1. Boardwalk Empire (September 8th) — Boardwalk has done a magnificent job of killing off major characters while still maintaining the intensity of the drama. It helps that it’s a sprawling cast of characters, and new ones are constantly being introduced so that there’s always someone we can glom onto emotionally. This season, the biggest reason to get excited is the introduction of the phenomenal Jeffrey Wright, as well as an expanded role for Chalky White.
2. Luther (September 3rd) — The important thing is we’ll get to see more Ruth Wilson. No, the important thing is Idris Elba being all steely and grim and smoldering. NO. The important thing is Wilson. No, Elba. Oh, screw it. They’re equally important. Just wear a flak jacket over your soul before viewing. This show gets heavy as sh*t.
3. Homeland (September 29th) — The second season was wildly uneven, but the finale was plenty excellent (and a huge surprise in a season full of, perhaps, too many surprises). The trailer for the third season looks riviteing, especially if you’re a fan of Claire Danes’ cry face. There’s a few Saul faces in this trailer, too, that will tear you up. That’s a teddy bear that needs a big hug, y’all.
4. Masters of Sex (September 29th) — Michael Sheen, Lizzy Caplan, and generous helpings of premium cable sex (in the clinical sense, of course) make the debut of Masters of Sex a must see. Whether it lives up to the cast and the premise, however, remains to be seen.
5. Sons of Anarchy (September 10th) — There’s a lot going on in this season of Sons of Anarchy — Clay and Tara begin the year in prison — but that is usually true of the FX drama. It’s been very hit-and-miss since season two, but typically every fourth of fifth episode makes watching the others worth the time. Kurt Sutter has a mind full of crazy, but sometimes I feel like it needs to be reined in.