2012 Fall TV Preview: Sunday

Pity me, for I have no DVR. That is ridiculous when you consider how many television shows I consume (and wish to consume), but it is a fact. The explanations for why are long and tedious, but suffice it to say that I am still a member of that unfortunate group of people who must choose between competing programs when they air at the same time. God forbid I ever actually want to leave the apartment - I've now missed several episodes of Alphas because Hulu stopped streaming them the day after they air. Remind me to piss and moan about that type of business decision later.

Now that the Entertainment Weekly Fall TV Preview issue has finally arrived, I can begin an intense scheduling and planning ritual that rivals the invasion of Normandy. What shows should I make an effort to be home for? What can be shotgunned as a full season later? What can I pass up altogether? Let's explore the embarrassment of riches (or in some case, just pure embarrassment) of the new and returning shows for the upcoming season, starting with Sundays. In a stubborn show of support to my local viewing, all times given are Central.

Homeland - Season 2 (Showtime - 9-10PM - premieres September 30):

I don't get Showtime, so this is an easy call. The first season is on my Netflix queue, but I won't get my hands on it for a while. If I wind up liking it, this will be a shotgun-via-Netflix kind of show.

Once Upon a Time - Season 2 (ABC - 7-8PM - premieres September 30):

The first season is on my Netflix queue. If I wind up liking it, this will be a shotgun-via-Netflix kind of show. Noticing a pattern already?

The Cleveland Show - Season 4 (Fox - 6:30-7PM - premieres October 21):

Season 4? Really? I watched the first couple of episodes of Season 1, decided I hated the show, and have been ignoring it ever since. I have yet to read a positive review of it or meet a person who likes it, so I'm bemused at its staying power.

The Amazing Race - Season 21 (CBS - 7-8PM - premieres September 30):

This used to be my favorite reality show, but like all reality shows, began to show its age. Every season, I try to tune in for the first couple of episodes to see if anything has been done to make it interesting and exciting again, but for the last several seasons, it's continued its descent into becoming a complete non-entity. That pattern is likely to continue this year, but as with every season of this once great competition, I'll give it a whirl.

Call the Midwife - Season 1 (PBS - 7-8PM - premieres September 30):

Yup. I've already saved the date. This is the show that makes me the most hopeful for Sunday nights, though it's unlikely to capture the same lightning-in-a-bottle that Downton Abbey does.

The Simpsons - Season 24 (Fox - 7-7:30PM - premieres September 30):

Like a lot of people, this used to be my favorite show, bar none. And like a lot of people, I've stopped watching. If there happens to be an outstanding episode, I'm sure I'll hear about it somehow, and will loop around to watch it later.

Bob's Burgers - Season 3 (Fox - 7:30-8PM - premieres September 30):

Season 1 of this show was a delightful breath of fresh air, and Season 2 did some nice universe building, while still being entertaining. This show is my current favorite, as far as animation goes, and I'm really looking forward to the new season.

Boardwalk Empire - Season 3 (HBO - 8-9PM - premieres September 16):

I don't get HBO, and have yet to see a single moment of this show. Like Breaking Bad, if I watch this at all, it probably won't be until the entire series wraps. At that point, I can work my way through at my own pace.

Dexter - Season 7 (Showtime - 8-9PM - premieres September 30):

Another show I've never watched, and thanks to my gore aversion, never will. Enjoy!

Family Guy - Season 10 (Fox - 8-8:30PM - premieres September 30):

When this show was new and edgy, I enjoyed it. Then it became hacky and stale, and I've never looked back. Since it's had to endure endless comparisons with The Simpsons, let's throw one more on the pile: If there's an outstanding episode that I hear about through the grapevine, I'll catch it later.

The Good Wife - Season 4 (CBS - 8-9PM - premieres September 30):

Sing it if you know it: The first season is on my Netflix queue. If I wind up liking it, this will be a shotgun-via-Netflix kind of show.

Revenge - Season 2 (ABC - 8-9PM - premieres September 30):

Let's hear that refrain one more time! The first season is on my Netflix queue. If I wind up liking it, this will be a shotgun-via-Netflix kind of show.

The Walking Dead - Season 3 (AMC - 8-9PM - premieres October 14):

Some shows are just not built with me in mind as their audience, and this is one of them.

American Dad - Season 8 (Fox - 8:30-9PM - premieres September 30):

I hated this show when it first debuted. After several seasons had passed, I was persuaded by fans that it had dramatically improved, and that I should give it another chance, so I did. Nope, still hate it.

666 Park Avenue - Season 1 (ABC - 9-10PM - premieres September 30):

Vanessa Williams and Terry O'Quinn are a married couple who own a creepy Manhattan apartment building, and another couple (Dave Annable and Rachael Taylor) move in to manage it and have to contend with all the... Well, evil. This could turn out to be soapy fun, terrible trash, or some hybrid of the two. I'm curious about it, though, and will definitely give it a shot.

The Mentalist - Season 5 (CBS - 9-10PM - premieres September 30):

A middle-of-the-road if inoffensive crime procedural. I may catch an episode here or there if it happens to be on, but it's not something I consider appointment television.

Treme - Season 3 (HBO - 9-10PM - premieres September 23):

I haven't seen this show, but there's no way I'm even attempting to rent the first season until I'm through my other David Simon show, The Wire. So it's going to be a while.


I always start out with grand plans as to how I'm going to wedge all these shows in, and then the weeding out process begins. Some shows wind up being terrible, and I choose to stop watching. Some wind up being canceled, and I'm forced to stop watching. Some I have every intention of keeping up with, but real life intrudes, and I'm forced to revisit it later. But all that comes later. For now, here's the initial plan:

There's a rough clash from 7-8PM, as The Amazing Race, Call the Midwife, and Bob's Burgers all intersect. I'm hopeful that the former two will be available for streaming online after they air. Fox is stingier about that sort of thing, so Bob's Burgers is the one I should probably attempt to catch live. That just leaves 666 Park Avenue from 9-10PM, and Sunday is set.


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