September might mean the end of summer movie season, but it's also the welcome start of a new entertainment era: TV. As usual, this September has a full slate of returning series, with New Girl, Bones, Castle and Saturday Night Live ending their summer hiatuses. But even more interesting is a set of five new pilots with potential, guaranteed to make your fall viewing a bit more interesting. Here's a list of series we here at tb-two* are looking forward to, and why:
When/where: Starts Monday, 9 p.m. on Fox
Starring: Tom Mison, Nicole Beharie
Why we're excited about it: With several increasingly formulaic crime dramas joining the ranks of Bones and NCIS, this murder mystery promises an intriguing change of scenery. In 2040, Ichabod Crane (Mison), wakes up to a new sheriff (Beharie), a Starbucks in his old livery stables and a slew of murders caused by his old foe — one of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. Written and directed by the team behind 2009's Star Trek (and co-starring John Cho, also known as The Enterprise's Sulu), this new thriller looks creepily good, assuming you don't mind a bit of beheading in your mystery-solving snark.
Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
When/where: Starts Tuesday Sept. 24, 8 p.m on ABC
Starring: Clark Gregg, Ming-Na Wen, Brett Dalton
Why we're excited about it: He might not have had any superpowers, but Clark Gregg's Agent Coulson stole the show in last summer's The Avengers, that is, until he received an unfortunate mind-control scepter to the chest. Geeks nationwide went into revolt at his death, so much so that they eventually pressured creator Joss Whedon into resurrecting him, and ended up getting a TV show as a result. Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. follows Coulson and five new faces at the conveniently acronymed government bureau, fighting crime and dealing with the aftermath of the film's New York attack. It's also Whedon's return to the small screen, following in the footsteps of cult hits Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Firefly. Knowing Whedon, who has a propensity for killing likeable characters at the flip of a switch, it's a good idea not to get too attached to anyone in the pilot. Or in the following episodes. Or any character, ever.
The Crazy Ones
When/where: Starts Thursday Sept. 26, 9 p.m. on CBS
Starring: Robin Williams, Sarah Michelle Gellar
Why we're excited about it: Robin Williams returns to television. Need we say more? (No, but we will.) Williams portrays maniacal ad executive Simon Roberts, who shares his enterprise with his long-suffering daughter Sydney, played by Sarah Michelle Gellar. Not much info for this one has been leaked beyond the pilot, but the promo alone contains robot boxing, Kelly Clarkson and Williams beat-boxing with Mad Men alum James Wolk. You'll never look at advertising — or, after Clarkson's in-show jingle, Big Macs — the same way again.
When/where: Starts Sunday Sept. 29, 10:30 p.m. on HBO
Starring: Stephen Merchant
Why we're excited about it: Stephen Merchant is funny no matter what he's doing; his past gigs have included voicing the utterly incompetent robot Wheatley in Portal 2 and stand-up comedy with Ricky Gervais. (He even made Tooth Fairy bearable when opposite the Rock in fairy wings.) Considering that he's co-writing and directing this HBO romp, starring himself as an awkward Brit looking for love in L.A., it's nearly hilarious guaranteed. Expect a lot of jokes about the comedian's 6-foot-7-inch frame, and be warned that this is cringe comedy at its finest. Think Bridesmaids or Borat, but British. And worse.
The Tomorrow People
When/where: Starts Wednesday Oct. 9, 9 p.m. on the CW
Starring: Robbie Amell, Luke Mitchell
Why we're excited about it: The CW has tackled gossip hounds, Gilmore Girls and demon-hunting brothers, but The Tomorrow People swerves from the network's usual fare with a walk on the superhero side. When normal guy Stephen Jameson (Amell) suddenly starts teleporting in his sleep, voices in his head lead him to a trio known as the Tomorrow People, teens with similar abilities on the run from a paramilitary group of scientists. An adaptation of a British cult hit, the show will have to prove it can stand on its own legs, but an impressive-looking promo and Matrix-style bullet dodges seem to be a step in the right direction. And for the generation of girls who spent their middle school years watching H2O on Nickelodeon, be prepared for a shock: Third-season star Luke Mitchell is older, tougher and telepathic (but, we hope, still Australian).