BOARDWALK EMPIRE returns Sunday, September 8 at 9PM on HBO
EASTBOUND & DOWN returns Sunday, September 29 at 10PM
The multi-twist conclusion to season three lost me as it happened. Fake-deaths rarely work in the long term in any narrative medium. Writers have to do the leg work to restore the familiar formula. Kenny's family and friends (only Stevie actually) will learn the truth. The watchability of the season will be decided after the truth comes out. I'm intensely disinterested in watching fake-death fallout. Aside from that potential weakness, I get a kick out of the series. Danny McBride's great as foul-mouthed Kenny Powers. HBO's said season four is the last. I figure Kenny's going to get his happy ending, right? But it's totally possible Kenny will not get his happy ending and that the lasting message from the series is about how people don't change.
TREME returns Sunday, December 1 at 9PM
HBO gave David Simon and Eric Overmyer a lump sum to make a final season. Simon and Overmyer were able to stretch the money out over five final episodes. I like Treme as much, or maybe even more, than The Wire. Last season was excellent. I think the familiarity with the characters, the town, et al, is why season three stood out and joined the ranks of the best single seasons of television. Treme can be sad, joyful, mournful, rhasphodic. It focuses on people doing the best with what they can on a day-to-day basis, finding joy admist their sadness and struggles in music, art, dance, cooking, or any kind of creation. Time will tell whether Treme has the success of The Wire after its finale. I'd doubt it. Too many folk made up their minds about Treme. If you give this show a chance, you'll be rewarded. I'll be sad to say goodbye.
FOYLE'S WAR returns Sunday, September 15 at 9PM
Foyle's War is a returning series? Really? British writers seemingly create every detective or thriller series as a perioid piece set in in the war era or post-war era.
FRONTLINE returns Tuesday, September 17 at 10PM
I'm not certain, but I think Frontline's airing the concussions documentary to launch the fall run. ESPN pulled out of the project after the NFL pressured the company to--these are the drawbacks of a business partnership with a league. ESPN reporters expressed disappointment in the decision. ESPN doesn't want to cause harm to its very lucrative relationship with the NFL. The concussion is a problem a settlement won't erase. Former players will get the necessary medical benefits they need to help them maintain a healthy quality of life, but the season starts Thursday. Players will continue to get concussed. Players will continue playing days after the concussion. The documentary's sure to open even more eyes about the dangerous consequences of playing a game, but I'm interested in a solution. Any solution would be complicated to figure out without a massive change to the game and the business. It's messy.
HOMELAND returns Sunday, September 29 at 9PM
Critics and fans were typically more down on Homeland in its second season, but a decent final stretch seemed to save the show from a 'sophomore slump' distinction. Expect some aftermath from the terrorist attack on the intelligence apparatus. Carrie and Saul will find themselves swept up in a media firestorm, while Brody hides out in various Off-Broadway productions as an extra.
HAVEN returns Friday, September 13 at 10PM
Haven's gotten a lot of mileage out of a short story collection. What's new for season 4? Colin Ferguson's joined the cast. He starred as the sheriff in Eureka. Audrey disappeared into the magic barn. Speculation abounds about what she'll be when she emerges from the barn. I listened to a Nerdist Writers Panel with the Jaws screenwriter. He said a story can do anything as long as it makes sense within that world. Walking into a magic barn to stop something catastrophic? Cool.
MAJOR CRIMES returns Monday, November 25 at 9PM
Major Crimes resumes its second season in late November. TNT renewed it from a third season.