(This is an extended preview of the PopRox column appearing in Sunday’s Pocono Record. It’s bigger. It’s longer. It’s cooler. You’re welcome.)
Some people think September means the start of school, others think football.
I think TV.
This month starts another fall season of TV that (hopefully) will keep us interested all the way through May, when we can turn off our brains again and watch “America’s Got Talent.”
Here are some (mostly) PopRox-approved returning shows that have interesting situations heading into the year:
SONS OF ANARCHY (Premieres Sept. 11 on FX)
The biggest comeback on TV last year. After slipping on the Bad Idea Jeans with the trip to Ireland in the third season, the show got back to guns, bikes and the northern California organized crime syndicate last year. Hey, that’s what we signed up for, right? Right. Now it’s up to the show to keep giving us what we want, and from the looks of the trailers previewing the season, that’s what we’re getting. Although I don’t remember anyone asking for Jimmy Smits.
IT’S ALWAYS SUNNY IN PHILADELPHIA (Premieres in October on FX)
For some reason, when I watched last year’s episodes on FX, I thought just about all of them were pretty lame. Especially the one where Frank’s brother surfaced. But as I’ve watched them in reruns, they’re not nearly as bad as I thought they were the first time around. Except for the Frank’s brother episode. So what is this show aspiring to? Is it a show that’s still funny, but only on second viewing? Or does it want to hold on to its rightful place as the anti-establishment sitcom of this generation? Time to step up and show us.
THE WALKING DEAD (Premieres Oct. 14 on AMC)
You’re down on “The Walking Dead.” You posted it on your Facebook, on your Tumblr, you rented a bullhorn and drove through the streets shouting it at anyone who would listen. “Get the *%$@! off the farm!!!” you screamed. Well, now they are, smart guy. The gang is fractured and they’re all about to meet some new characters, some of the most important characters of the graphic novel series like The Governor and Michonne. And we’re headed to another bunker-type thing, “The Prison.” So you should probably get used to the idea of the cast just hanging out in one place again. Oh, and about that four-minute trailer for the season that drips with awesomeness? Yeah, that’s Merle at the end, and he’s coming back. Wrap your head around that one, and wipe that drool from your mouth as you think about it.
COMMUNITY (Premieres Oct. 19 on NBC)
No TV show had a messier offseason than this one. First creator/show-runner Dan Harmon gets in a public fight with known crumudgeon — and show star — Chevy Chase. Then Harmon got sacked … from his own show, believed to be a TV first. Then NBC decided to push hysterically idiotic “talking points” on the cast for how to handle the Harmon situation in the press over the summer. Excuse these guys if they have bags under their eyes and grey hairs this season. It was a rough couple of months there. Now let’s see if they can make with the funny that kept them on the air for a fourth season, even though I’m convinced only me and a couple friends are watching.
THE X-FACTOR (Premieres Sept. 12 on Fox)
Let the record show I won’t watch one second of this. But … with Britney Spears around, I at least thought about it. Then I see all the commercials, and even though she’s mean and nasty, it looks like she’s got her stuff together again. Which is the exact opposite reason I’d tune in to any show to see her.
THE OFFICE (Premieres Sept. 20 on NBC)
One more year! One more year! We get our wish, as “The Office” is back for one last season of shows before the gang does what everyone else eventually does — leaves Scranton. Hiyo! Hey, if I didn’t say it, someone else would have. Don’t worry, the show will probably live on in some way, as NBC is developing a spin-off pilot set at Dwight’s beet farm. Hellloooooo Honesdale!
ONCE UPON A TIME (Premieres Sept. 30 on ABC)
Exactly how many fairy tale characters are there? Didn’t this show use them all up in the first season? Probably not, but I’m just hoping they don’t go too far down the well and end up raiding Canterbury Tales or something. Although it might be amusing to see The Monk matching wits with Regina. And yeah, I just made a Canterbury Tales reference, so what?
AMERICAN DAD! (Premieres Sept. 30 on Fox)
Only because it took me a couple seconds to realize it’s still on the air. Now it should be steamrolling toward the record of “According to Jim” for staying on the air the longest without anyone noticing it’s still on the air. That’s fun.