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Each summer, it’s exciting to see what new shows the networks, and now Cable stations have planned, so we can decide what our new appointment viewing will be. Choose your new shows carefully though, because there are still plenty of old favorites continuing the stories that hooked us back when they were the new blood. Here's a reminder of what's coming back, including quotes from some of the stars themselves.

American Dad – Stan is the ultimate right-wing government nut job, a CIA agent with unwavering support of the Bush administration. In this election year, the writers might have to start thinking ahead to new storylines. The producers say, "I think we've got to put the country ahead of the show. It's going to be really interesting. Stan's been on the winning side for so long. To see him deal with what is hopefully going to be the other side is going to be an opportunity. It's actually really cool for the show because it gives us a chance to see him kind of vulnerable and frustrated, so we're looking forward to it for more reasons than one."

The Big Bang Theory – Two nerds debate complicated scientific theories and geeky mathematical problems, but they don’t know how to act around their hot neighbor. Even though they’re in their second season, they’re not any smoother with the ladies. There wouldn’t be much fun if they were. "Nerd" actor Jim Parsons says, "I feel like Sheldon seems to approach every situation of trying to figure out the scientific nature of it almost, of what are we dealing with, what will it add up to and how should I act therefore? I really like how that scientific reasoning so frequently doesn't work in the real world, dealing with someone like Penny, or dealing with someone at a restaurant. But he sticks to his guns and he does that."

Bones – This crime show has an even more specific focus than the likes of CSI. This forensics team specializes in analyzing the bones of dead bodies. Gorehounds can expect to see graphically decrepit bodies each week while the team uses their analysis to catch the killer.

Boston Legal – The firm of Crane, Poole and Schmidt is full of wacky lawyers with even wackier cases. While lawyers may deal with Aspergers syndrome, impending Alzheimer’s, or their urges to cross-dress, they try equally outrageous political cases like a city trying to secede from the union and an HIV positive teenager suing her school for bad sex ed classes. Surely creator/writer/producer David E. Kelley has more politically charged ideas in store for this season.

Brothers and Sisters – The Walker politically charged family drama continues for a third season with Sara fighting for control of the family business, Kitty looking to adopt, Kevin torn between true love and social homophobia, and perhaps a new sibling to be discovered this year.

Californication – Hank Moody (David Duchovny) is an author struggling with writer’s block and his own cynicism. He overcame his womanizing ways to reunite with his ex-wife last year. Don't worry, Hank won't change much. Duchovny says, "I think that if you're an actor and you start to think whether you're likeable or not, you're pretty unlikeable right away, so that's one thing I don't think about.

Chuck – Action and espionage continues for Chuck, an electronics store clerk with government secrets downloaded to his brain. Star Zachary Levi says, "To be a part of a show that is kind of really not like anything [else] is a really awesome thing to do. It's scary because you don't really know. You're constantly trying to be like, well, how much action and then comedy and romance, and put it all together, that's Chuck."

Cold Case – The hook of this weekly mystery show is that the team of detectives reopens old cases that never got solved and finally delivers justice. Each week is a new mystery so no knowledge of past seasons should be required.

Criminal Minds – This crime solving show takes the psychological perspective as a team of FBI profilers, each with a different specialty, analyze the sickest crimes to figure out who could possibly be a suspect.

CSI – The three crime scene franchises continue in their Las Vegas, Miami and New York settings. Laurence Fishburne joins the cast of the original CSI, but in all three cases, the crime scene investigators just use their tools of analysis to catch the murderers. Only CSI: Miami really has a continuing story of Horatio Cane. Either way, it’s nice to know that they actually have ways of catching bad guys. (The spinoffs have already started but original CSI does not premiere until October.)

Desperate Housewives – After all the mystery and drama on Wisteria Lane so far, it would take five years to amount to the same conflict. So the drama has skipped ahead five years to pick up the housewives in new dramas, including Gabrielle as a haggard pregnant mommy. Eva Longoria Parker says, "When I found out, I was excited because I felt like it was a reset button. We got to really start from scratch and explore more things, specifically for my character, and all of us. So I was excited, especially because how Gabby looks now, to play something other than glamour is going to be fun for me."

Dexter – Dexter is a serial killer who only kills bad guys, to put his murderous cravings to good use. He’s caught The Ice Truck Killer and framed a dead officer for his own crimes, so now a new dilemma is in store for the third season. Star Michael C. Hall teased the self-imposed dilemma that will face Dexter this year, "He's basically thrust into a situation, I mean an immediate in the moment situation, where he has no choice but to do something that in turn sets a great deal of what the third season focuses on, in motion. But it's not something that he appreciates at the time."

Dirty Sexy Money – Lucy Liu joins the cast as Nola Lyons to give the billionaire Darling family even more drama this year. Liu says, "She's going to start some relationships in the family that are going to cause a ripple that is probably going to cause a tsunami at some point. She's somebody who's trying to find herself."

Eli Stone – Lawyer Eli Stone (Johnny Lee Miller) had visions of musical numbers and pop stars that informed his trials. Now the world accepts him as a prophet when Season Two begins. Miller says, "We try to move on, we try to progress a story, try to move on how someone's dealing with the situation. If we start doing the same thing again, it wouldn't be as interesting. So the way that Eli tackles the situation I think is going to evolve and change. That's part of my job to try and make it not be the same thing all the time. I hate jumping under the tables."

ER – For its final season, ER has added Angela Bassett to the cast to play a new doctor. Bassett says, "So far, [it's] excellent. There are no divas. I love that. Everyone works hard and works fast. I think you just understand that if we all do what we're supposed to do, then it can be a 12-hour day, which is a short day for us. They have only revealed so much to me. They just told me that it's going to take time. It's not a two hour movie. You have week after week after week episodes all year to reveal."

Everybody Hates Chris – The childhood of Chris Rock is dramatized in comedy form. These episodes may have been in the can for years, as the show blasted through many seasons before the young actors could grow up too fast!

Family Guy – The Griffin family has outrageous animated adventures, often taking breaks to reference popular characters from films, television and real life. This year, they will continue to push boundaries of taste and decency. Creator and voice of Peter, Stewie and Brian, Seth MacFarlane, says, "If something is a recent tragedy, like something that has happened in the last six months we will generally steer clear of it. You sort of develop a sixth sense about it. We are treading into the territory of jokes about 9/11, believe it or not."

Friday Night Lights – New episodes of the high school football drama continue exclusively on DirecTV. Star Kyle Chandler says, "It was sort of like we were thrown a life ring because that strike sort of took our ship that we were on. This life ring just pulled us onto this really sleek motor boat and I think we're really about to take off. This is absolutely the beginning of something new. I feel like it's a brand new show."

The Game – This comedy returns to deal with the wives and mothers of football stars. Groupies, aging athletes and relationships all vie for the guys’ attentions while the women find their place in this very male world.

Ghost Whisperer – As long as Melinda Gordon (Jennifer Love Hewitt) can still see dead people, she’ll have to keep solving their mysteries. Hewitt says, "It's fun to play Melinda when she's doing what she does best. But it's also fun to play her when she's sort of hiding her gift from people who may not understand."

Gossip Girl – The anonymous online blogger continues to narrate the drama surrounding teenagers in New York’s high society. The show's bad girl Leighton Meester, who plays Blair, says, "Chuck and Blair are having a lot of back and forth between them. Blair is trying to make him jealous by having a new boyfriend. There's still 'frenemy' action between Blair and Serena."

Grey’s Anatomy – The medical soap opera has new drama in store for its fifth year. Grey and McDreamy may have more issues together than they did as longing lovers. First year residents have new interns of their own to train. Of course everybody’s still sleeping with everybody else. Series creator Shonda Rhimes adds, "We have a really interesting, wonderful, funny way of laying out the story of Callie and Erica that I'm pretty excited about, that I feel is not necessarily your typical way of dealing with the storyline.

Heroes – Kick starting the series after a lackluster second season, Peter Petrelli comes back from the future to stop Nathan from revealing the super powers to the world. Dr. Soresh discovers a way to give people powers and Hiro loses the key formula and has to get it back. Peter Petrelli actor Milo Ventimiglia explained the "Villains" subtitle of the third volume. "You've got to think about humanity in that we all have a dark side and we all have a light side. It's just understanding those things that trigger us to fall into the shadow or kind of walk in the light. Understandably I think, as earnest natured and as good hearted as Peter is and as well intentioned, exploring that darker side of him is inevitable. I think you're going to get some people who have walked a very shadowed past possibly walking on the good side."

House – Genius curmudgeon Dr. Gregory House (Hugh Laurie) still solves medical mysteries with acerbic wit, but now he faces personal crisis. His only friend, Dr. Wilson, is leaving the hospital after his girlfriend died in an accident involving House. Laurie says, "I think he's a troubled soul, I would even go so far as to say tormented."

How I Met Your Mother – The roundabout story of how Ted met the mother of his children continues to unfold. This year he’s proposed to his doctor, though other indicators in the narration from the future suggest tat she may not be the one either. Meanwhile, swinging single Barney (Neil Patrick Harris), continues to pick up random conquests. Harris says, "I worry about romance with Barney and that that might jump the shark, but I think it's an inevitability because he's always dating."

It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia – The politically incorrect comedy returns with episodes dealing with the gas crisis, cannibalism and the founding of America. There’s even a musical episode. True to form, creator and star Rob McElhenney says, "If you're not watching season four of It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, you're just a straight up d*ck. You can print that."

King of the Hill – The Hill family is a simple, down home, Texas clan. Less involved with broad social commentary or pop culture references, they find humor in the mundane. Creator and voice of Hank Hill, Mike Judge reflected on the show's longevity, "I was so worried about the pilot. We had obsessed over it so much and gone over it so many times I had no idea how it would do. It was the first time a show held The Simpsons' ratings afterwards and then it kept going up for the remainder of that half season. I don’t remember being really happy about it. I would have been surprised if someone told me it was on now."

Law and Order – Three versions of the old standby cop/courtroom show continue this season. The original, Special Victims Unit and Criminal Intent never run out of ripped from the headlines mysteries to investigate for a half hour, then try in the courts for the second half.

Life – Season one of Life ended with Officer Crews (Damian Lewis) finding out who actually committed the murder for which he was framed. However, he still has to bring down the conspiratorial forces at work above the killer. Lewis says, "He remains under cover in his own police department. That will continue because he has to continue his investigative work in private and keep his secret discreetly. He doesn't want everybody knowing what he's doing."

Lipstick Jungle – Last year, Lipstick Jungle beat the similarly themed Cashmere Mafia to be the only drama about high powered women from a Sex and the City creator on television. This year, Mary Tyler Moore plays Wendy (Brooke Shields)'s mother in a recurring role. Shields says, "We're doing a Thanksgiving episode and we're having a big family episode. So as dysfunctional as it may be, it's going to be a wonderful family episode. In the upcoming episode, there's a great deal of tension, but there's also a great deal of respect between the two of them. Yet I think that they could probably hurt each other more than anyone can."

My Name is Earl – Earl still has a list of bad things he did before he learned about karma, so each week he goes to set something right. Good thing he was so bad before. This list never seems to end. Star Jason Lee says, "I always look forward to getting beaten up on the show, kicked around. Even the last episode we filmed I’m doing a bunch of stunts 30-feet in the air and there’s always something going on to look forward to that’s really exciting. The kind of stuff that you wanted to do as a kid I get to do now on TV, so I always look forward to the adventure of it."

NCIS – For the cases a little bigger than local murder, you don’t call in CSI, you call in NCIS. This team of military trained crime solvers can spring into action to fight terrorists and other national security threats each week.

New Adventures of Old Christine – Julia Louis-Dreyfus plays a divorced mom who keeps getting into social troubles, thanks in large part to her own self-absorbed ways. Louis-Dreyfus says, "[There will be] just a lot of humiliating circumstances, one right after the other as a matter of fact. Being mean to my character works out quite well."

Numb3rs – In this unique approach to crime solving mysteries, the FBI hires a mathematician to devise formulas to analyze their cases. Don’t worry if you failed Algebra. They explain everything visually so even a dummy can follow along.

The Office – With a new girl in the office, Michael Scott might have a new shot at love, but Jan’s pregnancy throws a wrench in the works. Also, will Jim ever propose to Pam? New girl Amy Ryan says, "With Michael and Holly, I think that it gives us all hope that there’s a lid for every pot or I like to say, there’s a lid for every cracked pot out there. So everyone has a chance at some form of love. I don’t know if I should kiss and tell. I think the beauty is that he’d make shots and then I don’t know if I can really give away plot line. But I will say he gets points for trying."

One Tree Hill – This teenage drama has moved into adulthood by its sixth season. Now they’re dealing with marriage and business and parenthood. There are still secrets and life or death drama, but it’s just a little more grown up.

Prison Break – After three years of breaking out of prisons or running from the law, the writers decided to change up the action. Now the ex-cons are a team working for the government trying to bring down an evil conspiracy in a series of weekly missions. Star Wentworth Miller says, "I was just happy to see Sara back. I really felt her absence Season Three. I felt that her return was important not only to my character, but also to the show in general. What can I say? The fans have spoken. Sara returns."

Private Practice – Grey’s Anatomy’s Addison Montgomery continues her second year at the Oceanside Wellness Center. Star Kate Walsh says, "I think season two just starts like gangbusters, just like a freight train and there's nothing stopping it. The episode is so tight. It's very active. There's lots of events. There's lots of conflict between the characters but at the same time, if someone's newly watching the show, they've never tuned in before, I think they'll quickly get into it. It just has such movement and pace. I think it's hugely exciting."

Pushing Daisies – The surreal adventures of the pie maker who can resurrect the dead continues with more outrageous mysteries this year. Pie maker actor Lee Pace says, "In the first episode, Chuck moves out. As far as the romance goes, it’s Ned trying to fight to get her back. I like Ned best when he’s fighting for something. It’s something great that Bryan [Fuller] built into the character. When he’s out of his element, he’s fighting to get comfortable again, so there’s always something to do. Olive is going to be in a nunnery. We’re trying to learn that maybe there is something between Ned and Olive. I think it might develop into a triangle a little bit."

Samantha Who? – Amnesiac Samantha (Christina Applegate) learns that her old self wasn’t very nice, but she takes those lessons to try to be a better person with her new identity.

The Shield – FX’s edgy cop drama comes to a close this year as Vic Mackey and his Strike Team have to answer for all the lying, killing and stealing they’ve done in the interest of police work. Creator Shawn Ryan says, "When you're in a writer's room for a number of years like we were, the subject of killing people off always comes up. I will just say that I always took it extraordinarily seriously, so I would never do it just because we were coming to the end. Whatever decision we made was driven strictly by the story."

The Simpsons – In their 20th year, the Simpsons have not run out of social commentary to deliver. Upcoming adventures of Homer, Marge, Bart and Lisa include a script by Seth Rogen, Bart literally having a cow (adopting a calf) and more fun stuff. Creator Matt Groening says, "I love this cast. We're knocked out by them when we give them good lines and they take it to another level. They're fantastic."

Smallville – This chronicle of teenaged Clark Kent keeps inching towards his emergence as Superman, with famous comic book characters joining his small town high school drama in teenage form. This year, Clark gets his job at The Daily Planet in Metropolis. Sound familiar?

Supernatural – Two brothers continue fighting demons across America each week, searching for the one that took their mother. A show like this doesn’t last three years without some complications though, so now the boys have a demonic contract to deal with which brought back one brother, leaving the other with one year to live.

Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles – After picking up where the second film left off and essentially canceling out the lame third movie, this show tells what really happened when the Connors fought terminators to stop the robot holocaust. Star Lena Headey says, "The thing that excites me about this season and possibly more to come is that I want to explore her. I think there's a massive insanity in her. I think what we've seen so far is this controlled being. I think yet to come is to see how unstable she really is under all this and how he's just keeping it, keeping it, keeping it together."

30 Rock – The inner workings of a TV sketch comedy show provide writer/star Tina Fey with material for her inside Hollywood comedy. You don't have to be an NBC executive to find Alec Baldwin hilarious with his inappropriate comments, but you may need to be a sci-fi geek to catch all of the show's Star Wars references.

Til Death – Fox’s family sitcom shows what happens when a fresh faced newlywed couple moves next door to a bitter old husband and wife.

Two and a Half Men – When uptight, bookish single father Alan and his son Jake move in with Alan’s bachelor brother Charlie, it’s a recipe for weekly comedy. Just in case, they’ve also got their mother, Evelyn, popping in to bring advice and judgments. This is no family comedy though. At 9 p.m., they can be pretty raunchy, even in the presence of a tyke.

Ugly Betty – The American version of the telenovela continues in top form as Betty continues to work at the high fashion magazine Mode. Drama is also in store for her boss, Wilhemina. Vanessa Williams says, "I assume the baby's coming. I know that Willhemina's preparing Daniel's office as the nursery for her child."

The Unit – People don’t seem to want to see war movies in theaters these days, but give them military action on TV and that’s okay. This special forces unit, led by 24 favorite Dennis Haysbert, goes on weekly missions with their tactical gunplay while their wives have to keep their husband’s missions secrets. If that sounds too complicated, just look at all the cute guys in uniforms.

Without a Trace – Guess there are still missing people who need to be found. Without a Trace centers on detectives’ searches for missing people each week. Instead of following clues to catch murderers, they follow the trail to locate people who seem to have disappeared without a trace. / Issue 88 - September 2018
Turnpage Blk

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