EW Staff
September 12, 2003 AT 04:00 AM EDT

It is said that in ancient times, primitive people would tremble in fear each winter, terrified that they had angered the gods and that the warmth of the sun would never return. Here at EW, we experience a similar panic at the end of every summer. As August drags by and we watch the umpteenth rerun of Friends or Alias or — and this is when we know it’s getting bad — According to Jim, we begin to worry that maybe, just maybe, we’ve failed to appease the network gods and there’ll never be a new episode of episodic television again. And then lo, the cassettes begin to arrive. The networks send us preview tapes of their new series — 37 in all — and we rejoice. They love us enough to give us Alicia Silverstone as an attorney-cum-yenta! And Jason Bateman as the head of a bizarrely warped family! And frequently shirtless Calvin Klein model Travis Fimmel as a frequently shirtless Tarzan! Unlike the sun, some of these are unlikely to return next year. So we’ve singled out the ones we think are worth getting attached to — plus, of course, the rundown on all the returning series. Yes, people, network television has returned, and peace is upon the land. You may now cease the burnt offerings.

EDITED BY: Kristen Baldwin and Henry Goldblatt

WRITTEN AND REPORTED BY: Jennifer Armstrong, Mandi Bierly, Bob Cannon, Tim Carvell, Carina Chocano, Clarissa Cruz, Amy Feitelberg, Raymond Fiore, Nicholas Fonseca, Bruce Fretts, Nisha Gopalan, Jeff Jensen, Tricia Johnson, Dave Karger, Alice M. Lee, Emily Mead, Monica Mehta, Lynette Rice, Dalton Ross, Jessica Shaw, Dan Snierson, Ken Tucker, Allison Hope Weiner

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