Parenthood (Thursday, Sept. 25, NBC), season premiere: As in, final season, Parentheads—you have 13 episodes to make peace with the impending departure of the Braverman family. To make matters worse, the show’s producers have hinted that one of the characters won’t live to see the tearful series finale that will undoubtedly be set to classic soft-rock hits, and the candidates are obvious: Kristina (cancer—in remission, but still, cancer) or Zeek (old; spent last season mad bucket-listing; longs to be reunited with his ponytail in heaven). The Only TV Column That Matters™ is holding out hope that it’ll be Max (annoying, one-note character) or Hank (annoying, is Ray Romano), however.
How to Get Away With Murder (Thursday, Sept. 25, ABC), series debut: With Grey’s Anatomy, Scandal and now this, the Shonda Rhimes takeover of Thursday nights is complete, leaving How to Get Away With Murder star Viola Davis (playing a morally ambiguous, far-too-well-dressed college professor who becomes embroiled in a murder mystery with her law students) to chew scenery with impunity. Also, there’s a character named Bonnie Winterbottom. No more witnesses!
Family Guy (Sunday, Sept. 28, Fox), one-hour season premiere: Brian: “Guess we’re in a town called Springfield.” Stewie: “Springfield, eh? What state?” Brian: “I can’t imagine we’re allowed to say.” Thus begins a full crossover hour of inside jokes about Family Guy being a rip-off of The Simpsons, Peter’s non-sequitur habit, Springfield’s “hepatitis”-skinned citizens, the inevitable extended fight sequence, and even a nod to Bob’s Burgers and the late Cleveland Show as ’toon hangers-on. If you’re not convinced Family Guy can still bring the funny 13 seasons in, just wait until Mulaney shows up next Sunday.
Selfie (Tuesday, Sept. 30, ABC), series debut: Ex-Doctor Who companion Karen Gillan is a little too good as a social-media-obsessed airhead who suddenly realizes that her thousands of “friends” aren’t real friends; viewers will probably be tuning out after five minutes of her overly affected hashtag-speak. Too bad, because this roundabout My Fair Lady/Pygmalion riff turns sweet, funny and—sorry—educational once co-star John Cho begins schooling her Eliza Dooley (yes, really) on how to interact with Real People in Real Life. Selfie may be a more obvious movie than a series, but Gillan and Cho have the chemistry to give it legs … if only it could be under a different title.
Manhattan Love Story (Tuesday, Sept. 30, ABC), series debut: Speaking of names, Manhattan Love Story could be the worst title of the year—and this is a season that also includes Black-ish and Jane the Virgin. All you need to know about MLS: Analeigh Tipton is a-dor-a-ble; the she-thought/he-thought dating conceit works far better than you’d think; did I mention that Analeigh Tipton is adorable? Give this one a chance; not to plan your Tuesdays, romantics, but Selfie and Manhattan Love Story into Fox’s New Girl and The Mindy Project would make for a solid evening on the couch.
Stalker (Wednesday, Oct. 1, ABC), series debut: It’s difficult to say who’s working harder on Stalker: Dylan McDermott, acting his ass off to prove that he’s a brilliant Noo Yawk detective, or the special-effects crew toiling to give co-star Maggie Q cleavage. Both fall ... flat. As the title suggests, this series is about a threat-assessment unit of the LAPD that works stalker cases, but it’s just another under-lit clone from the CBS Cop Show Replicator 3000®. Maggie Q deserves better; McDermott, not so much.
DVD ROUNDUP FOR SEPT. 30!
24: Live Another Day
Jack Bauer (Kiefer Sutherland) grimaces back into action to save the U.S. president (William Devane) from assassination in London—fortunately, Chloe (Mary Lynn Rajskub) and her new hair just happen to be in the area. Also, not 24 hours long. (Fox)
Are You Here
A TV weatherman (Owen Wilson) helps his shlubby bud (Zach Galifianakis, of course) protect a fat inheritance from his crazy sister (Amy Poehler) and his late father’s young widow (Laura Ramsey). Prepare to feel all the indie feels. (Millennium)
Space Station 76
Patrick Wilson, Liv Tyler, Matt Bomer and Jerry O’Connell star in a … parody? tribute? … to ’70s sci-fi movies replete with big hair, bell-bottom jumpsuits and pretty much zero plot—but at least it looks cool. Wiki Space: 1999, kids. (Sony)
Transformers: Age of Extinction
“Inventor” Mark Wahlberg and the “Twansfomahs” are gonna save the world, you guys! Clang! Crunch! Clang! Crunch! Clang! Crunch! Clang! Crunch! Clang! Crunch! Clang! Crunch! Clang! Crunch! And we’re done. (Paramount)
More New DVD/VOD Releases (Sept. 30)
Chef, Cold In July, Decoding Annie Parker, Delivery: The Beast Within, Hellion, Lucky Them, The Mentalist: Season 6, Mike and Molly: Season 4, My Little Pony: The Compete Series, NYPD Blue: Season 7, Team Hot Wheels: The Origin of Awesome!, Third Person.