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Cowboy up

9/9/2015

“Longmire”TrueTV Longmire
Thursday, Sept. 10 (Netflix)
Season Premiere: Cable net A&E canceled modern-day western “Longmire” after its third and strongest-yet season in 2014 because the viewership demo was too old. While A&E forged ahead with inspired new programming like “Neighbors With Benefits” (canceled after two weeks), Netflix picked up “Longmire” for a 10-episode Season 4 that continues right where it left off: Wyoming sheriff Walt Longmire (Robert Taylor) finally onto the man who had his wife killed, and deputy Branch Connally (Bailey Chase) once again on the wrong end of a gun.

“Z Nation”
Friday, Sept. 11 (Syfy)
Season Premiere: In its debut season a year ago, lo-fi zombie romp “Z Nation” enjoyed the luxury of airing in a “Walking Dead”-free zone for a few weeks. This time around, however, spin-off “Fear the Walking Dead” is eating up all of the viewers and buzz — is there enough demand for all of this chomp drama? It helps that “Z Nation” doesn’t take itself too seriously in tone (less “Dawn of the Dead,” more “Shawn of the Dead”) or budget (an episode of “Z Nation” probably costs less than Norman Reedus’ hairstylist), but it’s still an iffy affair. The ragtag group of zombie-apocalypse survivors are still en route to California to find a Z-cure, but don’t expect them to cross paths with the “Fear the Walking Dead” gang in L.A.

“Dancing With the Stars”
Monday, Sept. 14 (ABC)
Season Premiere: Sigh. This time around, it’s Nick Carter (ex-Backstreet Boy), Victor Espinoza (jockey), Andy Grammer (mid-level pop singer), Hayes Grier (“social media celebrity”), Bindi Irwin (daughter of the Crocodile Hunter), Alexa PenaVega (the Spy Kids movies), Carlos PenaVega (married to Alexa), etc., etc.

“The Mindy Project”
Tuesday, Sept. 15 (Hulu)
Season Premiere: Even though streaming service Hulu is sticking with the old-school, week-by-week network TV model for “The Mindy Project” instead of dropping all of Season 4 at once, at least Mindy Kaling’s Fox-canceled sitcom lives on. I would tell you that the new season opens with an alternate-lives/paths-not-taken tribute to some Gwyneth Paltrow flick called “Sliding Doors,” but I’ve never seen it and neither have you, so … Welcome back, Mindy!

“The Bastard Executioner”
Tuesday, Sept. 15 (FX)
Series Debut: As he did with “Sons of Anarchy,” writer/producer Kurt Sutter has cast himself and wife Katey Sagal in his 14th-century period series “The Bastard Executioner”; whether or not every episode runs over 90 minutes remains to be seen. “Game of Thrones,” “Vikings” and other dramas have tread this heightened-historical ground already — but, unsurprisingly, Sutter’s take is uniquely his own: a bloody, violent, viscerally real world devoid of “Thrones”’ mystical hoodoo and “Vikings”’ low-budget cheese. The titular Bastard is Wilkin Brattle (Lee Jones), a war-scarred ex-knight of King Edward I’s army who’s called back to serve, but now as an executioner who takes the lives/heads of the highest royalty and the lowest commoners. It’s a sprawling, dense epic Sutter’s trying to pull off here — but they once said “Hamlet on Harleys” couldn’t be done, and look how “Sons of Anarchy” turned out. CV

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Bill Frost writes about television for Salt Lake City Weekly, talks about it on the TV Tan Podcast (Tuesdays on iTunes and Stitcher), and tweets about it at @Bill_Frost.

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