Friday Night Lights (Friday, 8/7c, NBC)
It's never easy to say goodbye to a beloved series — but if you've ever spent time in Dillon, Texas, you'll want to check in for the final season of this marvelous series about big-hearted people in small-town America (previously shown on DirecTV but getting its broadcast premiere this week). Life goes on with poignant realism, which means several characters are graduating and moving on while others — including Coach Taylor (Kyle Chandler) and his spitfire wife Tami (Connie Britton) — continue inspiring hope in the students and football players at underdog East Dillon High.
Fringe (Friday, 9/8c, Fox)
A big night for fans of fantasy TV, as all are back with original episodes. I'm most excited about an Olivia-centric Fringe, in which the team desperately tries to remove William Bell's consciousness from poor Agent Dunham before it takes her over for good. And this may herald the return of Leonard Nimoy as Bell — in a way they're keeping under wraps. Over at the CW, Smallville returns from hiatus (8/7c) with Clark Kent and Clark Luthor swapping universes, leading to an encounter between "our" Clark and "their" Jonathan Kent. And on Supernatural (9/8c), the Winchester brothers tangle with Fate — yes, THAT Fate — after Balthazar changes history and prevents the sinking of the Titanic. (Does that mean Leo and Kate lived happily ever after?)
Toy Story Marathon (Saturday, 6:05/5:05c, Starz)
For the first time, all three of Pixar's timeless classics featuring cinema's most beloved anthropomorphized playthings will air back-to-back-to-back. (The stunt is repeated Sunday morning at 9/8c and Sunday evening at 5:15/4:15c.) Hard to believe more than 15 years has passed since we first made the acquaintance of Woody (Tom Hanks) and Buzz Lightyear (Tim Allen), and some of us still haven't recovered from the emotional catharsis of the Oscar-winning final installment.
Game of Thrones (Sunday, 9/8c, HBO)
Over the years, HBO has redefined the mob drama (The Sopranos), the prison drama (Oz), the Western (Deadwood), the historical drama (Rome), the vampire horror show (True Blood) — and now it's time for the adult fantasy epic to get the HBO treatment. George R.R. Martin's best-sellers provide a marvelously sprawling canvas for this ravishing tale of families battling for power in an imaginary land. There's magic in the margins, but this is a decidedly flesh-and-blood (emphasis on the latter) story of honor, treachery and adventure.