Is there anything that compares to the majesty of the fall TV season?

In late October, when the last of the repeats fade into darkness, it's time to pour a cup of hot tea, pull a favorite blanket up over your knees, and sit back and watch the network programming change. What a welcome relief it is after all those oppressively hot months of sizzling summer blockbusters!

Sure, the summer movie season, with its exciting trips to the multiplex and dramatic box-office showdowns, has its charms. But by the time the fall season rolls around, I'm good and ready for a break from all that. Fall is when the colors of my Sony 36-inch TV really come alive.

There's so much beauty to behold during the fall TV season: the deep brown of Jessica Alba's hair, the vibrant red and amber hues of Kelsey Grammer's sweater vests, the rustling of Calista Flockhart's skirts. Every year, there are those moments that are absolutely breathtaking, those special times you wait for: the familiar lilting strains of Peter Boyle's voice on Everybody Loves Raymond, the gradual unveiling of a new subplot on Law & Order, the crisp, cool air emanating from ER's Anthony Edwards.

Everything is so magical in the fall, you hardly know where to turn your eyes. Should it be to ABC's The Drew Carey Show? Or to The West Wing on NBC in the same time slot? There are scarcely enough hours in primetime to enjoy it all!

Fall is also the time to reap the benefits of all the seeds planted so carefully in the spring. This year, we found out who the father of Rachel's baby is on Friends, and that Buffy is no longer dead. After months of anticipation, it was worth the wait.

Speaking of waiting, there's less of it during the fall than at any other time of year. Happily, with the days getting shorter, the prime-time lineup comes earlier and earlier each day. You get home from work, turn on the TV, and, before you know it, the Third Rock From The Sun syndicated rerun is over, and primetime programming has fallen upon the land.

While much of the joy of the fall season is seeing the TV seasonal cycle completed with the return of all your favorite shows, fall also affords the opportunity to experience the wonder of the new. Shows like The WB's Smallville, NBC's Crossing Jordan, CBS's The Guardian, and ABC's My Wife And Kids were all welcomed into the world this fall. There's nothing quite like that first taste of the fresh faces the fall has to offer.

For some, the fall is synonymous with hunting season. These adventurous types love searching through TV Guide, never knowing what exciting made-for-TV movie or miniseries will jump out at them next. Meanwhile, for the little ones, the fall season holds no shortage of excitement, either. What child doesn't look forward to all that Halloween fun, from the It's The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown special to the The Simpsons' Halloween spectacular, not to mention all the fun commercials for candy and costumes?

And, lest you think things peak in October, the fall season gets even better come late November. That's the time of year when, after some shows have flown south, and the dead series have fallen from the line-up, a peaceful calm falls over TV land. There's no longer any movement of shows from time slot to time slot. You'd be hard-pressed to find a better time for TV-star-gazing than a clear, static-less November night. Looking up from my couch to see the bright faces of Will And Grace's Debra Messing and The District's Craig T. Nelson, well, it almost chokes me up.

It is important, though, to remember that fall is not entirely about relaxation and fun. Fall is the time for storing up for the long winter ahead. I've been working hard every day, setting the VCR to tape shows like Inside Schwartz, The Bernie Mac Show, and The Ellen Show before they wither and die, lost forever.