Premieres: September 27, 10 pm, CBSThere has never been a fictional sleuth as enduring as Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s creation Sherlock Holmes, and almost all modern-day police procedurals owe an immense debt to the British detective’s cunning combination of deductive reasoning paired with a love of forensic science. In fact, between Guy Ritchie’s blockbuster films, the BBC’s hit series Sherlock, and now with CBS’s Elementary, Holmes is having a moment. Much like the BBC show, the classic character is given a modern-day makeover, but that’s where the similarities end, as Elementary‘s Holmes, played with scruffy charm by Johnny Lee Miller, is a recovering addict living in New York City, and his faithful companion, Dr. Watson, is now a woman (Lucy Liu). For anyone unfamiliar with the rich history of the character, this is about as seismic a change in the Holmes universe as one could ever imagine. But the show’s creators swear there will never be any romance between the two, though the possibility of other romantic entanglements aren’t out of the question.
Premieres: September 28, 9 pm, FOXAs J.J. Abrams’ mind-bending science-fiction series Fringe begins its fifth and final season, the creators have decided to turn things on their ear, and that’s saying something for a show that deals with such high concepts as parallel universes, evil doppelgangers, and alternate timelines on a weekly basis. Using the fourth season head-scratcher, Letters of Transit, as a jumping-off point, the characters are propelled into the year 2036, a dystopian future where the world has fallen under the control of the Observers, a race of pale, bald, black-suited, fedora-wearing beings from the 26th century. Ironically, this isn’t the first Fox series to make a foray into the near future, as the short-lived War of the Worlds(1988–1990) also made the leap from its promising first season full of government cover-ups and slimy three-fingered aliens to a dreary second season on an alien-ruled Earth. Warned of the Observer’s takeover plans, Walter Bishop (John Noble) encases himself and his team in amber in order to be revived and help take back the planet.
Premieres: September 30, 10 pm, ShowtimeHomeland, based on the critically acclaimed Israeli series Hatufim, was the surprise hit of last season and most recently walked away with Emmys for outstanding drama series and outstanding lead actor and actress in a drama for its stars Damian Lewis and Claire Danes. With 24‘s seemingly unstoppable superagent, Jack Bauer, having ridden off into the sunset—for now at least—we’ve finally been given a post-9/11 espionage drama that features characters on both sides of the war on terror, who are showing the physical and psychological ramifications their actions bring. Last season introduced us to Marine Sgt. Nicholas Brody (Lewis), returning home a war hero after being held prisoner by al-Qaida for the past eight years, and CIA operations officer Carrie Mathison (Danes) who is secretly investigating him, convinced that he has been brainwashed into a terrorist sleeper agent. Season two picks up with the troubled Carrie out of the agency and her one-time nemesis Brody being vetted to be the next vice president of the U.S.
666 Park Avenue
Premieres: September 30, 10 pm, ABCNetwork television has always had a rocky relationship with the horror genre, opting for scares rooted more in the psychological than the supernatural, but ABC is taking a chance with 666 Park Avenue, based loosely on Gabriella Pierce’s series of novels. It’s The Shining meets Rosemary’s Baby. Make no mistake, 666 Park Avenue will have none of the over-the-top gore or sick twists found in the likes of FX’s American Horror Story, but with Terry O’Quinn, Lost‘s John Locke, as the proprietor of The Drake, the titular residence of the series, the creep quotient is certainly upped. The show follows a young couple (Dave Annable and Rachael Taylor) who answer an ad to be the new on-site managers but quickly realize that all is not as it seems in their new tony Upper East Side digs.
Premieres: October 3, 9 pm, The CWMuch like the undead, mythological, and demonic forces that the valiant Winchester brothers face week in and week out, Supernatural just will not die. Creator Eric Kripke originally envisioned an overarching storyline for the series spanning five seasons, but the fans—and the network—had other ideas. Following in the footsteps of such great cult shows as Buffy the Vampire Slayer, The X-Files, and Kolchak: The Night Stalker, Supernatural follows the trials and tribulations of Sam (Jared Padalecki) and Dean Winchester (Jensen Ackles),the last in a long line of monster hunters. Unlike other shows of this ilk, Supernatural realized early on with the death of the Winchester patriarch (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) that in order to maintain tension, no one could be off-limits, with many of the Winchester’s allies, and even the brother’s themselves, dying (they eventually got better). Dean and the Angel Castiel (Misha Collins) were trapped in Purgatory after saving the world at the end of last season, but now Dean has returned a changed man.
Premieres: October 10, 8 pm, The CWWith the finale of the CW’s long-running superhero series Smallville last year, there’s now a noticeable dearth of caped crusaders on the tube. The hip, action-packed Arrow hopes to change that, offering up a streamlined version of DC’s popular Green Arrow character, created back in 1941. Not to be confused with the Green Arrow (Justin Hartley) who appeared on Smallville, Arrow (Stephen Amell) is the alter ego of Oliver Queen, the son of billionaire industrialist Robert Queen (Homeland‘s Jamey Sheridan), who was forced to survive for five years on an island after a boating accident. The show aims to please fans of the comic by including series stalwarts such as love interest Dinah Lance (Katie Cassidy) and villainous archer Merlyn (Colin Donnell).
The Walking Dead
Premieres: October 14, 9 pm, AMCAMC’s The Walking Dead has the unenviable task of straddling two separate-but-equal worlds: that of creator Robert Kirkman’s critically acclaimed ongoing comic-book of the same name and that of the show’s universe, which sometimes lurches and staggers like one of the series’ zombies. When going back and viewing the first two seasons as three six-episode story arcs, one gains an appreciation for the series slow-burn storytelling approach. But fans of both gasped at season two’s finale, which ended the brewing rivalry between Deputy Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) and his former bff Shane (Jon Bernthal) once and for all, as well as gave audiences the first glimpse of the survivor’s new sanctuary—an abandoned prison—and the promise that it holds. I’m not spoiling anything by saying that the introduction of the prison setting and the neighboring town of Woodbury, as well as the addition of fan-favorite characters Michonne (Danai Gurira) and the Governor (David Morrissey), have elevated the level of anticipation for the premiere to all-time highs.