How to Navigate the Craziest Night of TV Ever

Fall TV

Got plans to go out Sunday night? Well, cancel 'em, because you need to spend some quality time with your TV.

We're officially dubbing this Sunday evening The Craziest Night of TV Ever: more than a dozen season premieres of returning favorites, three promising new series making their debuts… and oh yeah, the final episode of one of the greatest television shows of all time.

It's not humanly possible to watch all of these shows in one night. (Or even one week, in any practical sense.) So we're here to help you navigate your way through this unprecedented TV traffic jam.

We've divided 18 (!) Sunday shows into three categories: Watch It That Night (must be viewed before the sun rises Monday morning); DVR It (should still be watched, but can wait till later in the week); and Skip It (not even worth the DVR space). Take a deep breath; we'll weather this storm together.


"Breaking Bad" series finale (9 p.m., AMC)

Do we really need to sell you on this one? Breaking. Bad. Series. Finale. We get to witness the final chapter in Walter White's epic descent into darkness, and find out who he'll be aiming that giant M60 machine gun at. (We really want to see Nazi Uncle Jack get what's coming to him. Does that make us bad people?) Plus, if you don't watch it this Sunday night, it will certainly be spoiled for you by the time you get to work on Monday, and that could be very upsetting. Note: The finale is 75 minutes long (including commercials), so plan your evening accordingly.

[Related: Check Out Our Recap of Last Week's 'Breaking Bad']

"Homeland" season premiere (9 p.m., Showtime)

It's been off the air for nine months and got lost in the tidal wave of buzz surrounding "Game of Thrones" and "Breaking Bad." But "Homeland" is still one of TV's finest dramas, and Claire Danes deserved that second Emmy she just won. You know you want to tune in to see what's next for Carrie and Brody after the devastating bombing that ended Season 2. (Also: Mandy Patinkin, holla!) This one may also get spoiled for you; best to play it safe and watch Sunday night.

[Video: Watch the Explosive 'Homeland' Season 3 Trailer]

"Eastbound & Down" season premiere/"Hello Ladies" series premiere (starting at 10 p.m., HBO)

After all the doom and gloom of "Breaking Bad" and "Homeland," you could probably use a good laugh. So dial up these two comedies at evening's end to cleanse your TV palate. Danny McBride is masterful as Kenny Powers on HBO's stellar raunchfest "Eastbound," returning for Season 4. And "Ladies" is hands down the funniest new comedy of the fall, with the gangly Stephen Merchant (who knows cringe humor from creating "The Office" with Ricky Gervais) starring as a wannabe ladies man looking to score on the L.A. club scene. There, that's three hours or so of quality TV for your Sunday night; not bad, right?

Get a sneak peek at HBO's new comedy "Hello Ladies" right here:


"Masters of Sex" series premiere (10 p.m., Showtime)

We understand this one probably won't make your Sunday must-watch list, but save it for later: It's probably this fall's best new drama. Set in the buttoned-up 1950s, it tells the tale of pioneering sex researchers Masters and Johnson; Michael Sheen plays the respected scientist who risks his career to explore human sexuality, and Lizzy Caplan plays his sexually adventurous secretary-turned-lab partner. Sheen and Caplan are both fantastic, and the show tackles big questions about sexual politics and science versus religion — and yeah, it's a little sexy, too.

Get a sneak peek at Showtime's "Masters of Sex" right here:

"Betrayal" series premiere (10 p.m., ABC)

Speaking of sexy: A perfect extension of ABC's brand of steamy, convoluted prime-time soaps, "Betrayal" stars Hannah Ware ("Boss") as a married photographer who finds her eye wandering to a mystery man she meets at a party (Stuart Townsend) — only to find their lives are much more entwined than she knew. The chemistry between the two leads is white-hot, and the legal twist that brings them together is surprisingly intriguing, too. "Scandal" and "Revenge" fans: Record it; you'll thank us later.

Get a sneak peek at ABC's "Betrayal" right here:

"Boardwalk Empire" (9 p.m., HBO)

We've always felt that HBO's lushly imagined Prohibition-era crime drama was substantially underrated, and we're happy to see that HBO just renewed it for a fifth season. So far, this season has started slow (what else is new?), but Jeffrey Wright is already delightful as the eloquent Dr. Narcisse, and it's still the best-looking show on TV. Get caught up later, if you must, but don't lose track of this one.

"Once Upon a Time" season premiere (8 p.m, ABC)

ABC's fairy-tale hit is back this week for Season 3, with Emma, Snow, and the Storybrooke gang journeying to Neverland to find their own lost boy, Henry. And a bonus for all you "Little Mermaid" fans: JoAnna Garcia joins the cast later this season as the red-tressed (and floppy-tailed) Ariel.

Watch a scene from the "Once Upon a Time" season premiere right here:

"The Good Wife" season premiere (9 p.m., CBS)

The Lockhart-Gardner gang is still the best legal team on TV, and you never know when a huge guest star is going to drop by. Sunday's premiere features "Arrested Development's" Jeffrey Tambor as a judge ruling on Alicia's latest case, and "Hunted's" Melissa George as Peter's new ethics counsel.

Go behind the scenes of the "Good Wife" season premiere right here:

"The Simpsons"/"Bob's Burgers"/"Family Guy"/"American Dad" season premieres (starting at 8 p.m., Fox)

Fox's animated comedy block is still good for a chuckle or two (mostly from "Bob's Burgers"), but no reason why you can't record them and catch up later in the week. Or even later on Netflix, really. Kristen Wiig plays a very Carrie Mathison-esque FBI agent on the "Simpsons" premiere, by the way. (Ack, these shows are all running together!)

[Photos: First Look at This Year's 'Simpsons' Treehouse of Horror Episode]


"Revenge" season premiere (9 p.m., ABC)

We're ready to draw a big red X on Emily Thorne's face after Season 2 went so tragically, ridiculously off the rails. (What the hell was The Initiative, anyway? Forget it; we don't care.) And the Season 3 trailer, with Emily getting shot on her wedding day, is so obviously trying to recapture Season 1's magic. Fool us twice, "Revenge"? Shame on us.

Get a sneak peek at the new season of "Revenge" right here:

"The Amazing Race" season premiere (8 p.m., CBS)

Sorry, Phil: Maybe it's the two-seasons-per-year format, but after 22 globetrotting seasons, we're feeling a little jet-lagged. (So much bickering; so many tears.) This season's crop of contestants is not compelling enough to keep us from Philiminating "Race" from our season pass list.

"The Mentalist" season premiere (10 p.m., CBS)

With so much great TV on these days, do you really have time or DVR space for a middling CBS procedural entering its sixth season? No, you do not. And we still don't know who Red John is!

[Related: Are Amanda Righetti and Owain Yeoman Exiting 'The Mentalist'?]

"Real Housewives of New Jersey" season finale (8 p.m., Bravo)

You're not still watching this mess, are you? Quit helping to pay Teresa Giudice's legal bills. She's a monster.

"Keeping Up With the Kardashians" fall premiere (9 p.m., E!)

Kall us kruel, but … if you need us to tell you to skip this, you're probably reading the wrong site.

What will you be watching Sunday night? Tell us your TV lineup in the comments.