As TV gears up for a new season, ''Entertainment Weekly'' is on the scene to capture the stars, the sets, and...the creepy chicken suit?

By EW Staff
August 31, 2012 at 04:00 AM EDT

Parks and Recreation
LocationLos Angeles
DateAugust 10, 2012
How eager were Amy Poehler and Adam Scott, who play love nerds Leslie and Ben, to get space from each other during the hiatus? Not very. The two shot the indie comedy A.C.O.D., in which Poehler plays Scott’s same-age stepmother. ”It was fun to continue working together but with a slightly different dynamic,” he says. ”Instead of making goo-goo eyes at each other, we were yelling and calling each other terrible names.” They’ll stretch in different ways in the NBC sitcom’s fifth season, as new Pawnee councilwoman Leslie visits Ben in D.C., where he’s working on a congressional campaign. One episode was even filmed on location, with cameos by senators John McCain, Barbara Boxer, and Olympia Snowe. ”We’d seen McCain score on SNL, but Barbara Boxer and Olympia Snowe were really funny and sweet,” reports Scott. ”I have little crushes on both of them.” —Dan Snierson

2 Broke Girls
LocationLos Angeles
DateAugust 13, 2012
Beth Behrs may have seen plenty of her costars this summer — she and Kat Dennings even took an impromptu trip to Paris — but that didn’t make her any less excited about reuniting with them on the set of the CBS sitcom. ”It’s like when you go back to school,” says Behrs. ”You’ve been away all summer, and then you get to see all your friends again.” She admits the time away made her feel nervous about slipping back into the stilettos of cupcake impresario Caroline Channing. ”I was like, ‘What if I forget her character and how she is?’ ” Behrs recounts. ”But it’s like riding a bike. As soon as I’m next to Kat and we read the writers’ words, you don’t forget.” —Nuzhat Naoreen

Up All Night
LocationLos Angeles
DateAugust 7, 2012
”It kind of feels like we never left,” says Maya Rudolph about returning to work on NBC’s Up All Night. ”Except there’s large things missing, like the Ava set.” Rudolph, whose character will find out that her Oprah-esque show has been canceled, says she was surprised to see the fake studio torn down. ”We shot a scene where Christina [Applegate] and I are packing up the office — the next thing you know, all of it was gone.” In between takes, the cast and crew celebrated some birthdays (including Rudolph’s belatedly) with help from Applegate, who slipped into a full-on chicken costume. ”That’s been a tradition of Christina’s,” explains Rudolph. ”Whenever it’s someone’s birthday on set, the chicken comes out and dances on the person. The chicken kind of freaked on me a little bit.” —Nuzhat Naoreen

DateAugust 9, 2012
Going back to work was a little harder this year for Jared Padalecki, who has to juggle his regular gig with his most important role yet: new dad. But while it’s been tough spending long days on set after long nights at home with 5-month-old son Thomas, the actor says the experience has also put eight seasons of demon-fighting on The CW in perspective. ”You remember why you’re waking up to work so hard,” he says. Exactly how hard? A recent day of shooting — which also saw the return of fan favorite Misha Collins — required Padalecki to suit up with his ”bull-riding pads” for a taxing stunt. ”There’s no mercy, for sure,” he jokes. ”But I guess that’s what got us this far — Jensen [Ackles] and I and the rest of the cast having fun and enjoying the scripts we’re given.” —Sandra Gonzalez

Person of Interest
LocationNew York City
DateAugust 10, 2012
How did the cast and crew celebrate being back on the job? With an event that brings together everyone from assistants to stars Michael Emerson and Jim Caviezel: the mandatory sexual harassment awareness meeting. ”That’s always an interesting day because the business at hand is serious, yet everybody is in a very social mood because they’re seeing friends who they haven’t seen in months and meeting new members of the company,” says Emerson. One cast member who was MIA: a canine companion, making his debut this season on the CBS drama. ”When [exec producer] Jonathan Nolan said to me over dinner one night that he was thinking of teaming me up with a dog, I didn’t know if he was joking or not,” Emerson says. As it turns out, he wasn’t. —Sandra Gonzalez

Once Upon a Time
DateAugust 2, 2012
You’ve never seen Grumpy this grumpy! With the residents of Storybrooke freed from a curse that caused them to forget their fairy-tale identities, they’re determined to give Evil Queen/Storybrooke mayor Regina Mills (Lana Parrilla) an unhappy ending. ”This is right after all the inhabitants of Storybrooke have woken up and remembered who they are,” recalls Parrilla of this scene, for which she stepped back into her stern Stepford-mayor wardrobe of Gucci, Zara, and Burberry. ”There’s a large mob storming Regina’s house. They want to kill her, basically.” Being hated is nothing new for Parrilla-as-Regina, though. After ABC’s Once wrapped its first season, Parrilla received a surprising dose of hostility from strangers over her literally heart-crushing character. ”Some kids hide behind their parents,” says the actress, whose fans call themselves Evil Regals. ”I also got ‘You’re such an evil bitch — but I love you.’ ” —James Hibberd