August is almost over, which means we’re in the home stretch for fall season premieres! I’m of the mindset that you can never watch too many shows, especially with great inventions like DVR and On Demand to help you out! I picked a list of five of my favorite shows that I think everyone should catch up on (or at least start watching) before their season premieres. And since most shows aren’t coming back until late September or even early October, you still have some time!
Castle | September 19, ABC
I just recently caught up on this show myself (spoiler alert: don’t read that post if you haven’t already seen the epicness that was the season 3 finale!). If you’re a dramedy fan and enjoy police procedurals, this show is definitely for you! If you aren’t familiar with the plot, it’s about a mystery novelist named Richard Castle (Nathan Fillion) who starts helping the NYPD homicide department with their cases. He’s first called in because a murder scene is set up to look like one from a Castle novel, but he sticks around after that’s solved because he wants to base his next character on Detective Kate Beckett (Stana Katic). But as the seasons have progressed he seems to be in it more for the crush he has developed and the friendships he has made. And for those of you who enjoy a nice bromance, Detectives Kevin Ryan and Javier Esposito (Seamus Dever and Jon Huertas) provide just that! They definitely steal the show for me a lot of the time.
Seasons 1 and 2 are currently available on Netflix, and season 3 is on Hulu Plus. Season 3 will also be available on Netflix on September 20. If you choose to go that route, I suggest you begin DVRing season 4 while you catch up on season 3 (this is a science I’ve perfected over the years 🙂 )
Modern Family | September 21, ABC
I’m sure you don’t need me to tell you this show is great, even if you don’t watch it. The fact that it’s always nominated for Emmy’s and SAG awards should tell you it’s top notch. In fact, this year the Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series category is made up of four Modern Family cast members!
This show has an amazing ensemble cast; it’s impossible to pick a favorite. Though I will say Phil Dunphy (Ty Burrell), the loveable yet goofy father, is definitely up there for me. Being that this show is a half-hour comedy, it’s the perfect break for your Wednesday nights!
Season 1 is available on Netflix now, and season 2 will be available beginning September 20.
The Mentalist | September 22, CBS
This is my latest catch-up project. I began season 1 a couple weeks back and was instantly hooked. I will say this show is very similar to Castle, but I don’t think that should stop you from watching either one. Like Castle, this show’s title character is a non-cop who works with the cops on their murder cases. Patrick Jane (Simon Baker) is the mentalist, an ex-con artist with exceptional observation skills, who works with the fictional California Bureau of Investigation. He began helping the CBI on their investigation of a serial killer named Red John, who then killed Jane’s wife and child to teach him a lesson. Now Jane is on a mission to catch – and kill – Red John himself.
Also like Castle, this show has a great supporting cast that often steal the show. Agent Teresa Lisbon (Robin Tenney) is the head of their unit, which also includes Agents Wayne Rigsby, Kimball Cho and Grace Ven Pelt (Owain Yeoman, Tim Kang and Amanda Righetti).
I’m only on season 2 since I’m still catching up, and unfortunately season 3 isn’t out on DVD yet. From what I hear, season 3 has a pretty epic ending, so I’m excited to see what happens! Seasons 1 and 2 are on Netflix, and season 3 will be available on September 20.
Dexter | October 2, Showtime
I’m a firm believer that if you have Showtime, you have absolutely no excuse to not be caught up on this show. Similarly, I do not accept “I don’t get Showtime” as an excuse to not watch. You may have to be a season behind, but it’s doable.
I stumbled upon Dexter at the start of its 4th season. I noticed that seasons 1-3 were all available On Demand and decided to give it a shot. Fantastic decision! Unlike Castle and The Mentalist, there isn’t one murder per episode that the team solves by the end of the hour. Instead, there’s usually one overarching murderer that Dexter sets his sights on early on, but the resolution doesn’t come until the end of the season. There are also other cases sprinkled in that get solved quicker, but it’s that bigger target that ties everything back together.
Season 4 really flipped the show on its head. I won’t tell you what happened, but trust me when I say it’s worth watching from the beginning. All 5 seasons are currently available On Demand for Showtime subscribers. They’re also all available on Netflix.
Chuck | October 21, NBC
I hesitated to include this show on the list only because the upcoming season is its last. That’s not something that stops me from watching a show, but I understand why others might not take on the task if they know it’s almost over.
Chuck has always struggled in the ratings, but it has a very loyal fan following. Each season always finishes shooting without the cast and crew knowing if they’re coming back for another, but the fans always rally for its return. As a fan of the show, I was sad to hear the announcement that season 5 would be the last, but I was happy that the writers knew it going in and can now write an ending that is truly final.
To quickly summarize the show, Chuck Bartowski (Zachary Levi) is a typical computer nerd who accidently downloads all of the CIA’s secrets into his brain (I didn’t say it was the most realistic show in the world!). CIA Agent Sarah Walker (Yvonne Strahovski) and NSA Agent John Casey (Adam Baldwin) are jointly tasked as being his handlers to make sure he doesn’t get in any trouble. It’s progressed from there, but I won’t ruin it for you.
Season 1-3 are available on Netflix now, and season 4 will be available on October 11.
Honorable Mention: Parks and Recreation | September 22, NBC
I had a hard time narrowing this list to 5, so I decided to include a 6th show as an honorable mention. Parks and Recreation is by far the best of the Thursday night NBC comedies (in my opinion, at least). It took me a little while to get into it at the beginning, so don’t give up on it if you don’t love it from the start. Amy Poehler is fantastic as Leslie Knope, a gung-ho mid-level government employee is the Parks Department, and Aziz Ansari provides heaping buckets of comedic ridiculousness as Tom Haverford (like this). And the addition of Rob Lowe and Adam Scott as state auditors only made it that much better.
This show, like all the others, has a great supporting cast ranging from complete idiots that make you wonder how they function in society, to intelligent people that make you wonder why they hang out with complete idiots. The character of Ron Swanson (Nick Offerman) deserves his own shoutout. In an effort to get you to watch, I won’t elaborate on that 🙂
Season 1 and 2 are available on Netflix Instant (bonus points!), and season 3 will be released on DVD on September 6.
I’d love to hear your thoughts on these shows! Whether you take my advice and start watching or if you’ve been a fan from the start, let me know what you think about them!
And for a more complete list of season premiere dates, check out TVLine’s calendar.