Thursday, Sept. 13 (Fox)
Season Premiere: A new night following the inexplicably returning X Factor isn’t the only new development Gleeks will have to adjust to in Season 4: Rachel (Lea Michele) is off to Fame college in New York City, where she’ll have to deal with a demanding new dance instructor (Kate Hudson, taking a break from making shitty movies) and sparks with an actual straight guy at the arts academy (Dean Geyer, an Australian Idol loser). Meanwhile, back at McKinley High, New Directions is auditioning new karaoke killers, including Puck’s half-brother (new cast member Jacob Artist … sure, that’s a real name). The Only TV Column That Matters™ still refuses to endorse Glee until they cut out all of the singing and dancing and just remake it as a half-hour comedy.
Sunday, Sept. 16 (HBO)
Season Premiere: It’s New Year’s Eve 1923, and Atlantic City kingpin Nucky Thompson (Steve Buscemi) is already making new enemies—the worst being gangster Gyp Rosetti (Bobby Cannavale), a full-tilt psychopath who doesn’t appreciate his new bootleg booze-distribution model. At least Nucky has a perky new showgirl mistress (Meg Chambers Steedle) to help him get over the “departures” of Lucy and Jimmy, not to mention wife Margaret (Kelly Macdonald) “donating” his ill-gotten loot to the church. Boardwalk Empire juggles even more storylines and characters in Season 3, including a ham-tacular guest arc by Stephen Root as the poetic new middleman between Nucky and the Attorney General. Catch up, already.
Sunday, Sept. 16 (Showtime)
One-Hour Series Finale: How the hell is Weeds going to end after eight roller-coaster seasons? Most of the series’ loose ends have been tied up, including the inevitable final, uh, showdown between in-laws-in-crime Nancy (Mary-Louise Parker) and Andy (Justin Kirk), and Doug (Kevin Nealon) finally has his own cult. Season 8 has been about driving home Nancy’s toxicity to everyone around her—are you better off now than you were seven years ago, kids?—and her waning irresistibility, but Weeds probably isn’t going to make an easy, Everybody Learns a Lesson exit. Prediction: Nancy’s ex-BFF Celia (Elizabeth Perkins) returns and kills everybody (you know me—I’m always pulling for the Big Death series finales).
Monday, Sept. 17 (NBC)
Series Debut: Katniss-scratch fever probably hadn’t yet struck whenever Revolution began production, but damned if this post-apocalyptic drama doesn’t have a Hunger Games vibe about it, thanks mostly to the mad crossbow-wielding/hair-flipping skills of star Tracy Spiridakos (Being Human USA, Hellcats). One day, electricity mysteriously ceases to exist; 15 years later, life is like a Portland farmers market—until the local militia (led by Breaking Bad’s Giancarlo Esposito) shows up to take our heroine’s knows-more-than-he’s-telling father. Then the questions begin: Was there a conspiracy to snuff the power? Is it really gone? Did all those years without TV or smartphones give everybody time to learn Krav Maga? Revolution is produced by J.J. Abrams (Star Trek, Lost) and Eric Kripke (Supernatural), the cast is excellent and the sci-fi footing is sound—only NBC could screw it up from here. Which they’re fully capable of doing.
The Mob Doctor
Monday, Sept. 17 (Fox)
Series Debut: To pay off her brother’s improbably huge gambling debt to Chicago mafia-types, the improbably named Dr. Grace Devlin (Jordana Spiro, My Boys) leads a double life: star surgeon by day, on-call guido-patcher by night. The Mob Doctor may sound like a cheesetastic Lifetime movie, but the premiere episode is tense and engaging—and, thanks to Spiro’s comedy roots, occasionally funny. As a default medical-drama replacement for House, Fox could have done worse—but I’ll get to Emily Owens, M.D. next month.