The TVLine-Up: TV Worth Watching This Sunday

On TV this Sunday (aka the busiest night of the month): A lot, including four season openers, two series debuts and six winter premieres. All told, we found 14 programs to keep on your radar.

8 pm Once Upon a Time (ABC) | Regina and Mr. Gold take opposite sides when Emma runs for sheriff against Sidney. In the fairytale world, Rumplestiltskin tries to track down the ultimate power source to keep his son out of a war.

8 pm The Simpsons (Fox) | When Homer lands his own cable news program, he endorses right-wing rock star Ted Nugent (guest voicing as himself) for President of the United States.

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9 pm The Firm (NBC) | Series premiere: A follow-up to the John Grisham novel/Tom Cruise movie, this picks up 10 years later, as Mitch McDeere (Josh Lucas) and his family leave witness protection to start a new life. But will Mitch yet again ally himself with the wrong colleagues?

9 pm Shameless (Showtime) | As Season 2 opens, Fiona has moved on from Steve with a new fella (Lone Star‘s James Wolk), Frank is fretting his free ride at Sheila’s is doomed to expire as her ventures out into the world literally bring her steps closer to his secrets, Ian’s boning up to get into military school, and Lip revs back up his and Kev’s ice cream/pot truck business.

9 pm Downton Abbey (PBS) | Season 2 premiere: In the throes of the Great War, Robert struggles with the uneasiness of a diminished house and the suspicion that the uniform he wears is empty, while Isobel charts a new course for one Crawley sister and Branson exerts his influence over another. Among the servants, love is in the air until Bates makes a decision that crushes the hearts of the two people who love him most.

9 pm The Good Wife (CBS) | Lockhart & Gardner’s future is at stake when a couple whose divorce was overseen by the firm accuses them of encouraging the breakup for financial gain. F. Murray Abraham and Carrie Preston return as guest stars.

9 pm Desperate Housewives (ABC) | Bree prepares to end it all; Gaby suspects Carlos may have had something to do with Chuck’s murder; Susan makes up her mind to go to New York – with or without Mike; Tom cancels his plans to go to Paris with his girlfriend when Lynette reveals she may soon be arrested.

9 pm Leverage (TNT) | When Latimer hires Nate’s father (Tom Skerritt) to pull off a heist in an ultra-secure government office, the Leverage team must fake a hostage stand-off.

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10 pm Pan Am (ABC) | Fate deals a blow to Dean and Colette’s budding romance; Maggie falls hard for her congressman after slamming him in the Village Voice; Kate is haunted by her last spy mission.

10 pm CSI: Miami (CBS) | Horatio’s team deals with the most unique weapon they have ever seen — transitions lenses? Sendhil Ramamurthy (Covert Affairs) guest-stars.

10 pm Hell on Wheels (AMC) | In Season 1’s penultimate episode, Cullen and Lily work to meet the railroad’s looming deadline, while Elam and Joseph deal with the consequences of their violent mission.

10 pm Absolutely Fabulous (BBC America) | In the first of three new 20th anniversary episodes, someone who’s been “away” for a while returns to the Monsoon abode and with a new and slightly scary best friend; Bubble reminisces about the Royal Wedding.

10 pm House of Lies (Showtime) | Don Cheadle (Ocean’s Eleven) headlines this new comedy as Marty Kaan, an elite management consultant who is juggling existing and prospective clients, a psycho/sex-crazed ex-wife (Heroes‘ Dawn Olivieri) and assorted domestic issues. Kristen Bell (Veronica Mars), Ben Schwartz (Parks and Recreation) and Josh Lawson round out Marty’s team, while Richard Schiff (The West Wing) plays their firm’s owner.

10:30 pm Californication (Showtime) | Season 5 picks up a few years later, with Hank now looking to bolt New York after dumping girlfriend Carrie. On board for the new season are Meagan Good (Stomp the Yard) as an up-and-coming singer Hank meets while en route back to L.A., rapper RZA as the star of Stu’s latest film, and Scott Michael Foster (Greek) as Becca’s new, Hank-like beau.

Which of the above is must-see TV for you? Also, hit the Comments to politely offer tune-in suggestions of your own.

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