The weather will stay warm for a while, but mentally it feels like summer’s over. Back to school, back to work, back to football. The fall TV season doesn’t start for a few more weeks, but there’s a whole new channel launching this week: FXX (more below).
Monday, September 2
Roast of James Franco (10-11:30 pm, Comedy Central)
These events are little more than an excuse for performers to get together and mock each other, which can have varying results. Hosted by Seth Rogen, guests include Jonah Hill, roast regular Jeffrey Ross, Sarah Silverman, Bill Hader, Aziz Ansari, Nick Kroll, Andy Samberg, and more.
Tuesday, September 3
Luther (10-11 pm, BBC America)
John Luther (Idris Elba) is back in the third miniseries featuring the troubled detective. Its four hours are spread over four consecutive nights; after tonight, the remaining episodes air Wednesday at 9 and Thursday and Friday at 10. There’s also talk of a Luther prequel feature film coming at some point in the future.
Wednesday, September 4
It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia (10 pm)
The League (10:30 pm)
Totally Biased with W. Kamau Bell (11 pm; all FXX)
FX spins off some of its established shows onto a separate channel, which they hope will attract a slightly younger audience. With FXX and FX Movies they now bill themselves as FX Networks. FXX (check with your provider; on Comcast it’s replacing the Fox Soccer Channel, which you probably didn’t know existed) officially launches on Labor Day with a Parks and Recreation marathon; tonight brings the season premieres of Always Sunny (ninth!) and The League (fifth), followed by the shift of Totally Biased from a weekly to a nightly show. Following a schedule similar to that of time-slot competitor The Daily Show, TB will air new episodes Monday through Thursday, with a “best of the week” episode on Sunday.
Thursday, September 5
NFL Football: Ravens at Broncos (8:30 pm-12 am-ish, NBC)
The NFL has been opening each season with a Thursday night game for a few years (there is a pregame “NFL Kickoff 2013” special at 7:30). Patriots fans will grudgingly tune in tonight to see how Wes Welker does catching passes thrown by his new best friend Peyton Manning. But from our perspective, the more interesting matchup will be the Sunday night game on November 24th, when the Broncos visit Gillette Stadium. (Don’t worry, I’ll remind you.)
Friday, September 6
Metropolis (8-10:45 pm, Turner Classic Movies)
This silent futurist classic was mistreated even before its initial release in 1927. It’s a long story, but American audiences never had the opportunity to see the film as made by director Fritz Lang; the US version was cut by more than 30 minutes. Several years ago a nearly complete copy was discovered in Argentina and used as the basis for a restoration; that is the version being shown on TCM tonight.
Saturday, September 7
I imagine there are plenty of welcome-back parties on and off campus this weekend, but if you aren’t into that, I’m afraid tonight isn’t a great TV night. There are several moderately interesting movies: Starship Troopers (8 pm, IFC); Tranispotting (10 pm, Flix); Salt (10 pm, FX); Michael Clayton (8 pm, Sundance); Giant (8 pm, TCM); plus a NASCAR race (7:30 pm, ABC) and half a dozen college football games.
Sunday, September 8
Boardwalk Empire (9-10 pm, HBO)
Season four of the Prohibition-era mobster drama opens in early 1924, and while some feel the show has a few too many moving parts with action taking place in Atlantic City, Harlem, and now Chicago with Al Capone, it’s still impeccably made and highly watchable.
Hit & Run (2012)
Oddball comedy about a guy in witness protection (Dax Shepard) who leaves the safety of the program and his secluded home in order to get his fiancé (Kristen Bell) to an important job interview. It becomes a big, silly, convoluted chase but there are enough funny moments to keep it going. The cast also includes Bradley Cooper as a dog-loving thug, Tom Arnold as a hapless US Marshal, Kristin Chenoweth, and Ryan Hansen.
(Note: this information is accurate as of publication time, but programming is subject to change at the discretion of channels and networks. All times listed are Eastern time.)