10 Big Questions About The Fall 2012 TV Season

Senior Pop Culture Editor
09.10.12 46 Comments

Today is the unofficial beginning of the 2012-2013 TV season. Yay! No more Friends reruns for you. You’ll finally have honest-to-God new episodes of shows you actually look forward, even if tonight’s slate (The Voice, The New Normal, and Go On) is on the lackluster side. But hey, Parenthood and Sons of Anarchy are back tomorrow, and on Saturday, SNL.

There are certain shows that we’re positive are going to be perfectly perfect this season, including It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia and Homeland, but there are others that we have some inquiries about. Here are the 10 biggest questions we have about shows returning in September and October.

#1. What the hell is Community going to look like?

Premieres: October 19
Answer: Short answer, not that different from Dan Harmon’s Community. Slightly longer answer, here’s what we know so far: executive producers Neil Goldman and Garrett Donovan and writer Chris McKenna, who scripted the Emmy-nominated “Remedial Chaos Theory,” also departed, while Malcolm McDowell, Tricia Helfer, and Matt Lucas have been booked to guest star. We also know that the season premiere will pay tribute to The Hunger Games; episode three, written by Megan Ganz, is called “Paranormal Parentage”; and at some point, Community will parody “something that kids in the late ’80s and early ’90s watched on Saturday mornings,” which obviously has to be Saved by the Bell. But as for the actual look and feel of the show:

“I think everybody that’s coming in, that’s new, is very respectful of the show and they want the show to stay the same and they want it to feel like the same show the fans fell in love,” says Gillian Jacobs, who plays the character Britta. (Via)

I get that she has to say that and all — and there is a worry among certain fans that new showrunners David Guarascio and Moses Port will try too hard to replicate Community‘s “weirdness,” leading to a mangled mush of a once-great show — but I’m honestly not worried. Having only 13 episodes can only be good, despite the fact that it means less time with Alison Brie; last season, there were five or six episodes that were “meh” at best, and “OMG I SOMETIMES HATE YOU ABED” at worst. More importantly, though, Guarascio and Port’s last gig was producing Happy Endings, the closest show on TV to Community‘s whacked out pop culture sensibility.

In other words, things won’t CHANG much.

#2. How will Boardwalk Empire rebound from the death of you-know-who?

Premieres: September 16
Answer: Just letting everyone who didn’t watch last season’s finale and is already furious at me, the character pictured above isn’t the “you-know-who” mentioned in the question. I’m not going to keep that person’s identity mysterious much longer, though, and you should really watch last season; it finally got to the level where we all thought Boardwalk was going to be all along, beginning around episode six or so. Then the show wisely offed the unnecessary Commodore and gorgeous, yet bland Angela, followed by Jimmy in the shocking finale, a move that Danger accurately called “incredibly ballsy.” Also, no more Paz. Boo? Boardwalk without Jimmy, who was the show’s strongest character for much of the first two seasons, is worrisome, but the character development elsewhere is superb: Nucky is full-on evil; Margaret is getting back at her husband for his philanderous and murderous ways; and the ruthless Manny Horvitz was a much-needed addition. Plus, Nucky’s new rival, Gyp Rosetti (Bobby Cannavale), sounds promising.

Actually, you know the one thing Boardwalk can do to remain awesome: more Richard.

#3. Is 30 Rock‘s Liz Lemon pregnant?

Premieres: October 4
Answer: Maybe? The photo above was recently posted to 30 Rock writer/executive producer Jack Burditt’s Twitter, leading many to believe that Liz might soon give birth to a future-community college stripper named Kylie. It’d be surprising if 30 Rock didn’t end its final, 13-episode season with Liz finally having a baby, though here’s hoping the father isn’t Criss, but rather, Kenneth’s mom’s friend Ron, played by Bryan Cranston.

As long as it’s not Ryan Lochte.

#4. Will The Walking Dead finally live up to its potential?

Premieres: October 14
Answer: God I hope so. Although Robert Kirkman’s comic series in which AMC’s The Walking Dead is based on is better than the show, it’s not by as much as you might think it, especially in the early issues. It’s not until — MINI SPOILER — Rick Grimes & Co. reach the prison that things start to get interesting, which whatdoyouknow, is where the show is at, too. The main reason for this is because A) katana-wielding badass Michonne, and B) brutal super-villain the Governor, played by David Morrissey. The useless trio of Shane, Dale, and Patricia are now all gone, Rick has finally stopped acting like an undecided p*ssy, and again, we have Michonne and the Governor in a location that isn’t a barn to look forward to — if The Walking Dead writers f*ck this up, they’re as bad as Carl and his dumb face.

#5. Will The Mindy Project be as good as New Girl was during its freshman season?

Premieres: September 25
Answer: It’s not a very good season for sitcom premieres. Of the shows that might be of interest to the average Warming Glow reader, there’s Animal Practice (Justin Kirk and Annie’s Boobs), Go On (if only for the chance that Matthew Perry might dance on Brett Gelman), maybe The New Normal? It’s ever so much fun to hate on Ryan Murphy. And that’s about it, with the exception of The Mindy Project, which is hoping to be this year’s New Girl, last season’s strongest freshman comedy. The pilot is good, not great, though it’s better than New Girl‘s premiere episode, which was borderline awful. I’m rooting for Kaling, who wrote one of my favorite episodes of The Office, “Ben Franklin,” but unless The Mindy Project ditches some of its romantic comedy leanings, not to mention unfunny jokes about race and references to Eat, Pray, Love, it won’t be required viewing.

#6. Will Bob’s Burgers take the leap from very good to all-time great in season three?

Premiere: September 30
Answer: Bob’s Burgers is the closest thing on TV right now to golden-era Simpsons; it has the same satirical, yet loving tone with some of the best voicework in recent memory and a well-established, ever-expanding universe. It was in season three that The Simpsons, all the way back in 1991, made the leap from great to greatest, with some help from Michael Jackson, Sting, Beverly D’Angelo, Danny DeVito, and Jackie Mason. Bob’s Burgers is about to begin season three, and it’s also bringing in the big guns: Jon Hamm, Nick Offerman, Megan Mullally, Zach Galifianakis, David Wain, Jeffrey Tambor, Bob Odenkirk, Aziz Ansari, Kevin Kline, and many more. Everything is in place for the series to make a step towards greatness, and even if it can’t be “Radio Bart” good, it can at least leapfrog King of the Hill and Futurama to become the second best network primetime cartoon ever. And to anyone who says, “What about Family Guy?”

Also: obligatory mention of how good American Dad! is.

#7. What will the worst new show of the season be?

Premieres: October 26
Answer: If stills were sound effects, then what you see above, from NBC’s “comedy” Guys with Kids, would be a record scratch. Dudes…raising babies?!?!? What the what. AND ONE OF THE BABIES IS EVEN CRYING. Hilarity! But, no, you’re doing a great job changing your identity, NBC. Keep up the good work.

Follow-up question: here’s what Jamie-Lynn Sigler, who stars in Guys with Kids, looks like now.

I realize that wasn’t a question, but I thought you should know. She’ll forever be the cheese to Mark Sanchez’s nacho to me.

#8. Parks and Recreation?

Premieres: September 20
Answer: Parks and Recreation. Here’s a whole bunch of questions for a show that I’m not so much worried about as I am wanting it to be perfect because it might be the only great NBC sitcom to return for the 2013-2014 season: How will the show handle Ben being in Washington and Leslie in Pawnee? Will it fast forward time? Will the beautiful tropical fish known as Ann finally stop dating, not dating, then dating Tom? Will John McCain be momentarily likable? Will Andy be a great cop or the greatest cop? Will Chris sport any more terrible haircuts? Is Lucy Lawless the perfect love interest for Ron? Will, as my friend Jeremy predicts, Orin kill everyone on the show in the finale, and then…CROSSOVER…head to Dunder-Mifflin and do the same? Only time will tell.

I only want the best for you, Parks and Recreation.

#9. The Office can’t be any worse, right?

Premieres: September 20
Answer: If it is, well, there’s always the Orin plan. To predict that Michael Scott will return at some point is hardly a prediction at all, but I do think he will, and that it’ll involve him trying to save Dunder-Mifflin from bankruptcy. The more apt question might be: will season nine of The Office be better or worse than season one of The Farm?

#10. Will Disney’s Dog with a Blog be the greatest show of all-time?

Premieres: October 12

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