Top Ten Returning TV-Shows

by Alan Rapp on September 17, 2009

in Essays , Nework & Cable TV News 

TV’s new Fall Season seems to be upon us. There are plenty of new shows. There are also more than a few who were dragged out back and unceremoniously capped in the back of the head and dumped in shallow graves. I’m still a bit bummed with the fact that both Life and Pushing Daisies got the chopping block, but there are still plenty (at least ten) which are returning and are worth watching (including a couple returning tonight). Is this a top ten you are sensing? I think it is.

Before we begin let me take a moment to give a shout out to NBC’s Chuck which only misses the cut because his return won’t happen until Spring of 2010. Damn you NBC!!!! (And you wonder why you didn’t get a single show on the list) Okay, having gotten that short rant out of the way, now on with the list…

10. Dollhouse

Yes, it’s Joss Whedon’s weakest show. Yes it wasted most of the first season before beginning to transform Echo (Eliza Dushku) into more than a blank slate I didn’t give two shits about. Yes, my feelings towards it can best be described as ambivalent. But… The show did improve over the last few episodes, and, with the sudden severe lack of sci-fi on primetime, and the cast additions of Apollo, Wesley Wyndam-Pryce, and River Tam, I’m willing to give Dollhouse a second chance. The show returns Friday Sep. 25 on FOX.

9. House

I may be in the minority but I’ve preferred the past couple of seasons to House‘s earlier days. Although I don’t think Season Five was a strong as Season Four, there’s more than enough with the current cast (Olivia Wilde, Omar Epps, Jennifer Morrison, Jesse Spencer, Peter Jacobson, Robert Sean Leonard, and that woman with the penis), and the intriguing possibilities of a drug-free House (Hugh Laurie) to keep this on my DVR. The show returns Monday Sep. 21 on FOX.

8. Dexter

Somehow Dexter has become the show that I usually neglect and almost always wish I hadn’t. I missed most of last season due to an unforeseen and unfortunate DVR meltdown, but the show remains one of the most interesting set-ups on TV. How many protagonists (Michael C. Hall) can you name who gets to murder people every single week (and who sooooo deserve it)? If you haven’t seen it you should definitely give this one a chance. The show returns Sunday Sep. 27 on SHOWTIME.

7. It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia

Not that far back I was spending a few hours a week on FX. Now, not so much. Still, I’m hopeful the return of The Gang from Paddy’s Pub (Rob McElhenney, Glenn Howerton, and Charlie Day, Kaitlin Olson, Danny DeVito) for a new season will usher in new zany adventures so outrageous like those that made the first couple of seasons so memorable. With episode titles like “The Gang Gives Frank an Intervention” and “The Gang Reignites the Rivalry” maybe it will. The show returns Thursday Sep. 17 on FX.

6. How I Met Your Mother / The Big Bang Theory

I group these two together for two reasons. The first is CBS airs them back-to-back on Monday nights, and the second deals with each spending most of last season treading water. Each show provided funny moments, but they also seemed to spend the entire season moving the characters forward. This season, hopefully, we’ll see more of Robin and Barney’s relationship, Penny and Leonard dealing with their feelings for each other, and Ted finally (FINALLY!) meeting “her.” Or maybe we’ll just get more funny banter and humorous situations. The later is fine, but even a little of the former would be appreciated. Both shows return Monday Sep. 21 on CBS.

5. Robin Hood

I’ve got to throw one BBC show on here, and as it happens Robin Hood just returned for it’s Third Season. Although this is another show that at times seems to be running in place rather than advancing the larger plot points (how many times can Robin and Marian get together and then, almost immediately get forced apart?). However, there’s much to like about the show including the look, style, its band of heroes (Jonas Armstrong, Gordon Kennedy, Joe Armstrong, Harry Lloyd, David Harewood), and a baddie you’ll love to hate (Keith Allen). The show returned September 12 on BBCAMERICA.

4. Numb3rs

The show has been teasing some changes in mathematician Charlie Epp’s (David Krumholtz) relationship with the FBI for a couple of seasons now and it will be interesting to see how last season’s finale kidnapping of Anita (Navi Rawat) plays into this. Numb3rs returns with a mystery of the week which Charlie will solve, no doubt with the help of Anita and Professor Fleinhardt (Peter MacNicol), while also making math look cool. As minimum guarantees go for a week to week procedural, that’s not too shabby. And, along the way, I expect will get a little of the unexpected as well. The show returns Friday Sep. 25 on CBS.

3. The Mentalist

Yeah, it’s not Psych. But that doesn’t mean the show about a hyper-observant detective (Simon Baker) helping the police (Robin Tunney, Tim Kang, Owain Yeoman, Amanda Righetti) solve crimes doesn’t deliver it’s own brand of justice worth watching. What I’m hoping for this season: more of Rigsby and Van Pelt, a little more of Jane’s past revealed, the return of Red John, the return of Jane’s shrink (Elisabeth Röhm), some inappropriate hypnotism, and more intriguing mysteries. The show returns Thursday Sep. 24 on CBS.

2. Bones

Forget CSI: (insert city name here), if you’re not watching Bones, loosely based on the life (and novels) of forensic anthropologist Kathy Reichs, then you are missing out on the best forensic show on TV. I’m still missing Zack (Eric Millegan), and I’d like to see Hodgins (T. J. Thyne) and Angela (Michaela Conlin) get back together this season, but other than these minor quibbles I’m looking forward to another year of icky corpses, sexual tension between Booth (David Boreanaz) and Bones (Emily Deschanel), and, of course, plenty of strange murder cases to be solved. The show returns Thursday Sep. 17 on FOX.

1. Castle

With only a handful of episodes (the show was a mid-season replacement last year) Castle quickly found its way into my heart. The pairing of an imaginative novelist (Nathan Fillion) with a by-the-book New York Police Detective (Stana Katic) provided some great moments, and even better on-screen chemistry. I’m still not sure about the character of Castle’s mother (Susan Sullivan), but other than that I have few complaints and look forward to more banter, wit, and crime solvin’ this year. The show returns Monday Sep. 21 on ABC.

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