New Girl (Fox, 9 p.m.): With all due respect to the 19-season juggernaut that is Dancing With The Stars, the return of TV Club stalwart New Girl feels like as good a time as any to declare the unofficial start of fall TV. Admittedly, season premieres don’t really start in earnest until next week, but it feels very Jessica Day to show up unfashionably early. And so, after a messy, heartbreaking, and frequently terrific third season, New Girl kicks off year four with a wedding trip, as Jess plays matchmaker for the guys and competes with Jessica Biel for the best man’s attention. Among other developments, “Coach realizes that every woman at the reception is already familiar to him.” Erik Adams assures us that that description doesn’t mean tonight is going to feature a sneaky Happy Endings reunion, but hey…
The Mindy Project (Fox, 9:30 p.m.): After weathering an unexpected hiatus and squeaking by with a somewhat unexpected renewal, The Mindy Project is also kicking off a new season, once again promising guest star after guest star after guest star. In the meantime, Gwen Ihnat is here to guide you through tonight’s premiere, which features romance, a charity event, and an unexpected cousin.
Sons Of Anarchy (FX, 10 p.m.): In tonight’s episode, “SAMCRO solicits help from another charter to finish a job.” Zack Handlen wonders whatever happened to SAMCRO’s stick-to-it-iveness. He remembers a time that murderous biker gangs would finish the mayhem that they started!
The Shield (11 a.m.): This week’s review pairs particularly well with Sons Of Anarchy, considering Kurt Sutter wrote the sixth season premiere and directed the seasons-bridging mini-episode “Wins And Losses.” Back from a week’s rest, Brandon Nowalk is fired up and ready to release hell, Sutter-style.
30 Rock (3 p.m.): This week features a pair of major off-screen characters, as Jack Donaghy tangles with both secret girlfriend Condi Rice and his ridiculously overbearing mother. (Of course, the latter didn’t remain off-screen for long.) But never mind that: There’s a Josh subplot this week! You guys remember Josh? Nah, me neither. But Erik Adams does!
Caroline Framke has the review of Debra Messing’s new cop show, The Mysteries Of Laura. Caroline isn’t exactly a fan, mostly because it’s all so ridiculously generic:
Debra Messing is Laura Diamond, a tough-as-nails cop who’s great at her job, but not great with her messy personal life. Her twin sons are a collective nightmare and her estranged husband (Josh Lucas) is an incorrigible man-child. Laura enjoys cheesecake, strong drinks, betting on sports, and busting criminals, which communicates that she’s still cool. Then, just to make sure the viewer understands that Laura Diamond is not to be trifled with, she takes care to leave every scene with a quip, or at least the semblance of one.
Hidden Habitats (BBC America, 9 p.m.): This new show explores isolated ecosystems and the remarkable plants and animals that thrive in these unusual locations. In the premiere, the show heads to possibly the most importance place in the history of evolutionary biology, the Galapagos Islands, while the hour’s second episode explores the Serengeti.
Married At First Sight (FYI, 9 p.m.): This episode picks up the story six months later, as the insta-newlyweds are asked if they want to get divorced. Now, in most cases six months wouldn’t be considered a very long marriage, but it’s all relative. After all, according to our incredibly half-assed internet research, it takes the average American couple about five years to go from the start of dating to marriage. Given that these couples got married on the first day they met, six months together is basically the equivalent of their 900th anniversary. Don’t worry: The American Journal Of Mathematics will be receiving our proof of all this very shortly.
Inside The NFL (Showtime, 9 p.m.): So, uh, you think they’ll have anything to talk about this week?
Brickleberry (Comedy Central, 10:30 p.m.): The Daniel Tosh takeover of the ten o’clock hour is complete, as his animated show returns for a third season. Read our previous invective against the show, or just soak in the majesty of the episode description: “Season 3 begins with a visit from President Obama, but a hidden clause in the new health-care law means Woody and Steve must be sewn together to share a liver after Woody gets shot.”
Jarhead (TMC, 8 p.m.): This is the kind of film—a war movie whose entire point is that there’s no actual war to depict—that was pretty much always destined to be underrated and underappreciated. Still, good as this movie is, it’s got nothing on its absolutely not fictional sequel, Jarhead 2: Field Of Fire.
Space Jam (VH1, 10 p.m.): Speaking of movies that desperately need sequels, with or without LeBron James… I mean, there are just so many unanswered questions! Such as, “Would it actually be easier to get Bill Murray to do Space Jam 2 than Ghostbusters 3?” I think we all kind of know the answer to that already, actually.
MLB Baseball: Reds at Cubs (WGN, 8 p.m.): Cincinnati absolutely owns Chicago in Wrigley Field—they’ve won 19 of 22 games there since the middle of 2012—but it’s the Cubs who, for once, have something to cheer about. That’s because Chicago’s youth movement is in full swing, including rookie slugging sensation Jorge Soler, who returns to the lineup after taking three games’ paternity leave.
Clone High: The trouble with reviewing much-loved, short-lived shows is that the reviews just go by so damn fast. We’re already in the home stretch of Clone High reviews, so make sure you’re reading Caroline Framke’s excellent analyses while you can. (I mean, it’s all going to be archived, but let’s not make these any less timely than they already aren’t, okay? Clone High and Caroline thank you.)