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Five Must-Watch TV Shows This Fall

Mindy Kaling stars in The Mindy Project.
Mindy Kaling stars in The Mindy Project.
FOX

It's difficult to choose this fall's must-watch roster, since there's so much happening -- lots of it good, lots less so. In its dismal Friday night slot, the still-brilliant Fringe will embark on its final season, highly recommended for X-Files fans, JJ Abrams followers, and those wanting to gawk at a grown-up Pacey. While hopelessly devoted to the show, we can't recommend it as viewers just hopping on-board will have no idea what's happening -- à la Lost. That's the same reason Boardwalk Empire isn't on the list. (Catch up so we can talk about it, for eff's sake.)

Vegas is getting good reviews, but we aren't quite sold yet. Ben and Kate looks like a mehfest -- same goes for The New Normal, Elementary, and Guys With Kids. We're officially bored with Modern Family. We have to wait a thousand years for the last episodes of Breaking Bad. We're nervous about a post-Dan Harmon Community. Gossip Girl's final season will suck, but damn if we won't sit through every single ep. Whitney is still happening -- ugh. Then there's the reality drivel. Some of it we love (Bravo kinda owns our souls). And some of it we shudder to imagine (a reality show about Whitney Houston's family called The Houstons: On Our Own will be the worst).

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What to watch this season? Actually, we do have a handful of recommendations. A mixed bag of new shows and returning faves.

The Mindy Project

Mindy Kaling's sitcom is like a weird, drunk, kinda dirty

Mary Tyler Moore

. And we love it. Kaling is an obstetrician who's single, mingles with douchebags, and is really good at making bad decisions -- including giving a tipsy speech at her ex-boyf's wedding. See it Tuesdays on FOX.

 
Nashville

If our love of almost all things

Real Housewives

has revealed anything semi-surprising about us, it's that we sure enjoy cattiness. And, on that,

Nashville

seems like it'll deliver. Aging country star Rayna James (Connie Britton) feels threatened by Taylor Swiftian up-and-comer Juliette Barnes (Hayden Panettiere). It's very

All About Eve

with a heaping helping of Southern music industry intrigue. Watch it on ABC on Wednesdays.

 
Parks and Recreation

If you haven't been a consistent viewer of

P&R

, it's an easy, quick show to catch up on. Have a Hulu/Netflix marathon, and you'll delight in Amy Poehler's Leslie Knope and her government- and waffle-loving ways. If you're in a pinch, skip season one. And if you've watched past seasons but are unsure of your allegiance, listen here: Lucy Lawless, who was originally supposed to play Tammy One, will appear as a Ron Swanson love interest. Convinced now? Yeah, we thought so.

 
Up All Night

While we're at it, we recommend

Up All Night

for solid writing, lots of Maya Rudolph, and because by seeing Poehler and Will Arnett on the same channel (NBC) on the same night (Thursdays) we can all pretend they're not really divorcing. Since you're spending your Thursday in front of the TV anyway, catch

30 Rock

, too. Not

The Office

, though. Never

The Office

.

 
Last Resort

Yeah, the premise is questionable. And, yes, the title sounds like a Neil Hamburger punchline. But with Shawn Ryan behind this political submarine-island drama, we're willing to give it a shot. The man is responsible for

Terriers

, and for that we'll root for him (almost) without question. Here's how it goes: Scott Speedman and Andre Braugher operate a sub that goes AWOL after refusing to nuke Pakistan. They end up on an island. And probably in lots of trouble. The show airs on ABC Thursdays.

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