WASHINGTON, Sept. 23, 2013 —Along with the return of football, hoodies and homework, the arrival of fall means fresh prime time programming on the major broadcast networks. After a summer of “Here Comes Honey Boo Boo” and “Amish Mafia,” we welcome the return of our old favorites, and the possibility of embracing new ones.
At 8 p.m. the final season of “How I Met Your Mother” kicks off tonight with new back-to-back episodes. After nine seasons and seven Emmys, Neil Patrick Harris and company will ride off into syndication sunset when the current season ends.
Also in the 8 p.m. time slot, two of our favorite competitive reality shows are back. Fresh off its Emmy win as the best reality program, “The Voice” on NBC returns tonight with its original coaches. ABC’s “Dancing With the Stars” is also back with an eclectic group of competitors that includes 74 year-old Valerie Harper.
Best known for her role as the beloved TV character Rhoda Morgenstern, Harper hasn’t let a diagnosis of brain cancer slow her down or dim her love of life. Just choosing to compete makes her a winner and a shining example for all of us.
The weekly “Dancing With The Stars” Communities chat is also back tonight. Join our ballroom dance expert Gayle Falkenthal and online fans everywhere starting at 8 p.m.
Last Monday night FOX Network’s newest offering “Sleepy Hollow” easily won the 9 p.m. time slot with over ten million viewers and a 3.5 rating in the coveted 18-49 demographic. The first episode was a crazy but enjoyable romp that put a new twist on the old tale of Ichabod Crane.
Loosely based on the 1820 short story by Washington Irving, “Sleepy Hollow’s” best asset may be that it never takes itself too seriously. With so many procedural police dramas on the air, it is refreshing to see a cop show embrace a little craziness for our entertainment.
Tonight’s 10 p.m. time slot features two new shows that are banking on the success of Showtime’s “Homeland” in their quest for a loyal audience. Apparently international terror and global mayhem are all the rage now. Recruiting big names for the casts of “Hostages” and “The Blacklist” should serve both shows well in attracting an audience, but it is the writing that will sustain them.
”Hostages” on CBS features Toni Collette as Dr. Ellen Sanders and Dylan McDermott as rogue FBI agent Duncan Carlisle. Both actors have the skills required to make the show a success, but watching Collette try and fail to kill the president once a week for 15 weeks may be too much to ask of its audience.
“The Blacklist” also debuts in the 10 p.m. time slot tonight on NBC. Featuring James Spader as Ex-American hero turned criminal mastermind Red Reddington, “The Blacklist” has the feel of “Silence of the Lambs.” But Spader’s impeccable timing and delivery quickly helps us forget this fact as we relish the development of his character and the limitless possibilities of plot lines.
Between the two, “The Blacklist” has more potential than “Hostages” because of Spader. Collette makes the most of her role in “Hostages,” but watching McDermott in yet another role as a brooding and partially bearded anti-hero will get tiresome. Someone please get this man a razor and a sense of humor.
All times are EDT:
ABC: Dancing With the Stars: (Live) The couples perform for the judges; elimination.
CBS: How I Met Your Mother: (New) Robin and Barney make a startling discovery; something on the Internet alters Marshall’s journey; Lily talks to Ted about Robin.
FOX: Bones: (New) Brennan and Booth go undercover at a marriage retreat.
NBC: The Voice: (New) CeeLo and Xtina are reunited with Blake, Adam and Carson in an all-new quest to find the best new singer in America.
CW: Hart of Dixie: (Repeat) When Zoe decides to take a trip to New York, she is faced with a medical emergency on the plane; George struggles with his relationship woes; Lemon tries to fulfill a promise that Gloriana will perform at the Rammer Jammer.
ESPN: Monday Night Football: (Live) Raiders at Broncos: Oakland (1-1) at Denver (2-0). Potent passer Peyton Manning and scrambling Raiders QB Terrelle Pryor share the spotlight in this bitter AFC West rivalry, which has gone Denver’s way three straight times since Oakland’s Monday-night road win in 2011.
CBS: How I Met Your Mother: (New) Robin wonders how Barney will react when James reveals that he is getting divorced; Marshall tries to get to New York in time for the wedding.
CBS: 2 Broke Girls: (New) Word about a shocking incident involving a celebrity brings customers to Max and Caroline’s new cupcake window.
FOX: Sleepy Hollow: (New) Ichabod and Abbie hunt for a vengeful witch from the 1700s who has returned.
CW: Whose Line is it Anyways?: (Repeat) Comic Jonathan Mangum; Legends Football League players Chloe Butler and Monique Gaxiola.
PBS: Genealogy Roadshow: (New) A series that investigates the genealogies of everyday people to determine whether they have links to historical events and figures begins in Nashville. Two participants believe they may be related to Davy Crockett.
CBS: Mom: (New) Newly sober single mother Christy is challenged by the return of her estranged mother.
CW: Whose Line is it Anyways?: (Repeat) TV personality Kyle Richards and comic Jonathan Mangum.
ABC: Castle: (New) Beckett and Castle face the consequences of their decisions during a high-stakes investigation.
CBS: Hostages: (New) A rogue FBI agent takes Dr. Ellen Sanders hostage after she is chosen to operate on the president, threatening to kill her and her family unless she assassinates him during the surgery.
NBC: The Blacklist: (New) A criminal mastermind surrenders to the FBI to offer an amazing deal - but he’ll only talk to a rookie profiler.
PBS: POV: (New) The efforts of educator Janet Mino at John F. Kennedy High School in Newark, N.J., to help students with autism open up to the world around them is chronicled.
New episodes of:
Basketball Wives at 8 p.m. on VH1
WWE Monday Night Raw at 8 p.m. on USA
The Real Housewives of Miami at 9 p.m. on BRAVO
Fast ‘N Loud at 9 p.m. on DSC
Love It or List It at 9 p.m. on HGTV
Breaking Amish: LA: Extended Edition at 9:12 and 10:21 p.m. on TLC
Teen Mom 3 at 10 p.m. on MTV
House Hunters at 10 p.m. on HGTV
Hotel Impossible at 10 p.m. on Travel Channel
Turn & Burn at 10 p.m. on DSC
House Hunters International at 10:30 p.m. on HGTV
For movie lovers:
Moonraker on ENC
The Bedroom Window on FLIX
Rio on FX
Turistas on IFC
Far and Away on SHO
Love Me Tonight on TCM
First Cousin Once Removed on HBO
Les Miserables on HBO
Chasing Mavericks on MOMAX
360 on TMC
The Lord of the Rings—The Two Towers at 9:30 p.m. on AMC
I, Robot at 10 p.m. on CINEMAX
Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy at 10 p.m. on HBO
Cabin Fever at 10 p.m. on IFC
Hope Springs at 10:10 p.m. on ENC
The Campaign at 10:30 p.m. on HBO
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