Thursday, Sept. 22 (NBC)
Series Debut: Comedian Whitney Cummings has balls: To insist on producing a multicamera, laugh-tracked sitcom in the age of the detached, urbane NBC comedy—like the rest of the Thursday lineup—is a bold move. She also might, literally, have balls. It’s nothing groundbreaking (loving/bickering couple shacks up, wacky friends drop by, PG-13 stand-up bits are recycled, etc.), but NBC Thursdays could use a loud, brassy smack on the ass like Whitney, and Whitney. Besides, now that two of my favorite female comics have NBC gigs (the other being Natasha Leggero on Free Agents), I’d like to see at least one make it to November. Or next week.
Thursday, Sept. 22 (ABC)
Series Debut: After the failed remakes of TV-cheese classics like The Bionic Woman and Knight Rider (my pleas for a gritty reboot of CPO Sharkey remain, sadly, unanswered), what does the new Charlie’s Angels bring to the table? Some budget-blowing action scenes, about 92 percent less camp than the movies and the versatile sweetly slutty/straight-up slutty hotness of Minka Kelly. Unfortunately, she and her co-Angels are also called upon to “act,” “speak” and “blink.” Better: Look up She Spies on Hulu.
Person of Interest
Thursday, Sept. 22 (CBS)
Series Debut: Ol’ Creepy from Lost (Michael Emerson) and Jesus (Jim Caviezel) work outside of the law to take down possible bad guys using a software program that predicts the behavior of violent offenders (Goon Gitter 3.0; Windows only). Probably a more accurate method than those employed on The Mentalist or The Lady Mentalist, er, Unforgettable, but CBS ain’t the place for vigilantes—your mom would prefer they bring back that cute Numb3rs over even trying Person of Interest.
A Gifted Man
Friday, Sept. 23 (CBS)
Series Debut: In the season finale of Adult Swim’s Childrens Hospital earlier this month, each of the cast members got their own ridiculous spin-off TV series, one of which was called The Ghost Doctorer. CBS should have snapped up that instead of A Gifted Man.
Sunday, Sept. 25 (ABC)
Series Debut: The ’60s-set Pan Am is more fun and less self-serious than NBC’s gawdawful The Playboy Club … so, there’s that. The Empowered Women of the Sky, aka stewardesses, are ambitious, sexy, complicated, sexy, mysterious, sexy and, in one case, Christina Ricci; the men are cartoonier than the Mad Men Yourself avatar app; the overstacked storylines vary from stupid to stoopid (one stewardess is recruited as a spy—this doesn’t even happen on Archer). At least Pan Am looks cool and expensive, though not as much as …
Monday, Sept. 26 (Fox)
Series Debut: Like TNT’s Falling Skies, Terra Nova tries to mix sci-fi, family drama, monster dread (dinosaurs instead of aliens), societal reconstruction and complex facial hair, and mostly succeeds, throwing in time travel and farming exposition as a bonus. Likewise, the series also lists Steven Spielberg among its dozen(!) executive producers and cost a kazillion dollars to make—or about half of what Fox is paying Simon Cowell for The X Factor. Terra Nova is gorgeous and pricey, but an environmentalist expedition 85 million years into the past is going to be a tough sell to the “Intelligent” Designers who insist we’ve only been around for a hundred years. Enjoy it while you can.
Monday, Sept. 26 (The CW)
Series Debut: So Rachel Bilson (The O.C.) is a doctor and … OK, I just read that, too. Never mind.
ALSO THIS WEEK
Thursday, Sept. 22
Prime Suspect (NBC) Series debut
Community, Parks & Recreation, The Office (NBC) Season premieres
Grey’s Anatomy (ABC) Season premiere
The Big Bang Theory, The Mentalist (CBS) Season premieres
Friday, Sept. 23
CSI:NY, Blue Bloods (CBS) Season premieres
Kitchen Nightmares, Fringe (Fox) Season premieres
Nikita, Supernatural (The CW) Season premieres
Saturday, Sept. 24
Rules of Engagement (CBS) Season premiere
Saturday Night Live (NBC/CW 30) Season premiere
Sunday, Sept. 25
Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, Desperate Housewives (ABC) Season premieres
The Amazing Race, The Good Wife, CSI: Miami (CBS) Season premieres
The Simpsons, The Cleveland Show, Family Guy, American Dad (Fox) Season premieres
Boardwalk Empire (HBO) Season premiere
Monday, Sept. 26
Mike & Molly (CBS) Season premiere
Gossip Girl (The CW) Season premiere
Wednesday, Sept. 28
Suburgatory (ABC) Series debut
Happy Endings (ABC) Season premiere