Worth watching: ghosts on the loose, jailbird in flight
•Prison Break FOX
A bold, elaborate prison caper racing along two parallel tracks. Inside, an innocent man is getting readied for execution. Outside, high-placed assassins implement their own sinister death row. Propelling it all is a kinky twist: The escape plan is tattooed over the torso of handsome new inmate Wentworth Miller (front). This might not have worked with, say, Jim Belushi.
Second-season twists included both the plausible (a second batch of survivors) and the way-way-out-there (that bunker, those numbers). Are we drawing a clearer map... or is the jungle closing in?
•The Comeback HBO
This series about a fading sitcom actress in the reality-TV age had a fretful desperation that turned off some viewers—at times it felt like watching a trapped animal gnaw off a paw—but former Friend Lisa Kudrow gave a bravely pathetic performance.
•Everybody Hates Chris UPN
It's rare and it's sweet, that little mental click of satisfaction you get when a show delivers on exactly what's promised—as does this childhood-memory sitcom co-created and narrated by comedian Chris Rock. It was the year's best new sitcom, buoyant and (thanks to star Tyler James Williams) boyish.
•Supernatural The WB
Apparently network executives all sat down at a Ouija board and just let the spirits order the fall season. Of 2005's large roster of shows about the paranormal, this one about two brothers trudging down back roads and slaying hobgoblins was the best: ominously dank, dark and a bit cranky.
•The Colbert Report Comedy Central
As a right-leaning anchorman of strong convictions and zero grasp of fact, Stephen Colbert is hilarious—and that's being conservative.
•Veronica Mars UPN
The decadent allure of L.A. noir—glamor, corruption, wealth and murder—reworked into a high school soap about a teen detective (Kristen Bell). Sort of like Chinatown on a yellow bus.
•Desperate Housewives ABC
With season one's mystery solved, the ladies can seem more discombobulated than desperate. But the acting still has bite, camp, sizzle and sorrow. And wasn't what Bree did to George worse than what he did to her? Ponder it!
•Dancing with the Stars ABC
This ballroom competition was blithe and light on its feet. The question of whether General Hospital's Kelly Monaco deserved her prize divided an already troubled nation.
•No Direction Home: Bob Dylan PBS
"What looks large from a distance close up ain't never that big." Bob Dylan wrote those words—but surely not about himself. A reverent, legend-burnishing documentary from Martin Scorsese.