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Football is back, finally giving you something to awkwardly discuss with your dad again

 Here’s what’s up in the world of TV for Wednesday, September 5. All times are Eastern.

NFL Football: Cowboys at Giants (NBC, 8:30 p.m.): As surely as the leaves change to red and gold and as surely as the children of this great nation have to go back to school and as surely as everybody starts contemplating things that taste like pumpkins, it’s time for football again, just the way America likes it. In the NFL season opener, the world champion New York Giants take on the Dallas Cowboys at home, and several of last season’s greatest cliffhangers will be resolved! Okay, so, not really any of last season’s greatest cliffhangers. But, hey, you might get to chuckle in schadenfreude at the Cowboys, so there’s that.

So You Think You Can Dance (Fox, 8 p.m.): Six dancers remain, with the season finale coming right next week. Oliver Sava hopes that the series isn’t shoved aside entirely for next week’s X Factor debut, but he’s no fool. He knows who wins in a network promo fight between Britney Spears and Nigel Lithgoe.

Damages (DirecTV Audience Network, 9 p.m.): Continuing our trend of making fun of the episode’s titles because DirecTV doesn’t give us summaries, we’re going to guess that “I Like Your Chair” is some sort of delayed Clint Eastwood at the RNC joke. Joshua Alston wishes we’d stop Eastwooding already.

Top Chef Masters (Bravo, 10 p.m.): The Masters hang out with former boxer Sugar Ray Leonard and prepare exquisite cuisine in several “bouts” held in a boxing ring, because nobody wanted Hulk Hogan to turn up with wrestling metaphors. Nobody, that is, except renowned Hogan super-fan Margaret Eby!

Carnivàle (1 p.m.): Last week, everybody was on the road to Damascus, and this week, they’ve finally gotten there, though we’re a bit disappointed it’s just some Damascus in Nebraska, not the Damascus in Syria. Todd VanDerWerff thinks Ben shoulda used his Avatar powers to get everybody there somehow.

2012 Democratic National Convention (Various networks, 8 p.m.): The second night of convention coverage will feature former president Bill Clinton sharing a really excellent recipe for sugar-free fruit leather, then Vice President Joe Biden washing a car all sexy-like on stage. Four more years?

Ghost Hunters (Syfy, 9 p.m.): The series returns with an episode entitled “The Serial Killer’s Revenge,” which we’re going to bet ends with precisely no one in the cast getting killed off. Also, we made a typo and called this “Ghost Hunger,” which sounds like an addiction narrative featuring Pac-Man.

Royal Pains (USA, 9 p.m.): Since there’s not much on tonight, why not travel to the white, sandy beaches of the Hamptons to hang out with Hank and Evan and not think too much about how life is a never-ending drudgery of meaningless tasks? Also: USA should totally put that slogan on a coffee mug.

America’s Lost Treasures (National Geographic, 10 p.m.): The season races to a breathless conclusion, as the team heads to the ever-thrilling city of… Santa Ana, California. To look at some stone bowls. That might be prehistoric. We didn’t know it would be so hard to contain our excitement, but here we are!

Junebug (Sundance, 8 p.m.): Amy Adams received her first Oscar nomination and became something of a going concern for this effortlessly charming and winning little movie about a man returning home to the South to introduce his new wife to his family. It’s worth it for Ben McKenzie yelling about meerkats.

The Big Sleep (TCM, 10 p.m.): Humphrey Bogart is Philip Marlowe, and Lauren Bacall is the woman he probably shouldn’t get mixed up with in this Howard Hawks classic. Its plot is so famously complex that those making the film couldn’t answer several important plot questions. See if you can puzzle them out.

U.S. Open Tennis: Quarterfinals (ESPN, 7 p.m.): So, yeah, you could watch quarterfinal action in one of the four biggest tennis tournaments there are—and the last one this whole year. But if you do, we’ll have to question your patriotism. There’s football on, dammit! Who do you think you are, soldier?

White Collar (Tuesday): The plot might have strained the limits of credulity, and the whole thing might have seemed a little too wild, but Kenny Herzog still says that some of the moments in this episode are among the best the show has ever come up with. Check it out and see if you agree with his assessment.