Thursday, Sept. 24 (ABC)
Series Debut: Every person on Earth blacks out for 2:17 minutes and sees a glimpse of their future—specifically, April 29, 2010. Well, the ones who don’t die due to plane crashes, train wrecks, missing the results of Dancing With the Stars, etc. Now, do they accept their fate or work toward changing it? And does ABC have its new Lost after a dozen previous failed attempts? FlashForward’s star-power (including Joseph Fiennes, John Cho and Jack Davenport, as well as Losties Dominic Monaghan and Sonya Walger) and epic concept say “Hit!”; heavy timeslot competition from Bones (Fox) and Survivor (CBS) says “Maybe not.”
Also new Thursday: Grey’s Anatomy (ABC); CSI, The Mentalist (CBS)
Friday, Sept. 25 (Fox)
Season Premiere: Welcome to the Season That Was Never to Happen, Joss Whedon’s second or third chance at selling sci-fi on Fox Fridays—pay no attention to the corpse of Sarah Connor over there in the corner. Dollhouse, about an underground company that rents out the services of persona-imprinted “Dolls” whose brains are wiped clean after every escort/mission (or are they?), didn’t creatively click until the series really got into the negative effects of repeat personality-swapping toward the end of Season 1—like, say, creating a homicidal lunatic with a head full of voices and revenge plans (show-saving Alpha, played by Whedon alum Alan Tudyk). Now that Dollhouse is back on the narrow-but-still-cute shoulders of Eliza Dushku’s Echo— who now has full awareness of what, if not who, she is—can she carry it? Geek survey says “Yes!”, but they might be blinded by upcoming guest shots by Jamie Bamber (Battlestar Galactica), Summer Glau (Fox’s Terminator) and Ray Wise (Reaper). Bet on Whedon—he has something to prove.
Also new Friday: Ghost Whisperer, Medium, Numb3rs (CBS); Law & Order (NBC); Brothers (Fox); Smallville (The CW)
Saturday Night Live
Saturday, Sept. 26 (NBC)
Season Premiere: With Megan Fox hosting, the Season 35 (!) kick-off of Saturday Night Live could either be a revelation (she’s hot and she can act!) or a mitigated disaster (she can’t act—but at least she’s hot!). At least Fox has some buzz; repeat-offender musical guests U2 are coming off of a flop album and a lame commercial that makes the BlackBerry seem as exciting as a neon suppository. And now you can’t even flip to Mad TV during the SNL band interludes … sheesh.
Sunday, Sept. 27 (Showtime)
Season Premieres: Season 4 of Dexter has the promise of being the best yet, with guest serial-murderer competition John Lithgow (playing the beyond-creepy Trinity Killer, who’s been offing people for decades) and Dex’s further inadvertent integration into mainstream society (marriage, suburbia, fatherhood, Dockers) looming large. Still, The Only TV Column That Matters™ isn’t completely buying that, after all these years of extracurricular killing, Dexter (Michael C. Hall) is too tired to slash properly because a damned crying baby is keeping him up. Red Bull for you, Jim Beam for the kid—easy. On Californication, poon-magnet writer Hank Moody (David Duchovny) stumbles into a college professor gig and a whole new stable of easy tail. That, you saw coming—but guest star Kathleen Turner channeling Boston Legal-era William Shatner as Runkle’s (Evan Handler) sexually harassing boss? Almost makes up for the tragic loss of last season’s Lew Ashby … almost.
Also new Sunday: Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, Desperate Housewives, Brothers & Sisters (ABC); The Amazing Race, Cold Case (CBS); The Simpsons, The Cleveland Show, Family Guy, American Dad (Fox)
Monday, Sept. 28 (NBC)
Series Debut: Everything’s! Blowing! Up! Must! Save! Lives! And! Still! Look! Sexy! Done.
Also new Monday: Lie to Me (Fox)