Picks and Pans Review:

updated 11/14/2005 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 11/14/2005 AT 01:00 AM EST

THREE FAVES FROM

The New Season

So the fall rollout didn't bring any killer hit shows. But do you see me sulking, America? No: Because fresh performances and characters kept luring me in.

NATASHA HENSTRIDGE AS JAYNE MURRAY ON ABC'S COMMANDER IN CHIEF Translucently blonde, she's like a beautiful icicle that might have formed on an overhang of the Capitol and plunged down, landing upright with a stiletto spike. Henstridge is very smooth here, playing an aide to crafty Speaker of the House Nathan Templeton (Donald Sutherland). She responds to his schemes with a smirk that's either amused or flirtatious. She's tough to read. She belongs in Washington.

NIMROD ON NBC'S SURFACE A baby form of a mysterious super-duper lizardlike species, he looks like some new, green, skinless breed of show cat—vile but cute. He's a digital effect, and yet in personality he edges out the actors. But on the Nov. 7 episode he'll swim away into the ocean—then what?

PETER STORMARE AS JOHN ABRUZZI ON FOX'S PRISON BREAK With his stringy hair and lazy, lolling delivery, Swedish-born Stormare first struck me as utterly implausible as a mobster. He looked like he'd be lucky getting a job mopping the floors of the Bada Bing club. But he plays Abruzzi with a believable note of fear (his family may be targeted for Mob hits), and his low, grubby style gets under the skin. Prison dirt will do that.

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