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by Alison Willmore
September 24, 2012 9:05 AM
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5 Best Things to Watch on TV This Week: 'Louie' Ends While Many, Many New Series Begin

Carl Sandburg University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Sure, Sunday always seems to be overcrowded with high-end TV, with "Boardwalk Empire," "Hell on Wheels," "Copper" and "Treme," not to mention "Homeland" and "Dexter," both returning on Sept. 30, but what to watch the rest of the time? Every Monday, we bring you five noteworthy highlights from the other six days of the week.

"American Masters": "The Day Carl Sandburg Died"
Monday, September 24, at 10pm on PBS

On the 45th anniversary of Carl Sandburg's death, PBS' "American Masters" program looks back at the life and legacy of the three-time Pulitzer Prize-winning poet and author. This episode features interviews with Sandburg’s daughter Helga Sandburg Crile, Pete Seeger, the late Studs Terkel and an array of poets and scholars who share their thoughts on Sandburg and his work, and who defend his since-faded reputation as a writer. Among other things, Sandburg was also a collector and curator of American traditionals, and the PBS website offers a playlist of the author singing.

"Last Resort": Series Premiere
Thursday, September 27, at 8pm on ABC

One of the most promising of the fall's new broadcast series, "Last Resort" is the brainchild of "The Shield" creator Shawn Ryan, a talented voice in television who should be able to do interesting things with this drama about a nuclear sub gone rogue, presuming it sticks around long enough to develop. Even if the military aspect isn't your thing, this should be worth checking out for the presence of the great Andre Braugher, who's been sizzling on the small screen since his breakout turn as Frank Pembleton back on "Homicide: Life on the Street."

"Louie": Season Finale
Thursday, September 27, at 10pm on FX

Now with new Emmy awards! "Louie" ends another excellent season with "New Year's Eve," an hour-long finale in which Louie struggles through the holidays. "Louie" experimented with a longer running time last season with the USO-centric "Ducklings," and it'll be interesting to see what Louis C.K. does with the extra time here after the terrific "Late Night" arc of the past three episodes. 

"Elementary": Series Premiere
Thursday, September 27, at 10:01pm on CBS

The fact that this Sherlock Holmes modernization is on stodgy CBS isn't the most promising aspect of this series, but all eyes will be on Jonny Lee Miller and Lucy Liu as they attempt to give the UK "Sherlock" an American challenger. "Elementary" brings Holmes to contemporary Brooklyn, where he attempts to recover from addiction while helping the police solve cases. Liu's Dr. Watson becomes the sober companion hired to keep the brilliant, eccentric detective out of trouble.

"Fringe": Season Premiere
Friday, September 28, at 9pm on Fox

J. J. Abrams, Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci's alternate realities series kicks off its final 13-episode season this week with the catchily titled "Transilience Thought Unifier Model-11," written by showrunner J. H. Wyman and directed by Miguel Sapochnik ("Repo Men"). The season premiere will return to the year 2036, when the Observers now rule and the Fringe division has become a rebel resistance. The episode will take place the day after the last scene in the fourth season finale, “Letters of Transit," so you best be caught up on all the metaphysical twists and turns before jumping in.

Also worth a look: It's the big week for network premieres and series returns -- among those back for new seasons are "2 Broke Girls" on Monday, September 24, at 8pm on CBS; "New Girl" on Tuesday, September 25, at 8pm on Fox; "The Middle" on Wednesday, September 26, at 8pm and "Modern Family" at 9pm on ABC; "South Park" on Wednesday, September 26, at 10pm on Comedy Central; "Key and Peele" on Wednesday, September 26, at 10:30pm on Comedy Central; "Scandal" on Thursday, September 27, at 10pm on ABC; and "Blue Bloods" on Friday, September 28, at 10pm on CBS. Other new series also kick off this week, including "The Mindy Project" on Tuesday, September 25, at 9:30pm on Fox and "Vegas" on Tuesday, September 25, at 10pm on CBS.

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