MONDAY, SEPT. 22
DANCING WITH THE STARS
8 P.M. | ABC
A new season with wannabe hoofers Brooke Burke (right), Lance Bass and 82-year-old Cloris Leachman. We salute you, courageous Cloris!
TUESDAY, SEPT. 23
8 P.M. | ABC
(right) is an executive producer for a new reality show that quizzes families on trivia about their daily lives. Someone should ask the Palins.
WEDNESDAY, SEPT. 24
8 P.M. | NBC
Retooling of the '80s action series about KITT, the supersmart car. Justin Bruening stars and Val Kilmer is the car's voice.
9 P.M. | CBS
The new season begins with a New York City terrorist explosion that rocks the profilers in more ways than one.
10 P.M. | NBC
Return of the frothy drama starring Brooke Shields
(right, with Paul Blackthorne). Mary Tyler Moore is her imperious ma.
SATURDAY, SEPT. 27
CHRIS ROCK: KILL THE MESSENGER
9 P.M. | HBO
And he probably will kill. A stand-up special culled from performances in South Africa, London and New York City.
SPAIN ... ON THE ROAD AGAIN
CHECK LOCAL LISTINGS | PBS
Oscar-winner Gwyneth Paltrow
and celebrated American chef Mario Batali on a culinary quest.
CBS, Sept. 23, 9 p.m. ET |
Patrick Jane (Simon Baker) once made a good living as a bogus psychic, reading people's physical reactions to trick them into thinking he was communicating with dead loved ones. He probably wasn't a big fan of Medium
. Then he fell into a black hole of pure, evil energy: a serial killer struck tragically close to home. Now he puts his phenomenal skills of deduction to work solving brutal crimes with a team of investigators. I like the potential in this backstory, but the premiere episode of The Mentalist doesn't deliver on what should be the dazzlement factor of Jane's ability to interpret clues that the police don't even see. It's as if Sherlock Holmes were content to impress Dr. Watson with a few glib asides made in the course of an extended happy hour.
Baker plays the lead character with quiet distinction—courtly, smooth, shadowed by sadness—although in the first few scenes, he might be mistaken for an extremely handsome funeral-home director.
NBC, Sept. 22, 9 p.m. ET
Well, at least the first hour of the new season isn't a meet-and-greet with samurai warriors in feudal Japan (which is what happened with season 2's frustratingly elusive story line). This time we start five years in the future, where we find Claire (Hayden Panettiere
) done up like Angelina Jolie
, then travel back to the present, where she's about to be visited by her amusingly creepy nemesis Sylar (Zachary Quinto), who looks like a psychotic extra from Grease
, regardless of the time frame. The grand narrative of the season will apparently involve a larger cast of supervillains, currently imprisoned in a bunker called Level 5. It appears that all hell will be breaking loose. This could be pretty good.
CBS, Sept. 22, 9:30 p.m. ET
Any viewer who recognizes Kyle Bornheimer from his commercial for T-mobile—he was the guy flubbing a voice-mail message over and over—won't be surprised to see him elevated to sitcom stardom. He has a fresh, charming way of hemming and hawing while failing to finesse awkward situations. It's like watching someone parallel-park a truck in a spot big enough for a Mini Cooper. Here he's a well-meaning bumbler whose every attempt to impress his fiancée's parents ends in slapstick disaster. It's Curb Your Enthusiasm
with nicer people.
CBS, Sept. 24, 8:30 p.m. ET
Gary (Jay Mohr) is a single father of two who's ready to start looking for romance again—especially after his ex (Paula Marshall) stuns him with the news that she's engaged to the dweeb (Ed Begley Jr.) who was their marriage counselor. Apart from Marshall, whose character is such a scold it's hard to understand why Gary dated let alone married her, the premiere is a good piece of work: well-written, directed and acted, especially by Mohr. Carefully trying to keep track of his options and obligations, he's as believable as a modern sitcom dad gets. Unfortunately none of this is new. You can probably find early drafts of Gary scribbled on the walls of prehistoric caves.
• The E! film reporter, 26, takes over hosting the syndicated At the Movies
"I was well-versed in Hitchcock by fifth grade," says Lyons, son of movie critic Jeffrey Lyons. "My dad has been a mentor." Lyons also hosts Nickelodeon's new extreme sports competition My Family's Got Guts
: "When you see a 10-year-old girl slam-dunk a basketball, you can't help but get a kick out of it."
ABC's drama about the zillionaire Darlings and their idealistic lawyer (Peter Krause) is back Oct. 1, offering more luxury and sin. Says executive producer Matthew Gross: "It's big and bold and harkens back to Dallas."
WHO IS LUCY LIU
The major new face, she plays a mysterious lawyer who tangos with wisecracking young lothario Jeremy Darling (Seth Gabel).
Boozy Karen Darling (Natalie Zea) continues her affair with family enemy Simon Elder (Blair Underwood). Kooky sister Juliette (Samaire Armstrong) has left the country and isn't expected back as a regular.
Last season attorney Nick George learned that he's half brother to Brian Darling (Glenn Fitzgerald). Now he'll be forced to accept his new family at the cost of his own.
Magical marathon man David Blaine, 35, will hang from a wire five stories up for three days in New York City's Central Park, culminating in a two-hour special on ABC Sept. 24.
HOW HAVE YOU BEEN PRACTICING?
I have an inversion machine, gravity boots ... In the last two weeks, I've dropped another 12 lbs.
WHAT'LL YOU THINK ABOUT UP THERE ALONE?
Anything. It's nice when you do those things. You're not interrupted by meetings, cell phones. You kind of get to just dangle there.
SO YOU AREN'T AFRAID OF HEIGHTS?
No. I'm just afraid of insects.