SUNDAY, SEPT. 30
9 P.M. | ABC
Last season ended with a terrific cliffhanger—or rope-dangler. Edie (Nicollette Sheridan) hanged herself after being rejected by Carlos (Ricardo Antonio Chavira). Did she live? The first episode of season 4 answers that question and introduces Dana Delany. She's Katherine Mayfair, a former neighbor who returns to Wisteria Lane full of memories and, strangely, accompanied by a daughter who remembers nothing and isn't allowed in the attic: the usual enjoyable hint of awful Gothic doings.
BROTHERS & SISTERS
10 P.M. | ABC
Fresh off her censor-bleeped win as best actress at the Emmys, Sally Field stars as matriarch to a big, argumentative family.
10 P.M.| SHOWTIME
Mob enforcer Michael Caffee (Jason Isaacs) wants back in on the action, but his brain trauma from season 1 makes him a poor choice to pack a pistol.
9 P.M. | SHOWTIME
Serial killer Dexter Morgan's new crisis is due to the fact, shall we say, that he's a man of many parts—buried parts. Keith Carradine turns up, dry as a bone, as an FBI investigator. Not to be missed.
MONDAY, OCT. 1
CW, 8:30 p.m. ET |
Something like Sacha Baron Cohen's notion of an afterschool special, this sitcom is about an American family, the Tolchucks, who take in a Pakistani exchange student named Raja (Adhir Kalyan). He's a fish out of water, but then so is the Tolchuck's 16-year-old son Justin (Dan Byrd). The difference is that Justin can feel his unpopularity in every nerve ending as he walks the corridors at school. Oblivious Raja just moves on, smiling and bursting with bizarre comments. The show's not exactly genius—what's funnier than a teen nerd? A foreign teen nerd!—but the dialogue and pacing are spry. And Kalyan gives Raja more dignity than you might expect.
EVERYBODY HATES CHRIS
8 P.M. | CW
The real Chris Rock makes his first appearance on the sitcom, playing a guidance counselor to his fictionalized self (Tyler James Williams).
10 P.M. | ABC
So many seasons—this is the 11th, taking up its regular Monday slot—and yet so little lasting love to show for it! And that's sad.
TUESDAY, OCT. 2
ABC, 8:30 p.m. ET
This sitcom is about four men bonding (and squabbling) as they drive together to work, but more essentially it seems to be about four men who've found a sanctuary where their masculinity will go unchallenged. If it's an HOV lane, so be it. Dentist Laird (Jerry O'Connell) is ticked off about his costly divorce. Gracen (Fred Goss), a mediator, worries that his wife has started to outearn him. Carpoolers
is a polished vehicle for a professional ensemble, but it's also an overgrown boys' clubhouse on wheels. So: Pass.
HBO, 8 p.m. ET
A young mother goes missing after she stops to buy flowers from a roadside truck. Her family is gripped by unrelenting anxiety and grief, yet the police investigation often goes slack and directionless. This five-part British production is compellingly messy: A large, fine cast goes noisily unhinged.
8 P.M. | ABC
Will viewers respond "hah" or "ugh"? This sitcom, starring Nick Kroll (below), is based on those sarcastic cavemen from the Geico ads. Unusual concept—now you can't be sure anymore whether the commercial you're watching is for the show or car insurance.
ABC, 8 p.m. ET
This magical new series is a crime show dressed up in whimsical, day-glo colors and infused with a romantic myth of love-in-death. It may sound improbable and unworkable, like Amelie
combined with Vertigo
, but it happens to be the best new show of the fall. Lee Pace plays a man with a gift: He can revive the dead with a single touch. This makes for good business. Paired with a private eye (Chi McBride), he resurrects murder victims, asks them to name the killer, puts them back to sleep and collects the reward. But then he revives a strangled corpse who was once his childhood sweetheart, Chuck (Anna Friel). Their feelings instantly, reciprocally come back to life. How will he avoid that second fatal touch? The key here is Friel's charming, unaffected performance: Chuck is glad to be alive, of course, but her true happiness is just to be in love.
CBS, 8 p.m. ET
With all the controversy about the show, I was curious. The idea behind Kid Nation
(which debuted Sept. 19) is that 40 kids run a ghost town in Bonanza City, N.Mex., for 40 days with no adults. The children come from all over the U.S. and are of various ages, 8 to 15. The behaviors of the kids are wide-ranging, from the kind and caring Laurel to the quirky Jared, and the fact that they are surviving by themselves is pretty amazing. But I thought this show was a little dull and could have been a lot more exciting—think Survivor
meets The Amazing Race
THURSDAY, OCT. 4
8:30 P.M. | NBC
Tina Fey, accepting the best comedy Emmy Sept. 16, thanked her "dozens and dozens" of viewers. Let's hope season 2 of TV's best sitcom finds an audience of ... I don't know, 15 digits seems right. It can't hurt to start with an episode with Jerry Seinfeld as himself. There's a great throwaway gag: Mystic Pizza
, the musical.
FRIDAY, OCT. 5
FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS
9 P.M. | NBC
Fans of this sensitive drama about life in a football-obsessed Texas town whooped when it was granted a second season. This new episode has some of the sweet detail of daily life—Tami Taylor (Connie Britton) goes into labor—and the rough: The Panthers' new coach is an angry bullhorn of a man. And then Tyra (Adrianne Palicki) stumbles into disaster.
Her L.A. bungalow gets a housecall from TLC's Take Home Handyman
, airing Oct. 6
WHY DID YOUR PLACE NEED A MAKEOVER? It's so expensive in L.A. that my husband and I had to buy a fixer-upper. Our bathroom had black carpet with a pink toilet, bidet and bathtub. We figured a porn star lived here in the '70s and was like, "I'm tricking this place out."
ARE YOU HANDY AT HOME? I'm good at projects that are not going to help me or anyone else. I can have laundry coming out of my ears, but I'll spend the entire day organizing my wrapping paper. Also, and this is embarrassing in light of [Handyman host Andrew Dan-Jumbo] building me a fence, but I'm really good at hanging a bathroom towel rack.
ANY TIPS FOR PEOPLE RENOVATING? Don't get your friends' advice on paint color!