True TV | MILF Money: Lost, Eli Stone, Welcome to the Captain, Old Christine, House 

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Lost Thursday, Jan. 31 (ABC)
Season Premiere: The fourth season of Lost was going to be just 16 episodes long (down from the usual 22), but only eight had been completed before the still ongoing writers’ strike hit. Did ABC decide to take the high road and hold Lost until the full order could be finished so as to not leave already-frustrated viewers with a reported major cliffhanger in March, one that may not be resolved until 2009? Nah, they’re running what they have—but at least they moved the show to Thursdays away from American Idol, so that’s something. The season premiere of Lost will be preceded by a one-hour “Here’s What the Hell’s Going On” special to refresh your memory since the show hasn’t been on since May 2007. Don’t say ABC doesn’t take care of you …

Eli Stone Thursday, Jan. 31 (ABC)
Series Debut: Especially when they’re serving up a midseason leftover that they’re (seriously) pitching as “combining the fantasy and spirituality from Ghost Whisperer, sincerity and passion from The Practice and quirky humor from Monk.” So Eli Stone has snappy dialogue, OCD and voluptuous, firm … uh, hair? No: Eli Stone (Jonny Lee Miller) is a cutthroat lawyer defending evil corporations until one day he has a brain aneurysm that causes him to start hallucinating; his doctor brother says it’s inoperable, but his acupuncturist says it means he’s a prophet and should turn his life around for good. So really, it’s more like Scrubs, Samantha Who? and Medical Incredible. Watch one of those instead.

Welcome to the Captain Monday, Feb. 4 (CBS)
Series Debut: Is the CBS sitcom audience ready for a single-camera show with no laugh track, á la The Office and Arrested Development? Probably not, but maybe they’ll at least appreciate a break from the same six perpetual Big Bang Theory reruns. The cast is solid (including Jeffery Tambor, Chris Klein and a hot-as-ever Raquel Welch) and the premise is tried-and-true (apartment building full of quirky characters), but Welcome to the Captain actually produces fewer laughs than an average episode of Criminal Minds (which, in case you haven’t noticed, is loaded with former sitcom stars in Fed suits). I miss The Big Bang Theory already.

The New Adventures of Old Christine Monday, Feb. 4 (CBS)
Season Premiere: Julia-Louis Dreyfus is back! Not enough to warrant an exclamation point? Try this: Rules of Engagement is gone! Now we’re on the same page. Anyway, The New Adventures of Old Christine is still cranking out the “How can we humiliate Christine and/or get her laid?” storylines and, by damn, they’re still funny—between this and Two & a Half Men, CBS has the dirtiest “family hour” on TV. And considering how the network is actually promoting Showtime acquisition Dexter (CBS Sundays beginning Feb. 17) as a natural extension of the already-bloody CSI franchise (!), the Eyeball’s moral compass seems whacked beyond repair. Yay!

House Tuesday, Feb. 5 (Fox)
Season Finale: Not a bad week for Dr. House: First, a post-Super Bowl episode on Sunday with Mira Sorvino and television’s first Antarctic Webcam diagnosis (it’ll make sense when you see it … sort of); then, the shortened-season finale tonight with Laura Silverman (Sarah’s sister!) and House taking on the music industry and Judaism (makes less sense, but it’s way more fun). After tonight, Fox is out of fresh House episodes—but at least they still have American Idol and … what’s that other Fox hit? The Sarah Connor Chronicles? It’s over in March. You’ll have plenty of House reruns to look forward to …

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