While a season cliffhanger can mean literal death for a character, it’s surely a figurative death to audiences who impatiently wait out the summer in order to find out what happened. At least there’s now the normative summer television season to take some of the edge off. If you’ve been biting your nails all summer long, though, David Atlanta recaps where some of your favorite shows left off and hints at the directions they’ll be taking this season.
Castle (returns September 24th 10pm on ABC)
Where we left off: Audiences spent almost four seasons anticipating the moment crime author Richard Castle (Firefly’s Nathan Fillion) and Detective Kate Beckett (Stana Katic) would give into their passions. Their mounting sexual tension culminated in one of the most satisfying cliffhangers in television history because we all know happily ever after rarely exists in TV land.
What’s next: Beckett’s relentless search for her mother’s killer, which has resulted in quite a few near death experiences, will finally be resolved in Season 5. This doesn’t translate for a happy ending since both Castle and Beckett have obsessed over this for seasons. Creator Andrew W. Marlowe promises that this revelation will “spin our characters in a different emotional direction.” Also, Beckett and Castle will have to contend with that night and maneuver through their new relationship.
Dexter (returns September 30th 9pm on Showtime)
Where we left off: Television’s sexiest serial killer Dexter Morgan (Michael C. Hall) was last seen plunging a knife into guest-star Colin Hanks as his adoptive sister Deb (Jennifer Carpenter) rushed to profess her (creepy) love for him.
What’s next: Dexter’s been caught and now Deb must wrestle between her family loyalty, her newfound feelings and being Lieutenant of Homicide. Also, if that wasn’t enough, Deb and Dexter have some tricky maneuvering when LaGuerta reopens the Bay Harbor Butcher Case. Expect some major Deb breakdowns after loving two serial killers, her entangled relationship with Quinn and the FBI daddy issues she had to deal with – we can imagine Deb saying “what the f*&!@” on more than one occasion.
Revenge (returns on September 30th 9pm on ABC)
Where we left off: Revenge’s addictive first season ended with a bang, literally. Victoria Grayson (deftly played by Madeleine Stowe who totally deserved an Emmy nomination) took off in a plane with plans to turn on her husband when the plane exploded. Is Victoria alive? Did Charlotte overdose? Whose baby is Amanda Clarke – who is really Emily Thorne – carrying? How is Amanda’s mother still alive? These are the highlights of the many questions Revenge left unanswered at the end of the season.
What’s next: Jennifer Jason Leigh joins the cast as Emily’s mom. Think Single White Female all over again as Leigh’s character is promised to have “deep psychological issues”. A new Grayson joins the clan as the son from Conrad’s first marriage visits the Hamptons, Nolan gets a lady love interest, and a new man in Emily’s life are just some of the plot twists expected for season 2. Producers may be keeping mum about Victoria but since the season opens with summer in the Hamptons, things wouldn’t be the same without her parties!
Once Upon a Time (returns Sunday September 30th 8pm ABC)
Where we left off: True Love’s Kiss broke the spell on Storybrooke when Emma kissed Henry in the hospital after he ate a poisoned apple meant for her. The rotating cast of fairytale characters remembered who they were but Rumplestiltskin tricked Emma into giving him True Love’s Potion which unleashed a whole new wave of magic.
What’s next: Now that everyone remembers who they are, expect a myriad of new storylines to abound as the residents of Storybrooke deal with their identities. Also expect some new characters including Captain Hook, Sleeping Beauty, Prince Phillip, Sir Lancelot, and Mulan. And if Sleeping Beauty figures prominently into Season 2, let’s hope for more Kristin Bauer van Straten (True Blood’s Pam) as Maleficent.
The Good Wife (returns September 30th 9pm CBS)
Where we left off: Kalinda was locked and loaded awaiting the return of her estranged husband. After a brief office romance with Will, Alicia contemplates returning to Peter.
What’s next: Expect Kalinda’s past to play a prominent part of this season as Marc Warren guests stars as the shadowy estranged husband we’ve yet to see. Also, a bevy of guest stars – including Kristin Chenoweth, Nathan Lane and Maura Tierney – figure prominently into the Peter Florrick campaign, which kicks into high gear.
The Vampire Diaries (returns October 11th 8pm CW)
Where we left off: The residents of Mystic Falls can’t catch a break. Elena and Matt crash their car and when Stefan rushed to save them, she had him save Matt. At the same time, Dr. Fell confides in Damon that she treated Elena with vampire blood. Ruh-roh! Also Bonnie kept Klaus alive using Tyler’s body to save her friends and it looks like Jeremy switched sides when helping Alaric.
What’s next: Nina Dobrev has played vamp before when she tackled the role of Katherine but now Elena must face transition, creating a whole new dynamic with the characters. Expect some new faces including Connor a new vampire hunter- a friend for Jeremy, perhaps? Also expect a PG True Blood as Elena has her first “hot vampire sex”.
The Walking Dead (returns October 14th 9pm AMC)
Where we left off: Rick killed Shane, but Shane came back as a zombie – meaning everyone was already infected. After everyone deserted the farm during a zombie attack, Andrea, who was separated from the group, was saved by a mysterious hooded figure.
What’s next: The setting for Season 3 is the prison seen in the final moments of the finale. New catchers include The Governor (David Morrissey) who Rick and the group must deal with in order to have a new safe haven of sorts. Also expect Michonne (Danai Gurira), the hooded figure that saved Andrea, to figure heavily into Season 3 and a deeper storyline with Andrea. Season 3 will also explore whether or not Rick can maintain his humanity.
American Horror Story (returns October 17th 10pm FX)
Where we left off: Ryan Murphy and company completely wrapped up season one (which is why the show was categorized as a miniseries for the Emmy Awards) leaving viewers wondering what would happen next on their favorite freak/fright fest.
What’s next: American Horror Story: Asylum kicks off in October. While details are scarce, Jessica Lange returns as a nun running this sure-to -be creepy institution. Some favorites including Zachary Quinto, Evan Peters and Sarah Paulson return to join a new cast of characters including Adam Levine and Chloe Sevigny. Maybe AHS will be able to outlast the Murphy curse since it’s an entirely new premise.