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Seven Days of Television: September 23 to September 29

A select viewing guide to the next seven days of television

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MONDAY SEPTEMBER 23 Mom (CBS, City, 9:30 p.m.) Welcome to the small screen, Anna Faris. Following a semi-respectable run in features (most notably in the Scary Movie film franchise), the winsome comic actress is the reason to watch this new sitcom with long-range potential. Faris is a perfect fit for the central role of Christy, a newly sober single mom raising two young kids while working as a waitress at a swank Napa Valley restaurant. Christy is taking one day at a time but her progress into sobriety is tested with the abrupt return of her slattern recovering alcoholic mother Bonnie (Allison Janney) into the household. Watch for former Third Rock from the Sun fixture French Stewart as the restaurant’s short-tempered chef.

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TUESDAY SEPTEMBER 24 The Goldbergs (ABC, CTV, 9 p.m.) Rewind the clock to 1985, the era of big hair, the Rubik’s Cube and the birth of MTV. This new sitcom revolves around the life of nerdy 11-year-old Adam (Sean Giambrone) who uses the family’s recently-acquired video camera to document the daily routine of his dysfunctional family. Mom Beverly (Wendi McClendon-Covey) is your classic overprotective Jewish mama; father Murray (Jeff Garlin) is a blustery type who equates yelling with parenting; while Adam’s older sister Erica (Hayley Orrantia) and brother Barry (Troy Gentile) are a tramp and a geek, respectively. Sweetly simple in the vein of The Wonder Years, and destined to become appointment viewing.

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WEDNESDAY SEPTEMBER 25 Modern Family (ABC, City, 9 p.m.) All good things come to those who wait. Back for its fifth season (and newly-arrived five days a week in second-run syndication), TV’s smartest sitcom super-sizes to an hour length tonight. So what’s new with the Pritchett clan? Well, Phil (Ty Burrell) and Claire (Julie Bowen) are trying to arrange a kid-free week by sending all three of their kids elsewhere; Jay (Ed O’Neill) and Gloria (Sofia Vergara) are planning to do likewise by shipping Manny (Rico Rodriguez) off to Colombia for a week; and Mitch (Jesse Tyler Ferguson) and Cam (Eric Stonestreet)? Well, they’re busy just being Mitch and Cam. Welcome back.

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THURSDAY SEPTEMBER 26 The Michael J. Fox Show (NBC, 9 p.m.) Will viewers fall in love with Michael J. Fox all over again? The Edmonton-born Fox returns to the medium that made him famous (on the eighties sitcom Family Ties, in case you forgot) in this new sitcom and the premise is pretty much a case of art imitating life: Fox is only actor in Hollywood who could assume the role of Mike Henry, a formerly popular New York news anchor who put his career on hold after he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s (as Fox did himself in real life). Five years later, Mike wants to resume his TV career, which he manages to pull off with the support of his old boss Harris (Wendell Pierce). It’s nice to report that Fox’s comic timing remains intact.

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FRIDAY SEPTEMBER 27 MasterChef Junior (Fox, CTV, 8 p.m.) Not to be confused with MasterChef, which wrapped its fourth season two weeks ago, this spinoff edition drops the top junior chefs in America into a heated cooking competition. Contestants must be between eight and 13 and willing to submit to the verbal barrage and culinary critique dispensed by regular MasterChef judges Gordon Ramsay, Graham Elliot and Joe Bastianich. Tonight’s opener challenges each of the 24 young chefs to prepare his or her signature dish, which will result in half of them being sent home. Good luck, kids.

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SATURDAY SEPTEMBER 28 Saturday Night Live (NBC, Global, 11:30 p.m.) Yes, there is still life in the late-night sketch comedy racket. Back tonight for its 39 th (!) season, SNL remains the primary reason for people to stay up late on Saturday nights. Former cast regular Tina Fey returns to host the season-opener and the musical guests are Montreal-based indie rockers Arcade Fire, back for their fourth appearance. Note: Immediately following SNL, NBC will air a half-hour Arcade Fire concert special in support of the band’s upcoming album.

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SUNDAY SEPTEMBER 29 The Simpsons (Fox, Global, 8 p.m.) How do The Simpsons just keep going and going in primetime? With sharp writing that routinely taps into other strains of pop culture for inspiration. Tonight’s 25 th -season opener pays homage to the Emmy-winning cable series Homeland with Homer returning from a nuclear-power-plant convention a weirdly distant and changed man. Naturally Lisa is suspicious, so she enlists the services of a tightly-wound FBI agent (voiced by Kristen Wiig) to help her discover the truth. The season premiere is followed by the return of the animated series Bob’s Burgers (8:30 p.m.), Family Guy (9 p.m.) and American Dad (9:30 p.m.)

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