August 29, 2011 12:00 PM

>Here are five richly rewarding shows you should add to your list when they return soon. Now’s the time to brush up on their backstories

1. FRINGE

(FOX, Sept. 23)

Season 3 ended with Joshua Jackson obliterated as he conjoined two different realities—I think?—yet he’ll be back, somehow, and maybe reunited with lovely, chilly Anna Torv. If iTunes is in your dimension, check out seasons 2 and 3 of this mindblower.

2. THE GOOD WIFE

(CBS, Sept. 25)

We last saw the usually tense Julianna Margulies entering a hotel room with fellow lawyer Josh Charles—and looking very relaxed. Watch season 2 (on iTunes now; DVD Sept. 6) to follow her to this crossroads.

3. PARKS AND RECREATION

(NBC, Sept. 22)

Season 4 of Amy Poehler’s small-town satire brings in Patricia Clarkson as a holy terror known only as Tammy 1. First meet the other Tammy, a depraved librarian (guest star Megan Mullally). Stream season 3 on Amazon; DVD Sept. 6.

4. DEXTER

(SHOWTIME, Oct. 2)

The fact that serial killer Michael C. Hall just wants to be loved sometimes warps this drama, heading for season 6. But seasons 1 and 4, both on DVD, are suspense classics.

5. BOARDWALK EMPIRE

(HBO, Sept. 25)

Don’t jump into this superb 1920s drama without having studied Atlantic City pol Nucky Thompson. As played by Emmy-nominated Steve Buscemi in season 1 (now in repeats and on HBO Go), he’s wrathful, corrupt, ironic—a great, complex monster.

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