The TV gods say it’s premiere week, and who are we to argue? This week is so stuffed with new and returning shows, I’ve decided to break the information into daily installments.
Thursday night is big in TV because the advertising drives weekend purchases and activities. Also, the networks are using double-episode season premieres of several returning favorites to space out new shows, trying to spread out the debuts of new shows to draw more attention to them.
The Crazy Ones (9-9:30 pm, CBS)
Robin Williams returns to TV as a series regular after three decades, in a comedy about a father-daughter team of advertising executives. The daughter is played by Sarah Michelle Gellar, the cast also includes Hamish Linklater (The New Adventures of Old Christine) and James Wolk (the memorable Bob Benson from this past season of Mad Men), and the show comes from David E. Kelley, whose last buzzworthy offering was what, Ally McBeal? I don’t know, this just has the aura of failure around it already.
The Michael J. Fox Show (9-10 pm, NBC)
I find it very interesting that Robin Williams and Michael J. Fox are both returning to regular TV roles and their shows ended up scheduled opposite each other on the same night. Fox plays a TV news anchor/reporter who returns to work while dealing with Parkinson’s. I give Fox credit for wanting to return to the rigorous schedule of doing a weekly series, even if it’s not something I’ll watch. NBC made a full-season commitment to the show over a year ago without seeing a single scene, so clearly they believe in his ability to attract viewers. (Two-episode premiere)
Grey’s Anatomy (9-11 pm, ABC)
I haven’t watched this show in years, but I can still predict with reasonable certainty that last season ended with some sort of disaster cliffhanger… (goes to internet to find out) …and… mudslide! Season 10 starts tonight (two episodes).
The Big Bang Theory (8-9 pm, CBS)
I’m going to be truthful with you: I don’t find this show funny. But that’s one of the cool things about TV: different types of shows for different tastes and senses of humor. As season seven begins, Leonard is still away on the expedition in the North Sea, but will return soon (two episodes).
Two and a Half Men (9:30-10 pm, CBS)
I thought this show should have packed it in when Charile Sheen self-destructed, but I’d stopped watching years before so I wasn’t invested enough to really care. Now Angus T. Jones is gone so the show is bringing on Amber Tamblyn as Charlie’s long-lost daughter. That means that if for some reason Jon Cryer decided to leave, the only remaining original cast member would be Conchata Ferrell, who plays Berta the housekeeper. (By the way, this is season 11.)
Elementary (10-11 pm, CBS)
This modern take on Sherlock Holmes isn’t the one on PBS; you can tell because in this one Watson’s a woman. For the premiere of season two, the pair travel to London to assist Holmes’s former colleague, Inspector Lestrade, and while there they encounter Holmes’s brother Mycroft.
Glee (9-10 pm, Fox)
Season five kicks off with a Beatles episode.
Parks and Recreation (8-9 pm, NBC)
Weird: like Elementary, Parks also visits London tonight for a double episode to kick off season six, as Leslie Knope and her pals travel there for an awards ceremony honoring her and other women in government. Shortly after its renewal back in the spring, it was announced that Rashida Jones and Rob Lowe would be leaving the show at midseason.
Parenthood (10-11 pm, NBC)
The Braverman clan is back for season five, and of course there will be new challenges ahead. The show wasn’t expected to get a renewal, but it has a core group of enthusiastic fans and NBC, with its many problems over the past several years, saw the value in not trying to fix something that wasn’t broken.
(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.)