Summer vacation’s over. The kids are back in school and need you to drive ‘em around to their various and sundry activities which wind up sucking up a ton of your family’s free weekend time. So what about you? Don’t you get to start off fresh and with a chance to get excited about something new, even if you’re not the one who’s getting a new lunchbox, magic markers which smell like fruit (and haven’t yet run dry) and back-to-school clothes?
What you can treat yourself to? How about a fresh slate of fall TV shows to amuse you and take your mind off the fact that you have to have bring your 10-year-old to a hockey game by 5:30 a.m. and that you forgot Open House night?
Here are a few of the new/returning fall TV shows for which I’m going to program my DVR to record, because parents deserve something new to watch after all the afterschool activities are done for the day.
(Includes recaps of previous seasons, so if you're not all caught up, this could have some spoilers)
The Good Wife  - CBS, 9 p.m., Premieres Sept. 25.
When we last left the much put-upon Alicia Florrick (Julianna Margulies), she’d just kicked her husband Peter (Chris Noth) out of the family’s apartment after he’d staged his political comeback and won his old job as the state’s attorney, in spite of a prior sex scandal and his stint in prison for public corruption. Alicia, who had been considering buying a house in the ‘burbs again and rebuilding her life with the father of her two kids, had everything explode in her face again when she learned that during his pre-jail days, Peter slept with a woman with whom Alicia now works closely.
Liberated from the burden of Peter’s scandal, which weighed heavily upon her, she finally spent the night with her old college flame Will Gardner (Josh Charles), also part owner of the law firm where she works. The Good Wife finally got her chance to enjoy her freedom so now what will the third season bring? We’ll see, particularly when former House star Lisa Edelstein starts her gig as Will’s former gal pal.
Desperate Housewives  - ABC, 9 p.m., Sept. 25
This show hasn’t been its sterling season one/season two version of itself for some time, when it offered sharply incisive commentary on life in the American suburbs. In its eighth, final season, we’ll see the ladies of Wisteria Lane focusing on trying to hide the fact that Carlos killed Gaby’s abusive stepfather and harkening back to Mary Alice’s suicide which opened the show in its very first episode.
Homeland  - Showtime, 10 p.m., Oct. 2
This new drama has a very intriguing premise: A CIA agent (Claire Danes) suspects that a Marine sergeant who’d been held as a Prisoner of War in Iraq for eight years, has become an enemy agent.
That sergeant, a married father of two, is heralded as an American hero while Danes’ Carrie Mathison digs into the case. His wife Jessica, (played by the chief alien lady from the old ABC show V) - who believed her husband was dead - has already started dating a friend of her husband’s, making for an awkward homecoming. On the heels of the 10th anniversary of 9/11, this show sounds promising.
Parenthood  - NBC, 10 p.m., Sept. 13
In the season two finale of Parenthood, we saw the lives of Adam and Kristina Braverman (Peter Krause and Monica Potter) upended when Adam was laid off from his job and Kristina informed him that she was pregnant with baby number three. (They have a teenage daughter from whom they were estranged for a chunk of last season, and a tweenaged son with Aspergers.)
Parenthood’s third season starts five months later with Kristina working and Adam still looking for work as Kristina’s belly gets bigger and bigger. Adam’s lawyer sister Julia (Erica Christenson) and her stay-at-home husband Joel (Sam Jaeger) are discouraged with the adoption process, Sarah Braverman (Lauren Graham) is angsty about turning 40 and the youngest of the Braverman clan, Crosby, (Dax Shepard) is still smarting from messing up the good thing he had with Jasmine (Joy Bryant), the mother of his son. Count on things to get mighty complicated and messy this season.
Up All Night  - NBC, 8 p.m., Sept. 14
It’s too early to tell if this new Christina Applegate (Samantha Who?)/Will Arnett (Arrested Development) comedy about a couple coping with the disruption caused by the birth of their daughter will be funny or not.
The first episode starts with Applegate’s Reagan returning to work as the producer of a TV talk show hosted by Maya Rudolph (Saturday Night Live, Bridesmaids) and Arnett’s Chris becoming a stay-at-home dad. The show promises to delve into working parent issues and how becoming a parent changes your marriage and all of that, but other shows have attempted to do this in a comedic fashion and haven’t fared well. I’m hoping that this comedy featuring potty-mouthed new parents takes off.
The Middle  - ABC, 8 p.m., Sept. 28
If there’s an underdog, unsung show on this list, it’s The Middle. Overshadowed by the raucously witty companion comedy Modern Family (see below) that airs on the same night, this Patricia Heaton vehicle about a low-to-middle-income family (mom’s a car saleswoman, dad supervises a quarry) with a snarky, underachieving teenage son who likes to parade around in his boxers, a dorky middle school daughter and a quirky, kind of odd yet smart younger son has provided consistent humor about the insanity of child-rearing circa now. Though the season three premiere features a wee bit of stunt casting (Ray Romano, Heaton’s former Everybody Loves Raymond co-star, makes an appearance), I’m looking forward to the garden variety, wacky stories to which I, unfortunately, can relate.
Suburgatory  - ABC, 8:30 p.m., Sept. 28
This new entry into suburban satire comedy reminds me of a snarkier version of Desperate Housewives only from the single dad/smart teenage gal point of view. The premise is that a New York City dad named George (Jeremy Sisto, Billy from Six Feet Under) found a box of condoms in his 16-year-old daughter’s bedroom and flipped out. Seriously flipped out. George dragged Tessa (Jane Levy) out of New York City and to a phony, pristine-veneer-on-the-outside suburb which he thought would be a better, safer venue for her. The point, obviously, is that the suburbs, for all of its clean white picket fences and tasty casseroles, there’s a dark heart in the middle.
Modern Family  - ABC, 9 p.m., Sept. 21
I have a gigantic soft spot in my heart for this multi-generational comedy. It’s whip-smart and has set a new gold standard for comedy. Oftentimes, watching this with my husband and kids is the highlight of my TV viewing week. This season, we’ll see Cam (Eric Stonestreet) and Mitch (Jesse Tyler Ferguson) add another child to their family, Phil (Ty Burrell) develop what Entertainment Weekly called “his scalp-massaging helmet,” and that “Manny [Rico Rodriguez] runs afoul of the law, causing problems for Jay [Ed O’Neill] and Gloria [Sofia Vergara].” I can’t wait.
Grey’s Anatomy  - ABC, 9 p.m., Sept. 22
This long-running drama has come a long way from the days when Meredith Grey (Ellen Pompeo) and Cristina Yang (Sandra Oh) were fresh out of medical school and spending a lot of time drunk-dancing. Now Meredith’s married and has adopted a baby, while Cristina is married and pregnant only she doesn’t want to be. Meredith’s big heart has also gotten her into a hot mess as she tampered with a clinical trial to help a family friend, which has caused a rift with hubby Derek Shepherd (Patrick Dempsey) on the day they were supposed to take their daughter home for the first time. I’m hoping that the final season for Pompeo and Dempsey will treat their characters with respect and not pull any crazy stunts like Izzie Stevens’ disappearing act or George O’Malley getting hit by a bus.
What shows are you interested in following this fall?
Originally posted on ModernMom