Labor Day marks the unofficial end of summer, and with that comes the return of hit shows — many for their final seasons — and some new hopefuls.
Boardwalk Empire (Season Premiere, 9 p.m. Sunday, HBO) – This fifth season jolts forward 7 years to 1931 — a time that we know, historically, did not favor the gangsters of Atlantic City, N.J., Chicago and beyond that we’ve come to know. Nucky & co. face the music in a shortened eight-episode final season.
Sons of Anarchy (Season Premiere, 10 p.m. Tuesday, FX) – Hamlet with motorcycles embarks on a final ride for this seventh season. Whereas Jax was all about legitimizing the club last year, this time around he’s hell-bent on revenge.
The Mindy Project (Season Premiere, 9:30 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 16, Fox) – Mindy Kaling definitely deserves more love for this hilarious comedy. And speaking of love, Danny and Mindy are totally in it for Season Three!
Gotham (Series Premiere, 8 p.m. Monday, Sept. 22, Fox) – This new DC Comics drama tells the origin stories of Bruce Wayne/Batman, James Gordon, the Penguin, the Riddler, Catwoman, the Joker, Poison Ivy, Scarecrow, Hugo Strange, Harvey Dent and Mr. Freeze. Alternate title: Lil’ Batman and Friends.
Modern Family (Season Premiere, 9 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 24, ABC) – They swept the Emmys; now, the Dunphy-Tucker-Pritchett fam returns for a sixth season.
Parenthood (Season Premiere 10 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 25, NBC) – It’s the final season for the Braverman clan. Keep wine and tissues at the ready.
A to Z (Series Premiere, 9:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 2, NBC) – This new romcom feels a little bit like HIMYM — and not just because the titular Mother (Cristin Milioti) stars. Ben Feldman (Mad Men) joins her to form Andrew and Zelda (A to Z, get it?), a couple destined to be together.
Homeland (Season Premiere, 9 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 4, Showtime) – Can Homeland survive when one of its lead characters did not?
American Horror Story: Freak Show (Series Premiere, 10 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 8, FX) – This fourth AHS installment centers on a carnival sideshow in 1952 Florida. This will be Emmy-winning star Jessica Lange’s last season with the anthology series.
The Walking Dead (Season Premiere, 9 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 12) – Season Five promises cannibals, cops and the search for a cure.
WEDNESDAY SEPT. 3
The League (Season Premiere, 10 p.m., FXX) – Season Six picks up with Kevin coping with Jenny’s Shiva win. The guys attend a funeral; Andre is especially insufferable.
The Meltdown with Jonah and Kumail (12:30 a.m., Comedy Central) – Revenge and betrayal; performances by Eric Andre, Doug Benson, Jim Gaffigan, Rob Huebel and Paul Scheer.
THURSDAY SEPT. 4
Married (10 p.m., FX) – Lina and Russ are reminded of their past when they revisit their old neighborhood; AJ and Bernie get sidetracked on the way to a strip club.
FRIDAY SEPT. 5
Jonah From Tonga (Series Finale, 10 p.m., HBO) – Anyone else cry during “Eternal Flame” last week? Chris Lilley truly shines, not just in the silly comedic bits, but when his characters (especially Jonah) are vulnerable. In the final episode Jonah returns to Holy Cross and competes with his crew in the qualifying heat for Feel Da Beat. Hopefully my jam “Island Girl” hits iTunes soon.
The Knick (10 p.m., Cinemax) – Edwards stands up for himself in the operating room; Abigail reflects on poor past decisions she made involving Thackery as she recovers from the skin graft. A look at Chickering’s personal life reveals a doctor father disappointed in his surgeon son. Lucy continues to peek into Thackery’s dark world.
SATURDAY SEPT. 6
The Brittany Murphy Story (Premiere, 8 p.m., Lifetime) – Two ’90s-related biopics in one week? What did we do to deserve this? After Lifetime’s interesting take on the Saved By the Bell cast, the network tells the story of actress Brittany Murphy, who rose to success after Clueless only to suffer a mysterious death. Followed by Beyond the Headlines: Brittany Murphy at 10 p.m.
SUNDAY SEPT. 8
Utopia (Series Premiere, 8 p.m., Fox) – In this true “social experiment,” 15 Americans move to a remote locale to start a new civilization.
The Leftovers (Season Finale, 10 p.m., HBO) – Kevin gets unexpected help in the fallout of Patty’s death in Cairo. Holy Wayne offers his healing powers as the mysterious event he’s been preparing for draws near. In Mapleton, the town is shaken by the Guilty Remnant’s long-planned, elaborate stunt on Memorial Day.
CONTACT JAC KERN: email@example.com or @jackern