It’s that time again! Oh, I’m not talking pencils and books, but something far more exciting: That’s right, the new TV season is officially upon us! And that means a bevy of gorgeous men will soon be parading through primetime on all new shows. Here are some old favorites and fresh new faces to keep your eyes glued to the set. Just don’t lick the screen, ’cause then it gets all smeary and hard to see.
The Men: Ioan Gruffudd (Andrew), Kristoffer Polaha (Henry), Nestor Carbonell (Victor), Mike Holter (Malcolm), Jason Dohring (Mr. Carpenter)
The Show: Sarah Michelle Gellar plays estranged twins—rich socialite Siobhan and hooker-addict Bridget (recovering hooker/addict, natch)—in this sudsy, twisty mistaken identity thriller. When Siobhan drowns suddenly, Bridget, on the run from her past, steps into her sis’s Louboutins. But Siobhan had some secrets too…
The Deal: Yeah, yeah, we know: Buffy’s back. But the supporting cast offers even more eyeball-appeasing reasons to tune in. Gruffudd, aka Horatio Hornblower or Mr. Fantastic, plays Siobhan’s husband, Andrew, and his cold marital bed suddenly heats up with Bridge in it. Turns out Siobhan was also schtupping her best friend’s hubby, Henry, a passionate writer with a bit of a temper. It’ll be interesting to see Polaha, the lovable overgrown frat guy from Life Unexpected last season, play a stalkerish bad boy. Malcolm plays Bridget’s sole confidante, her AA sponsor, mentor and possibly former lover. Carbonell is the cop—WITH THE WORLD’S LONGEST EYELASHES—who is on Bridget’s tail. But will he be on her tail, if you know what I mean? Maybe. Or maybe it’s just Maybelline.
The Ship to Watch: Andrew/Siobhan, Andrew/Bridget, Max/Siobhan, Max/Bridget, Victor/Bridget, Malcolm/Bridget… Oh, take your pick. If Buffy had Angel, Spike, and Xander in reserves, SMG playing TWINS just maximizes the shipping potential tenfold. Alas, all you Buffy/Logan Echolls crossover fanfic writers might be disappointed. I’m guessing the charming Dohring, who was just announced as a recurring hot young teacher, will tangle with Siobhan’s stepdaughter, Juliet, instead. (Although it is the CW, so romancing them both? Not out of the question.)
The Shirtlessness Potential: 100% - The chest-ogling starts early with this one. Gruffudd strips down right in the pilot episode. Can the others be far behind?
Premieres Monday, September 13th at 9 pm on The CW
The Men: Nick Wechsler (Jack), Josh Bowman (Daniel)
The Show: Emily Van Camp (Everwood, Brothers & Sisters) plays a young woman who’s bent on getting vengeance against a wealthy Hamptons clan who framed her father for terrorism. She insinuates herself into their lives and begins wreaking havoc. But if revenge is a dish best served cold, the flames of attraction could make things a bit toasty.
The Deal: It’s a classic rich man/poor man showdown. Will she go for the polished playboy Daniel or blue collar bartender Jack? There are snags with both possibilities: Daniel is the golden son of the family she’s sworn to destroy and Jack’s planning to sail away and never come back. Weschler (who may be remembered from the now-defunct WB’s Roswell) and Bowman (last seen on ABC Family’s Make It or Break It) are both easy on the eyes, who could blame her for wanting them both?
The Ship to Watch: Emily has sparks with both men, but it’s her connection with Jack—flashbacks show us their first meeting as kids—that has the soulmatey vibe that’s hard to resist. Proof? His dog already loves her and he named his boat after her.
The Shirtlessness Potential: 90% - Two men get shirtless in the pilot, but unfortunately neither are our heartthrob heroes. Still, it’s summer in the Hamptons; can skinny-dipping and beach volleyball games be far behind?
Premieres Wednesday, September 21st at 10 pm on ABC
HART OF DIXIE
The Men: Scott Porter (George), Wilson Bethel (Wade)
The Show: Did someone say Sweet Home Alabama? The OC’s—and now bona fide movie star—Rachel Bilson plays a young NY doctor who—through a series of wacky hijinx—ends up taking over a practice in small town ’Bama. She marvels at her new community’s strange, quaint, country-fried ways, but is there any doubt that she’ll end up in love with the place by the finale?
The Deal: This is your classic rom com shrunk down for the small screen with plenty of banter. In the pilot, Zoe has two totally different meet-cutes with her men. Bad boy Wade is the noisy neighbor who plays guitar and with whom it’s hate-at-first-sight. But good boy George literally sweeps her off her feet and saves her from a rogue alligator. Former soap star Bethel is ridiculously pretty, but Bilson and Porter, who won hearts as Jason “Six” Street, the paralyzed quarterback in Friday Night Lights, are both so winsome as sweet tea. Bonus: The easy-on-the-eyes Cress Williams (also from FNL, but playing a much nicer guy here) co-stars as the town’s mayor.
The Ship to Watch: Triangle time! Wade is the quick-burn flame. Zoe can’t stand him, but ends up making out in his car in the pilot. George is the slow-burning flame as—alas, alack—he has a fiancée, the dastardly deb Lemon (Jaime King). But it’s an easy money bet that there’ll be conflicted feelings—and maybe even a stolen kiss or two, by the end of the season. Which one will she choose in the long run? Way too soon to tell, but… Porter’s a much bigger name and good things usually come to those who wait.
The Shirtlessness Potential: 80% - Well, I do declare, it does get awfully hot in the South. Those steamy temperatures are sure to lead to some stripdowns sooner or later.
Premieres Monday, September 26th at 9 pm on The CW
ONCE UPON A TIME
The Man: Josh Dallas (Prince Charming/John Doe)
The Show: Emma Swan, a bad ass bail bondswoman (House’s Jennifer Morrison), is having one hell of a birthday. The son she gave up 10 years ago comes to her door with a crazy story about a town where the residents are really characters. No, really. From Snow White to Rumplestiltskin, they’re straight out of the fairy tales in Storybrooke, Maine, but they don’t know it. But Emma’s son holds the key to their history—and Emma’s own murky lineage.
The Deal: Fresh face Dallas plays Prince Charming, people. I mean, come on now! The pilot opens with him on horseback, cutting a fine figure in a cape, and charging to the rescue to wake his love, Snow White, with a kiss! He’s also good in a crisis. When the evil Queen plots to steal their infant, he sacrifices himself to save the baby. Luckily he’s got a second chance at life in modern Maine when he turns up as a comatose John Doe in the hospital where his former princess bride volunteers.
The Ship to Watch: The Prince and Snow White (played by the always engaging Ginnifer Goodwin) have a love that spans the ages. How could you not root for them?
The Shirtlessness Potential: 30% -Disney (which owns ABC) is pretty much all about the wholesome. But perhaps Emma will have a hot hookup with the sexy sheriff in modern times?
Premieres Sunday, October 23rd at 9 pm on ABC
THE SECRET CIRCLE
The Men: Thomas Dekker (Adam), Gale Howard (Charles)
The Show: A teen girl (Life Unexpected’s Britt Robertson) learns she’s descended from witches and must learn to access her own magical powers as the key to an epic battle between good and evil.
The Deal: It feels like a stretch calling Dekker a man (though he’s in his twenties), because he’s always playing teenagers, but those who like ’em young will be pleased. He gives good broody smolder. For those of us who prefer our men like our wine, Gale Howard plays the mysterious Charles. Is he devilishly handsome or just the devil? Time will tell. Showrunner Kevin Williamson is also promising some very adult themes and that he won’t “kill off all the grownups” like they do on The Vampire Dairies.
The Ship to Watch: Adam and Cassie have destiny (and matching bloodlines?) on their side, but Adam also has a complicated back story with high school queen bee (and fellow witch) Diana. As for Charles…well, his true love might just be evildoing.
The Shirtlessness Potential: 70% - The CW knows its audience (strongly female) and how to use its best assets. If Damon and Stefan can shed their threads every episode, this supernatural series will likely follow right in its footsteps.
Premieres Thursday, September 15th at 9 pm on The CW
Need more mancandy in your viewing schedule? Eddie Cibrian (The Playboy Club), Patrick Wilson (A Gifted Man), Dylan McDermott (American Horror Story) , David Guntioli (Grimm), Damian Lewis (Homeland), and Alan Tudyk (Subergatory) are all returning to TV this autumn for your viewing enjoyment as well.
Tara Gelsomino is a reader, writer, pop culture junkie, and internet addict. You can tweet her at @taragel.