Can’t wait 4 months for Mad Men to return? Fill your DVRs with a few other fabulous fall features

Sarah Contreras

 Ah, Fall semester. It is a time of year when we come to expect certain things: baseball playoffs, tailgating, the heat of Reavis Hall and – everyone’s favorite – the fall TV line-up.

But wait a minute. Something already doesn’t feel right. There is a Don Draper-shaped hole in the late summer soul. As a result of tediously long contract negotiations between writer/creator Matthew Weiner and AMC bigwigs, the fabulous Mad Men won’t see its fifth season for another four months.

Alas, yet another shining star will be missing from the fall TV universe. NBC’s 30 Rock also will be delayed until January due to star/writer Tina Fey’s pregnancy. Where most writing teams would simply incorporate their star’s pregnancy into the show, the 30 Rock team wisely discerned that having Liz Lemon be with her child would take away from the show’s flavor.

I know what you’re thinking. “But, Sarah, how will I survive midterms, the World Series and Thanksgiving without my two favorite shows? The horror!” Lucky, lucky you. Allow me to provide you with a handy guide to some established favorites and exciting new series that will be sure to get you through the next

few months.

Gossip Girl

Season Premiere: 7 p.m. Monday (CW)

The show might have gone from delightfully devious to enjoyably predictable but the clothes, locations and cast remain gorgeous pieces of eye candy. I dare you to sit back and pretend you didn’t just develop a new guilty pleasure.

Modern Family

Season Premiere: 8 p.m. Wednesday (ABC)

Join the Pritchett-Dunphy-Tucker-Delgado family as they embark on a third season of hilarious – yet endearingly accurate – portrayals of familial/spousal interactions. The show took in three major Emmys this year, including Outstanding Comedy Series. Really, how can you go wrong?

Dexter

Season Premiere: 9 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 2 (Showtime)

America’s favorite serial killer continues to serve up macabre entertainment this fall. Though last season seemed a tad “Dexter Lite,” Michael C. Hall and company

are sure to entrance in the show’s sixth season.

Pan Am

Series Premiere: 9 p.m. Sunday (ABC)

Jumping on the period piece bandwagon, this new show may sate your Mad Men tooth with ‘60s-style clothes, sets, drama and taboo. Lacking certain authentic touches (ABC will not allow even fake smoking to take place) and heavy-hitter actors, Pan Am will deliver Mad Men-esque style without the darker social and psychological undertones.

Ringer

Series Premiere: 8 p.m. Tuesday (CW)

The CW’s new mystery reunites Sarah Michelle Gellar with the small screen as a woman who witnesses a murder, goes on the run and assumes the life of her (missing!) identical twin sister. What follows is a tangled web of lies, discoveries and probably some great wardrobes. Buffy’s back? Sign me up!