Dave's Old Porn, Boss 

Plus: Once Upon a Time, Flip Men

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Dave’s Old Porn
Thursday, Oct. 20 (Showtime)

Series Debut: It’s an idea whose time has … come. Comedian Dave Attell and a rotating cast of fellow comics (like the ubiquitous Whitney Cummings, who’s named like a porn actress) and adult-film stars (like Ron “The Hedgehog” Jeremy, who’s named like a comedian) watch and riff on terrible ’70s and ’80s porno movies—it’s Mystery Science Theater 3000 meets a crunchy gym sock in the corner. Future guest snark-fluffers include Georgina Spelvin, Daniel Tosh, Belladonna, Adam Carolla, Seka, Chelsea Handler and Margaret Cho (you can differentiate the comics from the porn actors, right?), which should make Dave’s Old Porn even funnier than Showtime’s idiotic Gigolos, which premieres for Season 2(!) right before.

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Boss
Friday, Oct. 21 (Starz)

Series Debut: Kelsey Grammer’s post-Frasier TV career is littered with failed comedies (The Sketch Show, Back to You, Hank); Boss is a smart left turn into drama on a premium-cable network with few rules and fewer expectations. Grammer stars as Chicago mayor Tom Kane, a morally gray politician who’s diagnosed in the pilot episode’s opening scene with a degenerative brain disease that comes with a laundry list of debilitating maladies that ends with death, possibly in under five years. Only his doctor knows, and Kane plans to keep it that way—but are his decisions those of a man who’s trying to set things right in his twilight, or someone who’s slowly losing his mind? Juggling mortality/morality drama, inner-city crime, wonky Chicago politics, estranged familial relations, inter-office affairs and more, Boss seems pretty ambitious for the channel that brought you Spartacus, but Grammer pulls it all together through sheer force of capital-A Acting! and gravitas. Starz seems to agree: They renewed Boss for a second season before even premiering it first.

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Once Upon a Time
Sunday, Oct. 23 (ABC)

Series Debut: There are two fairytale-based series coming to TV this fall: NBC’s Grimm (stuck in the Friday death slot beginning Oct. 28) and ABC’s Once Upon a Time (given a cushier Sunday time period—ABC even kicked out Extreme Makeover: Home Edition for it). Grimm is a singular kind of mess (supernatural crime fighters protect Portland against monsters escaped from Brothers Grimm stories), whereas Once Upon a Time is two: Fairytale Land, populated with Snow White (Ginnifer Goodwin), her ridiculous-looking dwarves, Prince Charming (Joshua Dallas), Rumpelstiltskin (Robert Carlyle), the Magic Mirror (Breaking Bad’s Giancarlo Esposito), et al., and present-day Storybrooke (ha!), a same-peopled parallel universe in some sort of vague danger—and only a boy (Jared Gilmore) and the mom who gave him up for adoption 10 years ago (Jennifer Morrison) can save it. Whew … got all that? Now forget it: Like Pan Am and the now-canceled Charlie’s Angels, Once Upon a Time looks glossy and pricey (except for those dwarves—that’s where ABC drew the budget line?), but this convoluted Snow White/Lost mashup is not going to fly with the Ty Pennington crowd.

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Flip Men
Tuesday, Oct. 25 (Spike)

Series Debut: Filling (spackling?) the Salt Lake City-based TV series void left by Big Love, Doug Clark and Mike Baird are the Flip Men, entrepreneurs who buy foreclosed houses that could require a little clean-up for resale, or contain “a biohazard, a meth lab or a squatter who just doesn’t want to leave” (bet on one of those; this is Spike, not HGTV). Flip Men also bridges the reality-TV gap between the 385 home-improvement shows and the 429 blue-collar-underbelly shows currently clogging cable and, along with the new Auction Hunters that precedes it, makes the case that maybe Spike wants out of the dude-tube business and would rather be A&E.

Twitter: @Bill_Frost | BillFrost.tv

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