Now that ABC has officially revealed the premiere dates for the new seasons of Grey’s Anatomy, Scandal, and Private Practice (bowing on Thursday, September 27 and Tuesday, September 25, respectively), we’re on an official countdown to the new seasons and speculation remains at an all-time high as to what the upcoming year could hold for the shows of Shondaland.
As Grey’s Anatomy enters its ninth season, the landscape is completely different. The group of characters that started out as interns on this show are now fellows, and many of them ended the season making plans to leave Seattle Grace for new opportunities around the country… and then there was a plane crash. The question is, now that we know all of the principal actors are contracted for two more seasons, how will the writers keep all of these characters in Seattle without it seeming contrived? It’s a tough corner for the writers to have to back themselves out of it, but it’s a task we know they love to do. Of course, there’s always the chance they could go the Glee route and split the show between Seattle and a new location, following the doctors around the country, but I highly doubt we’ll come to see that happen. That doesn’t necessarily mean that someone won’t leave – it just means that they’ll leave… and then come back (much like what happened with Jessica Capshaw during Grey’s Anatomy‘s seventh season when she left for maternity leave and Arizona was sent packing for Africa – only to return all of two episodes later). I’m sure that the plane crash will figure greatly into getting all of the core characters to stay in Seattle; for example, Cristina will most likely decide to stay in order to give Owen another chance in the wake of (another) near-death experience. Many had speculated that Kim Raver’s exit from the series would allow Cristina to step into her place, creating a great excuse to keep the character in Seattle, but that option doesn’t seem too likely anymore in the wake of the wave of casting news that has come out about the upcoming season, and we’ll most likely see Cristina battling it out with another “Cardio God.”
In the aftermath of the recent announcement that Eric Dane would be leaving the series during the upcoming season, a whole new door of speculation has opened up as to what could be on the way for the character of Mark Sloan. Of course, there’s still the possibility that Mark could be killed off in the season premiere after the medical trouble his character was left in at the end of the eighth season, but the general consensus is that Mark will survive the plane crash and be around for the very beginning of the ninth season in order to give the character a proper farewell and leave the door open for some kind of return in the future. The catch here is that his daughter with Callie and Arizona, Sofia, is involved. So how exactly will Sofia end up figuring into all of it? I personally don’t see any chance in hell of Callie (or even Arizona, for that matter) letting Mark take Sofia away from her, so I’m going to assume that Mark is either going to have some kind of medical issue or mental issue (due to Lexie’s death) or both leading to not only his decision to leave Seattle, but to Callie saying that he can’t take Sofia.
And then there’s Derek’s hand to worry about. After crushing it in order to escape the rubble trapping him in the eighth season finale, it’s quite possible dark times could be ahead for Derek, as surgeons don’t really do well with crushed hands. This could also very well figure into how Meredith and Derek end up staying in Seattle – a hospital probably isn’t going to be willing to sign a new surgeon that they then have to give time off to so that his hand can repair… if it even can be repaired.
Still, series creator Shonda Rhimes has described the upcoming season of Grey’s Anatomy as “the season of romance,” so that leads me to (perhaps falsely) believe that the core couples have good years coming up for them, which, yes, I think will include a reunion for Cristina and Owen. I will be legitimately shocked if the two of them do not end up back together, even if that means they have to endure a season of angst, much like the second season was for Meredith and Derek.
And although there have been many casting additions (Gaius Charles and Camilla Luddington, to name two), and I’m sure more will come, I don’t think that it is something to be all that worried about. Obviously they will be on the show and have a presence, but I don’t think it will be as prominent as any of us think it will be. With so many characters gone, and the originals signed on for two more, I think the focus will return more to the cast that is remaining, namely, the core originals, though a lot of that will have to do with fan reactions’ to these new characters.
And I’m just going to put it out there, my one wish for next season of Grey’s Anatomy: Katherine Heigl/Izzie Stevens’ return. It’s time.
This is going to be a big, big year for Private Practice. After firing Tim Daly at the end of the fifth season, the show was only renewed for thirteen initial episodes. Then it was revealed that at the end of those thirteen episodes, Kate Walsh would be leaving the series as well. Not only that, but the showrunners left the series as well, and the show is staying put in its new Tuesday night timeslot, where the ratings have seen mixed results. And though there has been much buzz that all of these measures have been put in place in order to usher Private Practice towards the end, it is beginning to look more and more likely that ABC is looking to continue Private Practice past these thirteen episodes and sixth season, even without Kate Walsh, ratings permitting.
What will be most interesting to see is when exactly the new season picks up. The news about Tim Daly would seem to suggest that a time-jump would be necessary in order to appropriately explain-away his character’s sudden disappearance (even in light of his character’s situation at the end of last season). However, the somewhat awkward predicament Addison found herself in in the final moments of the finale would seem to suggest that they’ll pick up right where they left off. I, personally, find myself leaning more towards the idea that they’ll pull a time-jump on us to start the season off, helping to explain the disappearance of Pete, and probably leaving us in question for much of the premiere as to Addison’s relationship status, before revealing it at the end of the episode. I have no clue what the outcome of Sam’s proposal is going to be, though I know that I, personally, am hoping for her to reject his proposal to be with Jake. Still, I can’t quite seem to see how either way could lead to a happy ending, as any real relationship would result in not only Kate Walsh’s exit at the end of these first thirteen episodes, but either Taye Diggs or Benjamin Bratt’s as well. So perhaps she won’t choose anybody, and instead choose herself and Henry. After all, this series started with Addison moving to LA for not only a new life, but to have a baby.
Charlotte and Cooper could prove to have an interesting season ahead of them. I don’t know what could be on the horizon, but KaDee Strickland has teased on Twitter that the season will be “game-changing” for the couple, which I take to mean a good thing after such a heavy fifth season, which involved Cooper finding out he has a son, who’s mother died towards the end of the year, leaving young Mason in the care of Cooper and Charlotte, who never thought she would be, or even wanted to be, a mother. So could another child be on the way for them? It’s possible, though I’m not convinced that that is necessarily what will take place for them in the year to come.
Violet and Amelia will certainly have a rough season ahead of them. Both are recently single through, well, through ways you don’t really want to become single. And though I would love to see Stephen Amell return as Scott to sweep Violet away, he’s got his own show on The CW to star in now, so we’ll have to see how long it takes for Violet to return to the dating scene. Of course, there’s something ironic in the fact that just a few years ago, she was giving her son, Lucas, up to Pete because she wasn’t in the right state of mind to take care of him, and now she’s left to raise him on her own because Pete is (presumably) in jail for murder. Amelia, on the other hand, just gave birth to a baby with no brain and donated all of his organs, coming only months after falling off the wagon and reigniting her addiction to narcotics. Out of all of the characters on Private Practice, I think Amelia has the most range for where her story could lead next season, but I’m hoping for, above everything else, to see her recover from all of the hell she went through last year and return to the quipping, inappropriate girl we all fell in love with the year before. And, please, can she catch a break and find some happiness?
It was also hard to miss the gaping hole left last year by Audra McDonald’s absence as Naomi (she would have been all over that intervention!), so my wish is to see her return, if only briefly, next season, preferably before Kate Walsh says her goodbyes.
Scandal is the biggest question mark when it comes to predicting where the new season could lead. There’s not a lot to go off of, unfortunately, seeing as the first season was just a mere seven episodes. But the first season finale packed a huge punch and left plenty of threads – and cliffs – for the fall.
I don’t think we’ll have to wait long to find out who Quinn is – in fact, I’m willing to bet the premiere will pick up right where we left off, though that doesn’t necessarily mean we’ll find out right away. Still, I’m hoping this isn’t something that gets dragged out for too long (aka TELL US IN THE PREMIERE!). I’ve got no guesses as to who the hell she could be or why she needs so much protection, but I’m intrigued to find out. And judging by how the cast has been reacting to the second season premiere’s script, I don’t think it is going to be very long before Olivia finds out that it was Cyrus who had Amanda Tanner killed, not Billy. I’m not exactly sure what repercussions that is going to hold, but it should result in a fascinating verbal smackdown between the two on this fast-talking series.
Above all, I think the most jarring part of the new season will be Henry Ian Cusick’s absence, which is going to be a tough one to write out (I think), and does suggest that it would be difficult to pick up the new year right where last season left off, unless Cusick is guest-starring in the season premiere and we just don’t know it (I doubt he is). But despite Cusick leaving the series after those first seven episodes, both Josh Malina and Bellamy Young have been upgraded to series regular status, promising that we’ll see a lot more of the DA’s office and the White House.
My biggest wish for the new season is to see why and how Olivia started Olivia Pope & Associates – something we still don’t fully know the answer to.
Scandal is really still just starting out, so it is harder to judge where it could be heading. All I know is that I want to make sure I see where it does!
There’s no telling just where exactly Shondaland is heading in the year ahead of us. All that’s sure is that everything will change and by the end of this season, nothing will be the same. I have no idea if anything I have predicted is true; to be honest, hopefully much of it isn’t and I can continue to be surprised by the writing of Shonda and her teams as I have been for the last nine seasons. Still, it is fun to speculate and try to predict what could be coming. Nobody knows where we might end up… nobody knows…
What do you think will happen in the new seasons of Shondaland? What are your biggest wishes that you hope see come true? Tell us in the comments!
Private Practice premieres its sixth season on Tuesday, September 25 at 10|9c. Grey’s Anatomy will return for its ninth season Thursday, September 27 at 9|8c, followed by the second season premiere of Scandal at 10|9c.