Find out what's in store this season on your favorites and get a breakdown of all the newbies, from who's in them to why you should tune in:
Wednesday, Sept. 8th
**Hellcats (CW11 - Wednesdays, 9pm)
Cast: Alyson Michalka (Bandslam), Ashley Tisdale (High School Musical), Heather Hemmens, Sharon Leal (Why Did I Get Married? and This Christmas), Matt Barr ("One Tree Hill" and "Harper's Island"), Robbie Jones ("One Tree Hill"), and Elena Esovolova
Plot: When Marti Perkins (Michalka) loses her scholarship to Lancer University in Memphis, Tennessee, her dreams of becoming a lawyer and escaping her alcoholic mother (Gail O'Grady from "Desperate Housewives") for a better life as a lawyer could be over before they start. Luckily, Lancer's legendary competitive cheer squad, the Hellcats, needs a replacement for injured captain Alice Verdura (Hemmens). Using her gymnastics skills and freestyle dance moves, she wins the spot and a scholarship. Now all she has to do is not choke during competition, not kill her bubbly cheer roommate Savannah Monroe (Tisdale), and not neglect her buddy Dan (Barr) in favor of her new friends and a new guy (Jones). And Coach Lodge (Leal) is counting on her to help the team win nationals so she can keep her job.
Why watch: Because it has "Friday Night Lights" spirit with Bring it On dialogue.
**Terriers (FX - Wednesdays, 10pm)
Cast: Donal Logue ("Life" and "Grounded for Life"), Michael Raymond-James ("True Blood"), Laura Allen ("Dirt" and "4400"), and Rockmond Dunbar ("Prison Break")
Plot: A crime dramedy about an ex-cop (Logue) who partners up with his best friend (Raymond-James) to launch a P.I. business. The duo solve crimes of all sizes while trying to avoid danger and responsibility.
Why watch: 1) Because it's from the Ocean's Eleven screenwriter Ted Griffin, and 2) because I've missed Raymond-James ever since he did an incredible job playing a con artist slash serial killer in the first season of "True Blood."
Thursday, Sept. 9th
Vampire Diaries (CW11 - Thursdays, 8pm)
This Season: Rest easy Stephelena/Elephen lovers, Damon will realize it was actually Katherine he locked lips with, and so begins the cat-and-mouse game that the Salvatore brothers will play with Katherine throughout the season. Meanwhile, over in semi-human land, Tyler and Matt will be impatiently waiting for news on Caroline's condition post-car accident. Plus, Tyler's uneven-tempered uncle, Mason (Taylor Kinney from "Trauma"), will come to town for his brother/the mayor's funeral. Of course, I'm pretty sure he also came to give Tyler "Werewolf 101" lessons, which might explain why Alaric and Damon take a trip to a university to research the moon-enslaved creatures with the help of a grad student (Courtney Ford from "Dexter"), who has an agenda of her own.
Why watch: Duh! Can you imagine the havoc Damon will wreak under Katherine's seductive control? And how conflicted he'll be when it comes time to choose between her and Elena? Plus, this season, Bonnie will grow even more powerful and even less tolerant of the undead.
**Nikita (CW11 - Thursdays, 9pm)
Cast: Maggie Q (Live Free or Die Hard), Shane West ("ER"), Lyndsy Fonseca (Kick-Ass), Melinda Clarke ("The O.C." and "Vampire Diaries"), Ashton Holmes ("The Pacific"), and Aaron Stanford (The Hills Have Eyes)
Plot: As a troubled teen, Nikita was rescued from death row by Division, a secret U.S. agency that trained her as an assassin and spy. After the agency murdered her lover, Nikita spent three years in hiding. Now she is seeking revenge, stopping at nothing to shut down and expose the operation, her former boss, Percy, and her former friends at Division. Meanwhile, the agency continues to recruit and train new members, bringing in young people, erasing their pasts, and turning them into cold and efficient killers.
Why watch: Because if you've ever seen the 90s version of "La Femme Nikita," you know that she makes Sydney Bristow look like an amateur.
Monday, Sept. 13th
90210 (CW11 - Mondays, 8pm)
This Season: As usual, there'll be plenty of drama. Naomi spent the summer coping with her rape. Annie & Dixon are dealing with their father's absence, while she and Liam figure out their relationship status. Teddy develops a drinking problem, comes out of the closet, and has his first kiss with Broadway actor Kyle Riabko (Spring Awakening). Ivy's rebellious British childhood friend (Blair Redford) moves into her house and proves to be a bad influence. And pregnant Jen is still around making Ryan's life a living hell.
Why watch: Someone's going to die in the season premiere after an earthquake, and Teddy gets injured enough to potentially ruin his tennis career…which explains the drinking.
Gossip Girl (CW11 - Mondays, 9pm)
This Season: Chuck will emerge from his near death experience a changed man with a new French girl (Clemence Poes from Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire) on his arm, and Blair might be reevaluating her hatred for him. His tryst with Jenny, however, won't go unaddressed, since Rufus will not only confront him, but learn what Chuck did when he first met Jenny—the night he tried to force himself on her. Katie Cassidy (Ella on "Melrose Place") is joining the series as a Columbia student that romances Nate, but rumor has it she's not what she seems and she'll be a thorn in Blair's side. Sam Page ("Desperate Housewives" and "Mad Men") will play Serena's new love interest in October. Dan and Vanessa will move in together, despite his alleged baby-making with Georgina. And Tim Gunn will guest star when Jenny returns to the city to interview at Parsons.
Why watch: Gossip Girl's site will be remodeled and new features will be implemented. That can only mean even more scandal to be revealed in even more scandalous ways.
Tuesday, Sept. 14th
One Tree Hill (CW11 - Tuesdays, 8pm)
This Season: In the finale, Clay and Quinn get shot by Katie. They'll have an out-of-body experience as they fight for their lives. Brooke gets into legal trouble with her clothing line because of Victoria and Milicent. Haley and Nathan start telling people about their pregnancy. And Julian's mother (Sharon Lawrence) comes to town for the wedding.
Why watch: Um…because Sophia Bush is too awesome to ignore. Other than that, really, there's no point.
Life Unexpected (CW11 - Tuesdays, 9pm)
This Season: Looks like Baze and Cate haven't come to terms with how they feel about each other, since he'll be dating around a lot and she'll be married to Ryan. That's right. She chose Ryan! (eye roll) The writers are saying that their marital problems will not be Baze-related this season, because they'll discover that they have bigger issues than just him. Meanwhile, Ryan's sassy, flirty, world-traveling little sister (Lindsay Lister from "Gilmore Girls") will come to town, and end up bar-tending for Baze. Amy Price-Francis ("24") will play an author who joins the morning show, probably to replace Cate, since she's getting fired. Shaun Sipos ("Melrose Place") will play a hot new high school teacher that Lux crushes on. And Haley and Mia from "One Tree Hill" will rock out at the radio station's music festival.
Why watch: Both parents will be out of a job soon, making it that much more difficult to support Lux and keep her in check. Oh and then there's that other proposal (see below).
Parenthood (NBC - Tuesdays, 10pm)
This Season: Adam's stress levels will be extra high, since he's hiring Sarah to work in his warehouse, and his daughter Haddie is getting a new boyfriend from the other side of the tracks. Sarah will have issues of her own to deal with too. Her daughter Amber makes a new friend (Zosia Mamet from "United States of Tara" and The Kids Are All Right) from an upper-crust background, and she'll be worried about her immersion into this new society. Plus, she'll be busy with not one, but two new love interests: Adam's playboy boss (Billy Baldwin), and a warehouse employee (Kevin Alejandro from "True Blood" and "Ugly Betty"). Julia and Joel will consider having another baby, and I'm sure Julia will try to control the hell out of the process. Crosby and Jasmine will struggle with a long distance relationship. And the grandparents, Zeke and Camille, will head to marriage counseling.
Why watch: Because it's the best hour-long family series on TV that has a perfect mix of comedy and drama.
Wednesday, Sept. 15th
**Outlaw (NBC - Premieres Wednesday, Airs Fridays at 10pm)
Cast: Jimmy Smits, Carly Pope ("Popular"), Jesse Bradford (Bring it On and Swimfan), Ellen Davis Woglom ("Californication"), and David Ramsey ("Dexter").
Plot: Frustrated with flaws in the legal system, Supreme Court Justice Cyrus Garza gives up his lifetime appointment. Hoping to change the system from his private practice, Garza and his team use inside knowledge of the legal system to help "the little guy." Each case takes them around the country to some of the most difficult and controversial issues.
Why watch: If you like righteous men with noble agendas, then you'll love this.
Sunday, Sept. 19th
**Boardwalk Empire (HBO - Sundays, 9pm)
Cast: Steve Buscemi, Michael Pitt (Murder by Numbers), Michael Shannon (Revolutionary Road and The Runaways), Stephen Graham (Public Enemies and Snatch), Kelly Macdonald (No Country for Old Men and Choke), Michael Kenneth Williams ("The Wire" and Brooklyn's Finest), Vincent Piazza ("Rescue Me" and Rocket Science), Paz de la Huerta (Spanglish), Shea Whigham (Fast & Furious)
Plot: January 1920, on the eve of Prohibition, Nucky Thompson (Buscemi), Atlantic City's Treasurer, condemns alcohol at a Women's Temperance League meeting, only to later that evening privately convince his ward bosses that they can make huge profits from selling bootleg liquor. At a countdown-to-midnight blast, he reassures Jimmy Darmody (Pitt), a recently returned WWI vet, that his appointment as "Man Friday" to the new Chief Clerk of the Fourth Ward, Paddy Ryan, will lead to bigger things. Jimmy, however, has higher aspirations, and ends up making an alliance that may have dire consequences for both him and Nucky. The series will tell the legendary tale of Atlantic City's gambling origin.
Why watch: Two words: Martin Scorsese.
Monday, Sept. 20th
How I Met Your Mother (CBS - Mondays, 8pm)
This Season: Not only does Ted run into Cindy (Rachel Bilson from "The O.C."), the girl he dated who rooms with his future wife, but this season he'll be getting a serious girlfriend. Meanwhile, Robin's still trying to get over Don, while she breaks in a new cohost played by Broadway actress and country singer Laura Bell (Legally Blonde). We also learn about her childhood when Pussycat Doll Nicole Scherzinger guest stars in November as her former Canadian BFF from her Jessica Glitter days. I bet 20 seconds go by before Barney is all up on that.
Why watch: Because the first episode has a flashforward to the wedding.
Chuck (NBC - Mondays, 8pm)
This Season: There'll be some major geek love this season. Chuck's mom will be played by Terminator's Linda Hamilton. Rocky IV's Dolph Lundgren will guest star in the premiere as a super baddie. The Incredible Hulk's Lou Ferrigno will play an evil spy's bodyguard. And the former James Bond Timothy Dalton will play a mystery man with ties to Chuck's mom. In other guest star news, Nicole Richie returns to be a thorn in Sarah's side. Olivia Munn ("The Daily Show"), Old Spice commercial star Isaiah Mustafa, and former model/wrestler Isaiah Mustafa ("What About Brian") will play a recurring undercover CIA agent called Greta—no, I don't know how. And Eric Roberts, Joel David Moore ("Bones"), and WWE champion Batista will play the members of Casey's 90s A-Team. Maybe they'll help him deal with Morgan's budding infatuation with his daughter Alex.
Why watch: Did you just read everything I wrote above?
Rules of Engagement (CBS - Mondays, 8:30pm)
This Season: Pam, Jeff and Audrey's potential surrogate reveals some unsettling information, and a gay couple will be added to the mix.
Why watch: If you think relationships, in all their phases, are hilarious, then you'll want to laugh at this.
Two and a Half Men (CBS - Mondays, 9pm)
**The Event (NBC - Mondays, 9pm)
Cast: Jason Ritter ("Parenthood" and "The Class"), Blair Underwood ("Dirty Sexy Money"), Laura Innes ("ER"), Zeljko Ivanek ("Heroes," "Damages," and "True Blood"), and Sarah Roemer (Disturbia)
Plot: It follows Sean Walker (Ritter), an everyman whose investigation of his girlfriend's (Roemer) mysterious disappearance begins to expose the biggest cover-up in U.S. history. Sean's quest will affect/involve newly elected U.S. President Elias Martinez (Underwood), the leader of a mysterious group of detainees Sophia Maguire (Innes), and Leila's shady father (Patterson). Their futures are on a collision course in a global conspiracy that could ultimately change the fate of mankind.
Why watch: Because who doesn't love a mystery? Oh yeah, and because "Lost" is over and "Flash Forward" is canceled.
**LoneStar (FOX - Mondays, 9pm)
Cast: James Wolk, Jon Voight, Adrianne Palicki ("Friday Night Lights"), Bryce Johnson ("Pretty Little Liars" and "Popular"), Eloise Mumford, David Keith ("The Class"), Rosa Blasi ("Make It or Break It"), and Mark Deklin
Plot: A charismatic and brilliant schemer (Wolk) has meticulously constructed two lives in two different parts of Texas to wipe out a multi-billion dollar company. But when he starts to feel for both his wife and his girlfriend, and starts to grow a conscience, he must choose between fulfilling his father's wishes and doing the right thing.
Why watch: To answer the question of whether a con man can be redeemed.
**Mike & Molly (CBS - Mondays, 9:30pm)
Cast: Melissa McCarthy ("Gilmore Girls"), Billy Gardell ("Yes, Dear"), Katy Mixon ("Two and a Half Men" & All About Steve), Reno Wilson (Crank: High Voltage), Swoosie Kurtz ("Pushing Daisies"), and Nyambi Nyambi
Plot: Fourth-grade teacher Molly Flynn meets and falls for police officer Mike Biggs at Overeaters Anonymous.
Why watch: Because McCarthy was a hilarious treat on "Gilmore Girls," and she was always the most enjoyable when she was falling in love.
**Hawaii Five-0 (CBS - Mondays, 10pm)
Cast: Alex O'Loughlin (The Back-Up Plan and "Moonlight"), Daniel Dae Kim ("Lost"), Scott Caan (Ocean's Eleven and "Entourage"), Grace Park ("Battlestar Galactica"), Taryn Manning (Hustle & Flow), and Jean Smart ("Samantha, Who?")
Plot: When Steve McGarrett's (O'Loughlin) father is murdered, he decides to return home to Oahu in order to catch the killer (James Marsters from "Buffy, the Vampire Slayer"). The governor (Smart) offers him the opportunity to run a new task force where he is able to call the shots. His team includes: Chin Ho Kelly (Kim), an ex-Honolulu Police Detective and former protégé of McGarrett's father, who has been assigned to a federal security patrol after being suspected of corruption; Detective Danny "Danno" Williams (Caan), a New Jersey cop who recently moved to the island and is raising his 8-year-old daughter; and Kono Kalakaua (Park), Kelly's cousin and a rookie officer, fresh from the academy.
Why watch: Because O'Loughlin deserves a series that actually makes it—after "Moonlight" and "Three Rivers," three times a charm—and by the looks of the promo, all he really needed was a partner.
**Chase (NBC - Mondays, 10pm)
Cast: Kelli Giddish ("Past Life"), Cole Hauser ("K-Ville"), Amaury Nolasco ("Prison Break"), Jesse Metcalfe ("Desperate Housewives"), and Rose Rollins ("The L Word")
Plot: A high-priority fugitive-apprehension team made up of U.S. Marshals tracks down notorious criminals in South Texas.
Why watch: You can tell by the preview that Giddish has the makings of a badass, and TV can always use another heroine.
Castle (ABC - Mondays, 10pm)
This Season: In the premiere, Beckett and her team are on the hunt for a murderer, and they discover Castle, who they haven't heard from in several months, hovering over a body with a gun in his hands. Naturally, she arrests him. Her eagerness to do so might have something to do with the new risque cover for his latest book—that's ALL OVER the city. During the season, we'll learn more about Beckett's rookie years, especially in the episode with a case involving her training officer (Jason Beghe), who she might've been smitten over. But he won't be the one to steal her heart. No that honor goes to Victor Webster ("Melrose Place" and "Charmed"), a mysterious biker bad boy that brings out a different side to her, around episode 4. And if that wasn't enough bad news for Castle, his daughter will be getting her first boyfriend (Ken Baumann from "The Secret Life of the American Teenager") too.
Why watch: There will be a difficult death in the 2nd episode.
Tuesday, Sept. 21st
Glee (FOX - Tuesdays, 8pm)
This Season: Even though the creator has said that there will be more character development and less performances this season, there will also be new songbirds who will challenge the gleeks, including Oprah-approved Youtube star Charice, who will play a foreign exchange student that makes Rachel jealous. Britney Spears will guest star in the second episode that'll focus on the ditzy-but-lovable Brittany. That's the same episode that Emma will debut her dentist boyfriend played by John Stamos. Javier Bardem will play a Spanish heavy metal rock star that befriends Artie, and Tina will start to stray towards Mike Chang. Carol Burnett will guest as Sue's mom. Cheyenne Jackson ("30 Rock") will take over for Idina Menzel, but she will reprise her role.
Why watch: The singing, of course.
**Raising Hope (FOX - Tuesdays, 9pm)
Cast: Lucas Neff, Garret Dillahunt ("Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles"), Martha Plimpton (The Goonies), Cloris Leachman ("Malcolm in the Middle"), Shannon Marie Woodward ("The Riches"), and Bijou Phillips (Almost Famous)
Plot: Jimmy Chance, who hasn't made the best decisions in life, is trying his best to raise his daughter with the help of his family...who didn't do the best job raising him.
Why watch: It's "Malcolm in the Middle" meets "Roseanne," and it's really funny.
**Running Wilde (FOX - Tuesdays, 9:30pm)
Cast: Will Arnett (When in Rome and "30 Rock"), Keri Russell ("Felicity"), Stefanie Owen (The Lovely Bones), and Joe Nunez ("Prison Break")
Plot: A self-centered and incompetent rich guy tries to woo his childhood crush, who is now a charitable tree hugger twenty years later. Where at first, their distance was an issue, now it'll be their proximity, since she loathes his lifestyle and moral code.
Why Watch: Because it's as if Job from "Arrested Development" were left to his own devices.
**Detroit 1-8-7 (ABC - Tuesdays, 10pm)
Cast: Michael Imperioli ("The Sopranos"), James McDaniel, Aisha Hinds ("True Blood" and "Hawthorne"), Natalie Martinez (Death Race), D.J. Cotrona (Dear John and "Windfall"), Shaun Majumder ("Unhitched"), Jon Michael Hill, and Erin Cummings
Plot: A fictional documentary filmmaking crew goes inside Detroit's homicide division.
Why watch: Because we've yet to enjoy the documentary format in the drama genre and it could add a certain element to the suspense.
Wednesday, Sept. 22nd
**Undercovers (NBC - Wednesdays, 8pm)
Cast: Boris Kodjoe (Surrogates and "Soul Food"), Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Mekia Cox ("90210"), Gerald McRaney ("Jericho"), Carter MacIntyre, and Ben Schwartz
Plot: A husband and wife come out of retirement to join the CIA as agents.
Why watch: Between the fact that it's being produced by J.J. Abrams ("Alias") and the fact that it's basically Mr. and Mrs. Smith post-full-disclosure, what's not to like?
The Middle (ABC - Wednesdays, 8pm)
**Better With You (ABC - Wednesdays, 8:30pm)
Cast: Joanna Garcia ("Privileged" and "Gossip Girl"), Jennifer Finnigan ("Close to Home" and "The Bold and the Beautiful"), Josh Cooke (I Love You, Man and "Big Day"), Jake Lacy, Kurt Fuller ("Supernatural" and "Psych"), and Debra Jo Rupp ("That 70s Show")
Plot: It's about two sisters in different stages of their romantic relationships: one's in a long term, unmarried relationship and the other is pregnant and getting married to her new boyfriend.
Why watch: Because the adorably funny Garcia deserves a winner.
Modern Family (ABC - Wednesdays, 9pm)
Cougar Town (ABC - Wednesdays, 9:30pm)
This Season: Jennifer Aniston will guest star as Jules' therapist. Travis will make a gay friend and get a jock for a college roommate. And Ken Jenkins (Dr. Kelso on "Scrubs") will play Jules' dad.
Why watch: Because aren't you wondering whether Jules has managed to ruin her relationship with Grayson yet? It's been all of five minutes.
**The Defenders (CBS - Wednesdays, 10pm)
Cast: James Belushi, Jerry O'Connell, and Jurnee Smollett (Jess on "Friday Night Lights")
Plot: Street-smart attorneys Nick Morelli (Belushi) and Pete Kaczmarek (O'Connell), who love not only the law but beautiful women and fast cars, work hard to protect their clients in Sin City.
Why watch: Because…you like Las Vegas? Well, I'll be watching for Jurnee. She's a firecracker who's definitely one-to-watch.
**The Whole Truth (ABC - Wednesdays, 10pm)
Cast: Rob Morrow ("Numb3rs"), Maura Tierney ("ER"), Eamonn Walker ("Kings" and "Oz"), Anthony Rulvivar ("Third Watch"), Christine Adams ("Pushing Daisies"), and Sean Wing,
Plot: A legal drama that examines both sides of a case, the prosecution and the defense.
Why watch: If you're in the market for a new legal drama.
Thursday, Sept. 23rd
The Big Bang Theory (CBS - Thursdays, 8pm)
This Season: The boys start to use technology for their own selfish gains, Howard for sexual pleasure (naturally) and Sheldon to extend his life span (even more naturally). Sheldon will also start a peculiar relationship with Amy (Mayim Bialik from "Blossom") that'll be as romantic as Sheldon can muster.
Why watch: In the premiere, Penny chauffeurs and chaperones Sheldon on his first date.
Community (CBS - Thursdays, 8pm)
This Season: Senor Chang will return as a student and Betty White will guest star as a hardcore anthropology teacher.
Why watch: Because this is as close to "Friends" as we're going to get.
Bones (FOX - Thursdays, 8pm)
This Season: Seven months after Booth went to war and Bones went on an archaeological expedition, they are summoned back by Cam to help her solve a controversial case that will save her job. They each bring a new past with them. Booth returns with a new girlfriend, the war correspondent Ashley (Katheryn Winnick from Killers), and Bones returns with a reevaluation of how she feels about him. Meanwhile, Angela and Hodgins will have a few rocky moments, and Sweets will be enjoying his freedom despite the fact that Daisy has returned. And in the midst of all the lovey dovey subplots, there will potentially be a death toward the end of the season.
Why watch: A new archnemesis will be introduced. "If the Gravedigger is Evil Brennan, this next villain is Evil Booth."
**My Generation (ABC - Thursdays, 8pm)
Cast: Jaime King ("Gary Unmarried" and The Spirit), Daniella Alonso ("Friday Night Lights" and "One Tree Hill"), Julian Morris ("Pretty Little Liars" and "24"), Kelli Garner (Going the Distance), Mehcad Brooks ("True Blood" and "The Deep End"), Anne Son, Keir O'Donnell (When in Rome and Wedding Crashers), Michael Stahl-David (Cloverfield and "The Black Donnellys"), and Sebastian Sozzi
Plot: This documentary-style project follows a group of friends as they flash back and forth from present-day life to ten years ago when they were seniors in high school.
Why watch: To see what happens when you remove Facebook from the equation.
**Bleep My Dad Says (CBS - Thursdays, 8:30pm)
Cast: William Shatner, Jonathan Sadowski (Live Free or Die Hard and She's the Man), Nicole Sullivan ("Rita Rocks"), and Will Sasso ("MADtv")
Plot: It's the life of Henry Bennett (Sadowski), a man in his mid-twenties who decides to move back in with his 73-year old, smart ass father Ed (Shatner), his brother Vince (Sasso) and his wife Kathleen (Sullivan).
Why watch: Because Shatner has impeccable comic timing for a guy whose claim-to-fame is a sci-fi series.
30 Rock (NBC - Thursdays, 8:30pm)
This Season: Jenna starts to demand wacky things now that her show is in its 5th season and she gets to be a producer. There'll also be a new show called "Right On" that'll focus on African-American issues. Kenneth will eventually get his job back. And Paul Giamatti will guest star as a cranky editor who works in the basement.
Why watch: Because there will be a live episode and Jon Hamm will reprise his role.
The Office (NBC - Thursdays, 9pm)
This Season: While Michael Scott may be stepping down soon, since this is Steve Carell's last season, Zach Woods (Gabe) will be getting promoted to series regular. Timothy Olyphant ("Justified") will guest star as a rival paper salesman with a deep dark secret, who dated Pam post-Roy and pre-Jim, which makes Jim jealous. Dwight will become Dunder Mifflin's new landlord and he'll be as irritating as you expect.
Why watch: Because Holly will be returning for a sizable role, and hopefully that'll be after he thinks he has to contact all of his lovers when he discovers a cold swore, which he learns is a form of herpes.
Fringe (FOX - Thursdays, 9pm)
This Season: Since we've been introduced to both universes, the creators have designed the season so that one episode is in one universe and the next episode is in the next universe. But word is that Olivia will escape her alternate universe prison before November. Before she goes, we'll see that alterna-Astrid is kind of like Walter. She's autistic and extremely anti-social. She's basically a computer with a heartbeat. We'll meet Olivia's mother, played by Oscar-nominee Amy Madigan ("Grey's Anatomy"). And Kevin Corrigan will reprise his role as Olivia's bowling alley headcase guru.
Why watch: If there's anything we learned from "Lost," it's that two universes means double the fun.
Grey's Anatomy (ABC - Thursdays, 9pm)
This Season: It'll start two months after the chaos. Derek will have an invincible perspective on life, which is probably due to the fact that he has no idea Meredith had a miscarriage. But he won't be completely unburdened, because he'll be plagued by the memory of history repeating itself, since his father was shot right in front of him when he was a kid. His sister Amelia visits after he refuses to return her phone calls, and they'll even operate together. Alex covers up his trauma by acting like he could've stopped the shooter and soaking up all the new female attention, disregarding Lexi's feelings. But Lexi's main reason for eventually ditching him is that he said Izzie's name when he was almost dying and not hers. Meanwhile, Arizona moves in with Callie, Owen, and Christina. Jesse Williams (Jackson) and Sarah Drew (April) were upgraded to series regulars. James Tupper ("Mercy" and "Men in Trees") will be playing a trauma counselor that must determine whether or not the doctors are fit to return to the OR. And rumor has it Meredith will have the most trouble getting the go ahead.
Why watch: Christina and Owen get married, and Derek gets arrested for speeding. Plus, it'll be interesting to see how everyone reacts to being the ones in a life-or-death situation for once.
**Outsourced (NBC - Thursdays, 9:30pm)
Cast: Ben Rappaport, Sacha Dhawan (The History Boys), Parvesh Cheena (Barbershop), Rebecca Hazlewood, Anisha Nagarajan, Diedrich Bader ("The Drew Carey Show"), Jessica Gower, Rizwan Manji ("Privileged")
Plot: Based on an independent film of the same name, it's about an American novelty company manager who is sent to India to supervise and train a group of customer service reps.
Why watch: Because fish-out-water and racial jokes are always best to laugh at in the privacy of your own home.
The Mentalist (CBS - Thursdays, 10pm)
This Season: After his confrontation with Red John in the finale, Patrick Jane starts to rethink his future with the CBI. We'll get to meet his con artist, potentially homicidal brother-in-law Danny (Kevin Rankin from "Trauma" and "Friday Night Lights"). And Grace will get a new love interest in the form of a football-player-turned-FBI agent (Eric Winter from The Ugly Truth and "Days of Our Lives").
Why watch: Because an aimless Patrick Jane is a dangerous one.
Friday, Sept. 24th
Smallville (CW11 - Fridays, 8pm)
This Season: Chloe puts on Dr. Fate's helmet—perhaps to help her find Oliver, who was kidnapped. Tess, who died, will wake up resurrected in a LuthorCorp lab. And Lois will save Clark, pulling the blue kryptonite out of his chest.
Why watch: Lionel Luthor, Kara, Kent's dad Jonathan, Braniac, and Hawkman all return.
The Good Guys (FOX - Fridays, 9pm)
**Body of Proof (ABC - Fridays, 9pm)
Cast: Dana Delany ("Desperate Housewives"), John Carroll Lynch (Shutter Island), Jeri Ryan ("Shark" and "Leverage"), Nicholas Bishop ("Past Life"), Geoffrey Arend (500 Days of Summer), and Sonja Sohn ("The Wire")
Plot: A workaholic neurosurgeon quits her prestigious job after accidentally killing someone in a car accident, ruining her marriage, and losing her daughter's trust. She changes her life, becomes a medical examiner, helps cops solve crimes, and slowly works her way back to her family.
Why watch: If you like police procedurals with a twist.
**Blue Bloods (CBS - Fridays, 10pm)
Cast: Tom Selleck, Donnie Wahlberg, Will Estes ("American Dreams"), Bridget Moynahan, and Len Cariou
Plot: A crime drama about a multi-generational police family who have varying ideas of how to gain justice.
Why watch: Because of the 'stache. It's gotta be the 'stache. I'm kidding. It's mainly because the writers, Robin Green and Mitchell Burgess, helmed "The Sopranos," and now they're delving into the opposite side of the spectrum. Instead of a crime family that thinks it's above the law, they'll tell the story of a law-abiding family that has trouble following it.
Sunday, Sept. 26th
Desperate Housewives (ABC - Sundays, 9pm)
This Season: When Mary Alice's ex-husband Paul returns, he won't come alone. Annie O'Donnell will play the fragile woman with a dark secret that married him while he was behind bars. Brian Austin Green will guest star as the the latest home improvement hottie to steam up a housewife's life. This time Bree will benefit, but she won't be the only one to go after him. Vanessa Williams, the newest housewife, will want him too. Susan will be busy fending off a new nemesis played by Rebecca Creskoff ("Hung" and "Quintuplets").
Why watch: Because you'll learn the identity of the switched babies in the first 10 minutes.
Dexter (SHOWTIME - Sundays, 9pm)
Brothers & Sisters (ABC - Sundays, 10pm)
This Season: It'll start a year after the car pileup. We'll learn whether Robert and Holly survived, and we'll see how Saul is dealing with the news of his HIV positive status. Emily VanCamp is leaving the series, so Rebecca will only be in a few episodes. You could guess what that means about her relationship with Justin after their year-long separation. Balthazar Getty, however, will definitely not be returning, and his absence is explained in the premiere. Kevin and Scotty will forego surrogacy after they take in a Hispanic homeless teenager. Kitty will rebound with a new guy played by Jeremy Davidson ("Army Wives"), who will be unlike any guy she's ever been interested in.
Why watch: Because the smoking hot Frenchman Gilles Marini will still be around, and we'll meet his mom.
Bored to Death (HBO - Sundays, 10pm)
Tuesday, Sept. 28th
The Good Wife (CBS - Tuesdays, 10pm)
This Season: Lockhart & Gardner is merging with a more financially stable firm, which means that there will be half as many jobs and Alicia will have to fight for her position again. But instead of relying on Will and Diane again, she gets a new mentor, Derrick Bond (Michael Ealy from "FlashForward"), the soft-spoken head of their new firm, who doesn't approve of Will and Diane's capitalist agendas. Meanwhile, Kalinda will have some competition of her own, since the new firm already has its own investigator (Scott Porter from "Friday Night Lights"), a cocky flirt that'll put Cary to shame and beat her at her own game.
Why watch: Because Alan Cumming (Eli Gold) was made a series regular, which no doubt means that Peter's political career is about to heat up; we have to find out if Alicia chose to stay with Peter and how her decision affects her work relationship with Will; and we have to see how Cary's new job threatens the new firm.**No Ordinary Family (ABC - Tuesdays, 8pm)
Cast: Michael Chiklis ("The Shield" and Fantastic Four), Julie Benz ("Dexter" and "Desperate Housewives"), Kay Panabaker ("Summerland" and Fame), Jimmy Bennett (Shorts), Romany Malco ("Weeds"), and Autumn Reeser ("Entourage" and "The O.C."), Tate Donovan ("Damages" and "The O.C."), Stephen Collins ("7th Heaven" and Because I Said So), and Christina Chang ("CSI: Miami" and "24")
Plot: It's the story of the Powells, an every day American family, who are too busy to spend time together, so they decide to take a trip as family to reconnect, but on the way, their plane crashes. The accident results in them getting superpowers: super speed (mom), super strength (dad), telekinesis (daughter), and mathematical genius (son).
Why watch: Because it's the live-action version of The Incredibles and that's THE best animated film in the history of animated films. You can quote me on that.
Wednesday, Sept. 29th
**Law & Order: Los Angeles (NBC - Wednesdays, 10pm)
Cast: Corey Stoll (Salt), Regina Hall (Scary Movie and Death at a Funeral), Alfred Molina (The Sorcerer's Apprentice and Prince of Persia), Terrence Howard (Iron Man), and Skeet Ulrich (Scream and "Jericho")
Plot: The Los Angeles Robbery Homicide division investigates the crimes of the rich and famous.
Why watch: …tum-TUM
NBC - The Cape, Friends with Benefits, Harry's Law, Love Bites, The Paul Reiser show, Parks and Recreation, Perfect Couples, The Marriage Ref
FOX: American Idol, Bob's Burgers
ABC: Happy Endings, Mr. Sunshine, V, Off the Map
For a full list of all the returning TV shows, check out EW's Ausiello Files.