It’s Garfield’s least-favorite day and also an evening largely consumed by football, but that doesn’t mean there’s a lack of interesting TV to explore. Though for all of it, you’ll find yourself checking out the broadcast scene.
What There is To Watch
All the water-cooler action happens on Sunday, really, but there’s still reality fare like "Dancing With the Stars" and "The Voice," multi-camera sitcoms including "Mom" and "Partners," and some intriguing new genre drama options to keep fans of superheroes, vampires and apocalypses happy.
Veteran of the Night
"Castle" on ABC enters its seventh season this fall, and the series remains a reliable favorite for fans of both mystery procedurals and Nathan Fillion. The sixth season finale ended on a cliffhanger that was both bang and whimper ([Mild spoiler follows] note to show: hinting at the death of a character is more effective when that character’s name is not the title of the show). But its likable cast and light take on murder investigation have helped "Castle" hold its own on Monday nights since its very first year.
Best New Bets
Even if you’re not a massive DC Comics fan, Fox’s "Gotham" may draw you in — the Batman prequel focuses on a young Detective Gordon, played by "The OC" and "Southland"’s Ben McKenzie, as he attempts to help orphaned Bruce Wayne (David Mazouz) and cope with the rise of the city’s criminal element. Think of it as a crime procedural, but the criminals have more interesting names than usual. (Seriously, Jada Pinkett Smith plays a crime lord named Fish Mooney. Fish. Mooney).
Speaking of procedurals, CBS’s "Scorpion" was recently dubbed a "fun-cedural" by executive producer Nick Santora — maybe not the most graceful of phrases. But while the show itself, about a team of socially awkward super-geniuses who help the US government with impossible problems, might struggle to be seen as anything more than "’The Big Bang Theory’ with actual stakes," a flashy and, yes, fun pilot directed by Justin Lin ("Fast and Furious") could win people over.
"Jane the Virgin," on the CW, is unlike anything else airing on Monday — a cheerful, fun post-modern ode to the telenovela, with the amazing Gina Rodriguez at its center as a young woman whose accidental artificial insemination kicks off a sweet-toned soap opera with a lot of potential. Not being like anything else could work to the show’s advantage, and it already has a lot of critical support.
Biggest DVR Conflict
"NCIS: LA" is moving to a new time (so that "NCIS: New Orleans" can take over its slot on Tuesday evening), and it’s not just ladies who love Cool James these days. (Yes, that’s what LL Cool J stands for.) So while last year, NBC’s "The Blacklist" dominated the night, at 10pm folks may find it tough to choose between it, "Castle" and "NCIS: Los Angeles" (at least until November, when "Blacklist" moves to Thursdays). None of these shows have massive buzz with the under-40 set, but when the ratings start coming in, blood may be spilled in this arena.
First to Get Canceled
If "Scorpion" doesn’t find an audience right away, it’s a goner — when a CBS show doesn’t succeed quickly, CBS has a way of losing patience with it. And Fox also is not known for keeping around a new show that’s failed to connect, so if "Gotham" struggles early on, it could face fast cancelation. But otherwise, across the board it’s a solid, if not particularly daring, line-up.
Our Top Pick for Monday
Last year, "Sleepy Hollow" went from dark horse to genuine delight, thanks to a mutual agreement between the show’s cast, creators, viewers and critics that its most insane qualities were also its greatest strengths. Its second season now has to overcome a hurdle its first season didn’t — high expectations — but as long as everyone remains on the same page, and Ichabod Crane still calls Abby Mills "Leftenant," we’ll be happy.
What are you most excited about on Mondays this fall? Tell us in the comments or on Twitter using the hashtag #IWatchFallTV.