Eek, It’s Premiere Week! 6 Secrets For Surviving The Onslaught

'NCIS,' 'Castle,' Fringe' and 'Community' all face stiff competition as the fall TV season really gets underway (CBS/ABC/Fox/NBC)

'NCIS,' 'Castle,' Fringe' and 'Community' all face stiff competition as the fall TV season really gets underway (CBS/ABC/Fox/NBC)

‘Tis the time of year that TV lovers lick their lips over yet also approach with some sense of dread: premiere week.

In years past, the networks staggered their launches to a greater degree. But this fall, they have by and large returned to an old-school schedule in which everyone (save for early bird The CW) unveils most of their shiny wares over the course of seven days, starting Monday, September 20.

Lest you think we exaggerate, here are the numbers: More than 40 returning shows are launching new episodes this week, while some 17 brand-new series are making their debut. Here’s the rub: A lot of them are airing against each other. The horror!

It’s so much to process. You ask yourself, “How can I possibly watch everything I want to watch?” For hardcore TVmongers, the hard truth is that you can’t. But here are some tips to peruse as you plan for the onslaught of shows to come.

1. Get The Lay Of The Land: Grab your trusty printed guide to TV or weekly entertainment magazine, flip to Monday, and let it allllll sink in. (Fancast has a chrono list of premieres right here.) What’s up against what? What shows have moved? (For example, ‘Big Bang Theory’ is now airs Thursdays opposite ‘Bones,’ ‘Community’ and ‘Vampire Diaries.’) Then flip to Tuesday (‘NCIS’ vs. ‘Glee’ and the cool-looking ‘No Ordinary Family’?!)… Wednesday… and so on. Oh, and don’t overlook the quality fare on cable! A lesser man will forget that it’s ‘Good Wife’ versus ‘Parenthood’ and ‘Sons of Anarchy.’ Need a quick glimpse of daily highlights? Check out Fancast’s “What To Watch” column every morning.

Want to get an early peek at prime time’s new arrivals? From now through September 30th, Comcast On Demand is previewing new shows from CBS, Fox, and NBC.

Fall TV Premiere Dates: Mark Your Calendar!

2. Assess Your Resources: Still working a VHS recorder? I weep for you. I do. These days are all about survival of the fittest DVRs. But even a single hard drive will be hard-pressed to gobble up all the goodness you don’t watch live; increasingly, people are putting a second box (usually in the bedroom) to accommodate overflow.

3. Don’t Be Afraid To Call In For Back-Up: Don’t make your DVR shoulder all the burden when it doesn’t have to. Scores of your favorite shows – including ‘NCIS,’ ‘Grey’s Anatomy,’ ‘Bones’ and ‘Chuck’ – are available for viewing here at Fancast the day after broadcast. (Besides, online viewing is a handy option for, say, your lunch break at the office, utilizing that glorious high-speed Ethernet hook-up.) Another option: Watching On Demand the shows you want, when you want. In fact, Comcast subscribers enjoy the added convenience of using My TV to Create A Watch List (and be alerted to new On Demand and online offerings) and Set Your DVR Online.

Who Will Lose The Fall Season’s Nastiest Timeslot Battles?

4. Know Your Surroundings: When debating what to watch “live” on any given night, you may want to take into consideration the traditional watercooler topics at your workplace. I mean, why rush to watch William Shatner’s ‘$#*! My Dad Says’ when you know that Biff, Leonardo and Esther from accounting will be quoting heavily from ’30 Rock’ come Friday morning?

5. Make Hard Decisions: As forewarned above, it is entirely possible that you can’t capture every piece of TV content you may think you need to see. You know the rule about throwing out any clothing item you haven’t worn in three years? Likewise, it may be time to “break up” with ‘SVU’ if you’ve already got ‘Criminal Minds,’ ‘Modern Family’ and ‘Hellcats’ on your plate. Don’t fret, Fancast’s crack news team will alert you if Benson and Stabler ever set a date to do the deed.

Interviews, News and Previews: Check Out Fancast’s Fall TV Coverage

6. Always Be Reevaluating: This is perhaps the most critical piece of advice: The decisions you make this week aren’t set in stone. This is merely the first wave. (Starting the week of Sept. 27, there will be at least nine other premieres entering the mix!) Has ‘The Biggest Loser’ turned into a big bore? Is ‘Nikita’ losing some of her spunk? Do you have a single pal still bothering with ‘Brothers & Sisters’? Keep your finger on the pulse of pop culture and adjust your plans accordingly.

We wish every one of you luck as you brave Premiere Week, and rest assured that for the days to come we’ll be serving up fresh fare of our own – Fall TV features, interviews, previews and reviews to help you prioritize your wants and desires. I’d love nothing more than to ease your anxiety by saying, “Don’t worry, it’s just TV”… but there’s no such thing as “just TV.” TV is awesome.

The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Comcast.

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