What TV Shows I'm Watching: A List in Flux

BY THE NUMBERS: "The Walking Dead"

7 million: Average viewers per episode; 150: Extras who showed up to audition for roles as zombies

On Wednesday, I wrote about the cruelest cuts and the seasonal trimming of old shows as you add new ones -- and then the additional piano-wiring of new shows that you momentarily liked suddenly turning sour. It’s kind of a here-we-are-now-entertain-us thing with the stark addendum of “or we’ll kill you.”

If you prefer less violent terms: “delete you from my DVR.”

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But what about shows that have, in fact, made the cut? Returning, ongoing series -- whether they are currently in season or not. It would be impossible to list them all because I try to periodically sample the shows I’m not regularly watching just in case, you know, I need to see what kind of stamps the writers of 2 Broke Girls are using to mail in their weekly scripts.

Or if I still try to suffocate myself with a pillow while sampling Grey’s Anatomy. It’s good to remember stuff like that.

And then there are the show that are always there – like the late-night talk shows or The Daily Show, The Colbert Report, Frontline, Mythbusters, Monday Night Football, Thursday Night Football, SportsCenter, plus soccer and various shows on the MLB, NFL and NHL networks and any number of shows (Venture Brothers, etc.) on Adult Swim. I could miss a couple of days but never stray too far. Also not included here are the likes of The Amazing Race or The X Factor, Project Runway, American Idol, Wipeout, etc. -- reality series I keep tabs on, but not religiously.

Here then, a mostly thorough listing of series that I do watch regularly (and thus are eligible for The Power Rankings, which will return shortly).

Broadcast: Happy Endings, Don’t Trust the B----- in Apt. 23, The Middle, Modern Family, Suburgatory (ABC); Person of Interest, The Good Wife (CBS); 30 Rock, Parks and Recreation, Community, Grimm, Parenthood, Football Night in America (NBC); The Simpsons, Bob’s Burgers, Family Guy, Fringe, New Girl, Raising Hope (Fox); Downton Abbey, American Experience, Masterpiece, Sherlock (PBS); Nikita (The CW).

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If it’s not on that list, then it’s very unlikely that I “forgot” it. More likely I can’t be bothered to suffer through it (or it’s just average, like a meh sandwich).

New fall additions from broadcast: Ben and Kate, The Mindy Project (Fox); Elementary, Vegas (CBS); Last Resort, Nashville (ABC).

Cable: Boardwalk Empire, Treme, Game of Thrones, Girls, Enlightened, Curb Your Enthusiasm, Veep (HBO); Homeland, Dexter, Shameless, Episodes, House of Lies, The Borgias (Showtime); Justified, Sons of Anarchy, It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia, Archer, Wilfred, Louie (FX); Mad Men, Breaking Bad, The Walking Dead (AMC); Boss, Magic City (Starz); Southland, Falling Skies (TNT); Luther, The Hour (BBC America); Portlandia, The Increasingly Poor Decisions of Todd Margaret (IFC); The Penguins of Madagascar (Nickelodeon)

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Cable cast-offs, now and long ago: Hell on Wheels (AMC); Copper (BBC America); The Newsroom, True Blood (HBO); Weeds, Californication, Nurse Jackie, United States of Tara, The Big C (Showtime).

Do I watch any of that blue-sky programming on USA, TNT, etc.? I did, until they became rote. Not that they’re bad, but time is a commodity like no other, and sometimes you have to swing a big ax to cut through the clutter. And trust me, this list is always in flux. More new shows are coming all the time. There is no television season anymore. It’s a constant state of being.

Look for the return of The Power Rankings now that most new shows have had enough episodes to form a more solid judgment. It’s as true here as it is in The Power Rankings: Don’t bring the weak stuff.

Email: Tim.Goodman@THR.com

Twitter: @BastardMachine