By Josh Engel
Boardwalk Empire- Sundays at 9pm, HBO
HBO is set to steal some of its cool back from AMC, with the premiere of this Scorcese-helmed 1920s gangster drama, starring Steve Buscemi. The show follows a corrupt Prohibition-era politician (Buscemi) as he becomes involved in the era’s bootlegging and organized crime. Like Mad Men, it’s set in a stylish era that’s seen little screen time in recent years, and could be responsible for a whole lot of unfortunate speakeasy-themed bars popping up in Manhattan, as well as even more silly hats. Tune in from the beginning; Scorcese’s plots are notoriously punishing for latecomers
Nikita-Thursdays at 9pm, CW.
Every generation gets its own version of the classic French assassin film; the newest iteration debuts on the CW this fall. Starring the appropriately spy-named Maggie Q, as well as OC alum Melinda Clarke, the film begins with its Nikita having fled the government organization that trained her, and returning for revenge as they begin training new recruits. It’s the CW, so expect something closer to Gossip Girl than Point of No Return, but early clips promise an exciting and well-plotted reboot for the classic character.
Terriers- Wednesdays at 10pm, FX
Written by crime-drama all-stars Ted Griffin (Ocean’s Eleven) and Shawn Ryan (The Shield), Terriers is a low key comedy about a pair of down-and-out private investigators solving mysteries in San Diego. The show stars Raymond James, of True Blood, and Donal Logue, the perennially underrated lead of Grounded for Life and The Tao of Steve. The show is banking on its cast’s talent, veering more towards heavier, character-driven drama than the traditional buddy-comedy scenarios. FX hasn’t yet scored a hit with its original programming; Terriers is poised to put them on the map.
The Event- Mondays at 9pm, NBC
Feeling like the world makes too much sense since Lost went off the air? Check out The Event, NBC’s attempt to corner the newly open ciffhangers-and-weirdness market. The show follows Sean Walker (Jason Ritter), as his attempt to uncover the mystery of his fiancé’s disappearance leads him deeper and deeper into a massive governmental coverup with implications for all of mankind. Showrunners have promised that they aren’t making things up as they go along—likely a jab at their island predecessor—and that answers to the shows’ mysteries will be forthcoming. Decide for yourself.
Running Wilde- Tuesdays at 9:30 PM, FoX
Comedy nerds can breathe easy. The creators of Arrested Development, as well as star Will Arnett, return in another off-kilter sitcom about rich people. Joining Arnett is Felicity star Keri Russell, who’s been honing her acting chops in films like Waitress since leaving the teen-friendly drama. She plays a serious environmentalist who reconnects with old romantic interest and goofy billionaire Arnett. David Cross is also scheduled to appear as Russell’s current boyfriend, increasing the Arrested Development reunion feel; early word is, though, that this show is slightly less bizarre than its predecessor. Given FOX’s support after the notoriously ratings-poor Arrested, it seems like a safe bet that this one won’t be featuring man-eating seals and hooks-for-hands.
The Walking Dead-- Sundays at 10pm, AMC
Not content to rest on its ad-selling and meth-dealing laurels, the network behind Mad Men and Breaking Bad will mark its third crazy detour from the cable TV status quo with the debut of the first post-zombie-apocalypse television series this fall. The show comes with an impressive pedigree; The Shawshank Redemption’s Frank Darabont is writing and producing, and Gale Ann Hurd, of Aliens and The Terminator, takes producing credit as well. The action will follow the horrified survivors of an attack of the undead that has decimated human society, and is based on the acclaimed comic book by Robert Kirkman. AMC has been reaping the rewards of increasingly risky programming bets; tune in early to see whether this one pays off.
The Increasingly Poor Decisions of Todd Margaret—Fridays at 10pm, IFC
The U.S. debut of a quirky British comedy, the series follows the exploits of an American temp working in a London energy-drink sales office. It stars David Cross, who cowrote the series with Extras scribe Shaun Pye. Each episode spans a single workday of the doomed Todd Margaret, with succeeding episodes beginning with the following day, for a day-in-the-life tracking of Margaret’s increasingly spectacular disasters. The show has already earned a committed international and online following; check out its statewide debut this October.
Law and Order: Los Angeles—Wednesdays at 10pm, NBC
Sadly, the mothership of the Law and Order franchise went off the air this year, robbing creator Dick Wolf of the title for longest running television drama by a single season. Nonetheless, Law and Order’s many spinoffs are running strong, and this year marks the debut of the series’ first West Coast entry—Law and Order: Los Angeles. The show features a roster of quality character actors as its leads, including Skeet Ulrich and Alfred Molina. Tune in for your Law and Order fix, and try not to stay too loyal to its cancelled East Coast counterpart.
No Ordinary Family—Tuesdays at 8pm, ABC
Michael Chiklis, of The Shield and The Commish, lands in his first big-profile non-cop role as the father of a family who emerge from a disaster, Fantastic Four style, with a variety of superpowers. The show, like Heroes before it, will focus on the everyday dramas in addition to the superhuman ones, and is aimed to toe the line between the superhero drama and the conventional network sitcom. Check it out to see Chiklis at what is likely to be his least hard-boiled in recent memory.
Hawaii Five-0—Mondays at 10pm, CBS
A new generation of TV viewers will get to meet Danno, and watch him book ‘em, although unfortunately Don Johnson and his gleaming white suits will be staying in the eighties with the original series. The new version of Hawaii Five-0 stars Alex O’Laughlin as Detective Steve McGarrett, and Scott Caan (James’ son) as Detective Danny Williams. It remains to be seen whether audiences are ready for a revision of this classic series, but it will offer a welcome respite from the more ponderous crime procedurals, with their focus on DNA evidence and scarcity of car chases and witty banter.