Originally posted last summer at Giving Up on Perfect.

It’s no secret around here that I like to watch a lot of TV. Some of you have even suggested that I watch too much TV.

That’s fine. You go ahead and point your disapproving fingers. But just remember: When one finger is pointing at me, it makes it really hard to get a good grip on the remote.

Between the return of network TV and school supply sales (and, let’s be honest, the cooler temperatures), it’s no wonder that fall is my favorite season of all. And when you add in that both my first date with my husband and my daughter’s birth took place in October? Well, it’s a miracle I can make it through the dreadful summer!

While there’s certainly a time and a place for discussing all those important parts of autumn, today’s time and place has been reserved for TV and TV alone. The countdown is on, and all my favorite shows (and yours, I hope) will be back in just a few days.

Have you started planning yet?
Did you pore over the Fall Preview issue of TV Guide? Do you have a spreadsheet hammered out to organize your schedule?

No? Well, the clock’s ticking, but lucky for you, I’m here to help you figure it all out. By telling you what I’LL be watching, of course. And, maybe if you’re really nice and let me hold the remote, I’ll give you a blank TV schedule of your own.

If I could only watch one show each week (the horror!), I would choose Chuck, hands down. So to say that I’m looking forward to the show’s season premiere on September 20 (7 p.m.* on NBC) is a massive understatement. Chuck is my favorite show and must-see TV.

Happily, I am able – with the help of my trusty VCR and, yes, a spreadsheet – to watch more than one show a week. I’ll round out my Monday viewing with How I Met Your Mother (7 p.m. on CBS) and Castle (9 p.m. on ABC).

(More than likely, though, I’ll watch HIMYM online later in the week. Because as I may have mentioned, Chuck comes first. After my child, of course – and she doesn’t go to bed until 7:30.)

Shows that don’t make the cut: Two new, though extremely different, shows caught my eye for Monday nights, but I can’t imagine I’ll fit either of them in. The Event is an hour-long, Lost-esque drama on at 8 p.m. on NBC, while Mike & Molly is a half-hour sitcom about two overweight people starting a relationship (8:30 p.m. on CBS).

My second favorite show of all is not hip or cool or cutting-edge. But I tell you what, bajillions of people watch it – even if nobody admits it. NCIS (7 p.m. on CBS) is funny, quirky and interesting – and if you can make it past the requisite autopsy scene, not overly grotesque or nightmare-inducing.

Competing for my attention at the 7:00 slot is Glee, glorious Glee (FOX), as well as a new show called No Ordinary Family (ABC). Since I do just have my VCR and the aforementioned bedtime situation (my personal rule is that we don’t turn the TV on until my daughter is in bed), I’m not sure what I’m going to do here.

I might watch Glee online later in the week and rope Mark into watching No Ordinary Family, online as well, over the weekend.

Shows that don’t make the cut: Here’s the thing. I don’t have time to watch all the GOOD shows out there, much less subpar shows that I really want to like. So, with that in mind, Life Unexpected (8 p.m. on the CW) is permanently off my list.

As is The Good Wife (9 p.m. on CBS), but not because it’s less than amazing. As a matter of fact, I think it’s outstanding, but I just can’t commit like I want to. And Running Wilde (8:30 p.m. on FOX) features actors from two of my favorite shows (Will Arnett from Arrested Development and Keri Russell from Felicity), I don’t know how I could possibly fit it in. Unless it’s later in the week, online. (What did we do before online TV?)

No offense to the shows on Wednesday, but I sure am glad to get a break. After last year’s disastrous experiment with a fall season of So You Think You Can Dance, I’m glad to see they learned their lesson.

That leaves me with Modern Family and the poorly named Cougar Town (8 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. on ABC), and a new show about married spies. UnderCovers (7 p.m. on NBC) looks fun and besides, when have you known me to turn down a good spy show (the very scary 24 doesn’t count)?

Shows that don’t make the cut: Better With You (7:30 p.m. on ABC) looks cute. And it stars super cute Joanna Garcia. Unfortunately, “cute” just isn’t enough to make it in this highly competitive world of Mary’s TV Schedule.

I’m not going to lie. Being a member of my church’s choir seriously cramps my Thursday night TV style. Much as I like to pretend like my beloved VCR is all I need, it can only record one show at a time. And on a night like Thursday (or Monday or Tuesday), that doesn’t cut it.

I will record – and watch later that night – Bones (7 p.m. on FOX), which is probably my third favorite show, for those of you keeping track. I’m sure I’ll also watch Communitych (7 p.m. on NBC) online as soon as it’s live. But – and I’m sad to say this – I’m not sure when I’ll catch up with The Office (8 p.m. on NBC).

It hurts me to say that. It does. I’m a long-time Office fan. I quote it whenever possible. I own Season Two. I cried when I watched Jim and Pam’s wedding, and I laughed with delight at the ridiculous dance their co-workers did at the ceremony. But seriously? Aside from the awesome wedding episode, The Office was bad last year. And I’m just not sure it will be better this year.

Shows that don’t make the cut: I love Big Bang Theory (7 p.m. on CBS). And it drives me up the wall that it’s not online. So the fact that the Network Powers That Be have moved it to the already-crowded Thursday night? Pretty much puts me over the edge. And also means that BBT has moved to my “watch on DVD at some later date” list. So sad.

I also really enjoy 30 Rock (7:30 p.m. on NBC), but it’s on at a bad time for me. So I’ll just catch it online…sometime.

And then there’s My Generation (7 p.m. on ABC), which looks just as so-bad-it’s-good as Reunion, another show about [pretty] people my age that got canceled without resolving the soapy story lines. I anticipate the same ending for this show, so I think I’m going to pass.

*All times are CST. Because I live in the middle of the country, where primetime starts at 7:00, just like God intended it.

Oh yeah, here’s a TV schedule made just for you. Just in case you’re crazy devoted like me.

What shows are must-see for you? What shows are you most excited to see return? Are you interested in any news shows?


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