For some people, television is the “idiot box” and should be turned off unless you’re watching the news. In my opinion, those people are the idiots. Television is simply a means to transmit information, just like a book, a magazine, or a newspaper. And just like those other media, there’s a lot of crap that comes through. But if you know where to look, or if you just listen to me, you can enjoy intelligent, well-written television that will stimulate your mind just as much as a good book.
At 8 PM, watch “How I Met Your Mother” on CBS (September 20). Even though the laugh track is obnoxious and the show tends to rely on the occasional cliche, it’s surprisingly fresh with just enough absurdity to make it fun.
At 8 PM, record “Chuck” on NBC (September 20). Nerd spy humor at its best, with a great ensemble cast, this show has its occasional bad episode, but the fast-forward button can be your friend.
At 9 PM, try “The Event” on NBC (September 20). This one is untested, and might be okay. It might be utter shit. The pilot will let us know.
At 10 PM, record both “Hawaii Five-O” on CBS (September 20) and “Chase” on NBC (September 20). See if they hold your interest.
At 8 PM, watch “Glee” on Fox (September 21). The music is fun, the writing has a tinge of darkness, and it will bring a tear to your eye. Sue Sylvester is one of the most well-rounded, best written villainesses in recent television history.
At 8 PM, record “No Ordinary Family” on ABC (September 28). I’m not actually holding out too much hope for this one being original or well-written, but the comic book geek in me can’t stay away.
At 8 PM, try “Undercovers” on NBC (September 22). JJ Abrams hasn’t steered me wrong yet, with “Alias” and “LOST” (I haven’t seen enough of Felicity for a judgment call). And it’s nice to see that the main characters are black without the story or show having anything to do with race at all. Apparently, that post-racial society is arriving.
At 9 PM, watch “Modern Family” and at 9:30 PM, watch “Cougar Town” on ABC (September 22). Both hilarious in their own inimitable ways, these comedies show that you can have funny writing without pandering to your audience or following a writing rulebook.
At 8 PM, watch “Community” on NBC (September 23). If you didn’t watch the first season, you missed out. This show is THE funniest show on the air right now. The group dynamic is outstanding, and each character is perfect. The episodes from the first season that riffed on mobster movies and apocalypse/zombie films should have won Emmy awards.
At 8:30 PM, watch “30 Rock”, at 9:00 PM, watch “The Office”, and at 9:30 PM, try “Outsourced” on NBC (September 23). If I need to explain why you should watch this block of television, it’s wasted on you.
At 8:30 PM, record “Shit My Dad Says” on CBS (September 23). Who knows if this is going to be any good, but it’s a show based on a Twitter account. How can I resist giving it a shot?
At 9:00 PM, record “Fringe” on Fox (September 23). The best X-Files clone since . . . well, The X-Files. Even though Joshua Jackson is a bit wooden, his co-stars more than make up for it.
At 10:00 PM, watch “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia” on FX (September 16). This show is so twisted that I have to pause it so I can laugh at parts of it. It’s like “Seinfeld”, if the cast lived in Philadelphia and were even more reprehensible.
At 8:00 PM, record “Smallville” on the CW (September 24). I say to record it because on fast forward, you can turn an hourlong drama into about a fifteen minute highlight reel. And that’s all this show is worth.
At 9:00 PM, watch “Supernatural” on the CW (September 24). While this show started out as a predictable “Monster of the Week” show, it progressed into a fun, dark show with a rich canon.
Get your TV-addicted ass outside.
At 9:00 PM, watch “Dexter” on Showtime (September 26). I recently caught up on the last four seasons of this show and have absolutely loved it. Bloody, cynical, shocking, and morbidly funny, “Dexter” is everything you need for a great Sunday night of television.
OTHER WEEKLY SHOWS: The Soup (Fridays at 10 PM on E!), Tosh.O (Wednesdays at 10:30 PM on Comedy Central), Destination Truth (Thursdays at 9 PM on Syfy), Ghost Hunters (Wednesdays at 9 PM on Syfy).