Fall TV Preview: What to Watch, Skip, or DVR Each Night

Fall TV
We'll tell you who's worth tuning into this fall
We'll tell you who's worth tuning into this fall

(Television Without Pity) — With even more good, if not legitimately great, shows on at the same time this season than ever before, TV fans will have some hard decisions to make every night (well, except Saturday). So, to make it easy on them, here's our comprehensive guide to what's worth watching in real time, what to record for later viewing, what to catch online, and what to skip entirely — for every hour of primetime this fall.

Monday at 8pm

Watch: "Terra Nova"
This new dinosaur show promises to be the most buzzed-about series for the fall, so it will be the one everyone is talking about Tuesday mornings. Do you want to have to avoid spoilers on Twitter? Save yourself the headache and watch it live.

DVR: "Gossip Girl"
They got rid of dead weight, and there might be some baby drama. Catch it when you can.

Skip: "How I Met Your Mother"
They keep promising it will get better… and it doesn't. How much more emotional abuse can we take from this show?

Watch It Online: "Dancing With the Stars," "The Sing-Off," "2 Broke Girls"
You can probably get through "DWTS" and "The Sing-Off" in about an hour at most if you just watch them online and skip the filler (sorry, Tom Bergeron and Nick Lachey, but we can live without your commentary). And "2 Broke Girls" is a fun, surprisingly raunchy show. But if you don't have the DVR space, catch it the next day.

Monday at 9pm

Watch: "Dancing With the Stars"
If you are going to watch "DWTS" on TV, watch the second half or just skip to the recap at the end. That will leave most of an hour to watch "Gossip Girl" from earlier in the night.

DVR: "Hart of Dixie"
We're on the fence about this predictable melodrama, but it is does reunite Josh Schwartz with Summer Roberts, so we'll season-pass it — at least for a few weeks.

Skip: "House," "Two and a Half Men"
Obviously, we'll watch the premiere of "Two and a Half Men," but we can't see any reason to keep tuning in after the curiosity factor wears off. As for "House," it lost us along with Cuddy.

Watch It Online: "Mike & Molly," "The Sing-Off"
"Mike & Molly" has its charms and "The Sing-Off" is an a capella competition that is probably more satisfying than most episodes of "Glee," so they are both worth seeking out online.

Monday at 10pm

Watch: "Castle"
A fantastic twist at the end of last season with Kate's boss and that little matter of her getting shot make this kooky cop show must-see TV.

DVR: "Hawaii Five-0"
A wonderful surprise last year, this reboot is actually one of the most fun shows we watch. Pretty people, good stories, explosions — what more could we ask for? Oh, Nathan Fillion. That's why this is a DVR recommendation, but it was a close call.

Watch It Online: "The Playboy Club"
This "Mad Men" clone might get the ax soon, so watch it online and fast-forward through all the obligatory musical performances.

Get a sneak peek at "Terra Nova" right here:

Tuesday at 8pm

Watch: "Glee"
Yeah, it's often awful, but we still can't stop looking at this trainwreck of a show as it goes off the rails on a weekly basis.

DVR: "The Biggest Loser" first half
Normally we'd advise viewers to skip the sweatier parts and go right for the weight-loss reveals. But there are new trainers in town, and we want to know just how they plan on filling Jillian's shoes. Megaphones, perhaps?

Skip: "NCIS," "90210"
"NCIS" is, well, the same as it ever was, and "90210" is heading off to college, which should be the kiss of death.

Tuesday at 9pm

Watch: "New Girl," "Dancing With the Stars" results
Watch the charming "New Girl" and see Zooey Deschanel make up songs about herself, and when that half-hour is over, see who got the boot from "DWTS."

DVR: "Ringer"
Sarah Michelle Gellar back on TV — yeah, it's worth hitting the record button for.

Skip: "NCIS: Los Angeles"
Why start now?

Watch It Online: "The Biggest Loser" second half, "Raising Hope"
See the transformations online, and then go see how Cloris Leachman is misbehaving on "Hope."

DVR a Later Airing: "The Rachel Zoe Project"
She's having a baby, so this should be interesting. But the show re-airs a ton of times each week, so just record it in the conflict-free wee hours and watch at your leisure.

Tuesday at 10pm

Watch: "Parenthood"
Watch. It's good. We swear. And now that "Brothers and Sisters" is gone, don't you need a big family drama in your life?

DVR: "Sons of Anarchy"
This show might be a lot to take right before bed, so record it and watch it when you are ready to see the members of SAMCRO do what they do best.

Skip: "Unforgettable," "Body of Proof"
Trust us, you can forget "Unforgettable," and we gave "Body of Proof" more than a fair shot last season and we were underwhelmed.

Get a sneak peek at "Ringer" right here:

Wednesday at 8pm

Watch: "The X Factor"
Like "Idol," this show is going to be buzzed about, so if you want to make fun of Paula along with the rest of the world, watch it in real time.

DVR: "Survivor"
Coach is reportedly back? Not sure if that's better or worse than Lil' Russell.

Skip: "Up All Night," "Free Agents," "H8R," "The Middle"
"Up All Night" needs some work, "Free Agents" is in the running for the worst fall show, "H8R" would be better as a five-minute segment on "E! News Daily," and "The Middle" still has Patricia Heaton on it.

Watch It Online: "Suburgatory"
This show is utterly charming, but it's stuck at a busy time. So, if you've got that second DVR handy, we recommend going for it.

Wednesday at 9pm

Watch: "The X Factor"
Same reasons as at 8pm.

DVR: "Modern Family," "America's Next Top Model"
Comedy or returning all-star models, pick your preference and get to recording.

Skip: "I Hate My Teenage Daughter," "Harry's Law," "Happy Endings," "Criminal Minds"
"I Hate My Teenage Daughter" is appalling, we've seen all the "Harry's Law" we ever needed to last year, "Happy Endings" should just be happy to still exist, and "Criminal Minds" will never be our cup of tea.

Wednesday at 10pm

Watch: "Revenge"
We were ready to write this one off, but Emily VanCamp plays a perfect vindictive bitch, and we'll never get sick of seeing corrupt Hamptonites get what's coming to them.

Yes, we are saying that you should record a "CSI." Credit the power of Ted Danson for that unexpected turn of events.

Skip: "Law & Order: SVU"
These episodes will be in syndicated reruns soon enough. Why waste valuable time watching them now?

DVR a Later Airing: "American Horror Story"
This show looks great and has an amazing cast, but at 10pm it might give us nightmares. So we'll record it and watch it during the daytime.

Simon Cowell explains what sets "The X Factor" apart from other singing competitions:

Thursday at 8pm

Watch: "The Vampire Diaries"
Stefan is evil! Dead vamps are back. Everything is all topsy-turvy. Don't miss it.

DVR: "Community," "Parks and Recreation"
This double team of funny should be recorded, so you can rewind and watch the best bits over and over again.

Skip: "The X Factor," "How to Be a Gentleman"
We can live without the "X Factor" results show, and we'd advise you to stay as far away from "How to Be a Gentleman" as possible. Don't be sucked in by Dave Foley; it's a trap.

Watch It Online: "The Big Bang Theory"
See Sheldon and Co. on your computer, because while we love this show, we love "Community" so much more.

Thursday at 9pm

Watch: "Grey's Anatomy"
The show is now less dark and twisty and more light and twisty, there are some great actors, and even the Chief isn't quite so awful now, so we're hooked again.

DVR: "Person of Interest"
Ben Linus! J.J. Abrams! Jim Caviezel! It has an intriguing, provocative premise, so we hope it doesn't turn into a case-of-the-week procedural.

Skip: "Whitney," "Bones"
Whitney Cummings can do better (e.g., "2 Broke Girls"). And "Bones" now has a baby. That's going to go "real" well.

Watch It Online: "The Secret Circle," "The Office"
"The Secret Circle" could turn out to be this year's "Vampire Diaries" — or not. And even with James Spader, we can wait until the morning after to watch "The Office" now that Steve Carell is gone.

Thursday at 10pm

Watch: "Prime Suspect"
Maria Bello rocks in this cop drama. This might fill the "Detroit 1-8-7" void in our lives.

DVR: "Jersey Shore"
As of this writing, Deena has yet to fall off the bridge. Record and watch on repeat.

Skip: "Private Practice"
Formerly a guilty pleasure, now just an annoying hour of our lives that we can live without.

Watch It Online: "Beavis & Butt-Head," "The Mentalist"
Our teenage selves are excited for the slackers to make their comeback, and we were wowed by "The Mentalist" finale. Memo to "House": If you are going to send your lead to jail for a crazy crime, make it a good one.

DVR a Later Airing: "The League," "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia," "Project Runway"
You'll want to record the FX comedies and "Project Runway" to watch over the weekend, for sure.

Get a sneak peek at "Prime Suspect" right here:

Friday at 8pm

Watch: "Nikita"
Maggie Q kicks butt and Lyndsy Fonseca is no slouch, either, so what better way to start your weekend off right?

DVR: "Chuck"
Since the show will be over soon, we've got to get used to making it less of a priority. Plus, Morgan as the Intersect? Really, show?

Skip: "Kitchen Nightmares"
At this point, if you've seen Gordon Ramsay fix up one chum-bucket of a restaurant, you've seen 'em all.

Watch It Online: "A Gifted Man"
A solid drama with Patrick Wilson, but not mandatory viewing. Perfect for when you want a nice medical show without the crazy hookups.

Friday at 9pm

Watch: "Fringe"
What the hell happened to Peter? You better watch to find out. We've got the Observers on alert to make sure you do.

DVR: "Grimm"
A handsome guy with a bit of a power taking down supernatural evildoers — definitely worth recording to watch over the weekend.

Skip: "CSI: NY," "Supernatural"
We've only got room for one "CSI" in our lives and that's original flavor. And as for "Supernatural," this is the year we're going to try to make a clean break.

Friday at 10pm

Watch: "Blue Bloods"
This show got really good. Catch up and tune in for the Tom Selleck and Donnie Wahlberg storylines. Perhaps this season, they'll solve the mystery of why Will Estes is on this show.

DVR: "The Soup"
These highlights of the weird world of reality TV hosted by Joel McHale are the perfect companion to a second helping of "Community."

Skip: "Boss"
We're a little curious to see Kelsey Grammer as an evil mayor, but not enough to pay for Starz.

Get a sneak peek at "A Gifted Man" right here:

Sunday at 8pm

Watch: "Once Upon a Time"
Weird fairy-tale-infused fun for the whole family. And Jennifer Morrison isn't even all that annoying in it. Not sure about the "happily ever after" part, though.

DVR: "The Amazing Race"
Record it because you know you'll be frustrated when football or whatever stupid sporting event on CBS pushes it back and you're stuck watching Andy Rooney.

Skip: "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition," "The Cleveland Show," "Allen Gregory"
"EMHE" is getting shipped off to Fridays at some point, so why bother? And "Cleveland" and "Gregory" are subpar compared to "The Simpsons" and "Family Guy."

Sunday at 9pm

Watch: "The Good Wife"
We liked it on Tuesdays, but we'll redo our entire television-centric lives to find a way to watch this one in real time as all of the political and legal drama unfolds.

DVR: "The Walking Dead"
Zombies! Messed-up humans trying to survive! A big old mess behind the scenes with writers and showrunners trying to survive! You'll want to record this chaos for posterity.

Skip: "Desperate Housewives," "American Dad"
Trust us, you don't need to see how "DH" turns out. As for "Dad," does anyone even watch that show?

Watch It Online: "Family Guy"
Because we actually still enjoy the Griffins -- sometimes.

DVR a Later Airing: "Boardwalk Empire," "Dexter"
Either grab these from On Demand or record them early the next morning, because both of these shows deserve your full attention.

Sunday at 10pm

Watch: "Pan Am"
The better of the "Mad Men"-esque new shows, and while not exactly hard-hitting, it's got a certain breezy style that we can appreciate at this hour.

DVR: "CSI: Miami"
Don't worry, we haven't lost our minds and started recommending that you actually watch David Caruso remove his sunglasses. You just need to DVR it in case "The Good Wife" gets pushed back, as is likely to happen almost every week during football season.

Skip: "Hung," "How to Make It in America"
We've met our quotas on both of these shows, so we're going to forget they exist so our DVRs don't have an aneurysm.

DVR a Later Airing: "Breaking Bad," "Hell on Wheels"
AMC usually reruns its shows right after their first airing, which is just so thoughtful. We'll watch both of these intense dramas later in the evening.

Get a sneak peek at "Once Upon a Time" right here:

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