Michael C. Hall (Dexter), Eva Longoria (Desperate Housewives), Emily Van Camp (Brothers & Sisters), David Duchovny (Californication)

Randy Tepper/Showtime; ABC/RON TOM; Dan Littlejoh/Showtime

Too. Much. Goodness.

Those three little words sum up the very big quality programming that is headed for your very living room this Sunday night, as Dexter, Brothers & Sisters, Californication and Desperate Housewives all return with season premieres that you do not want to miss.

We've seen all the episodes and done some digging, and here's the inside dish on Dex, Hank, the Walkers and the women of Wisteria Lane...



Sunday, 9 p.m., Showtime

Why to Watch: Rita has a secret! Look at her up there, all sassy and seductive and whispery. And trust me, when you see the final minutes of Dexter's third-season premiere, you will know why everything will be different this season. Rita's twist is huge.

Not to mention the way in which Jimmy Smits' character, district attorney Miguel Pardo, comes into Dexter's life is mind-blowingly cuckoo for cocoa puffs. Each and every scene between those two had me half-laughing, half-gasping and biting my nails all the way. This new "friend" of Dexter will soon be indebted to America's favorite serial killer for something so ludicrous it will blow you away.

Bottom line, the new season of Dexter (of which I've now seen four episodes) is just as solid and intriguing and toe-curling as ever before, and remains one of the best dramas ever to appear on television.

P.S.: Check back Sunday night after Dexter airs for my exclusive interview with Julie Benz about Rita's big secret!

Desperate Housewives

ABC/Andrew Eccles

Sunday, 9 p.m., ABC

Why to Watch: They're going to the future! And they didn't even need a flux capacitor—just a few solid ideas from Marc Cherry and his team on how to shake up this series in its fifth season.

The time jump really seems to work, and in the season premiere, you'll see a whole new take on the Wisteria babes: Gabby the frump, Bree the entrepreneur, Felicity the warden, Edie the good little wifey and Susan the jaded singleton.

Still, the best reason (in my humble and always right opinion) to watch? The new Desperate men! Neal McDonough—aka the world's hottest albino—is terrifyingly creepy and brings fantastic new energy and intensity to the show (think Kevin McKidd on Grey's), and Lynette and Tom's terror of twins, Porter and Preston, are now 16 and played by Charles and Max Carver, two 20-year-old USC students who look a little like Matt Damon and will make a few of you younger female viewers all tingly. (Stand by for a meet-and-greet with them very soon.)

Food for Thought: I'd love to hear what you think of Gabby's controversial storyline with her four-year-old who has "weight issues." Too young for such talk? Or does anything go on this fantastical show? Please come back and join me in the comments after you see it.


Mark Seliger/Showtime

Sunday, 10 p.m., Showtime

Why to Watch: Californication, easily one of the dirtiest and most genuinely transgressive shows on TV, returns for season two with more sexual misadventures and family drama. Most importantly, Hank (David Duchovny) and Karen (Natascha McElhone) are back together and happy ("California Dreamin' " by the Mamas and the Papas plays over one love scene), and despite Hank's nether regions aching because he just got a vasectomy (wise choice), everything is ideal. However, in true Hank Moody form, before too long his heart, soul and butt are in a bit of pain as well, because he not only totally mucks things up with Karen, but he gets into a bit of a Rodney King scenario to boot. Ah, Hank. You're an idiot, but we love you anyway.

Dave Annable, Emily VanCamp, Brothers and Sisters


Sunday, 10 p.m., ABC

Why to Watch: The best dang family on television is making a comeback—and making out, wheee!

Yes, the much-buzzed-about romance between Justin (Dave Annable) and the girl he thought for a little while was his sister Rebecca (Emily VanCamp) is most definitely heating up in the new season, and you'll see that they have just as difficult a time coming to terms with it as some of the viewers have. Still, "I actually really like the storyline," Emily tells me. "It is giving us a lot to work with. A lot to do."

Do? Hmmm, the mind wanders...

Regardless, the Brothers & Sisters third-season premiere is a solid offering, and you'll be delighted, I'm sure, to see that one of the most compelling and well-written series has not lost its oomph.

Kitty and Robert are moving foward with their hope for adopting a baby, Kevin is moving on up, Rebecca is moving on out and oh, yeah, there's the talk of that secret brother Ryan no one ever knew they had.

Take a peek at the episode...

Now, take our Sunday Night TV Poll, and then post in the comments about your favorite returning Sunday-evening series...

Sunday-Night TV Poll
Which new season are you most looking forward to?
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