Caught on a cliffhanger: Don’t miss out on fall TV

The phrase “back to school” takes on several meanings for students. For many, it means the anticipation of shopping at Target, the dread of studying overpriced textbooks, or the social scene spectrum that spans all forms of raging and recovering. This inevitable return to campus cuts across all genres, but for those dedicated to the screen, the start of September means one thing: season premieres.

The fall television lineup for 2010 promises fans the return of many silver-screen giants as well as some expected farewells to TV legends (RIP “24,” “Law and Order” and “Lost”), and many new shows whose potential for greatness is yet unknown. After what seemed like a long summer of fill-the-time-slot reality shows (with the exception of the great “Friday Night Lights”), TV is about to get good again.

Last May left a lot of questions lingering in the typical season finale’s wake. How will Seattle Grace Hospital of “Grey’s Anatomy” recover from the invasion of a revenge-seeking shooter? Can “Glee” creator Ryan Murphy top such a scene as the one where Quinn had her baby to the sound of Jesse belting “Bohemian Rhapsody?” Will Olivia from “Fringe” remain trapped in an alternate universe? And how in the world will House and Cuddy function in a relationship?!

Such burning questions from finales past also spurn the hypothetical of the future season to come.

How will Michael Scott part with Scranton on “The Office” and who will replace him? Will this finally be the year Ted meets his yellow-umbrella-wielding wife on “How I Met Your Mother?”

Does “Gossip Girl’s” Chuck Bass survive being shot in an alley way, and more importantly, does Blair Waldorf even care?

Fall premiere season can be stressful, but none more so for those brand-new shows trying to get their foot in the door long enough to make a good first impression.

The high potential for cancellation causes these shows to sink or swim — succeed the way “Glee” did or tank the way The CW’s “The Beautiful Life” did.

Only time will tell.

Thankfully all these questions will soon find answers, as all will be revealed in a couple weeks time.

To help aid in the countdown, here is an easily accessible handy-dandy guide to when your favorite shows will return to air and consequently what nights you’ll skip hitting the books and bars.