Not only is the new fall television season notable because there are virtually no Friends clones, but even the familiar faces returning in fresh series aren’t excessively friendly: Bill Cosby goes curmudgeon in Cosby; Ted Danson and Mary Steenburgen bicker in Ink; Michael J. Fox is wily in Spin City. It’s a conservative season — no envelope-pushing formats like (the returning) Murder One. But familiarity does not breed contempt when it comes to TV. Instead, it provides comfort, reassurance, and the occasional surprise. Here’s our annual guide, with scoops on the new and returning fall series. Paranoid because you can’t remember where they’ve moved The X-Files? Relax: The truth is with us, on the following pages.
WRITTEN BY KRISTEN BALDWIN, BRUCE FRETTS, A.J. JACOBS, DAN SNIERSON, KEN TUCKER, AND BRET WATSON. ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY TRICIA LAINE, JESSICA SHAW, DANEET STEFFENS, AND LOUIS VOGEL