''The Carrie Diaries,'' ''Hawaii Five-0,'' and more

By EW Staff
Updated September 13, 2013 at 04:00 AM EDT

The Carrie Diaries
Returning Drama, 8 p.m., The CW
You want sex and the city? You’ll get ’em both! Season 2 begins with Carrie (AnnaSophia Robb) and Walt (Brendan Dooling) spending a blissful summer in gritty, neon-splashed 1985 Manhattan. There, they’ll encounter a new character: twentysomething cougar-in-training Samantha Jones (Lindsey Gort). ”She’s from the panhandle of Florida, and she’s tough as nails,” says creator Amy B. Harris. ”She clawed her way to this city.” So what do Sam and teen Carrie have in common? Not much…at first. ”They’re not exactly friends right away,” Robb hints. Also, something important is stolen from Carrie in the premiere, and later, Harris says, the future sex columnist will experience ”a big first.” We’re guessing she’s not talking about buying a pair of Manolos. Oct. 25

MasterChef Junior
New Reality, 8 p.m., Fox
Most 8-year-olds probably aren’t allowed near knives, but on Fox’s new reality show, cooking prodigies from the ages of 8 to 13 not only cook in a professional-grade kitchen but are also subjected to critiques from the likes of Gordon Ramsay, Joe Bastianich, and Graham Elliot. ”There are times when they have to shout Gordon over so they can reach a pot or a piece of equipment. I consciously wanted it to be exactly the same as MasterChef,” says exec producer Robin Ashbrook, who teases an episode where the kids covertly take over a high-end restaurant. There are tears when the surprise is revealed — and not from the 8-year-olds. Sept. 27

The Neighbors
Returning Comedy, 8:30 p.m., ABC
Now that the aliens-in-suburbia sitcom is back for a second season, it’s okay to admit that you were watching. ”I get a lot of strangers coming up to me and apologetically admitting they like the show,” says creator Dan Fogelman. ”Sure, it’s like a weird Samuel Beckett play with aliens, but it has an old-fashioned charm.” This season, Fogelman is most excited for the holiday episodes, including one where alien leader Larry Bird (Simon Templeman) combines Hanukkah and Halloween into an eight-night costume fest. ”Normally when you’re running a show you go, ‘Ugh, I have to do a holiday episode,”’ says Fogelman. ”But we love it. Our aliens will become addicted to holiday episodes of past sitcoms and decide to recruit their own studio audience to follow them around every time they make a joke.” Sept. 20

Returning Drama, 9 p.m., NBC
Grimm is about to get more, uh, what’s a word for dark and bleak? The second-season cliff-hanger saw Nick (David Giuntoli) zombified, put in a coffin, and presumably shipped off to Europe. That won’t stop Portland’s finest demon slayer, but getting home will be a bumpy ride. ”It’s a bigger, badder series this year; you’ll see in the first two episodes that hardly any expense was spared,” promises exec producer David Greenwalt. And once Nick does get back to Portlandia (where he’ll battle alligators in the sewers and sexy-deadly mermaids, among other creatures), he’ll be emotionally and physically altered. ”There’s certain things in life where a person is forever changed,” Giuntoli says. ”Becoming a zombie happens to be one of those things.” Oct. 25

Hawaii Five-0
Returning Drama, 9 p.m., CBS
While producers are adding a fifth member to Five-0‘s core team — Michelle Borth, whom fans already know as Catherine Rollins, the naval lieutenant with a strong grip on Steve McGarrett’s (Alex O’Loughlin) heart — they swear your favorites will get their due in season 4. ”We have a Chin Ho story that goes back to his early days as a cop being mentored by McGarrett’s father,” exec producer Peter Lenkov says, teasing that we’ll finally learn how Chin, played by Daniel Dae Kim, lost his badge. Also look for a visit from McGarrett’s aunt, played by the legendary Carol Burnett, over Thanksgiving. Sept. 27

Raising Hope
Returning Comedy, 9 p.m., Fox
It’s still an ensemble show, but with Jimmy (Lucas Neff) and Sabrina (Shannon Woodward) now married and parenting Hope in their own home, season 4 will give Virginia (Martha Plimpton) and Burt (Garret Dillahunt) more time for their own adventures. Showrunner Mike Mariano promises a ”semi-Hitchcockian” episode involving a possible murder in the neighborhood, plus a very special Christmas episode: ”Burt might be accidentally elected mayor for a short period of time. He might have to cancel Christmas as his first duty,” he says. Arrested Development‘s Jeffrey Tambor pops up in the premiere as a mythical figure who’s shown up in the Chance family’s lives from time to time, while Molly Shannon recurs as Sabrina’s aunt Maxime, a businesswoman who buys the grocery store where Sabrina and Jimmy work. Says Mariano, ”She ‘Maxime-izes’ things.” Nov. 8

Shark Tank
Returning Reality, 9 p.m., ABC
When Shark Tank swims back to the schedule for season 5, fans will notice new faces among the sharks: Paul Mitchell cofounder John Paul DeJoria and New York Giants chairman Steve Tisch will each take a turn in the tank. ”What’s great about this show is, as it gets more known, more entrepreneurs want to be on it and cooler products are being brought in,” explains exec producer Mark Burnett. For incumbent shark Lori Greiner, the biggest surprise isn’t the quality of the ideas but the pop culture reach of the program. ”A bunch of little girls told me that they dressed like me for Halloween,” she says. Hmmm…that gives us an idea for a costume venture. Sept. 20

New Comedy, 9:30 p.m., Fox
When envisioning this military-set series, think less Army Wives and more droll workplace comedy. ”It is as if the U.S. Army is our Dunder Mifflin,” explains star Geoff Stults. The Finder vet plays supersoldier Pete, who gets sent back Stateside from Afghanistan and ends up running the Rear Detachment unit to which his younger brothers — enthusiastic puppy dog Randy (Parker Young) and smart-mouthed middle child Derrick (Chris Lowell) — are assigned. (”Rear D” soldiers stay behind to take care of the base and the families of the deployed.) Creator Kevin Biegel (Cougar Town) mined his family’s military history and his relationship with his own brothers for Enlisted, which, in its more serious moments, will deal with one soldier’s PTSD. ”I think that’s a good opportunity to show that you don’t have to do that specific type of soldier story and make it something that’s ultimately depressing and hopeless,” Biegel says. ”I don’t believe that’s true.” Nov. 8

Blue Bloods
Returning Drama, 10 p.m., CBS
Season 4 of the cop procedural resets with Jamie Reagan (Will Estes) meeting his new, fresh-out-of-the academy partner, Eddie Janko (Vanessa Ray). Though he’s still recovering from the loss of former colleague Vinny, Jamie has no trouble warming up to the new girl. ”We have as much chemistry as you can have without it being a love interest,” says Estes. The season will also feature Jamie defying orders — and dealing with the consequences; Bebe Neuwirth as the new inspector general, who clashes with the NYPD; and a potential love interest for Reagan patriarch Frank (Tom Selleck). Says exec producer Kevin Wade, ”After six years of widowhood, I think it might be high time for him to meet somebody.” Sept. 27

Also on Friday
Last Man Standing
Returning Comedy, 8 p.m., ABC
Mike Baxter’s (Tim Allen) family is in a time of transition when season 3 starts. ”The nest is a tiny bit emptier,” says exec producer Tim Doyle. He promises that even though the daughters are heading to college and different apartments, ”amazingly, people still seem to find themselves crossing back into the Baxter living room,” including the guys from Duck Dynasty. Previous guest star Jonathan Taylor Thomas will return — but this time in the director’s chair. Sept. 20

Undercover Boss
Returning Reality, 8 p.m., CBS
By now, the feel-good series needs to try harder to keep the CEO-as-Everyman ruse going. ”It’s a huge dog-and-pony show,” says exec producer Chris Carlson of the more elaborate disguises. The show is also experimenting with different types of bosses, including a demanding, openly gay New Yorker in the fashion industry. Five seasons in, says Carlson, ”there are still new, iconic worlds we haven’t been in, and stories we haven’t heard.” Sept. 27

Returning Drama, 10 p.m., SyFy
When we left the Trouble-plagued New England town in season 3, paranormal policer Audrey (Emily Rose) — along with the supernatural barn she jumped into — had disappeared. And she won’t be back for a while, says Rose: ”We pick up six months later…. Audrey finds herself in a completely new place.” And as a new person. ”She introduces herself as this person called Lexie DeWitt,” Rose teases. Confused? So is her friend Duke (Eric Balfour), exec producer Matt McGuinness tells us: ”His mission for the first four episodes is to find Audrey.” Sept. 13

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