Welcome, Fall TV Season, already in progress. Despite myself, and knowing that you will let me down at least as much as you might lift me up, I must admit that the big billboards heralding your big new shows raised in me a childlike rush of anticipation. (Though perhaps it is really the memory of "Get Smart!" I am excited for.)
I notice that you are especially full of cops and lawyers this year — and superheroes, detectives and spies — which means you are also full of criminals. What is up with that, Fall Season? Is it the climate of fear engendered by opportunistic pundits and politicians? Or are you just out of breath for the moment, falling back on what you know, and on Jerry Bruckheimer?
FOR THE RECORD:
'Mike & Molly': An article last Sunday previewing the new CBS comedy series "Mike & Molly" identified Chuck Lorre as the creator. Lorre is an executive producer; Mark Roberts is the show's creator. —
Still, I hope for the best. We are all in this together. (Here's a partial list.)
"Hellcats" (CW, 9 p.m. Wednesdays) Aly Michalka is a poor girl cheerleading her way through law school. Inspirational dialogue: "We need to mix it up or Memphis Christian kills us at qualifiers."
"Terriers" ( FX, 10 p.m. Wednesdays) Donal Logue and Michael Raymond-James are low-rent PIs tilting at wasps' nests in San Diego in one of the season's best new shows.
"Nikita" (CW, 9 p.m. Thursdays) The leggy assassin is back again, this time in the person of Maggie Q, who has a score to settle.
"Outlaw" ( NBC, 10 p.m. Fridays). Bizarre legal drama — comedy? — in which hard-partying conservative Supreme Court Justice Jimmy Smits changes literally overnight into a crusading liberal lawyer.
Sunday, Sept. 19
"Boardwalk Empire" ( HBO, 9 p.m.) Martin Scorsese executive-produced and directed the pilot for this brash pocket epic about Atlantic City at the dawn of Prohibition — sort of "Deadwood" meets "The Sopranos," in its exploration of fact-based crime and place. Created by "Sopranos" vet Terence Winter, with art-house favorite Steve Buscemi as courtly kingpin "Nucky" Thompson. And some nice, old cars.
Monday, Sept. 20
"Mike & Molly" ( CBS, 9:30 p.m.). Sweet, plus-size sitcom features teacher Melissa McCarthy and policeman Billy Gardell as large folks out to lose pounds and find love, not necessarily in that order. After the fat jokes thin out, something substantial may be revealed. Chuck Lorre ( "The Big Bang Theory") is the creator.
"The Event" (NBC, 9 p.m.). Jason Ritter is a Regular Guy caught up in a fractured flashback that points toward oncoming heavy strangeness. Blair Underwood is the president of the United States, and Laura Innes a mysterious prisoner whose mystery might be guessed — indeed, I am guessing — from the fact that creator Nick Wauters also has the sci-fi "The 4400" on his IMDB page.
"Lone Star" ( FOX, 9 p.m.) Imprudent Texas con man James Wolk lives dual lives: responsible married man in Houston, hang-loose boyfriend in Midland, but torn also between oilman Jon Voight as the father he never had and grifter David Keith as the father he did. Sibling rivalries suggest Shakespeare — or do I mean "Dallas"?
" Hawaii Five-0" (CBS 10 p.m.,). Following iconic Jack Lord into the shoes of Aloha State supercop Steve McGarrett, Alex O'Loughlin has big hair to fill. Hyperventilating, trigger-happy remake of late-midcentury TV favorite makes the original seem like cinéma vérité. Along for the tire-squealing ride are Bizarro versions of Danno ( Scott Caan), Chin Ho ( Daniel Dae Kim) and Kono — no longer Zulu, but … Grace Park!
"Chase" (NBC, 10 p.m.) Truth in advertising. Kelli Giddish, Cole Hauser and Jesse Metcalfe are Texas-based U.S. Marshals tracking fugitives. Running and jumping leads to hitting and kicking. Giddish wears cowboy boots and so is called "Boots." Jerry Bruckheimer gives this gift to you.
Tuesday, Sept. 21
"Detroit 1-8-7" ( ABC, 10 p.m.) "Sopranos" survivor Michael Imperioli crosses from the wrong arm to the long arm of the law in this admirably multiethnic shaky-cam police drama given to stating the obvious. ("We need to find these kids before he does.") Detroit offers novel atmosphere, but it's largely familiar stuff — though not without potential. Includes a hot coroner (see "Body of Proof," below) who skates roller derby.
"Raising Hope" (Fox, 9 p.m.) Greg Garcia ("My Name Is Earl") takes out the white trash again, as Lucas Neff becomes a father after a one-night stand with a fleeing murderess. Martha Plimpton, Garret Dillahunt and Cloris Leachman are the family who form the village it takes to raise a child.