Just when I was about to go into reality TV overload, Fox has saved the day. In the last two weeks, they've premiered three new dramas and two new sitcoms. I've watched them all and here's my take.

Vanished: It wants to be an intricate mystery like Prison Break, but it just doesn't have the same appeal. Unlike it's time slot lead in, the cast is not compelling, and honestly, I really don't care about some chick who wears macaroni necklaces. I also have a 'nails on chalkboard' reaction to Rebecca Gayhart. I make a point to give every new show at least one viewing, two if I'm on the fence. I'm already done with Vanished, and it is off the DVR.

Justice

Okay, I love Victor Garber. He underplayed Jack Bristow on Alias so brilliantly it was hard to remember him as the song and dance man and vivacious actor he can be. He gets a chance to sink his teeth into some scenery in this show, playing a defense attorney who loves his job so much, people hate him for it. The rest of the cast is fairly forgettable, but I'm not watching for them anyway. The unique element of this show is that in the last few minutes, you'll see what really happened, if the accused is innocent or guilty, if the jury decided correctly. While it is interseting, it isn't really necessary and doesn't (at least so far) really do anything for the story. I'll stick with Victor for at least two more episodes, more if the show gets more interesting.

Standoff

I think this is trying to bring back a 'Moonlighting' vibe. Maybe not. Ron Livingston is imminently watchable, and I don't have the female lead. That's more than I can say for most people. Of course, I've blanked on her name, which is alreaday a cause for concern, if I'm to watch this show past the first week. (I just looked her up in IMDB - her name is Rosemarie DeWitt. I promise to work on remembering that). Some of my TV junkie friends commented that they think she has a funny looking nose. I argued that Owen Wilson has a funny looking nose too -- they felt the nose issue kept them from really enjoying the show. I seem to be unaffected by the nose. The episode was intersting, but the strength isn't the story but the characters, a good thing in my opinion. I can get cop talk on half a dozen other shows. I'll keep it on the DVR for at least another week.

Til Death and Happy Hour

Like most of America, I was preoccupied watching football on NBC Sunday night. I will watch the shows and provide my report later in the week.

Returning shows: Prison Break and House:

These are the shows I waited all summer to see. If you haven't watched them yet each takes their lead characters in slightly different directions, each with interesting results. Michael and Lincoln and the rest of the Fox River escapees are on the run and after the money buried somewhere in Utah. But what makes the second season worth watching for me is two things: 1. Robin Tunney's character is dead. Her story always dragged the episodes to a crawl. I celebrate her demise (no offense Robin). 2. They added one of my favorite actors to the cast -- William Fichter, previously of 'Invasion'. I know the rabid 'Invasion' fans can't be happy, but their loss is my gain. With him on the trail of our favorite convicts, I am ready for some fun cat and mouse games. I wasn't sure season two of Prison Break would be worthwhile, but I am IN (and the first three episodes were pretty darn good).

I love House. I love Hugh Laurie. He was robbed of an Emmy nomination. And that's all I have to say about that. Looks like another fun year with our favorite cranky doc. This gets watched real time and recorded on the DVR. I love it that much.

Okay, so the rest of the networks start to set their new shows free very soon. We'll follow up with Nielsens next time (so far nothing looks to have bombed so badly it faces immediate cancellation -- keep an eye on Bones though -- looks like it didn't get any new viewers from its post-Idol slot last spring) and more reviews of shows.

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