Monday, September 22
Watch: Gotham (Fox, 8 PM) — Gotham might be the most promising new drama of the entire fall season, appealing to both comics fans and newcomers, and you’ll want to be there from the beginning. There is no one on TV having more fun than Jada Pinkett Smith.
Watch: Sleepy Hollow (Fox, 9 PM) — Last year, Sleepy Hollow became a sleeper hit (get it?) by crafting a well-rounded supernatural series. It’s not too late to get into it!
DVR: Forever (ABC, 10 PM sneak peek) — Forever is firmly middle-ground programming, but you’ll want this on your DVR for a random, boring Saturday afternoon.
Ignore: The Big Bang Theory (CBS, 8 PM) — We don’t have to tell you this, right?
Tuesday, September 23
Watch: Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (ABC, 9 PM) — Admittedly, Agents didn’t have a strong start in Season 1, but it steadily figured out its problems. Unfortunately, everyone had stopped watching by then. Maybe it’s time for another check-in?
DVR: Awkward (MTV, 10 PM) — This once amazingly clever and unique teen comedy jumped the shark last season by turning a character into a straight psychopath, but here’s hoping they’ve reined it in since then.
Ignore: NCIS: New Orleans (CBS, 9 PM) — You don’t have to watch any CBS procedurals because your dad will fill you in on the details the next morning.
Wednesday, September 24
Watch: The Middle (ABC, 8 PM) — The Middle is easily ABC’s most underrated comedy. It has the perfect mixture of teen awkwardness, blue-collar sweetness, and straight humor. You won’t regret watching it.
Watch: Black-Ish (ABC, 9:30 PM) — Out of all the fall comedies, Black-Ish has the most potential to become something wonderful. It takes on cultural identity without losing its sense of humor.
Watch: Key & Peele (Comedy Central, 10:30) — Speaking of incorporating race into humor, Key & Peele enters its fourth season this Wednesday with — what else? — a laugh-out-loud funny premiere.
DVR: The Goldbergs (ABC, 8:30) — The Goldbergs may be another typical family comedy on ABC (though set in the ’80s!), but it rarely has a bad episode. It’s not must-see just yet, although it occasionally stands out amongst its peers.
DVR: Survivor: Blood vs. Water (CBS, 8 PM) — The 29th season! Who knew this was still on? Store this on your DVR to watch in November when your relatives want to chat about it at Thanksgiving dinner.
Ignore: Modern Family (ABC, 9 PM) — Have you seen an episode of Modern Family? Then you’ve seen this episode of Modern Family. Maybe if we ignore it, it’ll stop winning awards.
Thursday, September 25
Watch: Scandal (ABC, 9 PM) — Scandal‘s back and takes place two months after the finale. Not only is every episode an insane roller-coaster ride, but if you don’t watch Scandal, you’ll be left out of every office and Twitter conversation on Friday morning.
Watch: How To Get Away With Murder (ABC, 10) — Shonda Rhimes continues her welcome takeover of ABC with this fun, thrilling legal mystery centered around law students who get entangled in a murder plot. As with most Rhimes pilots, the first episode isn’t immediately engaging, but it’s still very good and indicates great things to come.
DVR: Parenthood (NBC, 10 PM) — Thursday is the season premiere of the final (and shortened) season of Parenthood, a wonderfully affecting multi-generational family drama. On the one hand, it looks like they’re tackling an iffy trope (spoiler: Amber is probably pregnant), but on the other hand, Parenthood rarely makes missteps so I have no doubt this will be a great season. Save it for when you have a few hours to cry.
Ignore: Grey’s Anatomy (ABC, 8 PM) — I won’t deny that this show had its hooks in me for a few early seasons, but it’s time for it to quietly go away.
Friday, September 26
Watch: Transparent (Amazon) — The best television show of the season isn’t on television, but you can block out your Friday to watch all ten episodes of the first season. It’s both touching and shockingly funny, with great performances all around.
Saturday, September 27
DVR: Saturday Night Live (NBC, 11:30 PM) — Whether or not you believe SNL is no longer funny, you can’t miss Chris Pratt taking over hosting duties. If anything can cure your Sunday-morning hangover, it’s Pratt on SNL.
Sunday, September 28
Watch: Brooklyn Nine-Nine (Fox, 8:30 PM) — Who knew this Andy Samberg cop comedy would become the funniest new show of last fall? The premiere skips ahead in time a bit, but the show hasn’t missed a beat. Let’s hope it survives on its new night.
DVR: The Simpsons (8 PM) — A funny thing about watching FX’s Simpsons marathon was realizing that the show hasn’t been all bad since its “golden years.” Maybe this premiere will be great; maybe not. Either way, you’ll want to record it because the show is killing off a notable character.
DVR: Family Guy (9 PM) — I know, I don’t want to watch it either, but it’s the Family Guy/The Simpsons crossover episode that will most likely be a horrific train wreck and give us something to rage about the next morning.