Queue the DVR, cancel your Netflix account and start collecting take-out menus, folks! If socialites and superheroes cater to your tastes, you’ll be spending some quality time on the couch this season.
Will we want every day to be Wednesday? Across the board, networks are pulling out the big guns for hump day, though ABC might prove the riskiest shot. On Oct. 3, the alphabet channel will premiere Pushing Daisies: Think Edward Scissorhands meets CSI. From Heroes’ executive producer Bryan Fuller, the show follows a charming pie maker (Lee Pace) who can bring the dead back to life with his magic touch just long enough to solve murder cases. Neat! But there’s a twist: He can’t kiss or caress his childhood sweetheart, or else she’ll be dead forever. Bummer.
Pushing Daisies (which has garnered heaps of advance praise) will be followed by Grey’s Anatomy spinoff Private Practice (Worst. Name. Ever.) and the almost-as-badly-named Dirty Sexy Money (both premiere Sept. 26). The latter, however, we’ll gamble on. Six Feet Under’s Peter Krause will bring the sexy to this new drama, in which he plays a New York City lawyer who works for—and is manipulated by—a moneyed Hilton-like family.
Over on the CW … tonight, after nasty pleasure America’s Next Top Model premieres its umpteenth season, the network will roll out (finally!) Gossip Girl, a show that’s garnered more pre-publicity than, well, anything? Veronica Mars expat Kristen Bell (who’ll crop up this season on NBC’s hit Heroes too) provides the voice for the titular character, a blogger/narrator who chronicles the lives of the rich socialite teens on Manhattan’s Upper East Side. New York, this show is calling you.
On Monday, Sept. 24, the underrated post-Friends sitcom How I Met Your Mother returns (hallelujah!), and CBS will also premiere The Big Bang Theory, a new comedy from the producer of Two and a Half Men, about a sultry mentor (Kaley Cuoco of 8 Simple Rules) teaching two nerds (Johnny Galecki of Roseanne and Jim Parsons of Judging Amy) about the birds and the bees in exchange for their knowledge about quantum physics. Seems like a Weird Science project to us!
At NBC, action, apparently, “has a new name.” That would be Chuck, the love child of O.C. executive producer Josh Schwartz and action-movie director McG (Charlie’s Angels, We Are Marshall). The Converse-wearing main character, Chuck Bartowski (Zachary Levi), is plucked from the geek squad in a computer store by a pretty-faced blonde to be led through explosions and car chases as some kind of secret agent. The show premieres on Sept. 24, along with the second season of Heroes, with all of the characters you love (sweet-faced Masi Oka as Hiro Nakamura and smokin’ Milo Ventimiglia as Peter Petrelli) and love to hate (shudder-inducing Zachary Quinto as Sylar).
NBC will continue to cash in on the superhero craze with Bionic Woman, premiering on Sept. 26. Star Michelle Ryan (of Mansfield Park and the scary BBC America series Jekyll) will make Spider-Man-esque discoveries about her super-speedy legs and high-tech eye, complete with roof-jumping and fistfights in the rain, before becoming a full-time crime fighter for a shadowy organization.
On the higher-number channels … we can’t help but recommend Torchwood, BBC America’s mashed-up answer to Heroes, Buffy and, well, House. The Saturday night show follows Dr. Jack Harkness—who had a story arc on a past season of Doctor Who—a hot, bisexual American time traveler who hunts aliens in Cardiff. Yum! And on HBO, airing Tuesday nights starting Oct. 2, don’t miss the BBC-produced miniseries Five Days, which follows the mysterious disappearance of a young mother and the abandonment of her two children in a British suburb. (Brits rule!)
And much to Britney Spears’ chagrin, The Sarah Silverman Program returns on Oct. 3 to Comedy Central. We’re sure the songstress wouldn’t mind Ms. Silverman making a few “adorable mistakes” of her own.