- Parenthood (NBC)
Thursday, Sept. 25 (NBC)
Season Premiere: As in, final season, Parentheads—you have 13 episodes to make peace with the impending departure of the Braverman family. To make matters worse, the show's producers have hinted that one of the characters won't live to see the tearful series finale that will undoubtedly be set to classic soft-rock hits, and the candidates are obvious: Kristina (cancer—in remission, but still, cancer) or Zeek (old; spent last season mad bucket-listing; longs to be reunited with his ponytail in heaven). The Only TV Column That Matters™ is holding out hope that it'll be Max (annoying; one-note character) or Hank (annoying; is Ray Romano), however.
How to Get Away With Murder
Thursday, Sept. 25 (ABC)
Series Debut: With Grey's Anatomy, Scandal and now this, the Shonda Rhimes takeover of Thursday nights is complete, leaving How to Get Away With Murder star Viola Davis (playing a morally ambiguous, far-too-well-dressed college professor who becomes embroiled in a murder mystery with her law students) to chew scenery with impunity. Also, there's a character named Bonnie Winterbottom. No more witnesses!
Sunday, Sept. 28 (Fox)
One-Hour Season Premiere: Brian: "Guess we're in a town called Springfield." Stewie: "Springfield, eh? What state?" Brian: "I can't imagine we're allowed to say." Thus begins a full crossover hour of inside jokes about Family Guy being a rip-off of The Simpsons, Peter's non-sequitur habit, Springfield's "hepatitis"-skinned citizens, the inevitable extended fight sequence, and even a nod to Bob's Burgers and the late Cleveland Show as 'toon hangers-on. If you're not convinced Family Guy can still bring the funny 13 seasons in, just wait until Mulaney shows up next Sunday.
Tuesday, Sept. 30 (ABC)
Series Debut: Ex-Doctor Who companion Karen Gillan is a little too good as a social-media-obsessed airhead who suddenly realizes that her thousands of "friends" aren't real friends; viewers will probably be tuning out after five minutes of her overly affected hashtag-speak. Too bad, because this roundabout My Fair Lady/Pygmalion riff turns sweet, funny and—sorry—educational once co-star John Cho begins schooling her Eliza Doolie (yes, really) on how to interact with Real People in Real Life. Selfie may be a more obvious movie than a series, but Gillan and Cho have the chemistry to give it legs ... if only it could be under a different title.
Manhattan Love Story
Tuesday, Sept. 30 (ABC)
Series Debut: Speaking of names, Manhattan Love Story could be the worst title of the year—and this is a season that also includes Black-ish and Jane the Virgin. All you need to know about MLS: Analeigh Tipton is a-dor-a-ble; the she-thought/he-thought dating conceit works to far better comedic effect than you'd think; did I mention that Analeigh Tipton is adorable? Give this one a chance and, not to plan your Tuesdays, romantics, but Selfie and Manhattan Love Story into Fox's New Girl and The Mindy Project would make for a solid evening on the couch.
Wednesday, Oct. 1 (CBS)
Series Debut: It's difficult to say who's working harder on Stalker: Dylan McDermott, acting his ass off to prove that he's a brilliant Noo Yawk detective, or the special-effects crew toiling to give co-star Maggie Q cleavage. Both fall ... flat. As the title suggests, this series is about a threat-assessment unit of the LAPD that works stalker cases, but it's just another under-lit clone from the CBS Cop Show Replicator 3000®. Maggie Q deserves better; McDermott, not so much.