It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia, The League
Thursday, Sept. 16 (FX)
Season Premieres: Remember the pre-op tranny that Mac (Rob McElhenney) banged back in Season 3? He/she’s back now in Season 6: Post-op, hotter than ever and married to a man—naturally, Mac goes all Biblical (after he figures out there’s no Bible in the bar) and off the Prop 8 deep end. Meanwhile, Dennis (Glen Howerton) and Dee (Kaitlin Olson) reunite with their high school crushes (with mixed results), and Charlie (Charlie Day) and Frank (Danny DeVito) decide to marry each other (wha?). “Mac Fights Gay Marriage” isn’t the strongest It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia season premiere, but it’s still funnier than The League.
Also premiering Thursday: The Apprentice (NBC)
Mike & Molly, Hawaii Five-0
Monday, Sept. 20 (CBS)
Series Debuts: I was too hard on The CW’s Hellcats two weeks ago: Mike & Molly is the worst new show of the season. A fat schoolteacher (Melissa McCarthy) and a fatter cop (Billy Gardell) meet-cute at an Overeaters Anonymous meeting; oppressive laugh track and little-to-no hilarity ensues. It’s not that America isn’t ready for a plus-size comedy; it’s that America doesn’t need another “comedy” churned out by sitcom hacks who haven’t had a new idea since 1995. Speaking of “new” ideas: Eventually, Hawaii 5-0 could set the bar for TV remakes—but for now, it’ll have to settle for “less lame than CSI: Miami.”
The Event, Chase
Monday, Sept. 20 (NBC)
Series Debuts: Following the season premiere of Chuck (woo-hoo!), NBC offers up two answers to years of cheaping-out with reality crapola and Jay Leno instead of investing in scripted fare—one’s too safe, the other’s balls-out dense. The Event is a sprawling conspiracy thriller that channels FlashForward (time-jumping storyline!), 24 (good-lookin’ black president with a secret!) and Gilmore Girls (well, Luke from the diner finally got a job!) and ends up being almost as good as its adrenalized promos. Chase is Jerry Bruckheimer’s 168th TV crime procedural, this time about U.S. Marshals. Guess which is which, and now guess which one will be the hit.
Monday, Sept. 20 (Fox)
Series Debut: Sure, The Event might be complex, but Lone Star is capital-C Complex: Bob Allen (James Wolk) is a Houston suit married to the daughter of a zillionaire Texas oil baron (Jon Voight)—and as soon as he’s in with the father-in-law’s company, he’s going to rob it blind. Meanwhile, Robert Allen (Wolk, again) is a bootstrap good ol’ boy in the west Texas town of Midland, with a sweet girlfriend and the trust (and financial investments) of the local townsfolk—whom he’s also going to rob blind. Imagine his father/scam mentor’s (David Keith) dismay when Bob/Robert suddenly decides that he wants out of the thievery game, to settle down and actually live these lives—both of ’em. Lone Star is the most ambitious (dramatically and visually) new show of the season; enough with the lazy Dallas comparisons already.
Also premiering Monday: Dancing With the Stars, Castle (ABC); How I Met Your Mother, Rules of Engagement, Two & a Half Men (CBS); Chuck (NBC); House (Fox)
Raising Hope, Running Wilde
Tuesday, Sept. 21 (Fox)
Series Debuts: From the creator of My Name Is Earl comes My Name Is Earl With a Baby—simple as that. Raising Hope has a great cast (including Martha Plimpton, Garret Dillahunt, Cloris Leachman and, briefly, Bijou Phillips) and a whole lotta Big Quirky Heart, if not an initial over-reliance on baby-shit jokes. Running Wilde, on the other hand, is what Arrested Development might have been if the show centered on Job (Will Arnett), gave him back all of the Bluth family money and then replaced the rest of the cast with just Keri Russell. Since I can’t get me enough Will Arnett, bring it!
Also premiering Tuesday: Detroit 187 (ABC); NCIS, NCIS: Los Angeles (CBS); The Biggest Loser (NBC)