Boardwalk Empire | HBO | Sundays @ 9 | Since its pilot, Boardwalk has toed the line between good and great, but following an explosive and bloody denouement to last season, this Prohibition period piece should finally cement its place as one of cable’s best dramas. The most encouraging development this year is that Steve Buscemi’s Nucky Thompson has partnered with Michael K. Williams’s Chalky White, one of the few characters to bring a unique attitude and flair to their role. Newcomers Jeffrey Wright and Ron Livingston appear to be worthy antagonists, but this will always be Buscemi’s show, for better or worse.
Sons of Anarchy | FX | Tuesdays @ 10 | Outspoken showrunner Kurt Sutter has long said that he envisions Sons as a seven-season story, so expect blood to be shed ad nauseam going into the penultimate act. This has never been the smartest show on TV by any measure, but it never intended to be, and is always good for a mindless hour of gunfights and motorcycle chases. This year, expect a ruthless, jagged Jax (Charlie Hunnam) to battle to keep his family together now that wife Tara (Maggie Siff) and stepfather Clay (Ron Perlman) are behind bars.
DVR OVERLOAD ALERT | Sunday, September 29 was already going down in television history as it’s the night of the highly anticipated Breaking Bad finale. But fear not, there will always be something to watch. Too much, in fact. There are premieres galore before, during, and after Bad ends: Showtime’s fantastic Homeland returns for season 3 and is followed by the debut of Lizzy Caplan’s new series, Masters of Sex; the final season of Eastbound & Down starts on HBO, followed by the aforementioned Hello Ladies; CBS’ lauded The Good Wife kicks off season 5 following the premiere of the 23rd edition of The Amazing Race; The Simpsons begin its 25th year; and the Patriots play the Falcons on NBC in prime time. Got all that? Good, because none of it matters — we’ll all be watching Breaking Bad and then crying ourselves to sleep.