Sunday, Sept. 22 (Showtime)
Series Finale: Since it’s been going head-to-head with the fiery final episodes of Breaking Bad every Sunday, Dexter has become an unfortunate study in How Not to End a Series: Dexter (Michael C. Hall, obviously already checked out) could have split Miami long ago with Hannah (Yvonne Strahovski), but instead just had to stick around to take out the Brain Surgeon, his dullest serial-killer nemesis since, well, the last one (not to sound like a, blech, TV critic, but it’s been quite a vanilla streak since the Trinity Killer). And sister Deb’s (Jennifer Carpenter) ridiculous season-long “journey” from lost lush to reinstated cop could have been its own telenovela, La Suerte Puta. Still, The Only TV Column That Matters™ is just as curious as you are to see how the eighth and final season of Dexter concludes—will Dex finally be caught, executed or just sail away? Will Deb die and Hannah live happily ever after with Dexter? Or vice-versa? Who’s li’l Harrison going to kill first? Let’s all find out together, remember the good times and never speak of Seasons 5-8 again.
Monday, Sept. 23 (CBS)
Series Debuts: Moneybags CBS can afford to throw crap at the wall and see what sticks, and they’re certainly taking advantage of it with Mom. A recovering-alcoholic comedy? How edgy—so what if Rude Awakening already did it 15 years ago? It’s not that Anna Faris and Allison Janney aren’t good; it’s that the Chuck Lorre sitcom hackery around them is so far from even “meh.” Same goes for Hostages, a political drama that should be at least tolerable due to the presence of Toni Collette and Dylan McDermott. Nope.
Monday, Sept. 23 (NBC)
Series Debut: Raymond “Red” Reddington (James Spader), one of the FBI’s most wanted, suddenly turns himself in and makes an offer to help them catch even bigger fish, including a previously untouchable mega-terrorist. The one condition: For no (yet) given reason, he only deals with a specific new profiler fresh out of Quantico (Megan Boone). Like her character, newcomer Boone is mostly crowded off the screen by vet Spader’s Acting!, but The Blacklist is instantly slick and engrossing—she’ll likely get a full season to up her game, as the show’s only Monday competition is ABC’s Castle (now rolling its Jazzy into Season 6) and CBS’ Hostages (again, nope).
Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
Tuesday, Sept. 24 (ABC)
Series Debut: Since the pilot was withheld by Marvel and ABC, Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is the only new fall TV show I haven’t seen—and it’s also the one I’m most looking forward to … so their ploy worked … damn it. If you’d like to pretend it’s The Avengers and experience the premiere on a movie screen, Geek Show Podcast is presenting Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. for free at Brewvies (677 S. 200 West, 21+) at 7 p.m., right before True TV’s weekly screening of Sons of Anarchy at 8 p.m. Let’s hope for a smooth geeks/bikers transition.
Tuesday, Sept. 24 (ABC)
Series Debut: A single party girl (Malin Akerman) falls in love with and marries an older man (Bradley Whitford), much to the dismay/disgust of her best friend (Natalie Morales) and his ex-wives (Marcia Gay Harden and Michaela Watkins). With the exception of October’s equally smart ’n’ sassy Super Fun Night, Trophy Wife has the best setup, cast and writing of any new ABC comedy—it also has the worst title and timeslot (after ABC’s middling new The Goldbergs and against Fox’s The Mindy Project), so expect some Cougar Town-ish indifference from viewers.
Season Premieres This Week
Friday, Sept. 20: Last Man Standing, The Neighbors, Shark Tank (ABC)
Monday, Sept. 23: Castle (ABC); How I Met Your Mother, 2 Broke Girls (CBS); The Voice (NBC)
Tuesday, Sept. 24: NCIS, NCIS: Los Angeles, Person of Interest (CBS); Chicago Fire (NBC)
Wednesday, Sept. 25: The Middle, Modern Family, Nashville (ABC); Criminal Minds, CSI (CBS); Revolution, Law & Order: SVU (NBC)