It’s that wonderful time of year again—time for sweaters, pumpkin spice lattes, football, and, of course, TV premieres! I can’t wait to curl up on my couch and reunite with my favorite characters in the coming weeks and also to discover new shows and characters to love as I choose from a list of intriguing pilots.
Which new show is going to make me laugh until I cry, like The Mindy Project did last season? Which characters are going to warm my heart the way Ben and Leslie did? Who’s going to sweep me off my feet like Jake Johnson? Which premiere is going to be as great a companion to a season finale as last season’s Castle premiere?
I don’t know the answers to any of those questions, and that’s the fun thing about premiere season. Everything is exciting, hopeful, and new. There’s a chance that this could be the season your favorite actor delivers an Emmy-winning performance, the season that your favorite couple takes the next step in their relationship, or the season that your favorite show becomes the show everyone is talking about.
In the spirit of the unofficial start of premiere season, I want to share my TV viewing schedule with all of you, including the dates for each season premiere. Any new shows I’m planning on checking out will be highlighted in pink.
Dancing with the Stars (8 p.m. on ABC)
I always want to support shows that bring dance to a mainstream audience, and DWTS is such a fun, fluffy, feel-good show to come home to after the start of the workweek. This season, I’m most looking forward to seeing Elizabeth Berkley trade her Showgirls moves for the samba and seeing Valerie Harper continue to act as a symbol of hope and perseverance in the face of her devastating cancer diagnosis. – Season Premiere 9/16
Castle (10 p.m. on ABC)
Will Beckett say yes? And whatever her answer is, will she still move to Washington? These questions have been keeping us Castle fans up at night since May, and it’s finally time to discover the answers. After a fifth season that proved the “Moonlighting Curse” could be overcome with smart writing and great acting, I’m looking forward to a sixth season filled with even more relationship progression for one of my favorite TV couples. – Season Premiere 9/23
Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (8 p.m. on ABC)
As a huge fan of The Avengers, superheroes in general, and the brilliant Joss Whedon, I feel like I would be doing myself a disservice by not watching this show’s pilot. I’m ready for a good dose of smart, adrenaline-fueled fun in my TV schedule, and this show seems to be exactly what I’m looking for. – Season Premiere 9/24
Brooklyn Nine-Nine (8:30 p.m. on FOX)
As excited as I am for Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D, this is probably the pilot I’m most eager to watch. I love workplace comedies, and I love police shows—so a show that puts those two genres together is one I’m predisposed to enjoy. And then add the talents of Andy Samberg and Andre Braugher into that mix, and I’m as sold on the hype for this show as I could possibly be. – Season Premiere 9/17
New Girl (9 p.m. on FOX)
I liked New Girl’s first season, I loved New Girl’s second season, and I’m looking forward to New Girl’s third season more than I’m looking forward to any other returning show on my schedule this fall. I’m ready for more laughs, more Schmidt and Winston, and more humor and heart from Nick and Jess. New Girl is a show that keeps surprising me, and I’m hoping that ability to pleasantly surprise never stops.
The Mindy Project (9:30 p.m. on FOX)
The finale of The Mindy Project was one of my favorite finales last season, and I can’t wait to see how the moment of intimacy between Mindy and Danny at the end of it impacts their relationship this season. This show was one that got stronger each week, and I’m hopeful that it will keep getting even better in its sophomore season. For those of you who just can’t wait another second, you can actually watch the premiere online already! – Season Premiere 9/17
Nashville (10 p.m. on ABC)
My dedication to watching Nashville faded last season because I just didn’t care at all about Rayna’s husband and the political aspects of this show. However, the “everything but the kitchen sink” season finale drew me back in. There were so many cliffhangers that I just have to tune in to this premiere to see how they all play out. – Season Premiere 9/25
Top Chef (10 p.m. on Bravo)
Besides So You Think You Can Dance, Top Chef is my favorite reality show. It’s got a great panel of judges, a fantastic host, (usually) very little drama between contestants, and some fantastic food on display. It might make me hungry every week, but it’s worth the food envy. – Season Premiere 10/2
Once Upon a Time in Wonderland (8 p.m. on ABC)
I’m not 100% sure about this show, but the chance that it could be as entertaining and imaginative as Once Upon a Time’s first season is what’s driving me to watch it. I’m also eagerly anticipating Naveen Andrews’s take on Jafar because if there’s one thing I know about this universe, it’s that the villains are brought to life in ways far beyond anything you can expect when comparing them to their animated counterparts. – Season Premiere 10/10
Parks and Recreation (8 p.m. on NBC)
My favorite TV show is returning for the season with not only a hour-long premiere but also a trip to London! If that’s not a recipe for instant happiness, then I don’t know what is. Last season gave us the perfection that was Ben’s proposal; April, Ann, and Donna singing “Time After Time;” Ron Swanson falling in love (and becoming a father-to-be); and the entirety of Leslie and Ben’s emotional and wonderful wedding. If this season can match any of those moments in terms of the joy they gave me, I will once again be a happy fan—and I have no reason to doubt that there are plenty of smiles, laughs, and happy tears on the horizon. – Season Premiere 9/26
Glee (9 p.m. on FOX)
I barely watched any of Glee last season, but I feel like anyone who’s ever been a fan of this show should at least watch the start of the season to see the buildup to and the execution of what’s sure to be a heartfelt and heartbreaking tribute episode for Cory Monteith. I can’t say I’m looking forward to the episode (the third episode this season), but I am sure that it will be handled with respect and care—and as someone who once loved this show with all her heart, I feel a true need to tune in for what’s sure to be one of the most emotional episodes of television I’ve ever watched. – Season Premiere 9/26
The Michael J. Fox Show (Normally 9:30 p.m. on NBC, Hour-Long Season Premiere at 9 p.m.)
I fell in love with this show from its first promo, when it became clear that Michael J. Fox isn’t about to shy away from the humor that can be found in everyday life, even the everyday life of someone living with Parkinson’s disease. I will always have a little bit of a crush on Fox, and I’m so excited for him to return to the world of network comedy. He has such a natural gift for comedy and such a magnetic presence, and I really think he’s going to be able to inject some much-needed life into what’s looking to be a thin Thursday night lineup on NBC (besides Parks and Rec, of course). – Season Premiere 9/26
Saturday Night Live (11:30 p.m. on NBC)
Even after the departure of some of my favorite cast members, I’m still eagerly anticipating the laughter to come this season on SNL. There are still some strong comedic talents left in this cast, and I’m ready to see some of them step even further into the spotlight. I’m also sure some of my excitement is coming from the announcement that Tina Fey is going to host the premiere. – Season Premiere 9/28
Once Upon a Time (8 p.m. on ABC)
Off to Neverland! I really think the decision to put the core members of this cast on Captain Hook’s ship was one of the smartest things this writing staff has done yet. Uniting both the heroes and the villains in their quest to save Henry from Peter Pan will provide for some interesting dynamics, and I’m really looking forward to seeing Emma develop even more as a character in this new situation with her parents by her side. Last season’s finale restored my faith in the direction of the show, and I have a feeling this season is going to be a fun ride. – Season Premiere 9/29
The Good Wife (9 p.m. on CBS)
I’ll admit it; my interest in The Good Wife went down a little bit last season; the plot involving Kalinda and her husband turned me off at the beginning of the season, and I had trouble getting back into the show. However, after a strong finale with a great cliffhanger, I’m ready to get back to business and see where all of these new changes will be taking the characters. – Season Premiere 9/29
What do you think of my schedule, and what does yours look like? Which shows are you most looking forward to—both returning ones and new ones? Let me know in the comments!