''The Big Bang Theory,'' ''The Vampire Diaries,'' and more

By EW Staff
Updated September 13, 2013 at 12:00 PM EDT
  • TV Show
  • CBS

The Big Bang Theory

Returning Comedy, 8 p.m., CBS

Leonard (Johnny Galecki) may still be at sea at the start of the season, but it won’t be long before he’s back on dry land with Penny (Kaley Cuoco). A reunion that won’t happen as quickly? One with roommate Sheldon (Jim Parsons), who will be shocked when he learns that Leonard secretly returned from the Stephen Hawking expedition and chose to spend his first days with Penny. ”It takes some time to acclimate to the idea of being around Sheldon again,” Galecki explains. Also look for Amy (Mayim Bialik) and Bernadette (Melissa Rauch) to take their first Penny-less road trip together. ”As we’re plugging away here in season 7, we are still realizing that a lot of these characters have barely interacted with each other,” exec producer Steven Molaro says, ”and we’re excited to explore that further.” Sept. 26

Once Upon A Time in Wonderland

New Drama, 8 p.m., ABC

”A psychedelic romance” is how producers describe this Once Upon a Time spin-off, which follows a butt-kicking Alice (newcomer Sophie Lowe) as she flees a psychiatric institution to go back down the rabbit hole. There, she’ll seek to reunite with her genie love (Peter Gadiot), spar with the villainous Jafar (Lost‘s Naveen Andrews), meet the Cheshire Cat, and fight the Bandersnatch. ”It’s a unique Alice because she’s grown-up now and she’s strong and determined,” Lowe says. ”She’s going on crazy adventures with breathtaking visuals all the time.” Unlike the flagship series, Wonderland is designed as a complete one-season story rather than a multiyear tale. It’s what every modern romantic seeks: true love, minimal commitment. Oct. 10

Parks and Recreation

Returning Comedy, 8 p.m., NBC

Though Leslie (Amy Poehler) is facing a recall, the season 6 premiere sends her and the gang to London, where she will receive a women-in-government award. ”She meets these women from all over the world who are revered and held up as heroes by their hometowns,” says exec producer Michael Schur. ”And she comes face-to-face with the fact that back in Pawnee they’re essentially burning her in effigy.” Meanwhile, Andy (Chris Pratt) stays in London to work on a charity project, and Chris (Rob Lowe) and Ann (Rashida Jones) will continue to date and baby-make before exiting the show in episode 13 (sniff, sniff). And Orphan Black‘s Tatiana Maslany guests in two episodes as a permit-seeking doctor who catches the eye of Tom (Aziz Ansari). ”He decides to screw up as many things as he can with her request,” shares Schur. ”He says, ‘I need to keep her around as long as I can, and I’m going to use the number-one weapon I have, which is bureaucratic incompetence.”’ Sept. 26

The Millers

New Comedy, 8:30 p.m., CBS

Arrested Development star Will Arnett is trading in the Bluths for another kooky family. Here, he plays a recently divorced local news reporter whose plans for bachelorhood are foiled when his overbearing mother (Margo Martindale) moves in with him after separating from his father (Beau Bridges). ”We’re going to slowly see what being single means to the parents and to Arnett’s character,” says exec producer Greg Garcia, who knows his way around a wacky family (Raising Hope, My Name Is Earl). After four seasons as the absurdly arrogant Gob Bluth, Arnett says he’s still getting used to playing the straight man. ”It’s going to be a challenge for me to do something different, to not go in the moment and swing for the fences.” Translation? No magic tricks — though a Dirty Dancing sequence is definitely in the cards. Oct. 3


Welcome To The Family

New Comedy, 8:30 p.m., NBC

We’ve all seen the shows about teen moms, but how about the families waiting in the delivery room? This new comedy from exec producer Mike Sikowitz (Rules of Engagement) focuses on the two very different L.A. clans who have to learn to get along after their lovestruck high school teens get knocked up. ”It’s about marriage and the romance of marriage and kids growing up, pregnancy, parenthood, and the differing philosophies on all these things,” says Sikowitz, who explains that the series will center on the conflict between alpha dads Miguel (Desperate Housewives‘ Ricardo A. Chavira) and Dan (Glee‘s Mike O’Malley). Says O’Malley: ”People understand there’s always going to be one or two people in your family that you’re not going to want to sit next to, let alone be in the same room with. Oftentimes, having in-laws is about suffering.” Oct. 3


Returning Comedy, 9 p.m., Fox

When news broke of star Cory Monteith’s death this summer, fans couldn’t imagine how the show could go on. But it will, with a tribute episode planned for Oct. 10, which will deal with the passing of Monteith’s beloved Finn. ”On the flip side of anything terrible like this, it forces you to remember the good things,” says Darren Criss. ”I hope that by the time people see it they can take away something really beautiful from something so tragic.” But first, Glee will kick off its fifth season with an elaborate Beatles tribute, including Blaine (Criss) wooing Kurt (Chris Colfer) with a marching-band-led ”Got to Get You Into My Life.” Could there be a Klaine proposal in the offing? Hints Criss, ”There’s going to be an answer to what Blaine is going to do within the first two episodes.” Sept. 26

Grey’s Anatomy

Returning Drama, 9 p.m., ABC

While the storm continues outside Grey Sloan Memorial in the season 10 premiere, inside the drama barrels on. Richard (James Pickens Jr.) remains in mortal danger after being electrocuted, Meredith (Ellen Pompeo) and Derek (Patrick Dempsey) will have to juggle two kids, and Callie (Sara Ramirez) and Arizona (Jessica Capshaw) will see ”fallout” after their marriage is rocked by Arizona’s infidelity. ”Callie’s been cheated on before — George O’Malley cheated on her,” exec producer Shonda Rhimes reminds us. ”I think how she’s going to deal with that is going to be interesting.” As for now exes Owen (Kevin McKidd) and Cristina (Sandra Oh), ”we see the show starting to take Cristina and Owen to a new place,” teases Oh. Since this is Oh’s last season on the show, we’re guessing for Cristina that means somewhere a little less foggy? Sept. 26

Sean Saves the World

New Comedy, 9 p.m., NBC

Sean Hayes plays a divorced gay dad who’s suddenly handed the responsibility of raising his teenage daughter (Samantha Isler) full-time. ”I have never seen this on television before,” says Hayes about his character, who will also face workplace woes thanks to a rigid new boss (Thomas Lennon). ”He’s going to be struggling with dating and introducing his dates to his daughter.” Along the way, he’ll get some help from his pushy mother (Linda Lavin) and wild pal (Megan Hilty). The series was inspired by exec producer Victor Fresco’s relationship with his own 14-year-old daughter. ”[When they’re teens] they’re sort of in between wanting you around and wanting nothing to do with you,” says Fresco. ”It’s hard for a parent to adjust.” Oct. 3

Two and A Half Men

Returning Comedy, 9:30 p.m., CBS

The boys’ club is breaking up: With Angus T. Jones off to college and not expected to return to the show anytime soon, Amber Tamblyn is moving into the beach house for the hit comedy’s 11th season, playing Charlie Harper’s long-lost lesbian daughter. Who, as it turns out, is exactly like her father. ”She’s a fun, hard-partying girl who loves everything her father did — including women,” says showrunner Jim Patterson. With Alan (Jon Cryer) and Walden (Ashton Kutcher) both single, expect awkward double dates and conflicts with their new roomie. Says Patterson, ”It brings the debauchery back to the show from when Charlie [Sheen] was on it.” Sept. 26



Returning Drama, 10 p.m., CBS

Yes, exec producer Robert Doherty hopes we’ll see Moriarty, who was revealed to be Irene Adler, resurface at some point in season 2 — if Game of Thrones actress Natalie Dormer’s schedule permits. But two other names from the canon will definitely show up in the premiere, when Joan Watson (Lucy Liu) accompanies Holmes (Jonny Lee Miller) to London to help his struggling former colleague Inspector Lestrade (Sean Pertwee) — and ends up meeting Mycroft Holmes (Rhys Ifans), the smart, successful estranged brother Sherlock looks down on. ”Mycroft finds Joan very interesting in that she has developed what is now a pretty long-term friendship with Sherlock,” Doherty says. Good news for Rhys I-fans: Mycroft will eventually make his way to New York for an extended arc. ”Just being in the room, the three of us together,” Liu says, ”it took it to a whole other level.” Sept. 26


Returning Drama, 10 p.m., NBC

With Kristina (Monica Potter) cancer-free, Crosby (Dax Shepard) and Jasmine (Joy Bryant) expecting, and Sarah (Lauren Graham) once again single, fans were bracing themselves for the fact that May’s neatly-tied-up season 4 finale would be their last visit with the Bravermans. ”For the last two seasons, people have been saying it was going to be the series finale!” exclaims exec producer Jason Katims. One 22-episode pickup later, Katims has plenty of time to delve back into the drama, including Julia (Erika Christensen) and Joel’s (Sam Jaeger) troubled marriage and Kristina’s political ambitions. But as far as Sarah’s personal life, Graham has her own opinions. ”To preserve the integrity of this character, I’m not sure you can watch her go through another serious thing,” she says. ”I keep saying to Jason, ‘She gets way more action than any woman in her 40s.”’ Sept. 26

Episode Recaps


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