NBC's latest foray into event television, appropriately titled The Event, might just fill that Lost-shaped hole in our lives. The story follows generic everyman Sean Walker (Jason Ritter), who gets sucked into a government conspiracy involving new president Elias Martinez (Blair Underwood) and mysterious prisoner Sophia Maguire (Laura Innes) after his girlfriend disappears. 24's Evan Katz is serving as executive producer and showrunner for the series, with Jeffery Reiner (Friday Night Lights) directing. It would be easy to write off The Event as another Flash Forward, but with some positive reviews and serious Comic-Con buzz behind it, The Event may be the first show to tap into Lost's unique mix of sprawling casts, convoluted mystery, and non-stop cliffhangers in an effective way. At the very least, it should hold up better than Heroes (whose time slot it takes over Monday the 20th). You can catch The Event every Monday at 9:00 pm Eastern/8:00 pm Central, only on NBC.
SEASON PREMIERE SEPTEMBER 22
JJ Abrams is returning to his Alias roots with a brand new espionage adventure. Undercovers follows a married pair of former spies (Boris Kodjoe and Gugu Mbatha-Raw), who get sucked back into the CIA after their friend (Carter MacIntyre) goes missing. Ben Schwartz (Parks And Recreation) and Gerald McRaney (Deadwood) join the duo on their globe-hopping adventures. Think James Bond, if he actually settled down with one of his more bad-ass conquests. Abrams has been behind some of the best TV of the decade, so it goes without saying that you should try to catch Undercovers when it airs. Undercovers premiers Wednesday the 22nd, 8:00 pm Eastern/7:00 pm Central on NBC.
SEASON PREMIERE SEPTEMBER 21
Running Wilde is a smart, unusual and hilarious new comedy from the creators of the cultishly beloved classic Arrested Development and some of the most talented comedians in the business. So it's only a matter of time until Fox cancels it. The show follows vapid playboy Steve Wilde (Will Arnett), who tries to win the heart of his childhood sweetheart Emmy (Keri Russell), an anthropologist who spent years living in an indigenous amazonian tribe with her 12-year-old daughter Puddle (Stefania Owen). The show co-stars Peter Serafinowicz (Shaun of the Dead, Spaced) and fellow Arrested Development alum David Cross. You should check out the premiere of Running Wilde Tuesday, September 21st, at 9:30 pm EST on Fox, so that you can tell all of your friends that you started watching it before it was cool.
SEASON PREMIERE SEPTEMBER 23
In a TV world full of doctors, cops, and office workers, it's nice to see a show break out of the box - even if it's only a little crack in the mold. Outsourced focuses on the employees of a call center for Mid American Novelities (think fake vomit and woopie cushions). Manager Todd Dempsey (Ben Rappaport) is sent to oversee the call center, which is full of a number of inoffensively eccentric characters, the likes of which you’ve seen on every TV show since the 70's. The twist? It's all set in Mumbai, India. Though the previews for the pilot make the humor seem a bit generic and broad, hopefully writer Robert Borden (The Drew Carrey Show) and director/executive producer Ken Kwapis (He's Just Not That Into You, The Office) will end up taking full advantage of their promising premise. If, like us, you're optimistic, you can catch Outsourced Thursays at 9:30 pm Eastern/8:30 pm Central on NBC, starting September 23rd.
THE WALKING DEAD
Zombies are in these days, so it was only a matter of time until some network came out with an undead-themed program, but you should be thanking your deity of choice that the show is The Walking Dead. Based on Robert Kirkman's acclaimed comic book, the show promises to be not only one of the best horror TV shows ever produced, but also one of the best TV shows of the year. (If it can live up to the source material, that is.) The 6-episode mini season follows Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln, Love Actually), a police officer, who must survive the zombie apocalypse and find his wife and son. The Walking Dead comes from Frank Darabont, director of the Shawshank Redemption, and airs on AMC, which has an unparalleled track record in producing critically acclaimed TV shows. Expect a more in-depth, nuanced take on the zombie genre, and a more complex look at how society can survive a catastrophe. That, and a whole lot of brain-munching fun. The Walking Dead shambles to your television on October 31st at 10:00 pm Eastern, as part of AMC's Halloween Fearfest.
SEASON PREMIERE SEPTEMBER 20
Everyone has got to learn how to balance their personal lives with their career, and it can be tough even in the best of circumstances. So imagine how difficult it's got to be for Robert Allen (James Wolk), a Texas conman who's living two lives. In one, he’s got to make time for his loving wife (Adrianne Palicki) while pleasing his oil-tycoon father-in-law (Jon Voight) and securing his place in the family business; while in the other, 400 miles away, he lives with naive girlfriend Lindsay (Eloise Mumford) and bilks local investors out of their money. So next time you want to complain about missing an important board meeting for your kid's dance recital, just remind yourself that it could be a whole lot worse. Tune in to Lone Star Mondays, 9:00 Eastern/8:00 Central, on Fox, to see how long a long con can go.
SEASON PREMIERE SEPTEMBER 20
Who would've thought that we'd get so excited about yet-another cop show? And a remake, at that? Well, Hawaii Five-0 has caught our attention; with it's surprisingly strong (and sci-fi heavy) cast, beautiful setting, and light hearted tone, it seems like the perfect antidote to the prevailing "dark and gritty" TV philosophy. Alex O'Loughlin (Moonlight) stars as Detective Steve McGarret, a Navy lieutenant turned cop who returns to Hawaii to lead the titular federal task force, and investigate his father's murder. He's joined by Ocean Eleven's Scott Caan, Lost's Daniel Dae-Kim, Battlestar Galactica's Grace Park, and Heroes's Masi Oka as fellow good guys, and faces off against Buffy The Vampire Slayer alum James Marsters as a villainous arms dealer. Check it out Monday the 20th on CBS at 10:00pm Eastern/9:00 pm Central, for a miniature tropical vacation from your back-to-school woes.
SEASON PREMIERE SEPTEMBER 19
Boardwalk Empire is, hands down, the most exciting premiere of the season. It's a sprawling, gorgeous and violent period piece about the rise of organized crime in the Prohibition era, and it's got enough talent behind it to pack a sleazy Atlantic City Casino. The creator, Terence Winter, was the writer and producer of HBO's prior crime epic The Sopranos, while the incomparable Martin Scorsese both serves as executive producer and director of the pilot. And that's not even mentioning the cast, which features such promising leads as The Wire alum Michael K. Williams, Michael Pitt (Funny Games), Kelly Macdonald (No Country For Old Men), and HBO veteran Steve Buscemi as corrupt treasurer Nicky Thompson. If you subscribe to HBO, you have absolutely no excuse for not catching the series premiere on Sunday the 19th, 9:00 pm EST. If there was ever a show to mark the end of the vast, vacant, reality TV-filled wasteland that is summer TV and remind us what a real television drama can do, it's Boardwalk Empire.