This Week on Television: Hobbits, Vampires, and A to Z

Get the DVR fired up. Have the popcorn ready. The next couple of weeks will feature the return of many of our favorite television programs, as well as a host of newcomers. We are especially excited about CW’s new superhero show, “The Flash,” and FOX’s mystery mini-series “Gracepoint.”

TV Highlights

smaugThe Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
“Smaug” picks up the pace from the first installment, which suffered from a slow start and some unwieldy comic elements. Orlando Bloom returns as Legolas, while Evangeline Lilly shines as a warrior elf. However, the true star is the dragon, Smaug, voiced by Benedict Cumberbatch and brought stunningly to life by the animators at Weta Digital. Check listings. HBO.

Vampire Diaries
The beautiful and immortal return for another season. Expect more of the same (love, lust, betrayal, violence) from the attractive cast. Thursday, October 1, CW.

Intriguing new mini-series surrounding the mysterious death of a young boy in an idyllic California beach town. Stars Anna Gunn (Breaking Bad) and David Tennant (Dr. Who). Thursday, October 1, FOX.

A to Z
This new sitcom, which follows a young couple from beginning to breakup, should get a look just for the presence of the wonderful Cristin Milioti, who turned out to be the Mother in the final season of “How I Met Your Mother.” Milioti is a talented singer and actress with has charm to spare. Thursday, October 1, NBC.

Season 4 of this award-winning show has Carrie Mathison (Claire Dane) setting up shop in the Middle East. While the show may never return to the heights of its original season, this is still one of the best suspense thrillers on television. Sunday, October 5, Showtime.

Pawn Stars
Rick, Corey, Chumlee and the Old Man return for another season. The format hasn’t changed much since it was launched in 2010, and fans should continue to check in. Thursday, October 2, History Channel.

flashThe Flash
DC Comics brings another super hero to the small screen with the latest incarnation of the Flash. Early buzz has been great for this spinoff of the successful “Arrow.” Expect a nice balance of humor and action. Tuesday, October 7, CW.

American Horror Story: Freak Show
The creepiest show on TV returns looking even creepier than before. Wednesday, October 8, FX

Last season’s finale left left Star City in ruins and Oliver’s family and loved ones dead or scattered. This season will feature an appearance by super villain Ra’s al Ghul. Wednesday, October 8, CW

New situation comedy starring comedienne Cristela Alonzo as a law school student. Alonzo is a funny and smart performer, so let’s hope the material is worthy of her considerable talents. Friday, October 10, ABC


truedetectiveTrue Detective
HBO has announced that the award-winning “True Detective” will return in 2015. Show creator and scribe Nic Pizzolatto returns with a new cast and setting, which means Woody Harrelson and Matthew McConaughey won’t return. But fans shouldn’t fret since the show has lined up a stellar cast, including Vince Vaughn, Colin Farrell, Elisabeth Moss and Taylor Kitsch. Season 2 will be set in California.

Law & Order: SVU, Chicago Fire and Chicago P.D. Crossover
NBC is having a three way crossover story line in November featuring three of its top dramas, Law & Order: SVU, Chicago Fire and Chicago P.D. The episodes will air November 11 and 12.

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