Do you have a DVR? Good. Go out and buy about six more of them, because Sunday, Sept. 29, 2013, could just be the greatest day of TV ever!
And I can say that without hyperbole. I’m responsible for picking out the featured program from among our daily TV Best Bets. (That’s right. I’m the one to blame/thank for hyping up all those Saturday Hallmark Channel movies.) I’ve scanned through just about every notable TV program there is 365 days a year for about the past four years.
So trust my professional opinion on this: Sunday, Sept. 29, 2013, is going to be freaking awesome.
How awesome? If all the TV shows on Sunday, Sept. 29, 2013, got together and formed an NFL team, that team would have a bench so deep that it could lose all its starting offensive linemen to ruptured ACLs and still beat the 49ers.
Sunday, Sept. 29, 2013, is a TV day of such superior quality that it would be chosen for selective breeding, put out to stud to improve the genetic traits of all future TV days.
So here’s all the best stuff to watch Sunday, somewhat chronological and then grouped by network:
FOOTBALL! So Much FOOTBALL!! A full day of NFL games await starting at 1pm ET, depending on where you live and what games you’re forced to watch. That Pittsburgh (0-3) at Minnesota (0-3) at London game is just what the British deserve. USA! USA! USA! NBC’s Sunday Night Football has the New England Patriots (3-0) visiting the Atlanta Falcons (1-2) in a matchup of likely playoff teams who will make the playoffs and then get beaten by a streaky team. The Sunday lineup:
Baltimore at Buffalo, 1pm (CBS)
Cincinnati at Cleveland, 1pm (CBS)
Chicago at Detroit, 1pm (FOX)
Seattle at Houston, 1pm (FOX)
Indianapolis at Jacksonville, 1pm (CBS)
N.Y. Giants at Kansas City, 1pm (FOX)
Pittsburgh at Minnesota (London), 1pm (CBS)
Arizona at Tampa Bay, 1pm (FOX)
N.Y. Jets at Tennessee, 4:05pm (CBS)
Philadelphia at Denver, 4:25pm (FOX)
Washington at Oakland, 4:25pm (FOX)
Dallas at San Diego, 4:25pm (FOX)
New England at Atlanta, 8:30pm (NBC)
NASCAR Sprint Cup Series AAA 400 on ESPN Yep, we’re told NASCAR’s season is still going. And we’re told ESPN wants nothing more than to get this stuff off their TV network ASAP. The Chase for the Sprint Cup continues at Dover International Speedway in Delaware for the AAA 400 (2pm ET), the third race in NASCAR’s 10-race playoff. Jimmie Johnson, Clint Bowyer, Carl Edwards, Kevin Harvick, Kyle Busch, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Matt Kenseth and Brad Keselowski look for a strong finish on the 1-mile oval track.
Shows Your Parents Enjoy On CBS It’s the 300th* season premiere of 60 Minutes on CBS (7pm ET), the one show that puts AARP lobbyists and lawyers in attack mode if an NFL game preempts even a minute of it. Seriously, do not screw with 60 Minutes. Then there’s the season premiere of The Amazing Race (8pm ET). Despite my wife’s insistence to the contrary, this season of Amazing Race will be identical to every one before it, because the new and unfamiliar frightens CBS viewers. Then, Julianna Margulies returns for Season 5 of the CBS legal drama The Good Wife (9pm ET). Will her character, Alicia Florrick, really leave Lockhart/Gardner to join Cary Argos’ (Matt Czuchry) law firm? And will a potential election fraud scandal make Peter’s (Chris Noth) term as governor a rocky one? I cannot tell you. You’ll have to watch. That is the whole point of this exercise. On the season premiere of The Mentalist (10pm ET), fans of Van Pelt (Amanda Righetti) and Rigsby (Owain Yeoman) might want to brace themselves for some sad news as the pair of on-again, off-again lovers is rumored to be departing the drama toward the end of this sixth season.
*So it’s actually the 46th season debut of 60 Minutes on Sunday with an interview with Secretary of State John Kerry.
Animation Domination On FOX Or, as I have come to call it, “Stuff I Have To Watch On Hulu Monday Because Someone Scheduled An NFL Game At The Same Time.” The Simpsons (8pm ET) kicks off its 25th season (of which the last 13 have made me sad) with a guest voice from Kristen Wiig, who plays an intense, high-strung FBI agent whom Lisa enlists for help when she suspects something sinister has happened to Homer. Elisabeth Moss (Mad Men) also guest-voices as a grateful mom who names her baby Homer Jr. after Homer Sr. helps in the delivery of the child. Season 4 of the Bob’s Burgers (8:30pm ET) will include guest voices from Molly Shannon as a classmate of Louise’s, Will Forte as a seaplane captain who gives Linda a flying lesson, and Jordan Peele as a retired football player who stars in a Super Bowl commercial for Bob’s Burgers. Family Guy (9pm ET) starts its 12th season with Adam Levine, Conan O’Brien, Ashton Kutcher and Jon Cryer (as their Two and a Half Men characters), Bryan Cranston, Jeff Daniels, Liam Neeson, Peter Dinklage and Tony Sirico voicing characters this season. American Dad begins its final season on FOX (9:30pm ET) and will move to TBS with new episodes later in 2014.
Quality Programs On PBS We Enjoy And Let Someone Else Pay For (SUCKERS!)
I love the British. We kicked them out of America and still they give us stuff like Downton Abbey and Selfridge on PBS. In return, we give them the Pittsburgh Steelers (0-3) vs. the Minnesota Vikings (0-3). In Sunday’s new episode of Last Tango in Halifax (PBS, 8pm ET), a police search begins for Alan and Celia, who are locked inside the hall without phone service. Fearing for their parents and unable to sleep, Caroline and Gillian open up to one another and form a supportive bond. Then on Masterpiece Mystery!: Foyle’s War, Series VII (9pm ET), Foyle is tasked with protecting Karl Strasser, a Nazi officer turned MI5 informant who believes he’s in danger. America wants Strasser extradited for his involvement in a wartime event, but British Intelligence is determined to protect him. As Foyle nears a solution to the case, the unfathomable truth of “Operation Sunflower” is revealed.
ONCE UPON A TIME! REVENGE! BETRAYAL! ABC! ABC’s night of dramas start with the Season 3 premiere of Once Upon a Time (8pm ET). At the end of Season 2, Regina (Lana Parrilla), Emma (Jennifer Morrison), Mary Margaret (Ginnifer Goodwin), David (Josh Dallas) and Mr. Gold (Robert Carlyle) were aboard The Jolly Roger, headed off to find Henry — a journey that will be the source of much drama in Season 3. Also on tap is the long-awaited appearance of Tinkerbell and a new love interest for Regina. Then it’s the season premiere of the TV drama best served cold: REVENGE! (emphasis mine) (9pm ET/PT). Takeda’s dead by Aiden’s hand, Declan’s dead because of Conrad and the newly revealed Initiative, Jack knows Emily is really Amanda, and Victoria has a son named Patrick who she gave up for adoption as a teen. So begins Season 3 of the soapy drama, which picks up a few months after the events of the Season 2 finale with Victoria and Patrick having forged a tight bond, and Emily struggling with her feelings for Jack and Aiden while planning a wedding to Daniel. Sensing the need for another shocking one-word title, ABC premieres new series BETRAYAL! (again, emphasis mine) at 10pm ET/PT. The star-crossed extramarital affair between photographer Sara (Hannah Ware) and attorney Jack (Stuart Townsend) is tested when she discovers he’s representing the suspect in a high-profile murder case that can make or break her own husband’s legal career and burgeoning political aspirations.
It’s Like Christmas/Hanukkah for Showtime Executives Sunday, Sept. 29, 2013, has been marked on Showtime’s calendar (and this cool calendar they sent us) all year. It’s the day they know they’ve got you buying their network for at least another few months. Prepare for an emotional roller coaster in Season 3 of critical darling Homeland (9pm ET) as the Senate investigation into the 12/12 attack begins. The teaser trailer shows Brody (Damian Lewis) bald, beaten and barely alive, and Carrie (Claire Danes) hospitalized and emotionally distraught. Then comes the most anticipated show you were probably a little embarrassed to say you were anticipating the most. Don’t feel embarrassed. It’s for science. Showtime’s newest edgy series Masters of Sex (10pm ET) is an adaptation of Thomas Maier’s book Masters of Sex: The Life & Times of William Masters and Virginia Johnson, the Couple Who Taught America How to Love. The series stars Michael Sheen (The Queen, Frost/Nixon) and Lizzy Caplan (True Blood), who portray William Masters and Virginia Johnson, the real-life pioneers of human sexuality research. I have seen the first episode and it is engrossing, funny, sad, and a sure-fire hit. Plus, BOOBS!
Breaking Bad Series Friggin’-Mother-Of-All-Finales Hospitals are adding more staff on Sunday in anticipation of the Entertainment Armageddon that’s going to occur when AMC’s Breaking Bad series finale airs at 9pm ET. We’ve hired someone just to check on Lori Acken every 30 minutes.
Eric and Jessie: Game On (E!, 10pm ET) From Khloé and Lamar to Kendra and Hank, E! has monopolized the celebrity reality series market, following the romantic relationships of popular athletes and their gorgeous companions. Its newest installment has cameras following Denver Broncos wide receiver Eric Decker and country/pop singer Jessie James. The series will chronicle the sexy young couple’s road to the altar as they juggle careers, relationships, family and more, until the inevitable divorce that will spawn two separate E! series spinoffs.
HBO Says “Hello” HBO counters rival Showtime’s dramas with comedies. Danny McBride returns for his fourth and final season of Eastbound & Down (10pm ET) with eight new episodes that follow Kenny F***in’ Powers (McBride), the crass, arrogant, utterly irresistible former major league pitcher who proves to be larger than life … and death. Hello Ladies, the best new comedy of 2013 (faint praise, I know) debuts at 10:30pm ET, starring Stephen Merchant (Extras, The Ricky Gervais Show) as a gawky, 6-foot-7-inch Englishman searching for the woman of his dreams in Los Angeles. Half as charming — and twice as desperate — as he thinks he is, he’s obsessed with infiltrating the glamorous world of beautiful people, who won’t let him in. Good times.