The premise: Laid off from his factory job, family man Russell Greene (Gerald McRaney) has hit the road with his wife (Wendy Phillips), mother (Celeste Holm) and two children. Greene, a hard-working guy who openly prays to God in a cemetery when his life unravels, is touched by an angel (Della Reese, crossing over from her hit series), who persuades him to canvas the country in search of the real America, not just "the United States of greedy people trying to get richer quicker."
The prospects: A spinoff of "Touched by an Angel," this spiritual drama won't get rich quick in its present slot. At most, its producers only can hope to build an audience slowly and steadily, much like its predecessor. In the meantime, McRaney will continue to bend the Almighty's ear, if for self-preservation more than anything else.
"Life's Work" 8:30-9 p.m. ABC. Premieres Tuesday
The premise: Lisa Hunter (Lisa Ann Walters), a wife and mother of two children, tries to balance work and family after accepting a job as assistant state's attorney in Baltimore. Just out of law school, Lisa is ambitious, determined and eager to make a difference--even if that means arriving home late to assist her put-upon husband (Michael O'Keefe), whom she can handle as well as her pompous new boss (Larry Miller).
The prospects: Coupled with the blue-collar warhorse "Roseanne," this wan white-collar comedy may have an early edge against its rivals, which include "Promised Land" in addition to freshmen on NBC and UPN. Its biggest drawback: a cliched concept.
"Something So Right" 8:30-9 p.m. NBC. Premieres Tuesday
The premise: English teacher Tom Farrell (Jere Burns) weds Carly "I'm in love again" Davis (Mel Harris), a two-time divorcee who refers to her ex-husbands as "dumb and dumber." Carly is a corporate party planner with two youngsters, one of whom has a bad habit of walking in on his 16-year-old stepsister in the shower. Yes, we've come a long way from "The Brady Bunch."
The prospects: With the transplanted "Mad About You" as a lead-in, "Right" is not necessarily in the wrong slot. But it does have work to do against "Life's Work." And though the casting of Burns and Harris may not hurt, the mediocre writing will.
"Homeboys in Outer Space" 8:30-9 p.m. UPN. Premiered Aug. 27
The premise: Welcome to the futuristic adventures of 23rd century enterpreneurs Ty Walker (Flex) and Morris Clay (Darryl M. Bell). At one point, Ty's brother-in-law describes them as the "two biggest idiots in the galaxy," which is painfully close to the truth. Loquatia, a computer with attitude ("Byte me"), steers them in the proper direction aboard their Space Hoopty, a clunky starship that resembles a banged-up Impala.
The prospects: Look for the cheesy "Homeboys" to bring up the rear in the ratings regardless of a lead-in from "Moesha," a hit with teens last season. These 'boys are simply out of their galaxy.
"The Burning Zone" 9-10 p.m. UPN. Premiered Sept. 3
The premise: Dr. Edward Marcase (Jeffrey Dean Morgan), one of the world's leading neurologists, drives a white Cadillac bearing the personal license plate EBOLA. In this hourlong drama, the mellow Marcase heads an elite team of scientists probing bizarre cases. Working under Dr. Daniel Cassian (Michael Harris) are geneticist Kimberly Shiroma (Tamlyn Tomita) and security specialist Michael Hailey (James Black).
The prospects: With "Home Improvement" and "Frasier" as two of its top rivals, this heavyhanded science fair may as well be in the twilight zone. And if the barrage of deadly viruses doesn't finish off the protagonists, then the highly rated shows of Tim Allen and Kelsey Grammer surely will.
"Spin City" 9:30-10 p.m. ABC. Premieres Tuesday
The premise: Michael J. Fox returns to series television in a comedy about the deputy mayor of New York, an opportunist whose "hand is inside the puppet." In this case, said puppet is none other than the mayor (Barry Bostwick), a wooden figure whose strings are pulled by the resourceful Mike Flaherty (Fox). And proving that politics makes strange bedfellows, Flaherty lives with Ashley (Carla Gugino), an aggressive reporter and one of the mayor's harshest critics.
The prospects: Landing the plum spot between "Home Improvement" and "NYPD Blue" puts the proper spin on matters for executive producer Gary David Goldberg of "Family Ties" fame. On the other hand, it didn't ensure success for "Champs," his midseason flop last season. If Fox fails with this smart series, our bloodshot eyes will be rolling in disbelief.
WEDNESDAY / "Townies" 8:30-9 p.m. ABC. Premieres Wednesday