Next Monday, U.S. television’s fall schedule will officially begin. Old shows will return, new shows will premiere, and network executives at ABC, CBS, NBC, the CW, and FOX; television critics; and the public will eagerly look to see how things shake out.

While I have not been privy to any advance episodes of the shows set to air this season, I certainly have my own list of series set to record on my DVR! Those shows are listed below, in the order of things I am most excited to see. Are some of these on your “Must See TV” list too? If so, which ones?! And if not, what are you looking forward to? 

Gotham (Premieres)

I am a sucker for Batman, always have been and always will be. While the Mysterious Mr. C has recently succeeded in turning me into a Marvel fan, some of my earliest cartoon memories are of the caped crusader. While FOX’s heavily-hyped new show Gotham has been described as an “origin story” – focusing more on James Gordon’s rise to commissioner – I am still ridiculously excited to see it! I am most intrigued by the idea of looking into the psychology of characters that we already know and love, and love to hate, and seeing what makes them tick. While Gotham is a show about Batman, yet without Batman, the Hollywood Reporter’s Tim Goodman notes that:

“Only a person inept at grasping the concept would watch Gotham and complain about it not being a true Batman series. Gotham’s success is not in distracting viewers from what’s not there — which is what Agents of SHIELD does with its better episodes — but in creating a nascent world where familiar figures of yore are introduced. The pilot makes that world compelling. The writing and the actors make that world unique, a series unto itself, not a Batman series that doesn’t have Batman in it.”

Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD (Returns)

Like many people out there (including Goodman apparently!), I had a bit of a love/hate relationship with ABC’s Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD when it first came out last year. I watched it more because C wanted to see it, and because I enjoyed seeing Clark Gregg play Agent Phil Coulson. It took me some time to identify with the characters, and I found some of the story lines to be less than compelling. All of that changed when the show tied into Captain America: The Winter Soldier. SHIELD finally had an immediate enemy to fight against – itself/Hydra – and every episode suddenly left me wanting more.

This season, I’m curious to see how Coulson and his team are dealing with the fallout and where they are headed in the fight against Hydra. But I am also interested in seeing if/how the show serves as a lead-in for the next Avengers film The Age of Ultron, which comes out in May 2015. If the series is used merely as an extended trailer for the film, I don’t think it will survive for too many more seasons. But if it is used to effectively connect us to another part of the Marvel Universe, the show will likely continue to keep us hooked.

Sleepy Hollow (Returns)

I’m a bibliophile and a history nerd so FOX’s Sleepy Hollow was entirely in my wheelhouse last season. Sure some of the episodes were a little far-fetched and there was a lot more demonology involved that I was expecting, but I loved the interactions between the re-awakened Revolutionary War-era Ichabod Crane (Tom Mison) and modern-day Abbie Mills (Nicole Beharie). Their friendship was entirely believable to me, and I thought the writers did a great job making Ichabod’s commentaries on how things had changed in more than 230 years cute, not cheesy. And the twists that came near the end of the season were things that I honestly never saw coming. The finale left C and I speechless and I can’t wait to see where things pick up and what happens next.

Once Upon a Time (Returns)

I’ve enjoyed ABC’s Once Upon a Time since it first aired in 2011, for many of the same reasons that I’m looking forward to Gotham. The show’s creators, Edward Kitsis and Adam Horowitz, take characters that we all think we know from our various fairy tales and give us the back stories into why these heroes and villains are the way they are. They’ve also imagined a world where they all co-exist and it has been fun to see which stories make the cut.

While they have tackled classics like Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Little Red Riding Hood, and Pinocchio, this season will see Disney’s Frozen come to the small screen. (No surprise at all really, considering the film’s juggernaut status and the fact that Disney is ABC’s parent company.) It’s not entirely clear to me how Anna and Elsa will relate to the people living in Storybrooke, or how long their story arc will last, but needless to say, it will certainly be a different portrayal than the one you’ve seen before.

NOTE: The season premiere of Once Upon a Time will be preceded by a special “Storybrooke Has Frozen Over” episode, which will catch you up on everything that happened in Season 3.

The Flash (Premieres)

While I once watched the WB/CW religiously for shows like Roswell and Veronica Mars, it’s mainly become my go-to for The Vampire Diaries in recent years. That will likely change this fall though with the arrival of The Flash, one of the shows C is excited for. I will admit, the teaser trailers do make the show look pretty bad-ass, but I honestly don’t know much about the character’s original story line or how things may be different this time around. I asked C for his take on things, and he said he’s most interested in seeing how the Flash is portrayed in this series since the last one was pretty campy. And like many of the other shows we’re both looking forward to, it’s an origin story, explaining how Barry Allen became the Flash and likely giving us a somewhat new take on an old favorite.

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