drama ends at a fitting time: when it enters the Depression. What would Nucky Thompson (Steve Buscemi) do in a world with legal alcohol? Luckily, you’ll never have to find out.
NBC, returns 10 p.m., Sept. 25
NBC’s weekly cry-o-rama has been on the verge of cancellation the whole time it’s aired. This time, it really is the end. Series creator Jason Katims (previously responsible for making you cry during “Friday Night Lights”) has promised that a broader story will unite all members of the Braverman clan this season.
‘Parks and Recreation’
NBC, return TBD
It’s time to see what the future holds for us all, since the show opted for a (spoiler?) three year time jump to end its season last year. We’re not sure when in 2015 it’s going to air yet, but we had to include it in this section because Amy Poehler’s Leslie Knope once admitted she already has a eulogy planned for her coworker called “Ron Swanson, a swan song.”
Women behaving oddly
This premiere season features a few shows whose main premise seems to be that the women who are the leads are behaving in some way outside the norm for women.
NBC, premieres 9 p.m., Oct. 2
She’s a judge, but she also drinks! Kate Walsh stars in this comedy about a woman who somehow manages to have a serious adult job while still having a fun private life. The departure of showrunner Liz Brixius (“Nurse Jackie”) recently indicates some trouble in paradise, but Walsh tends to be a pretty darn appealing screen presence, so this one might not be DOA.
‘Jane the Virgin’
CW, premieres 9 p.m., Oct. 13
This show, based on a popular Venezuelan telenovela, tells the story of a young woman from a religious family who is accidentally artificially inseminated. We are concerned no one on this show has ever been to see a gynecologist, but optimistic that they’ll manage to make the premise work somehow.
‘How to Get Away with Murder’
ABC, premieres 10 p.m., Sept. 25
The latest from certified TV genius Shonda Rimes, this show revolves around an unconventional law school teacher, played by certified Oscar-winner Viola Davis. Has Davis gotten away with murder? Or the students? Unclear just yet, but someone will probably be trying to do it.
Superheroes and super geniuses
There are many ways to save the day on TV, and as usual, there are a few different types of people trying to do it this season.
CW, premieres 8 p.m., Oct. 7
He’s really fast, and he can save the day! This one’s a spinoff of the ever-popular “Arrow.” Since that one has quickly built up into one of the more popular CW shows, we have high hopes for its new buddy, which might build up a fan base even faster. See what we did there?
FOX, premieres 8 p.m., Sept. 22
What exactly did the city of Gotham do before Bruce Wayne put on a mask and started batting around? This show suggests that Batman’s bud Commissioner Gordon was in charge of saving the day back then. Here, he’s just a detective, trying to outwit the likes of future Joker, future Riddler and future Penguin. Basically, it’s a “before they were stars” of Batman villains.
CBS, premieres 9 p.m., Sept. 22
The heroes of this show are slightly more real world-based. Team Scorpion is a group of slightly erratic geniuses who don’t do quite so well in the social skills department, but are quite capable of working together to take down threats to the homeland.
Follow Lisa Weidenfeld on Twitter at @LisaWeidenfeld.