Thursday, Oct. 8 (NBC)
One-Hour Wedding Special: The whole Michael-vs.-Jim co-boss power struggle has deflected attention from what everyone assumed Season 6 of The Office would be all about: Jim and Pam’s wedding! (And bastard baby.) Improbably, the office staff tags along to Niagara Falls for the nuptials, and Michael, Dwight and Andy cruise for tail, a la Wedding Crashers. Yeah … after this Very Special Episode, The Office definitely needs to reset to the mandate of never leaving the workplace; too many location shots sucked too much funny out of last season. In case you’re wondering (and you should be), Community moves up to 7 p.m. tonight, preceding the nicely improving Parks & Recreation, and 30 Rock returns next week post-Office. Now, if only NBC could attract some viewers to Thursday night—fourth place ain’t cutting it.
Friday, Oct. 9 (SyFy)
Season Premiere: After last week’s huge Stargate Universe opening, SyFy will now own Fridays with the return of Sanctuary—sure, it still sucks, but that’s never stopped a SyFy/Sci-Fi series from amassing a following (see: Ghost Hunters, Destination Truth, Scare Tactics, etc.). The Only TV Column That Matters™ admits that Stargate vet Amanda Tapping rocks the brunette look in the lead, but Sanctuary is just a Monster of the Week series that happens to be shot almost entirely on green screen (a television first—and not necessarily a good one).
The Girls Next Door
Sunday, Oct. 11 (E!)
Season Premiere: Hugh Hefner has tossed old ladies Holly, Bridget and Kendra outta the Playboy Mansion and replaced ’em with 19-year-old twins and a 22-year-old spare! Other than that, it’s the same show you’ve watched with one free hand for five years now.
NCIS: Los Angeles
New Series: Speaking of one free hand, do any of you 16 billion NCIS viewers know how to use a damned remote? NCIS: Los Angeles has become the season’s biggest new “hit” simply because no one’s bothering to flip the channel after Mark Harmon & Co. finish up at 8; the West Coast spin-off has none of the original’s ensemble charm or easy wit, just LL Cool J’s tree-trunk neck busting out of a junior Henley shirt. Oh, and Chris O’Donnell—he’s hidden back there behind the neck. If you people don’t knock it off, we’ll be looking at NCIS: Detroit with Jude Law and Biz Markie next year.
Wednesday, Oct. 14 (FX)
Season Premiere: Somewhere around Season 3 in 2005, Nip/Tuck went from being the most daring series on cable to just daring anyone to keep watching— blame it on that Carver serial-killer/rapist arc, not to mention too much misplaced focus on plastic surgeons Sean McNamara (Dylan Walsh) and Christian Troy (Julian McMahon) instead of one of their usually far-more-interesting patients. Then there was last season—which was split in half by a year-long gap, no less—wherein McNamara/Troy moved operations from Miami to Los Angeles in a quick grab for glamour and sleaze that fell flatter than Christian’s oft-seen ass. The opening of Season 6 shows some signs of getting back on track, even though Sean’s new girlfriend has been abruptly recast (from Katee Sackhoff to Rose McGowan) and his creepy son Matt (creepy John Hensley) is still as utterly inconsequential to the series as he was in Episode 1 (this is No. 82). Tonight’s return is good, but things heat up more next week with the most disturbing patient in several seasons (named “Enigma”) and Sean’s bizarre remedy for insomnia (involving a redhead, self-mutilation and public sex). Finally, Nip/Tuck will be back on the Parents Television Council’s radar!