With friends like Johnny Drama, Olive Snook, Gabrielle Solis and Gregory House, who needs a life? Though there’s a fair share of new kids on the block invading the networks, the majority of shows set to storm our living rooms again are those old favorites--the ones we’ve missed for what seems like an eternity.
Read our "Fall TV Preview Guide: Returning Shows" to find out what gifts our familiar friends have lined-up for this beautifully strike-less fall season.
For new shows premiering this fall, check out our Fall TV Preview: New Shows
For other returning show roundups, check out CBS and NBC, ABC and FOX
When: Returns on September 1; airs Monday nights at 8/7c on CW.
Main Players: Blake Lively, Leighton Meester, Penn Badgley, Ed Westwick, Taylor Momsen, Chace Crawford
What’s it all about?: A pack of highbrow Upper East Side teenagers find that their sexual and personal exploits are covered point by point by a secretive blogger.
Where’d we leave off?: Just like real life in high school, we had to sit through a lot of ‘are they together?’ or ‘aren’t they?’ in the series’ first season. Unsurprisingly, the tense, steamy drama, struck a chord with TV watchers, young and old, and if the posters plastered on buses and billboards tell us anything, it’s that we can expect a surge in hook-ups, backstabbing, and, well, gossiping.
One Tree Hill
When: Returns on September 1; airs Monday nights at 9/8c on CW.
Main Players: Chad Michael Murray, Antwon Tanner, James Lafferty, Sophia Bush, Hilarie Burton, Bethany Joy Galeotti, Lee Norris
What’s it all about?: The best friends of Tree Hill have left their home, but have they forgotten each other? Or is 'it' all still there, waiting to be recaptured?
Where’d we leave off?: Brooke dealt with the loss of her baby, and Lucas ever-so suggestively placed a call to the mystery gal he realizes is his true love. And the woman is...?
America's Next Top Model
When: Returns on September 3; airs Wednesday nights at 8/7c on CW.
Main Players: Tyra Banks
What’s it all about?: Contestants have it out with each other one minute, and pose for fabulous photos the next, in the hopes of being crowned Queen by Tyra Banks.
Where’d we leave off?: A glass ceiling shattered last year with the winner representing the first ‘full-figured’ model to take home the prize. This year, an even bigger ceiling takes a hit as one competitor, Isis, is “a woman born physically male,” as she told Us Weekly. Will this play into the game? Will Tyra take a breather from one of her teary soliloquies to even notice?
When: Returns on September 18; airs Thursday nights at 8/7c on CW.
Main Players: Tom Welling, Michael Rosenbaum, Kristin Kreuk, TAnnette O'Toole, Allison Mack, Erica Durance, John Glover
What’s it all about?: Watch the origins of the well-known DC Comics universe, as Clark Kent and Lex Luthor become the sworn enemies that we’ve always known.
Where’d we leave off?: Jimmy got betrayed by Lex (um, saw that coming) and turned his luck around by proposing to Chloe. Meanwhile, Clark and Lex had it out, albeit verbally.
When: Returns on September 18; airs Thursday nights at 9/8c on CW.
Main Players: Jared Padalecki, Jensen Ackles
What’s it all about?: Sam and Dean’s father raised them to be soldiers, and taught them not only about the paranormal evil that lives in the dark corners of the world, but also how to kill it.
Where’d we leave off?: We left off with the brothers after they’d stolen Ruby’s demon killing knife and pointed their car towards New Harmony to kill Lilith. This season starts up four months later, a time when there’s still plenty of darkness for them to fight.
Everybody Hates Chris
When: Returns on October 3; airs Friday nights at 8/7c on CW.
Main Players: Tyler James Williams, Tichina Arnold, Terry Crews, Tequan Richmond, Imani Hakim, Vincent Martella
What’s it all about?: A young Chris Rock tries to find his place, while keeping his siblings in line at home and overcoming the challenges of junior high.
Where’d we leave off?: Chris’ elation at graduating to high school gets interrupted by the news that Greg will not be going with him. This year, even more of the challenges associated with growing up will come his way. (*Spoiler: he eventually becomes one of the most successful stand-up comics in the world).
When: Returns on October 3; airs Friday nights at 8:30/7:30c on CW.
Main Players: Tia Mowry, Wendy Raquel Robinson, Brittany Daniel, Pooch Hall, Coby Bell, Hosea Chanchez
What’s it all about?: As a medical school student and the significant other of a professional football player, Melanie must fix one cautious eye on the books and the other on the social escapades of her man.
Where’d we leave off?: Derwin found out that his ex is pregnant with what she says is his child. Uh ohhhhh….
When: Returns November 2008 on Lifetime.
Main Players: Heidi Klum, Tim Gunn
What’s it all about?: In this fashion design competition, helmed by the no nonsense Ms. Klum, the challenges test the designers’ style sense to see if they can ‘make it work.’
Where’d we leave off?: Different network, same stylish drama; Project Runway seeks to forge a new path in some new cable territory this fall. Due to its overwhelming success, I don’t think much will change except the number on the TV dial.
Real Housewives of Atlanta
When: Returns on September 16; airs Tuesday nights at 10/9c on Bravo.
Main Players: DeShawn Snow, Kim Kolciak, Lisa Wu Hartwell, NeNe Leakes, Sheree Whitfield
What’s it all about?: The reality show that originated in Orange County profiles the lavish lifestyle of housewives and their families.
Where’d we leave off?: Looks like the Real Housewives are gonna get a little country makeover this season. No longer will those featured look like the parents of characters from The Hills, this time Bravo brings its cameras to the ATL But fear not, because fabulousness knows no geographic bounds.
It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia
When: Returns on September 9; airs Thursday nights at 10/9c on FX.
Main Players: Glenn Howerton, Kaitlin Olson, Rob McElhenney, Charlie Day, Danny DeVito
What’s it all about?: A show about four friends that run a pub in Philly who always seem to get mixed up in scenarios far greater than their meager status can accommodate.
Where’d we leave off?: We’ve seen the show touch on and laugh at some pretty touchy subject matter before, but this time around, it seems they’re just trying to have fun. Some of the episodes talked about so far include the story of Dee’s heart attack, the death of Charlie and Mack, and a flashback to 1776.
When: Returns on September 2; airs Tuesday nights at 10/9c on FX.
Main Players: Michael Chiklis, CCH Pounder, Benito Martinez, Jay Karnes, Walton Goggins, Michael Jace, Catherine Dent
What’s it all about?: An experimental offshoot of the LAPD, which uses a converted church as their headquarters, features a team of detectives who will stop at nothing to bring their version of justice to the streets.
Where’d we leave off?: Shield fans are equal parts sad to see the show go and super excited to see how they’ll choose to end it. The classic character of Vic can head into many different directions--to jail, to the grave, or to a life of freedom. What form of redemption do they have in mind? It will be an eventful farewell to say the least.
When: Returns on September 28; airs Sunday nights at 9/8c on Showtime.
Main Players: Michael C. Hall, Julie Benz, Jennifer Carpenter, David Zayas, Jimmy Smits
What’s it all about?: Dexter Morgan, a blood spatter analyst for the Miami PD, carries out a second life as the serial killer of serial killers.
Where’d we leave off?: That nagging pain in Dexter’s side, Sgt. Doakes, had been killed, and, luckily for Dexter, he had to do none of the dirty work to make it happen. This year, Jimmy Smits signs on as a district attorney and friend to Dexter, and our anti-hero’s killing of an innocent person will have disastrous effects on his revamped life view.
When: Returns on September 28; airs Sunday nights at 10/9c on Showtime.
Main Players: David Duchovny, Natascha McElhone, Evan Handler, Madeleine Martin
What’s it all about?: A move to L.A. for troubled writer Hank Moody complicates his love life and personal relationships.
Where’d we leave off?: He chased her for the entire season, and, finally, in the last moments we saw Hank, daughter Becca, and his love, Karen, zoom off happily into the moonlight. Unfortunately for the lazy, horny protagonist, the honeymoon appears to end soon thereafter. This year, we’ll watch him dig yet another grave for himself.
When: Returns on September 7; airs Sunday nights at 10/9c on HBO.
Main Players: Adrian Grenier, Jeremy Piven, Kevin Connolly, Kevin Dillon, Jerry Ferrara
What’s it all about?: Vincent Chase is a certifiable A-list superstar in Hollywood, but his childhood friends, and wannabe actor brother, still treat him like the kid from down the block (except for all the handout requests).
Where’d we leave off?: The crew was overseas at Cannes the last we checked in, and the reception for "Medellin" was a bit less than raving. Two offers came their way prior to its screening, but the one they ended up with was far lower than they’d hoped. Vince starts the season hiding from the bad reviews in Mexico, only to be summoned back to La-La land by E and Ari.
The Starter Wife
When: Returns on October 10; airs Friday nights at 10/9c on USA.
Main Players: Debra Messing, Judy Davis, Chris Diamantopoulos, Joe Mantegna, David Alan Basche
What’s it all about?: After not quite fitting in with the Hollywood establishment, Molly realizes that life goes on, and begins to get serious about her career and personal relationships.
Where’d we leave off?: What began as a miniseries for USA, The Starter Wife will begin its life as a regular series this fall. Molly starts it all off with friends, family, a remodeled professional goal, and a pledge to stay away from men.
DIRECT TV (NBC in February)
Friday Night Lights
When: Returns on October 1; Re-airs on NBC in February
Main Players: Kyle Chandler, Connie Britton, Aimee Teegarden, Minka Kelly, Zach Gilford, Taylor Kitsch, Jesse Plemons, Gaius Charles, Scott Porter, Adrianne Palicki
What’s it all about?: Based on a book and a film adaptation, Friday Night Lights looks at small town life through the prism of football, high school, and family.
Where’d we leave off?: The critics love it, the network loves it (or else it’d be gone already), and a not-so-large fan base ADORES it, so Friday Night Lights, thanks to its quality across the board, lives to see another day. Last year was a departure for the series as compared to its masterful first season--more manufactured drama, 100% more murder, and less of a coherent ensemble overall. With a lot of the characters we have grown to love getting ready to graduate out of Dillon High, here’s hoping the show can gain some solid yardage this fall and winter.