Picking up months after that explosive finale, the Season 6 premiere will gradually reveal who
make it back to Star City alive, punctuated by flashbacks to the fiery aftermath — at which point
threats bear down on Oliver, including the CW series’ spin on Richard Dragon; a mystery character being played by Michael Emerson; and FBI Agent Samandra Watson (
‘s Sydelle Noel). “Oliver is going to be in some hot water, in a way we haven’t seen before, and Samandra Watson is going to be spearheading that cause,” says co-showrunner Wendy Mericle. “She’s going to get very close to the truth about what Oliver has been up to.” Among the
confirmed survivors, Dinah’s new Black Canary costume brings with it a new swagger, while Slade will invite Oliver to make good on his Lian Yu promise. “We have this amazing story that is going to tie in with Oliver’s dealings with his own son, as he helps Slade find Joe Wilson.”
BONUS SPOILER!: Yes, it’s true — Vigilante will finally be unmasked. “Who he is and what he’s up to is very personal,” Mericle says, adding: “He’s got a very close connection to one of our series regulars that I really hope will blow the fans’ minds.”
RETURN DATE: Thursday, Oct. 12 at 9/8c (The CW)
Dre and Bow have one kid who’s entering college and another who’s barely a few weeks old, and if you think that Papa Johnson will handle either of these situations with calm assurance in Season 4… have you ever seen this show? Little Devanté’s arrival means “starting over,” series creator Kenya Barris says, noting that he and his wife also had a significant time gap between their youngest and second-youngest children. “It’s taught us that it’s like riding a bike, but it’s a different bike,” he says, laughing. “That’s definitely what Bow and Dre are experiencing at the same time.” On another front, the
-inspired season opener finds Dre enlisting singer Aloe Blacc to educate everyone about how Juneteenth — a holiday marking the end of slavery in the United States — is the true independence day. The result “makes for our best season premiere in the show’s history,” Barris promises.
BONUS SPOILER!: Bow will have a run-in with postpartum depression, another experience that closely mirrors what happened in Barris’ home. “I’m going to be honest: I was terrified,” he says; Dre will have a similar reaction. “It’s a disconnect with someone you’re used to being your rock and there for you in a really big way.”
RETURN DATE: Tuesday, Oct. 3 at 9/8c (ABC)
On the heels of Mr. Kaplan’s suicide, Red will be left to rebuild the empire that his onetime confidant had dismantled. “Liz is safe, but Reddington is now broke,” series creator Jon Bokenkamp previews. “He has literally lost everything — money and relationships — to save her. Now it’s time to rebuild, and that is going to be a total blast.” Liz, meanwhile, will be doing some serious soul-searching, now that she’s learned Red is her father. “Liz is terrified of becoming Red. She knows this is in her DNA — dark, violent tendencies,” Bokenkamp shares. “When we start Season 5, Liz really plants her flag in the idea that she’s a cop — a
mythology, and we hope to address that story, even if in a small way,” he says.
RETURN DATE: Wednesday, Sept. 27 at 8/7c (NBC)
The Season 3 premiere will pick up right where May’s finale left us, with Jane’s tattoos all aglow — and according to series creator Martin Gero, viewers will get a whole lot of questions answered before the first commercial break hits. “So much will be explained,” he says. “What’s Jane doing in the middle of nowhere? Why haven’t [she and Weller] seen each other in so long? Why did she run? All of that will be answered, and they’ll immediately pick up to go find their friends.” Also, #Jeller fans need not worry about the state of their favorite ‘ship. Even though Jane and Weller’s dynamic starts off “a little shaky,” Gero assures us that “the first episode back is going to be the most fulfilling ‘Jeller’ episode we’ve ever done. They are in love, there’s a very good reason they haven’t seen each other in a while and Weller’s been searching for her.”
BONUS SPOILER!: When asked if Agents Reade and Zapata might give romance the ol’ college try this year, Gero said, after a pause, “It might be something we’re exploring this season.”
RETURN DATE: Friday, Oct. 27 at 8/7c (NBC)
Showrunner Derek Haas isn’t spilling who survives last May’s fiery cliffhanger, but he does warn that viewers “might need some tissues” during the season opener. The hour picks up with a “very haunting and gut-wrenching” teaser before flashing forward a couple months to reveal the “really strong emotional ramifications” of the incident. Elsewhere in Season 6, the arrival of Sylvie’s friend Hope (
‘s Eloise Mumford) causes disruption in the firehouse. “She’s a bad influence on pretty much anyone who comes into her orbit,” says Haas, adding that Hope will set her sights on one of Firehouse 51’s men, which “may not rub everyone the right way.” Plus: Boden doesn’t hold back when there’s a fire at Donna’s school; Sylvie and Antonio reignite their romance; and someone gets laid… a lot!
BONUS SPOILER!: Like Casey and Severide before her, Gabby will face a dire situation during her off-time when there’s an underground parking garage collapse in Episode 4. “It’s Hitchcockian sort of
situation where you have a bunch of different personalities and different levels of panic happening, and Gabby having to navigate all of them,” Haas previews.
RETURN DATE: Thursday, Sept. 28 at 10/9c (NBC)
The NBC drama will bring real-world Chicago into Season 5 with stories about racial tension, terrorist activity, immigration and police reform. That means Voight’s job “just got harder,” executive producer Rick Eid previews. “There are more eyeballs on the way he does business.” Also on the sergeant’s mind: Lindsay’s departure, but he’ll deal with it differently than her ex Halstead, who is now partnered up with Det. Hailey Upton (new series regular Tracy Spiridakos). Intelligence will welcome back Det. Antonio Dawson, whose daughter is now living with him, while Burgess returns from her leave of absence with a renewed focus on her career (sorry Ruzek!). “We’re going to see a bit more of her ambition this season, trying to maybe take that next step and become a detective,” Eid shares. And although Burgess is all business these days and “Linstead” is no more, the EP does hint at “some romantic involvement” within the unit.
BONUS SPOILER!: An “important” episode will find Atwater “dealing with the fact that he’s the surrogate father, so to speak, [to] his brother and sister,” Eid describes.
RETURN DATE: Wednesday, Sept. 27 at 10/9c (NBC)
After getting ditched at the altar by her true love Josh Chan, will Rebecca Bunch spend Season 3 in quiet reflection? Nah, she’s out for blood, says executive producer Aline Brosh McKenna: “I think it’s our funniest season, but it’s definitely our most intense, emotionally… this is definitely the revenge part of the ‘crazy ex’ concept.” While Josh tries to avoid Rebecca’s wrath by hiding out in the seminary (although “there is no hiding from Rebecca Bunch,” McKenna hints), she turns to her boss Nathaniel for a few dirty tricks… and maybe a shoulder to cry on. Rebecca and Nathaniel “definitely have a very strong physical connection,” McKenna notes, “and that’s something we play with a lot this season.” Plus, look for new obstacles in Darryl and White Josh’s budding romance, along with guest spots from singer Josh Groban and Broadway star Rory O’Malley.
means a new theme song, McKenna confirms, and Season 3’s tune will feature “Rebecca trying to understand what her new role is.” (Is it too much to hope for a Disney-style villainess song? Poor unfortunate souls, indeed.)
RETURN DATE: Friday, Oct. 13 at 8/7c (The CW)
Scratch is back in the season opener, as the aftermath of the truck crash that he masterfully orchestrated plays out. TVLine readers already know who
walk away alive from the slammed SUVs, but also impaired is one of the agents
on hand for the deadly collision: Reid. Following his prison stay, which was capped by a matching of wits with Cat Adams, “There’s definitely PTSD,” says Matthew Gray Gubler, “and the premiere deals with that. Is he even fit to face the crisis at hand? Can he even hold a gun at this point?” (Judging by the photo at left, we’ll venture
the premiere, showrunner Erica Messer says, “We’ll get to know Matt Simmons a bit,” as
adds Daniel Henney’s character from the cancelled
spinoff. As the 13-year-old series navigates this latest, seemingly-annual cast shake-up, Joe Mantegna can only remark, “We’re as strong as we’ve ever been. The cast is really terrific right now.”
BONUS SPOILER!: When Jamie Kennedy resurfaces in Episode 6 as Season 3 cannibal Floyd Feylinn, Messer says Garcia will “deal with a reminder of that time in her life,” when she got shot. With Derek gone, who will deliver the pep talk…?
RETURN DATE: Wednesday, Sept. 27 at 10/9c (CBS)
Since the Legends “broke time” in the Season 2 finale, their new mission is to rectify “people, places and things that have been displaced” — such as, say, Julius Caesar roaming modern-day Aruba (or if co-showrunner Marc Guggenheim has his way, Genghis Khan storming 1980s Wall Street). “The approach was to take everything that worked last year and double down, go further, make it zanier,” says the EP. “Last year we lived maybe five inches from the Jump the Shark line. Now we’re
inches in front of it.” As the Legends aim to right wrongs, they will lock horns with the newly formed Time Bureau, headed by Rip Hunter and also including Jes Macallan (
) among its ranks. “If [the Time Bureau] is the Beverly Hills police department, our characters are Axel Foley,” Guggenheim puts it. “We find the fun in that antagonistic relationship.” Sara & Co. will find a new team member in Zari Adrianna Tomaz (
‘s Tala Ashe), a Muslim hacktivist from the year 2030. “The idea of a character from the future was interesting to us, because she’s like, ‘If you saved the world, you didn’t do a very good job,\'” says Guggenheim. “She takes the piss out of our heroes.”
BONUS SPOILER!: In addition to introducing a new romance for Sara,
will continue to explore Amaya’s friendship with Mick and her relationship with Nate (“The effect her destiny has on it is a fun thing to play”), plus the bromance between Nate and Ray.
RETURN DATE: Tuesday, Oct. 10 at 9/8c (The CW)
“Everything people liked about last year we’re going to keep,” avows Keith Eisner, the sophomore series’ fourth (!) showrunner — while adding a
-like tonal shift. “Last year, in a great way, was more this ‘deer caught in headlights,’ Frank Capra/
thing, whereas this year is more about Tom Kirkman’s journey from outsider to insider.” While Kiefer Sutherland’s POTUS embarks on that path, Maggie Q’s FBI Agent Hannah Wells segues into “something a bit more John Le Carre,” Eisner teases. “We’re going to wrap up the [conspiracy] story with a thrilling, action-y conclusion” and then move away from the “existential threat to the president.” And while Zoe McLellan (
) are new to the mix (playing the White House counsel, a political director and an MI-6 love interest for Hannah), returning players won’t be forgotten. Newly installed National Security Advisor Aaron Shore’s heritage will skew his view on a Mexican border issue, while Brian McNamara (
) guest-stars as Chief of Staff Emily Rhodes’ dad.
BONUS SPOILER!: The midseason twist that will “knock [your] socks off” (as Sutherland teased in May) arrives in Episode 10, “and that’s all I can tell you,” Eisner smiles. “But it’s going to be
RETURN DATE: Wednesday, Sept. 27 at 10/9c (ABC)
What exactly is Demi Moore’s suspiciously hands-on Nurse Claudia up to? You better believe that’s a question Cookie will be asking herself as Lucious continues to recover from last May’s brain-bruising car explosion. “He’s dealing with memory issues and Claudia is still charged with his care,” explains exec producer Ilene Chaiken. “And whether or not she has his — or the family’s — best interests at heart remains to be seen.” Either way, Cookie is rattled. “Claudia is a new kind of foil for Cookie, because she’s not someone who is just coming for Lucious in an overt way,” Chaiken says. “She’s someone who has a deep connection with Lucious and a lot of control and influence over him in a way that nobody else has. And it’s a kind of influence that Cookie really isn’t familiar with.” The Lyon matriarch is also contending with another, more ruthless rival in Diana DuBois (Phylicia Rashad), who remains on the warpath in the wake of son Angelo’s public shaming. As Chaiken cryptically warns, “Diana will continue to prove to be the fiercest enemy Cookie has ever had.”
BONUS SPOILER!: Forest Whitaker joins the cast in Episode 2 as Lucious’ old musical mentor, and his dynamic with Cookie is anything but adversarial. “It’s warm and touching,” notes Chaiken. And… romantic? Teases the EP: “We shall see.”
RETURN DATE: Wednesday, Sept. 27 at 8/7c (Fox)
Peter’s potential is finally realized in Season 16 when his new, husband-and-wife bosses (voiced by Bryan Cranston and Niecy Nash) “find something good” in him and name him Pawtucket Beer’s new mascot, replacing Pawtucket Pat, “who they feel is out of touch and out of date,” executive producer Alec Sulkin reveals. Following the passing of Adam West, Quahog is also need in need of a new mayor. “It’s not the best way to get a new episode idea, but it gave us one,” Sulkin says. “We don’t know who [the new mayor is] going to be yet, but we’re excited to write an episode that will honor Adam further and find somebody new to lead this town.” As always,
‘s new season will be full of spoofs and homages, including a twisted take on
(hence this picture of Brian and Stewie doing their best Cam and Mitch impressions). We’ll also get to spend some time with the Giant Chicken’s wife, who has a “funny exchange” with Lois.
BONUS SPOILER!: Following a nine-year hiatus, Swedish baker Fjurg Van Der Ploeg will resurface at some point in Season 16. (Don’t remember him? Perhaps a “hot piss of pee” will jog your memory. Don’t worry, “it’s on the hoos!”)
RETURN DATE: Sunday, Oct. 1 at 9/8c (Fox)
“There’s a lot of love in the air this season,” previews executive producer Todd Helbing, likening Barry and Iris’ eventual reunion to “somebody going off to war for six months and coming back. There’s a lot that Iris experienced that Barry didn’t when he was gone, and it’s really [about] the fun and the emotional component of making up that time when they weren’t together.” In the cross-Earth romance department, Wally and Jesse’s relationship goes through an “evolution,” while Cisco and Gypsy are “still together, and they’re going to be for a while” (even though Jessica Camacho is now a series regular on NBC’s
). And despite the Scarlet Speedster facing another worthy new foe, The Thinker (
‘s Neil Sandilands), and all that he’s been through recently, Helbing promises a less angst-ridden Barry, whose time in the Speed Force “let him deal with all of the baggage” from three seasons. “When he comes out, he’s sort of left that all behind,” the EP says.
BONUS SPOILER!: Killer Frost-plagued Caitlin “has done some soul searching and figured out exactly how to deal with her demons,” Helbing teases.
RETURN DATE: Tuesday, Oct. 10 at 8/7c (The CW)
-themed season opener, “Adam tries to apply that concept [from the movie] to Barry’s dating life” following his brother’s break-up with Lainey, showrunner Adam F. Goldberg previews. But the episode “is really about: Was Lainey a once-in-a-lifetime unicorn romance, or is [Barry] capable of finding new love?” Meanwhile, Erica and Geoff’s long-distance relationship is going strong, though the former “struggles greatly” with surviving on her own at college. Also having a hard time: Beverly, who spends the night in her daughter’s dorm room. Murray is no better and “keeps Geoff on the phone with Erica so she isn’t going out to frat parties.”
BONUS SPOILER!: Get ready for a “Bevolution.” “Beverly realizes Erica is gone, and her kids are all going to be gone,” Goldberg shares. “What’s her next evolution as a person defining herself away from mom? That’s going to be a season-long exploration… Part of her Bevolution is going out in the world and finding a job that doesn’t involve her family.”
RETURN DATE: Wednesday, Sept. 27 at 8/7c (ABC)
NBC’s afterlife comedy ended its first season with Eleanor and her Good Place buddies getting their memories wiped by the dastardly Michael, but Season 2 won’t feel like a rerun, creator Michael Schur assures us. “You’re not going to see Season 1 happen again slowly over the course of Season 2,” he notes, adding that Eleanor is “immediately sort of suspicious and aware of the fact that there’s something amiss,” thanks to the note she left herself about Chidi. Speaking of Eleanor and Chidi, they were paired up as soulmates in Season 1, “but what happens when you just reset it?” Schur asks. “The way they meet each other in this new version is completely different from the first time.” Also completely different: Ted Danson’s performance as Michael. “At the very beginning of the premiere, we get to see him as he truly is,” Schur hints. “It’s really fun. I think of it as, like, ‘Ted Danson Unleashed. Ted Danson After Dark.\'”
BONUS SPOILER!: Michael’s newly rebooted Good Place offers almost-heavenly touches that are actually hellish, like a bubbling clam-chowder fountain. And that’s not the only thing on the menu, Schur says: “In one of the restaurants, only serve Hawaiian pizza… which is an abomination.”
RETURN DATE: Wednesday, Sept. 20 at 10/9c (NBC); timeslot premiere Thursday, Sept. 28 at 8:30 pm
Season 4 of the DC Comics drama, says exec producer Danny Cannon, is “focusing on character more than anything else” — namely, how Jim Gordon, Penguin and other established characters react to Bruce Wayne’s coming of age: “Somebody who until now has been seen as a wealthy child is now seen as the emerging threat he is.” As Bruce faces that future, watch for Alfred to vie for mentorship of his ward with Ra’s al Ghul. (“An almost amoral figure from such a dark and ancient past coming into Bruce’s life when he is so susceptible to influence gives us lots of drama,” Cannon notes.) Jim’s world meanwhile will be rocked by no less than a return, a new love and new, canon DC villains — such as Scarecrow, Professor Pyg (
‘s Michael Cerveris), Toymaker and Solomon Grundy né Butch Gilzean — just as Penguin’s plan to “legitimize crime” steers Gotham into a(nother) spiral.
BONUS SPOILER!: Selina’s alliance with Tabitha is all part of “building up the Sirens’ origin story,” Barbara and Ivy included, says Cannon. “We’ll be watching Selina turn into a woman, but what kind of woman will she be? Vengeful and resentful, or somebody of amazing potential?”
RETURN DATE: Thursday, Sept. 21 at 8/7c (Fox)
Season 14 will pick up the morning after the harrowing Season 13 finale, although, remarkably, it sounds like everyone’s frowns will be (mostly) turned upside down. “The tone of the show is going to be redefined — it’s going to be lighter,” shares exec producer and co-star Debbie Allen. “It’s going to be more like it was in the beginning. We’re going to have more fun.” That said, Allen quickly concedes that Grey’s will continue to make room for “serious stuff,” particularly now that Owen’s sister — and Nathan’s love — Megan (now played by
‘ Abigail Spencer, stepping in for Bridget Regan) has been found alive. “That’s going to be a big part of what we’re playing out in” the two-hour premiere, previews Allen, adding that Owen will lean on his sis for help navigating his tumultuous relationship with Amelia. Meanwhile, Meredith — who was last seen giving Nathan the OK to rekindle things with Megan — may be having second thoughts about letting him go. Per Allen, in the wake of her selfless deed, Mer “will be going through her own self-analysis and her own rediscovery of herself.”
BONUS SPOILER!: Season 14 will feature the series’ 300th episode, and Allen has four words to describe the landmark hour: “It will be big.”
RETURN DATE: Thursday, Sept. 28 at 8/7c (ABC)
Kono is off chasing sex traffickers, while Chin Ho accepted the offer to head up a San Francisco version of Five-0. So when Season 8 opens, McGarrett, Danny, Grover and Jerry “are still trying to accept the fact that the team has changed,” says showrunner Peter M. Lenkov. (That said, “Everyone is happy for where the two of them are in their lives.”) Helping replenish the task force’s ranks are Tani Rey (
‘s Meaghan Rath), a rule-bending cadet who got booted from the police academy (and whom Lenkov likens to “a female McGarrett”) and Junior Reigns (Beulah Koale), a Navy SEAL who mere hours after leaving the military comes knocking on Steve’s door looking for work (but instead gets sent away for proper training). Also, the checkered past of Kono’s husband Adam (promoted series regular Ian Anthony Dale) will prove to be an asset when the team requires an expert on organized crime and its new players.
BONUS SPOILER!: Akin to how they last year engaged in Halloween revelry, Danny and his son Charlie will be “front and center in a fun sort of Christmas episode,” says Lenkov.
RETURN DATE: Friday, Sept. 29 at 9/8c (CBS)
will open its season with a revealing flash-forward — but this one has a twist, per EP Pete Nowalk. “Our other questions have been, who shot Annalise? Who killed Sam? Who killed Wes?” Nowalk teased. “This time, the question is a where.” Another central question for Season 4 will be why, in fact, Laurel’s dad conspired to have Wes murdered. “This is the perfect way to reveal more of where [Laurel] comes from,” Nowalk says. “It will make a lot of sense why he ordered Wes to be killed. It’s fun to dig more into what Laurel’s backstory is and create a mystery around her family.”
BONUS SPOILER!: Connor will respond to Oliver’s marriage proposal during the season premiere.
RETURN DATE: Thursday, Sept. 28 at 10/9c (ABC)
After the devastating loss of Michael, “there’s a lot of joy I want to tap into this season,” executive producer Jennie Urman says. The return of the titular heroine’s first love, illustrator Adam (
‘s Tyler Posey), “reminds Jane that she’s not just a mom, and that she can be doing a little bit more wild and crazy, 27-year-old kind of stuff.” Romance is also in store for Petra, who has “a variety” of paramours in her “great, twisty, turn-y love life this year.” After getting kicked out of the Marbella by Luisa, Rafael finds himself crashing on Jane’s couch “with his Bowflex and all his protein drinks,” the EP previews. “He sort of takes over the Villanueva house, and it does create a stress in [his] relationship [with Jane].” On the plus side, “he forms an unexpected bond with Alba, who is Team Rafael.” Elsewhere, the reality that Rogelio’s ex Darci is pregnant with his baby makes for a “more challenging” honeymoon period than Ro and Xo expected.
BONUS SPOILER!: In typical Rogelio fashion, the soon-to-be second-time papa will stage “a lot of photo shoots inspired by Anne Geddes,” Urman teases. “You might see Jane as a sunflower, and the baby as a little bee.”
RETURN DATE: Friday, Oct. 13 at 9/8c (The CW)
The Season 2 premiere picks up one year after Donna’s (unexplained) death. Since then, Kevin has morphed into “super dad,” exec producer Rob Long teases. “He tries too much… [and] he’s sort of driving the family a little crazy.” When Kendra’s fiancé Chale learns that his visa is not going to be renewed, Kevin steps up to “deliver the wedding that his dead wife and daughter had been planning for years” — and he has to do it all in “about 48 hours” to ensure that his future son-in-law isn’t deported. Cue the return of Vanessa Cellucci (new series regular Leah Remini), who not only assist with wedding preparations but “knows a guy in immigration” who might be able to help Chale.
BONUS SPOILER!: Now that Donna’s out of the picture, Kevin’s going to need a job, and it just so happens that Vanessa has a private security business. “It’s struggling, and she really needs a partner,” Long previews. Need we say more?
RETURN DATE: Monday, Sept. 25 at 9/8c (CBS)
Things go south — literally — in the long-running procedural’s Season 19 (!) opener, when Fin goes rogue and heads to Cuba. “Using the Internet, he located the big fish that got away: a serial rapist who eluded him five or six years ago,” new showrunner Michael Chernuchin says. “He goes down there and kidnaps him.” As you might guess, Barba’s not excited about Det. Tutuola’s extracurricular activity (“It basically becomes a big thorn in the legal system,” the EP says), but the ADA will have other problems when
‘s Peter Stone arrives in town, and Ben Stone’s kid will thrust Barba into “a huge moral decision,” Chernuchin says. Over at the precinct, life will get worse for Olivia before it gets any better: “What I told Mariska [Hargitay] when I came aboard is, ‘You’re a broken woman, because of your past, and I’m going to drag you through the woods and you’re gonna come out the other side a better person,\'” he previews. “So we’re gonna throw the kitchen sink at her.”
BONUS SPOILER!: Might there be an opportunity for romance — failed or otherwise — for the beleaguered Benson? “There might be,” Chernuchin says. “She’s not looking for it, but it might happen.”
RETURN DATE: Wednesday, Sept. 27 at 9/8c (NBC)
As it turns out, Riggs’ brand of crazy runs deeper than first thought, and Season 2 of the Fox dramedy will spend some time plumbing Martin’s troubled history. “What we start to realize is that it wasn’t simply that he was mourning the death of his wife, but that this guy was broken long before that, in early childhood,” showrunner Matt Miller tells TVLine. To that end, we’ll see flashbacks involving Riggs’ dad (
‘s Rex Linn), we’ll watch the troubled cop unpack his youth with help from Dr. Cahill, and we’ll meet at least one of his childhood friends (
‘s Lynn Collins), which may usher in some romance for Riggs. In the meantime, Murtaugh will be preoccupied both with his family — RJ heads to college, Riana gets arrested — and the return of someone from his past: Gina Santos (played by
‘s Michelle Hurd). Oh, and did we mention she’s his (and Avery’s) boss? “It’s become this thing where the inmates are a little bit running the asylum over there,” Miller says, “and she comes in and tries to crack the whip.”
BONUS SPOILER!: Look for Hilarie Burton’s Agent Palmer to resurface in Episode 2, thanks to some less-than-slick machinations on Riggs’ part. (Involving the DEA on a case just so you can maybe score a date? Not cool, bro.)
RETURN DATE: Tuesday, Sept. 26 at 8/7c (Fox)
After making his way back from the dessert — “He thinks he’s been gone for months, weeks, years…. but it’s just a couple of days later!” laughs co-showrunner Ildy Modrovich — Lucifer focuses on figuring out who his fine, feathering friend is. “Our big theme is identity and the wings really tie into that,” says co-showrunner Joe Henderson. “Am I an angel? Am I the devil? And if someone put these wings on my back, I don’t like it when people tell me who I want to be, so I’m going to figure out who did this.” Distracting him a bit from that mystery will be the arrival of Marcus Pierce (
‘s Tom Welling), a police lieutenant who “causes trouble amongst our precinct family because he’s a bit no-nonsense.” (Pierce also draws interest from Chloe, who realizes that she needs to get out from Lucifer’s crimesolving shadow.) Elsewhere, Maze returns from a stretch of bounty hunting to sadly learn “her best friend has a new friend and her ex-lover is seeing someone”; “good drama” is mined from Amenadiel’s reaction to Lucifer’s restored wings; and Dr. Linda “has to dig deep into her own issues” upon realizing how spooked she was by last season’s events.
without including its pint-sized scene stealer! “Trixie is going to meet the new Charlotte Richards,” Henderson shares. “They hit it off right off the bat, much to Dan’s surprise and, then, concern.”
RETURN DATE: Monday, Oct. 2 at 8/7c (Fox)
If you need a little aspirational boost regarding the United States government and the people who run it, executive producer Barbara Hall says that Season 4 of the CBS drama will help… kinda. “The theme of the season is being able to go a little deeper into the inner workings of the State Department, why it’s important, and the very big effect it has on the world and on national security when it works as it
,” Hall tells TVLine, chuckling. “So I think we will be able to at least make you feel good about the State Department!” Along those lines, Hall promises some “international incidents” involving China, Lebanon, Libya and — yes — Russia. And given Henry’s new role at the Special Activities Division of the Central Intelligence Agency, look for Mr. and Mrs. McCord’s work to intersect even more. “They’re in very, very similar worlds,” Hall notes. “Any time their work crosses over, it complicates things at home.” And when the threat of a government shutdown looms, “We bring back the idea that there are many elements of Congress who don’t look favorably upon Dalton because he switched parties. Russell and Conrad are up against that a lot this season.”
BONUS SPOILER!: “We have an arc with Henry where he may or may not be working closely with Dmitri,” Hall teases. “And of course, that brings a lot of history to the McCord home.”
RETURN DATE: Sunday, Oct. 8 at 10/9c (CBS)
Remember that not-so-excited look on Mindy’s face right after she wed Ben in the season finale? Doctor L’s life “has only gotten more complicated from there,” star/creator Mindy Kaling tells TVLine. “What happens when the world’s most marriage-obsessed person finally gets married and it’s very different from what you see in the movies?” Expect a bunch of faces from the show’s run to resurface, including Casey (Anders Holm), Cliff (Glen Howerton) and Cousin Sheena (Laverne Cox)… and that brings us to the 800-lb. lasagna in the room. Though Kaling expertly dodges any questions about the return of Chris Messina’s Danny — specifically, what Diamond Dan’s reappearance might mean in the life of his baby mama — she does reveal this about the series finale: “The biggest question we had to ask ourselves was, how do you balance the desire for a classic romantic comedy ending with the desire to treat our characters realistically and not write a piece of fan fiction?”
) guest turn as an “über-mom” at Leo’s school: ” I won’t say how it ends, but there is shoving involved.”
circle back to rescue Gibbs and McGee from that Paraguayan militia. Rather, they have been held captive for two months when Season 15 opens, setting the stage for “my favorite premiere script in seven or eight years,” cast member Brian Dietzen reports. “There are scenes between Mark Harmon and Sean Murray that give a person actor envy!” During the duo’s ordeal, “The team back home is a bit on edge,” says costar Emily Wickersham; after it (somehow) ends, both gents will be changed for it. “Gibbs has evolved over the 15 years, and he’s going to take another, slight turn,” says co-showrunner Frank Cardea. “He’s still the Gibbs we know and love, but he’ll have a new outlook on life.” Speaking of new: Maria Bello arrives in Episode 4 as Special Agent “Jackie” Sloane, a forensic psychologist, and the way she and Gibbs meet “is a real shocker,” Cardea smiles. “She pulls a little stunt on him!”
BONUS SPOILER!: About a month into the new season, “We’re going to find out something very personal about Clayton Reeves, a big secret that he has,” Cardea shares.
RETURN DATE: Tuesday, Sept. 26 at 8/7c (CBS)
Season 9 picks up months after the death of Sam’s wife, “so that we’re not in that somber place for the first episodes,” showrunner R. Scott Gemmill explains. Even so, “He has not returned to work — and he’s not convinced that he wants to,” prompting Callen to check in on his partner. “It’s a process for Sam, but in subsequent episodes he takes some steps to move on with his life.” On the happier side of things, Kensi and Deeks are engaged! “But theres a new sheriff in town” — Assistant Director Shay Mosely, played by Nia Long — and not only is she “very concerned about having the couple working together,” she “doesn’t even think that Deeks should be working for NCIS. She sees him as more of a civilian than what our other guys are.” Hetty during all of this will be AWOL, having tendered her resignation…?! “The audience will be privy to a bit of what’s going on,” Gemmill teases. “But for our guys, it’ll be a big sense of loss.”
BONUS SPOILER!: When Anna Kolchek returns, she will be working for the ATF, while Admiral Chegwidden “will be intimately tied into Hetty’s shenanigans.”
A grown Henry has been recruited for a mission by a storybook-toting child he didn’t know he had? You
think Season 7’s premiere will thus echo the series’ very first episode, but “we’re
doing what we did in the pilot, which is a curse hits and rips everyone away [from their lives],” says co-creator Adam Horowitz. “The first episode is not about the curse, when it happened or how it happened. We’re coming at this a different way.” (Also quite different: the cast, in the wake of six exits and five additions.) What we
know is that in Seattle’s Hyperion Heights, Regina, Hook and Rumple have new indentities (bar owner Roni, policeman Rogers and a “menacing” someone), and Henry and daughter Lucy must enlist them to fight a new evil. Cue Gabrielle Anwar as the infamous stepmother of Cinderella (Dania Ramirez) aka Henry’s baby momma. “What’s awesome about Lady Tremaine is… exactly what I can’t tell you,” Horowitz teases. “But Gabrielle is bringing levels of humanity to a character whose name has Evil in it.”
BONUS SPOILER!: Regina might get a new romance, but that’s far from her main storyline. “There are so many other things she has to deal with — both Regina and [Roni] — and central to that
her relationship with Henry,” whom she doesn’t recognize at first, says Horowitz. “It’s been exciting to dive into a mother-son relationship from a new angle.”
RETURN DATE: Friday, Oct. 6 at 8/7c (ABC)
Season 2 of The CW’s teen soap kicks off with plenty of burning questions to answer, led by: Who shot Archie’s dad Fred? The hunt for the hooded gunman “leads into darker chapters of Riverdale’s history,” showrunner Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa says, “and puts all of our characters on the defensive.” But the return of Veronica’s dad Hiram Lodge (played by Mark Consuelos) also brings its own questions, Aguirre-Sacasa hints: “Is he reformed? Is he still up to his dastardly deeds? Is he somehow connected to the Fred gunman?” The Betty/Jughead pairing (aka “Bughead”) faces a fresh set of challenges in Season 2, too, now that they’re stuck in different schools. “It’s almost like every force in the universe is out to pry Bughead apart,” Aguirre-Sacasa says, adding that Archie and Veronica aren’t immune, either. “There are going to be problems coming in multiple different directions, besieging both of our couples,” he warns — including the arrival of Veronica’s hard-partying pal Nick St. Clair, played by
BONUS SPOILER: Season 2 will feature a holiday episode, Aguirre-Sacasa admits, “but it’s probably not the holiday you imagine.” Hmmm… a very special Arbor Day in Riverdale?
RETURN DATE: Wednesday, Oct. 11 at 8/7c (The CW)
heads into its final season, series creator Shonda Rhimes says its characters will have to ask themselves some difficult questions: “Who do you want to be? What is your legacy?” For Fitz, much of that thinking will be done “out of the spotlight” in Vermont, where a story unfolds that is “surprising and a little bit charming.” As for the former POTUS’ future with Olivia, Rhimes reminds us that theirs is a “complex story. … We are on a journey, and it’s coming to an end.” Over at 1600 Penn, President Mellie Grant and Vice President Cyrus Beene will suddenly find that “they are on equal ground, standing on the same side [like] we never imagined before.” (For what it’s worth, Rhimes says the Trump presidency won’t affect the writing of the final season, as it did last year: “The best way we can deal with it is to not allow it to influence us at all.”) And if you’re worried that pregnancy will soften Quinn Perkins, fear not! “Quinn is going to be the same Quinn we’ve always known,” Rhimes promises. “Women don’t become a whole other person because they are having a baby.”
RETURN DATE: Thursday, Oct. 5 at 9/8c (ABC)
Frank Gallagher is being reborn as a twentysomething. “Once he smokes through all of his meth, he realizes that Monica was the source of all of his problems and his bad parenting,” executive producer Nancy Pimental explains. “He basically pushed the pause button on his life and who he was supposed to be when he met her,” so he decides to start over as a 21-year-old. Meanwhile, new landlord Fiona struggles with her tenants, but also makes a new friend in one of them (
‘s Jessica Szohr). Elsewhere in the Gallagher clan: Lip tries to stay sober while dealing with “a lot of hardship”; Ian mourns Monica’s death unlike the rest of his family; Debbie grows apart from increasingly needy Neil; and Carl enjoys “the money from selling his own meth and taking a cut of selling everybody else’s.” And yes, Kevin and V
“get revenge” on Svetlana for stealing the Alibi bar.
BONUS SPOILER!: Although Fiona is “pretty much not dating for the first half” of the season, eventually Richard Flood’s freelance war photographer presents “a relationship that might have some possibilities.”
RETURN DATE: Sunday, Nov. 5 at 9/8c (Showtime)
finally tackles the “psychological reasons behind why Sideshow Bob wants to kill Bart,” executive producer Al Jean reveals. “It begins with Bart getting lost in an abandoned Nike missile station from the 1960s … and includes Kelsey [Grammer] singing a little Gilbert and Sullivan.” (Naturally.) Fans should also be on the lookout for a
homage in the premiere — during which guest voice Nikolaj Coster-Waldau (aka Jaime Lannister) develops a “weird, surprising connection to Marge” — as well as a
parody, in which Lisa is swept off her feet by someone a few years older than her, voiced by Ed Sheeran. “We cleared some of the music from the movie, which was written by [Justin Hurwitz], who wrote a script for us once,” Jean notes. (That script was Season 23’s “The Falcon and the D’ohman.”) Also surprising: the
parody involves a love triangle between Lisa, Sheeran’s character and… Nelson? (“Milhouse doesn’t even make the cut in this one,” Jean says with a laugh.)
BONUS SPOILER!: Season 29 will feature the return of director Llewellyn Sinclair, voiced by Jon Lovitz.
RETURN DATE: Sunday, Oct. 1 at 8/7c (Fox)
Though Mon-El’s whereabouts remains “one of the central mysteries of the season,” executive producer Robert Rovner says we won’t have to wait too long to see Chris Wood’s character back in action. But what will he discover upon his return to National City? In the wake of a “little time jump,” Kara will have decided that “the cost of being human is too much for her to handle,” throwing herself into her work at the DEO “at the cost of her relationships.” Meanwhile, Alex and Maggie “take a journey together,” one which “honors that relationship” and summons Maggie’s father (
’s Carlos Bernard) to town; Cat Grant returns to “push Kara in the right direction”; James gets a new love interest; and we’ll see J’onn J’onzz go “from a mentor and leader to a son” with the addition of Carl Lumbly as his father, M’yrnn. And we hope you like rich, villainous backstories, because Rovner promises that Odette Annable’s Reign will be explored “deeper than we’ve explored other villains.”
RETURN DATE: Monday, Oct. 9 at 8/7c (The CW)
the end for Castiel,” executive producer Andrew Dabb reports. “That being said, when we pick up our season he’s more dead than people usually get on our show. Castiel has a big role to play for us, but that may not be as soon as some people are hoping.” Meanwhile, the Winchester brothers, Dean especially, are reeling from the double whammy of losing their friend
their mom Mary. “There’s no one they can call,” Dabb notes, “so our guys are a bit on their own, a little spun out, both emotionally and in terms of the plot.” On top of that, they’re “acting as parents” to Lucifer’s “walking atomic bomb” offspring. “There are parts of him and things he does that they really love,” Dabb shares, “and there are parts of him and things he does that worry them a bit.” In the alt apocalypse world, Mary’s attempt to run away from Lucifer doesn’t go as well as she had hoped, while the fallen archangel finds that he “may not be
BONUS SPOILER!: “Even if it’s not played by an actor that we recognize, there are certain characters that are going to come back in different bodies,” Dabb hints.
RETURN DATE: Thursday, Oct. 12 at 8/7c (The CW)
The Season 2 sneak peek the three-hanky NBC drama released in August — in which Randall and Rebecca discuss Beth’s misgivings about bringing another child into their family — is just the tip of the adoption iceberg, co-showrunner Isaac Aptaker tells TVLine: “This isn’t necessarily going to be something that [Beth] had as part of her plan for the next 15 to 20 years.” Meanwhile, Kevin and Sophie are “going to have to surmount this obstacle of distance and career” as he shoots his movie with Sylvester Stallone (who was “exactly who you hoped he would be” on set, Aptaker adds, laughing) and Kate’s nascent singing career may hit a few industry speed bumps. “She’s starting this career at 37 and she has this atypical body you’re not used to seeing on
and whatnot,” he points out. Aptaker declined to say what the vibe between Rebecca and Jack will be when we pick back up with Mom and Pop Pearson in the wake of their big fight, but we can’t imagine they’ll just let all those barbed insults be bygones, right?
BONUS SPOILER!: Don’t be surprised if Sophie’s renewed presence in Kevin’s life causes Kate some serious consternation.
RETURN DATE: Tuesday, Sept. 26 at 9/8c (NBC)
The first shot of Season 8 might as well be of the survivors running their victim cards through an incinerator. “This season is very much about them fighting back,” reveals showrunner Scott M. Gimple. “Fighting can be scary, and there’s uncertainty to it, but in and of itself, it is a hopeful act.” And no one is better positioned, emotionally and physically, for the Negan-fueled war than Carol. “Her entire storyline has prepared her for this — she’s ready,” Gimple notes. “The strength and bravery that she shows as a person this season, and the ingenuity that she employs… is very satisfying.” Her apocalyptic partner, Ezekiel, however, is having a rougher time acclimating to the new reality. “There are some intense times ahead for Ezekiel,” stresses the EP. “Carol is not going to be surprised about the difficulty and brutality that they’re facing. Ezekiel is a little more new to this. The contrast [between the two] will be pretty stark.”
BONUS SPOILER!: Old Rick, whose appearance in the Season 8 trailer drew gasps at Comic-Con, will make his debut in the first episode back, Gimple confirms, before adding, “We will
get the definitive answer as to what that’s about in the premiere. That won’t come until about halfway into the season.”
RETURN DATE: Sunday, Oct. 24 at 9/8c (AMC)
Image: Dania Ramirez, Andrew J. West, Lana Parrilla, Mekia Cox and Colin O'Donoghue as Ciinderella, Henry, Regina, Tiana and Hook (Courtesy of ABC)