Here’s what’s up in the world of TV for Wednesday, September 26. All times are Eastern.
The Neighbors (ABC, 9:30 p.m.): With so many big series debuting tonight, including everything from the highly rated Modern Family to everybody’s favorite South Park, why, then, would we make our top pick the high-concept “aliens living in a planned community” sitcom The Neighbors, when we’re pretty much just covering it so all of you drop into comments every week and say, “You guys are still covering this?” The truth is, we don’t know why we do anything anymore. Our actions are random, and dictated by either a cruel god or psychological templates so inborn that we couldn’t have dislodged them when we were 3. The point is: We’re covering The Neighbors. We don’t know why either. Erik Adams and Dennis Perkins let you know if it’s unexpectedly awesome. (It’s not.)
Animal Practice (NBC, 8 p.m.): Christ. We don’t know why we’re covering this one either. Probably just because we’re suckers for cute animals, and this show has many of them. We also like Justin Kirk and JoAnna Garcia-Swisher, so there’s that as well. Margaret Eby is ready for monkey shenanigans.
The Middle (ABC, 8 p.m.): Okay, we do know why we’re covering this show. It’s a vastly enjoyable little family sitcom and one that you should probably be watching, even though you’re intent on ignoring it, you bastards. Will Harris checks in again on a premiére that’s one-hour long because that always works.
Survivor (CBS, 8 p.m.): “Lisa Whelchel reaches her breaking point” in tonight’s episode, says the ever-reliable TV Guide summary. Carrie Raisler reached her breaking point about five seasons ago, but we’re assholes who keep making her write about this. Carrie! It could be Animal Practice or The Neighbors!
Modern Family (ABC, 9 p.m.): Your once and future Emmy winner for Outstanding Comedy Series returns to ask one very simple question: Is a pregnant Sofia Vergara even funnier than a non-pregnant Sofia Vergara? And how many jokes will be made about her accent? Donna Bowman will find out!
South Park (Comedy Central, 10 p.m.): Trey Parker and Matt Stone take on the current state of the NFL. We bet there will be something or other about how the replacement referees are ruining everything for everyone. They’ll ruin this South Park episode for Ryan McGee, probably! (No, seriously. They suck.)
Top Chef Masters (Bravo, 10 p.m.): The final two masters duke it out to determine who will be named the fourth victor of Top Chef Masters. Honestly, being the fourth winner isn’t all that impressive, if you think about it. Margaret Eby is wondering if just anybody can win this show now. Probably!
Key & Peele (Comedy Central, 10:30 p.m.): Our favorite new sketch comedy show of last season—because there were so many examples of new sketch comedy shows last season!—returns for a second season, probably with many, many more Obama’s anger translator sketches for Steve Heisler to enjoy.
TV CLUB CLASSIC
Carnivàle (1 p.m.): The carnival makes its way toward Cheyenne, Wyoming, and the only question Todd VanDerWerff has for them is: Why? Why would anyone ever voluntarily go to Wyoming? Now millions of Wyoming residents will invade comments and tell us their state is pretty. So is ours, Wyoming!
WHAT ELSE IS ON
Lego Star Wars (Cartoon Network, 8 p.m.): First, it was a video game series. Now, it’s a TV show. And just like The Neighbors, it’s a show about aliens living in a weird place where they’re all forced to deal with each other and their stupid issues. Why aren’t we covering this? Ask the whims of the universe!
Criminal Minds (CBS, 9 p.m.): Everyone’s favorite ultra-grim crime procedural with a dose of inexplicable wacky humor begins its eighth—eighth!—season tonight, without Paget Brewster. Will the team catch more criminals using their minds? For the safety of us all, we can only hope they do.
Law & Order: SVU (NBC, 9 p.m.): The night of long-running crime procedurals continues with the two-hour, 14th season premiére of this one, which very well might be entering its final season. So if you care about that sort of thing, you might as well watch to say you were there when it happened. Or not.
Here Comes Honey Boo Boo/Down South Dance (TLC, 10 p.m./11 p.m.): The summer’s reality sensation draws to a close, and you can stop worrying about humanity for a week or two. Then, the network airs a special about a dance competition in the South, so it can copy Dance Moms as well. Nice work, TLC.
The Truman Show (AMC, 8 p.m.): Jim Carrey made his attempt at Serious Dramatic Acting in this Peter Weir movie about the guy whose life is a TV show. And the movie was originally constructed so that the premise was a surprise twist, but then everybody changed that up. Good idea? Or worst idea?
The Last Song (ABC Family, 8:30 p.m.): Miley Cyrus and Greg Kinnear are a father and daughter who mend their relationship thanks to, uh, their mutual love of music? Or something? It all sounds rather specious as a premise to us, but we’ve never mended a relationship with our guitar skills either.
MLB Baseball: Athletics at Rangers (ESPN, 8 p.m.): The A’s are working to hold on against the Angels, who are closing in on them for the second remaining wild card playoff slot. The Rangers are way out in front and don’t really need to win. Also: Are the Texas Rangers the Atlanta Braves of this decade?
ALSO RETURNING TONIGHT
Guys With Kids, season one (NBC, 8:30 p.m.)
C.S.I.: Crime Scene Investigation, season 13 (CBS, 10 p.m.)
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT
The Mindy Project (Tuesday): It seems like all of this fall’s pilots are proving divisive among critics and audiences, but few are as divisive as this one has been. Did you like it? Love it? Hate it? Find it sort of okay but can’t understand what the fuss was about? Todd VanDerWerff and David Sims hear you.