Our rankings for the 10 returning shows we’re most excited to see again.
#10 Modern Family
The 2010 Emmy winning best comedy has perhaps the highest expectations to live up to after its pitch-perfect first season: Can this wacky cast of kids, clowns and curmudgeons and their Emmy winning writers maintain the brilliance and deliver the laughs again? With so many potentially hilarious and traumatic family scenarios yet unexplored, something tells us they can, and will.
#9 It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia
Everyone’s favorite nihilistic a-holes seem to have untold reserves of offensive idiocy, some of which they’ll be kind enough to unleash upon us in season six. This time around, the Sunny gang will tackle all sorts of issues in their trademark screw-up manner, from gay marriage, to a divorce for Dennis, to a delicious Halloween whodunit surrounding Sweet Dee’s pregnancy. We haven’t looked forward to a Sunny mystery this much since the classic “Who Pooped the Bed?” puzzle of season four.
#8 Life Unexpected
One of the most emotionally satisfying shows on TV, the first season was so earnest that it made us cry every week. Hopefully the magic is still there for the second season so we can continue to fall in love with this family.
#7 How I Met Your Mother
After five seasons of no mother (and high-quality laughs, of course), executive producer Carter Bays has promised that season six of How I Met Your Mother will feature some real game-changers, starting with the return of Rachel Bilson as Cindy, whom we all remember as the mysterious mother’s roommate, and even a glimpse at Ted’s future wedding. And for those not on the edge of their seats about Ted’s titular truelove, how about the promise of Robin Sparkles’ “origin story”? Yeah, that’s what I thought.
#6 The Apprentice
After a few seasons of entitled celebrities fighting like dogs on behalf of charities (Hey look, irony!), The Donald’s getting back to basics with a cast of normal, hard-working folks who were all adversely affected by the recent economic downturn. (Hey look, inspirational!) We just hope the show’s tweaked format, which rewards challenge winners with meetings with top execs to discuss business tips and possible job leads, doesn’t totally zap the cut-throat drama from the competition.
At the end of last season Booth and Brennan were finally addressing their relationship, only to be ripped apart for a year. What happened to them, and the rest of the team, during the year abroad? We can’t wait to find out.
The second half of season 2 introduced the alternate universe and transformed Fringe from an interesting sci-fi procedural to a must-watch serialized drama. With the real Olivia trapped on the other side and her evil doppelganger loose in this universe, we can’t wait to see where the story goes.
The most buzzed-about show of the year has some epic stunts planned for its second season (Britney, Billy Joel, maybe even Beatles?), and while some might worry the Gleeks could get too big for their britches, we say: If not on a campy musical teen comedy-drama, then when? Plus, let’s be honest. It takes only three words to get us amped: More. Sue. Sylvester.
#2 The Vampire Diaries
The first season was sleek and sexy, with fast-paced storytelling and lots of gratuitous shirtlessness from stars Paul Wesley and Ian Somerhalder. If season 2 keeps it up, nothing could keep us away from our TVs.
The Dexter cast and crew gave themselves quite the task for season 5: Not only was season 4 an out-and-out masterpiece of writing, acting, drama and suspense, but its tragic trajectory left us all–Dexter included–in pieces after the finale. How will they rebuild after tearing down Dexter’s whole world?