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Monday: New + Returning Shows

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The Big Bang Theory
Season 8 / 8 P.M. / CBS
Last season, Sheldon (Jim Parsons) hightailed it out of town after a slew of tragedies: The comic-book store burned down, and Penny (Kaley Cuoco-Sweeting) and Leonard (Johnny Galecki) may need him to move out. ”We learn he’s been visiting cities all around the States but has never left any of the train stations,” says showrunner Steve Molaro. ”It’s like a modern-day hobo has been riding the rails for the last 45 days.” Penny and Leonard may be engaged, but don’t expect a wedding this year. CBS has Big Bang locked in for at least three more seasons (with the stars earning roughly $1 million per episode), so there’s no rush to change things up too much. And that’s fine by Parsons, who appreciates that the series doesn’t go for gimmicky plot twists: ”Nobody’s had to adopt a child or have a full-time pet monkey on the show.” Yet. Sept. 22

The Originals
Season 2 / 8 P.M. / The CW
As the world’s first vampires, the Mikaelsons have a complicated family history. Now, with the return from the dead of Mom, Dad, and a brother — all of whom want to kill their once beloved Klaus (Joseph Morgan) — a reunion is imminent. ”Season 2 is about trying to clean up [season 1’s] mess,” exec producer Julie Plec says. ”Only what they do not realize in the beginning is that the new mess is in the form of their old family.” Oct. 6

Season 2 / 8:30 P.M. / CBS
In real life, the stars of Chuck Lorre’s sitcom are doing quite well — Allison Janney just won an Emmy for her work on the show, and Anna Faris is married to Chris Pratt, one of the Guardians of the Galaxy. But things aren’t going quite as smoothly for the pair on TV. This season, Bonnie (Janney) and her daughter, Christy (Faris), will lose their home, try and fail to help a new pal (guest star Jaime Pressly) get sober, and watch helplessly as Christy’s daughter (Sadie Calvano) breaks away. ”She basically says, ‘I don’t want to be part of this family anymore,”’ reveals Lorre. It’s dark — but Faris is having a blast all the same. ”I love playing messes in general,” she says. ”That’s because I can relate so well.” Sept. 29

New Drama / 9 P.M. / CBS
Two heads may be better than one… but four high IQs are best. That’s the premise of Scorpion, which follows Walter O’Brien (Elyes Gabel) and his brilliant band of outsiders — plus Paige (Katharine McPhee), the mom of a high-IQ child — as they grudgingly agree to help crack some of the government’s toughest cases. Loosely based on the life of real brainiac Walter O’Brien, the show works hard to transcend conventional procedural trappings. ”Though it has a weekly component, it is really about something bigger — letting people see into the world of what it means to be a genius,” says exec producer Nick Santora. Sept. 22

Sleepy Hollow
Season 2 / 9 P.M. / Fox
”I wish I was in purgatory,” star Tom Mison sighs — which is where the kooky drama left his costar Nicole Beharie in January. Instead, Mison’s Ichabod Crane begins the season as we last saw him: buried alive by his long-lost son (John Noble). Thankfully, Ichabod will get out — in a pretty ”wild” way, says Mison — and reunite with Beharie’s Abbie Mills after a separation that’s ”long enough to be satisfying.” Then the Witnesses can get back to doing what they do best: fighting demons and revealing America’s secret supernatural history, this year in stories that feature Thomas Jefferson, Daniel Boone, and Benedict Arnold: ”We’re going to learn a lot more about why [Arnold] became a traitor,” says showrunner Mark Goffman. Sept. 22

Star Wars Rebels
New Drama / 9 P.M. / Disney XD
Want to get a glimpse of Episode VII? The first clues could be found on Rebels. Sure, the animated series chronicling the rise of the Rebel Alliance is set a couple of years before the feature films, but exec producer Simon Kinberg says Rebels is talking with the team making Episode VII Something-Something Intriguing to ensure the series aligns with the films for continuity. ”We are very aware of what they’re doing in VII,” he says. ”There are characters, vehicles, imagery introduced in the show before we’ve ever seen them in the movies — possibly including VII.” C-3PO and Lando Calrissian will make appearances (voiced by original actors Anthony Daniels and Billy Dee Williams), as well as R2-D2 and Obi-Wan Kenobi. And you don’t need to use the Force to foresee there’s likely more to come. Oct. 13

Jane the Virgin
New Comedy / 9P.M. / The CW
Telenovelas have become popular imports, thanks in part to Ben Silverman, who produced the American adaptation of Yo Soy Betty, la Fea (Ugly Betty). His latest: Jane the Virgin, based on the Venezuelan hit, which follows a rule-bound Latina student (Gina Rodriguez) who’s accidentally inseminated during an ob-gyn checkup. Silverman and creator Jennie Snyder Urman explain how they made sure Jane didn’t get lost in translation.

Study the Source Material
Silverman handed over the first episode of the original novela, Juana la Virgen, and a stack of episode synopses to Urman. ”Becoming familiar with it was an important part of getting started because only then would I be able to let go in order to create something unique,” says Urman. ”If you were just to remake it word for word, there would be no point.”

Tackle the Tone
With the directive from Silverman to ”tell a fun story with Latin elements,” Urman gave the pilot a comedic vibe. ”Humor allowed me to create the flights of fancy that are part of the telenovela world,” she says. A tongue-in-cheek narrator walks audiences through novela tropes: the spiteful spouse, the venomous villain, and the hunky executive. ”That made it an ode to the telenovela, rather than a parody.”

Tweak the Plot
Though Jane‘s premise remains true to the original, Urman made several substantial changes to accommodate the tastes of English-language audiences. For starters, the protagonist of The CW’s reboot is 23, not 16 as on the original hit. And Jane finds out she’s pregnant in the premiere — not at the end of the first season as on Juana — due to the ”quicker pace in American TV,” says Urman.

Watch Your Language
To nail the cultural references, Urman hired two Hispanic writers, including telenovela veteran Carolina Rivera. Rodriguez, 30, gives notes too — as when a script had Jane calling her grandmother abuela. ”I wouldn’t say that,” says Rodriguez, a Chicago native. ”I would say ‘grandma.’ That’s how I show my dual identity. They said, ‘Go for it.”’ Oct. 13

The Blacklist
Season 2 / 10 P.M. / NBC
The new season begins a few months after FBI profiler Elizabeth Keen (Megan Boone) shot and possibly killed her traitor husband (Ryan Eggold). In the meantime, Berlin (Peter Stormare) — the enigmatic Russian who blames Red (James Spader) for his daughter’s death — has made the task force feel as though it is on the most-wanted list. ”Berlin is going to make this war with Red personal,” exec producer Jon Bokenkamp says. ”He’s an incredibly frightening guy.” Another guy likely to be frightening: Paul Reubens, who’ll appear as a dapper, finicky henchman. For his part, Spader is most excited about building Red’s team back up. ”Reddington has a great fondness for the strange, and the wonderful, and the eccentric,” he says. ”He takes great delight in people for not only their expertise but also how they perform their expertise.” Sept. 22

Season 7 / 10 P.M. / ABC
The car crash that left fans stunned at the end of last season will launch Beckett’s (Stana Katic) biggest case to date when Castle (Nathan Fillion) goes missing. But finding him will only open more doors into the novelist’s backstory. ”There’s a question that we’ve not explored as fully as we would like to, which is ‘Why is Castle obsessed with murder?”’ showrunner David Amann says. That doesn’t mean trouble for Castle and Beckett, who Amann says will ”grow and endure despite the setbacks of the finale.” Fillion is pretty sanguine about Castle’s emotional well-being postcrash. As he puts it, ”Castle has been brushing death like he brushes his teeth.” Sept. 29

NCIS: Los Angeles
Season 6 / 10 P.M. / CBS
We pick up mid-cliff-hanger as Sam (LL Cool J) and Callen (Chris O’Donnell), whom we last saw stuck on a submarine under siege, pledge their lives to stop a terrorist attack. Meanwhile, partners Kensi (Daniela Ruah) and Deeks (Eric Christian Olsen) continue their own epic battle, a romantic one, as flirty DEA agent Talia del Campo (Mercedes Masöhn) gives Kensi some unsolicited advice. ”Let’s just say things get a little heated between them,” says exec producer Shane Brennan. They’re not the only ones caught up in matters of the heart. ”A recurring character comes back in a dangerous way,” teases O’Donnell — but brings a love interest for Callen. Silver lining? Sept. 29

Mike Tyson Mysteries
New Comedy / 10:30 P.M. / Adult Swim
”It’s me, it’s Mike Tyson, but it’s like Scooby-Doo meets The A-Team,” says, well, Mike Tyson of his new half-hour animated series. The Hanna-Barbera-influenced show will feature Tyson and his crew solving problems that are brought to him by his carrier pigeons (one of which is voiced by Norm Macdonald). ”I’m the leader, but you won’t think it because I have so many confrontations within the group,” Tyson explains. He also emphasizes the amount of research undertaken to nail the tone of the show, which will run for 10 episodes in its first season. ”I looked at everything from Super Friends to Space Ghost, all that stuff,” he says, adding, ”It’s a cartoon for the high guys.” And if it goes well, he’s got big plans for season 2: ”Mike Tyson and Friends will be next! I’d have Bobby Brown on there, Flavor Flav — a bunch of people.” Oct. 27

What’s Next For…
2 Broke Girls
Season 4 / 8 P.M. / CBS
In the premiere, Max and Caroline (Kat Dennings and Beth Behrs) meet one decidedly unbroke woman: Kim Kardashian, who comes to Williamsburg to shoot an episode of her reality show. ”She’s there because she’s a businesswoman too,” says exec producer Michael Patrick King. But Mrs. West will not be lobbing one of Girls‘ signature salty barbs. ”Salty? No! She’s adorable,” says King. ”She’s Kim Kardashian.” Oct. 27

Dancing With the Stars
Season 19 / 8 P.M. / ABC
Stars made one out of Julianne Hough, and now she’s returning the favor as DWTS‘ latest judge. New showrunner Rob Wade says that’s just one of many changes he’s bringing. ”I want to put more emphasis on the competitive performances and be far more creative with these dances,” he says. With designer Betsey Johnson and YouTube sensation Bethany Mota among the celeb dancers, creativity shouldn’t be a problem. Sept. 15

The Voice
Season 7 / 8 P.M. / NBC
”When something’s working, we don’t add things just to be different,” says exec producer Mark Burnett. So no structural changes for the vocal competition, aside from new coaches Gwen Stefani and Pharrell Williams. ”We’re all clicking so well,” says fellow coach Adam Levine. ”We’re having the time of our lives, even just during blind auditions.” Sept. 22