Tuesday, January 10, 2012

TV: 2012 Mid-Season Premieres, Return Schedule, and Spoilers Galore!

This time around I'm only posting new shows and shows I think you should watch:

8pm "Pretty Little Liars" (ABC Family)
Spoilers: Shane Coffey ("Secret Life of the American Teenager") will join the series to complicate Aria's romantic life. He "was traveling abroad and he kind of comes back in Aria’s life and provides her with a very important service." Maya returns and she and Emily rekindle their relationship, but Maya isn't the same girl she used to be. Caleb returns, sparking a love triangle involving Hanna and Lucas. Oddly enough though when Lucas goes missing, Caleb is the one who's more eager to find him, while the girls are eager to use him to hack his way to the identity of A. We'll meet yet another character (played by Aussie actor Lachlan Buchanan) who might know something about Alison's death. And in March 19th's finale, titled "UnmAsked," A will be revealed. dum-Dum-DUM!!

8pm "How I Met Your Mother" (CBS)
Spoilers: Becki Newton ("Ugly Betty") will be joining the series as a recurring love interest for Barney, basically playing "the female Barney." Also, Barney will learn that Robyn can't have kids, and "her secret will be key to what happens in the remaining 12 episodes of the season. It’s an important pivot point for the season." And for some unknown reason, Ted's ex Victoria will return again.

8:30pm "2 Broke Girls" (CBS)
Spoilers: I don't believe Johnny will be back for a while, since Nick Zano will be on "90210" for the rest of its season.

9pm "The Lying Game" (ABC Family)
Spoilers: Charisma Carpenter joins the series as Char's aunt and a thorn in Alec and Ted's side.

10pm "Hawaii Five-O" (CBS)

8pm "Switched at Birth" (ABC Family)
Spoilers: There will be a love square involving Emmett, Bay, Daphne, and Wilke. Emmett and Bay's relationship will continue to be tested heavily as both his mother and her real grandmother Melody act openly against it. Emmett will be caught between his parents during their divorce, and somehow Bay gets involved. Daphne becomes friends with Bay's ex-best friend Simone. Toby and Wilke start selling fake ID's. We'll get to meet Daphne's real grandmother, who'll no longer acknowledge Bay as her granddaughter, and will even have trouble with her being Latina. Meanwhile, Daphne will come to terms with the fact that she's not Latina. (Although how the fair-skinned redhead ever thought she was is beyond me.) Kathryn is approached to write a book about their situation. And the family discovers that their lawyer has put their lawsuit in jeopardy.

9pm "Jane By Design" (ABC Family)
Plot: Jane Quimby is a 16-year-old high school outsider (Dasher) who lives a double life as a 20-something design assistant in the corporate world, so she can help her big brother (Rogers) pay the bills and live out her dream to become a fashion designer.
Cast: Erica Dasher, Nick Roux (Lemonade Mouth), Andie MacDowell, David Clayton Rogers (Revenge of the Bridesmaids), India de Beaufort ("One Tree Hill"), Rowly Dennis, Meagan Tandy, Matthew Atkinson, Smith Cho ("100 Questions")
Verdict: Jane is like a clutzy fashion geek that's easy to relate to. Her bff Billy and big brother Ben are hot, but I'm a little iffy on her cookie-cutter crush Nick and her too-old, not-hot-enough-to-skate-on-his-accent co-worker Jeremy. I guess because I already see sparks of her bff being in love with her, so I'm way more interested in that. Her enemies, Lulu and India, are sufficiently bitchy enough to pose an entertaining threat. And I'm liking the potential of Ben falling for her guidance counselor Rita, who's obviously had a crush on him since they were in high school together. Bottom line: If you like fashion and awkward high school experiences, you're going to love this.

10pm "Parenthood" (ABC)
Spoilers: Crosby falls for "a bright, accomplished, wry-witted cello player (Courtney Ford from "Dexter" and "True Blood") who just so happens to be renting space at the recording studio." Max finally makes a friend. Amber struggles in a new job. Sarah becomes overwhelmed with thoughts of having a baby. Julia and Joel try to resist interfering in Zoe's personal life, and Julia starts to worry about the chance of Zoe wanting to keep her baby. Zeek hears some striking news from his doctor. And Adam and Kristina realize that the cost of college will be an extra struggle for the family's budget.

8:30pm "Suburgatory" (ABC)
Spoilers: Robin Givens will guest star as Dallas's longtime rival. Alicia Silverstone will reunite with her Clueless castmate Jeremy Sisto when she joins the series as a potential love interest, whose unusual line of work causes a rift between George and his BFF Noah. Meanwhile, Tessa and Dalia go after the same guy (Thomas McDonell from Prom).

9pm "Modern Family" (ABC)
Spoilers: Ellen Barkin guest stars as Vera, a very tough, legendary real estate broker who becomes Phil's main nemesis; Greg Kinnear joins as Phil's new business partner; and Bobby Cannavale guest stars as Louis, the former clown partner of Cam's alter ego Fizbo.

9:30pm "Happy Endings" (ABC)
Spoilers: Not only will Penny and Dave start to consider each other romantically, but so will their parents when we meet Dave's dad for the first time and his new girlfriend, who turns out to be Penny's mom (Megan Mullally). Brad rebels against Jane's controlling ways. And Max might finally get a boyfriend this Valentine's Day.

10pm "Revenge" (ABC)
Spoilers: Daniel proposes before the month is up. Jack finally lets his guard down with Amanda only to be put-off when she kisses a female patron, and a stunning revelation is unveiled and becomes a game changer for Emily and the Graysons. Something terrible will happen that'll force Emily and Victoria to become allies, and some very surprising things about Victoria’s origins will be revealed.

8pm "Vampire Diaries" (The CW)
Spoilers: Caroline will celebrate her 18th birthday and come to terms with her breakup with Tyler, and what Klaus's siring him means for their relationship.

9pm "Grey's Anatomy" (ABC)
Spoilers: Teddy questions Cristina about what exactly happened to Henry in the surgery, and their argument somehow snowballs into the dormant resentment he has for her for aborting their child. Ben asks Bailey to move in with him. In February, "Meredith imagines what life would’ve been like had her late mother Ellis never had Alzheimer’s, a traumatic situation that shaped Mer into the dark-and-twisty wife and MD she is today." Richard would've married Ellis, and Meredith never would've met Derek or become bestfriends with Christina. Kate Walsh will reprise her role as Derek's ex-wife, because in this reality, they never got divorced. And a victim of the massacre will return too. Everyone's life will be different. (Although I highly doubt that George, Izzie, or Burke will pop up.)

9pm "The Secret Circle" (The CW)
Spoilers: Faye will get caught up with a self-proclaimed voodoo priest (Grey Damon from "Friday Night Lights" and "The Nine Lives of Chloe King") who promises to enhance her power by leeching the power from the circle. Lauren Stamile ("Burn Notice" and "Grey's Anatomy") will have a recurring role as a psychic with ties to Cassie's parents. It turns out Cassie isn't the only Blackwell offspring imbued with black magic, but it'll be a while before the other circle member who is is revealed. (My money's on Diana.) Fans of witch-hunter Jake will be happy to know that he's been upgraded to series regular, so we'll be seeing more of him, but don't think that means he'll have Cassie all to himself. Adam will stop fighting his "destiny" and finally make a play for her. And Adam's dad is finally going to put down the bottle and start protecting his son, becoming a formidable opponent for Charles and Dawn.

8pm "Once Upon a Time" (ABC)
Spoilers: We'll learn that Rumplestiltskin was actually on a quest to find power in order to prevent a war and save his son. We'll see a flashback of when Snow White had to endure the possibility of her Prince Charming marrying another, and we'll meet the seven dwarves. And we'll finally get to see the story of Red Riding Hood.

9pm "The Good Wife" (CBS)
9pm "Shameless" (SHOWTIME)
Spoilers: Fiona will take permanent residence in rebound city as she tries to get over Steve. Some of the contenders include an investment executive (James Wolk from "Lone Star") who's supposedly a Steve doppleganger, and an old and now-married crush (Taylor Kinney from "Vampire Diaries" aka Lady Gaga's alleged boyfriend) of hers from high school with whom she reconnects with. Zach McGowan joins the series as Karen's new "friend" Jody, who poses as competition for Lip. And Ian will get a new boyfriend in the form of a 50something married man.
10pm "House of Lies" (SHOWTIME)
Plot: A subversive, scathing look at a self-loathing management consultant (Cheadle) from a top-tier firm. Marty, a highly successful, cutthroat consultant is never above using any means (or anyone) necessary to get his clients the information they want.
Cast: Don Cheadle, Kristen Bell, Ben Schwartz ("Undercovers" and "Parks and Recreation"), Josh Lawson, Dawn Olivieri ("The Vampire Diaries" and "Heroes"), Donis Leonard Jr., Glynn Turman, Greg Germann ("Ally McBeal"), Anna Camp ("The Good Wife" and "True Blood"), John Aylward, Richard Schiff
Verdict: It has the self-important bravado of "Suits" and the instructional breaking-of-the-fourth-wall that "Burn Notice" employs, with the douchiness, profanity, and lewdness of "Entourage." Basically, it's a dude's show. The moments where everything freezes except him, so he can explain a business term, were a little annoying at first, but once you soak in his genius it gets a lot more bearable. I thought the "smart" stripper (Megalyn Echikunwoke) would be the dealbreaker, but I think I'm a little more concerned by his openly gay son who wears pink and purple, and demands the lead female roles in school musicals. I love gay people, but why does that have to be in this particular show? His tolerance and encouragement is in no way endearing him to us as a father. At the very least, it just makes us hate his ex-wife more for being the selfish, openly-negligent skank bag that she is. Honestly though, I'll probably just watch for the return of Bell to TV, Schwartz's third shot at being a series regular, and for however long Echikunwoke remains interesting on the show.

10pm "Castle" (ABC)
Spoilers: Not only will Hilarie Burton ("One Tree Hill"), Justin Hartley ("Smallville"), Jennifer Beals ("The Chicago Code" and "The L Word"), and Josh Stamberg ("Drop Dead Diva") guest star this season, but there will also be a 1940s-set noir episode.

8pm "Whitney" (NBC)
Spoilers: Kathy Griffin will guest star as Roxanne's co-worker, and John Cleese will play a couples therapist.
8:30pm "Are You There, Chelsea?" (NBC)
Plot: A comedy about a 20-something woman (Prepon) based loosely on the outrageous number one best-selling book by Chelsea Handler.
Cast: Laura Prepon ("That 70s Show" and "October Road"), Chelsea Handler, Jake McDorman ("Greek"), Lauren Lapkus, Lenny Clarke, Ali Wong, Mark Povinelli
Verdict: It all depends on how much you love Handler and how much you're willing to see her humor be diluted for network television, a la "Whitney."

8pm "Big Bang Theory" (CBS)
Spoilers: Sheldon finds himself in hot water when he doesn't appreciate Amy's recent accomplishment. And Howard tries to get Bernadette to change her opinion about having children.

8pm "30 Rock" (NBC)
Spoilers: Liz gets a new boyfriend and seeks Jack's approval. Jenna has new fame as a judge on "America's Kidz Got Singing." Tracy is caught on a cellphone video saying offensive things. And Kenneth prepares for the Rapture. Naturally.

8pm "Bones" (FOX)
Spoilers: Rumor has it that Brennan might go into labor in a prison.
8:30pm "Rob" (CBS)
Plot: A solitary guy, Rob, marries into a huge Mexican-American family.
Cast: Rob Schneider, Claudia Bassols, Cheech Marin, Diana Maria Riva (Our Family Wedding), Eugenio Derbez, Lupe Ontiveros ("Desperate Housewives"), Ricky Rico
Verdict: There's a fine line between pointing out cultural differences and being racist, so if you want to see if Schneider crosses it, you should tune in.

8:30pm "Parks and Recreation" (NBC)
Spoilers: Paul Rudd will play Leslie Nope's opposing candidate! Kathryn Hahn ("Free Agent") will join the series for a multi-episode arc as his campaign manager. Because Leslie will be out campaigning, she'll hire someone to pick up the slack at her office, and we'll get to see some funny interviews led by Chris and Ron. Louis C.K. will return to reprise his role as Leslie's ex Dave and pose some competition for Adam. And Leslie will be Ann's Cupid this Valentine's Day.

9pm "Person of Interest" (CBS)
Spoilers: Carter will start to become more involved in their investigations.

9pm "The Office" (NBC)
Spoilers: Dwight will try to find a new job within the company, and Erin will start to flirt with him to make Andy jealous.
9pm "The Finder" (FOX)
Plot: A quirky, one-hour procedural centering on a remarkable man (Stults) with an eccentric personality and a unique gift to help others recover what they've lost.
Cast: Geoff Stults ("October Road" and "Happy Town"), Michael Clarke Duncan, Mercedes Masohn, Maddie Hasson
Verdict: The sneak peek episode that aired last year wasn't that impressive, but they've changed up the cast, cut one chick and added two more. One's a Deputy US Marshall (Masohn) who's his friend-with-benefits and the other is a thieving runaway (Hasson), so hopefully they'll spice things up more. But the novelty of him always finding things and people will probably start to get stale after a few episodes, so unless they introduce an ongoing case or a real love story, I doubt it'll last long. Shows like these belong in the summer, on the USA Network.

9:30pm "Up All Night" (NBC)
Spoilers: Dean Winters ("30 Rock") will guest star as Chris's super competitive brother, and Alanis Morissette will play a hip-hop legend from Ava's '90s band, Sound LLC.

10pm "The Mentalist" (CBS)

9pm "Grimm" (NBC)
Spoilers: The creatures will start to question Eddie's loyalty given his allegiance to a grimm. And we'll be learning a lot more about Nick's parents and some new details about Aunt Marie's past.

9pm "Fringe" (FOX)
Spoilers: While Olivia and Lincoln try to help Peter return to his world, they try to cope with the looming threat of the transparent shapeshifters. And the Fringe Division from the Other Side must deal with both a visit from Peter and a new enemy.

9pm "Terra Nova" (FOX)

8:30pm & 9:30pm "Napoleon Dynamite" (FOX)
Plot:  Follows the misadventures of an awkward high school teenager and his quirky friends as they struggle to navigate life in rural Idaho.
Cast: The Cast of the movie Napoleon Dynamite: Jon Heder, Aaron Ruell, Efren Ramirez, Tina Majorino, Sandy Martin, Jon Gries, Diedrich Bader, Haylie Duff
Verdict: Um, if you liked the movie...

8pm "Alcatraz" (FOX)
Plot:  A unique trio investigates the mystifying reappearance of 302 of Alcatraz's most notorious prisoners and guards, 50 years after they vanished.
Cast: Sarah Jones ("Sons of Anarchy" and "Big Love"), Jeffrey Pierce ("The Nine"), Sam Neill (Jurassic Park), Robert Forster ("Heroes"), Jorge Garcia ("Lost"), Parminder Nagra (Bend It Like Beckham and "ER"), Jonny Coyne, Jason Butler Harner, David Hoflin, Joe Egender
Verdict: It could be an intriguing police procedural given the sci-fi twist. I look forward to seeing where the conspiracy leads.

8pm "Gossip Girl" (The CW)
Spoilers: Rumor has it that Blair goes through with the wedding, because there have been scenes shot at a reception. Chuck appears to make a full recovery, since he attends the wedding. And Louis, being the sadistic fool that he is, asks Dan to ghost-write his vows for him, and of course Dan takes that opportunity to profess his undying love to Blair without her realizing it.

9pm "Being Human" (Syfy)
10pm "Lost Girl" (Syfy)
Plot: It's about a Succubus who feeds on the sexual energy of humans. Growing up with human parents, Bo (Silk) had no reason to believe she was anything other than the girl next door, until she drained her boyfriend to death in their first sexual encounter. Now, she has hit the road alone and afraid. She discovers she is one of the Fae, creatures of legend and folklore, who pass as humans while feeding off them secretly and in different ways, as they have for millennia. Relieved to find out that she is not alone, yet horrified, Bo decides to take the middle path between the humans and the Fae while embarking on a personal mission to unlock the secrets of her origin.
Cast: Anna Silk, Ksenia Solo ("Life Unexpected"), Kris Holden-Ried ("The Tudors"), Zoie Palmer, Rick Howland, K.C. Collins, Emmanuelle Vaugier ("Two and a Half Men" and "Covert Affairs"), Cle Bennett ("Flashpoint"), Vincent Walsh, Athena Karkanis
Verdict: It looks pretty corny, but if you're a supernatural fiend, then you might want to give it a try.

8pm "Glee" (FOX)
Spoilers: Will proposes to Emma. Sam gets Greased to woo Mercedes. Gloria Estefan will play Santana's mom and rapper Pitbull will play her brother. And Ricky Martin guest stars as a Spanish teacher. We'll finally meet Rachel's gay dads. And there will be a Michael Jackson-themed episode.

8pm "90210" (The CW)
Spoilers: Annie will meet yet another rich playboy in the form of Nick Zano ("2 Broke Girls" and "Melrose Place"). Jen will return with her baby. Adrianna will be back to her old ways when she kidnaps someone. (Probably her daughter.) Rumor has it that they'll be referencing storylines from Season 1 and resolving them. Perhaps that explains why rumors are also saying that the girl who hit Liam on his bike has a juicy identity.

9pm "New Girl" (FOX)
Spoilers: Jess will get a few new love interests in the form of Ryan Kwanten ("True Blood"), who'll play a potential Valentine's Day one-night stand who is super dull and still lives with his ex, and Dermot Mulroney (Wedding Date), who'll play the parent of one of her students that she clashes with. Lizzy Caplan ("Party Down") will guest star as a highly educated woman with a degree in art history that Nick meets at an art gallery and is instantly smitten-yet-intimidated by. When Nick invites her to Schmidt’s birthday party, he worries that she'll be put off by his roomies, "yet it may be someone else who's in for the bigger awakening." Clark Duke ("Greek") guest stars as Caplan's intern who ends up becoming buddies with Nick who inspires him to give up on his dreams of becoming a lawyer. Winston will also get some loving when Kali Hawk (Couples Retreat) joins the series for a multi-episode arc as his old flame Shelby. June Diane Raphael (Bride Wars) will play Jess’ smart and "slightly intimidating lesbian doctor friend who offers an ailing (and health insurance-less) Nick an unofficial diagnosis." And Rachael Harris (The Hangover  and "Notes from the Underbelly") will play the principal of Jess's school.

9:30pm "Raising Hope" (FOX)
Spoilers: After realizing that Hope might be the smartest one in the family, they decide to get their GEDs.

10pm "White Collar" (USA)
Spoilers: Because of Elizabeth's kidnapping, Neal is forced to confess his betrayal to Peter. And Neal will get some news that could mean big changes for his working relationship with Peter.

10pm "Justified" (FX)
Spoilers: Jere Burns ("Burn Notice") and Neal McDonough ("Desperate Housewives") will team up to play oxycontin peddlers. Desmond Harrington ("Dexter" and "Gossip Girl") guest stars on the premiere as someone with ties to their new drug cartel. And at the beginning of the season, there will be an episode where "Boyd is desperately trying to stay in prison and Raylan is desperately trying to get him out."

10pm "Royal Pains" (USA)
Spoilers: JoAnna Garcia ("Better With You") joins the series as a young doc with a secret child star past. And Molly Sims ("Las Vegas") guest stars in the finale.

9pm "Prime Suspect" - back-to-back episodes

9pm "Hart of Dixie" (The CW)
Spoilers: Lavon's parents visit, and George reveals his plan to elope, which is waylaid by a snowstorm. Wade will suffer a misstep with Zoe when she discovers he started a betting pool on her love life. And we'll meet Zoe's step dad, played by Gary Cole ("The Good Wife"), who she'll see for the first time in three years. She won't have a chance to lay into him about concealing her paternity though because he's come to ask her to join him in a surgery taking place nearby.

9pm "Touch" (FOX)
Plot: A father discovers his autistic, mute son can actually predict events before they happen.
Cast: Kiefer Sutherland ("24"), David Mazouz, Danny Glover, Gugu Mbatha-Raw ("Undercovers" and Larry Crowne), Roxanna Bruso, Karen David
Verdict: It's like "Numbers" meets "FlashForward"—very prophetic, nerdy, and Lifetime-channel heartwarming. 

8pm "Chuck" (NBC) - Series Finale

9pm "Luck" (HBO)
Plot: The plot follows a number of characters who frequent the same horse-racing track, and the organized crime that runs the sport.
Cast: Dustin Hoffman, Dennis Farina (Snatch), John Ortiz (Fast & Furious), Richard Kind ("Spin City"), Weronika Rosati, Kevin Dunn (Transformers), Micahel Gambon (Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows), Ian Hart, Ritchie Coster, Jason Gedrick ("Desperate Housewives"), Kerry Condon ("Rome"), Gary Stevens, Tom Payne, Jill Hennessy ("Crossing Jordan") Nick Nolte
Verdict: It's a Michael Mann production, but at the end of the day, it's about horse racing, which is almost as boring as golf.

9pm "Ringer" (The CW)
Spoilers: Andrew will re-propose to faux Siobhan. "We will find out what exactly caused the rift between Siobhan and Bridget and get the 411 on the precise catalyst for Henry and Siobhan’s love affair." Juliet's claim that her teacher raped her will have an unexpected twist. We'll get to know Agent Machado more. Matthew Del Negro ("Rizzoli & Isles") joins the series as a cocky new FBI agent. And more people will die.

10pm "Smash" (NBC)
Plot: There is more drama behind the scenes than on stage, as a team prepares an ambitious Broadway musical on the life of Marilyn Monroe.
Cast: Debra Messing, Brian D'Arcy James, Christian Borle, Katherine McPhee (The House Bunny), Jack Davenport ("FlashForward"), Megan Hilty, Anjelia Huston, Raza Jaffrey (Sex and the City 2), Jaime Cepero
Verdict: If you love musicals and Broadway and musical competitions, then you're going to love this.

9pm "The River" (ABC)
Plot: It's about the crew of a state-of-the-art research vessel on a quest to find a missing TV explorer in the haunted Amazon.
Cast: Bruce Greenwood (Star Trek), Leslie Hope ("24"), Joe Anderson (Across the Universe), Paul Blackthorne ("Lipstick Jungle"), Paulina Gaitan (Sin Nombre), Eloise Mumford ("Lone Star"), Shaun Parkes, Thomas Kretschmann (Wanted), Daniel Zacapa, Scott Michael Foster ("Greek"), Katie Featherston (Paranormal Activity), Jeff Galfer ("All My Children")
Verdict: This is for the avid horror lover who likes the mystical and inexplicable.

9pm "The Walking Dead" (AMC)

8:30pm "Cougar Town" (ABC)

10pm "Psych" (USA)

10pm "Awake" (NBC)
Plot: After a car accident takes the life of a family member, a police detective lives two alternating parallel lives, one with his wife and one with his son. With the help of two therapists, he struggles to figure out which is a dream, while still hoping to hold onto both realities.
Cast: Jason Isaacs (Harry Potter), Wilmer Valderrama ("That '70s Show"), Steve Harris ("The Practice"), B.D. Wong ("Law & Order: Special Victims Unit"), Cherry Jones ("24"), Laura Allen ("The 4400"), Dylan Minnette ("Lost"), Michaela McManus ("One Tree Hill")
Verdict: I've seen the pilot and it's definitely a refreshing new take on loss. CBS's "A Gifted Man" and Showtime's "Dexter" has its lead characters talking to ghosts/hallucinations, incapable of fully letting go of people who affected their lives tremendously. And here we have a somewhat science fiction-y version of that same unwillingness that's manifested into split realities, splitting not only his family life but his work environment, giving him two different partners. While I'm still a little hazy on how the clues in each reality help him solve the case in either reality, it's interesting to see the similarities and how much the differences affect his life. It's like a bunch of puzzles wrapped into one. Not sure how they'll manage to keep up the intrigue over several seasons, but I am at least looking forward to watching the first.

10pm "Good Christian Belles" aka "G.C.B." (ABC)
Plot: In order for Amanda Vaughn, a recently divorced mother of two, to get a fresh start, she moves back to the affluent Dallas neighborhood where she grew up to find herself in the whirling midst of salacious gossip, Botox, and fraud.
Cast: Leslie Bibb (Zookeeper and "Popular"), Kristen Chenoweth ("Glee"), Annie Potts ("Designing Women"), Jennifer Aspen ("Party of Five"), Miriam Shor ("Swingtown"), Marisol Nichols ("The Gates", Brad Beyer ("Jericho"), Mark Deklin ("Lone Star"), David James Elliott ("JAG")
Verdict: If you need a replacement for "Desperate Housewives"...

10pm "Breakout Kings" (A&E)

8:30pm "Breaking In" (FOX)
Spoilers: Megan Mullally ("Parks and Recreation" and "Will & Grace") joins the cast as a new boss, and Erin Richards will play her executive assistant. While the rest of the cast will return, Odette Annable will only have a recurring role now that she's joined "House" and Michael Rosenbaum isn't likely to return since he's directing a movie he wrote.

8pm "Community" (NBC)

9pm "Bent" (NBC) - hour long premiere
Plot: Recently divorced, no-nonsense lawyer Alex (Peet) hires contractor Pete (Walton) to renovate her kitchen. An irresponsible womanizer, Pete is trying to rebuild his contracting career after ruining it with his promiscuous ways and addiction to gambling. The highly strung Alex, whose husband was sent to prison for insider trading, is trying to maintain a busy work schedule while raising her 10-year-old daughter Charlie (King). Aware of his reputation with women, Alex insists she will fire Pete if he presents any problems.
Cast: Amanda Peet, David Walton ("Perfect Couples" and "100 Questions"), Joey King (Crazy, Stupid, Love. and Ramon and Beezus), Margo Harshman ("Run of the House"), Jeffrey Tambor ("Arrested Development"), Susan Park, Bert Belasco ("Let's Stay Together"), Rick Gonzalez ("Reaper"), Pasha D. Lychnikoff, Jesse Plemons ("Friday Night Lights")
Verdict: It's really a shame that Walton has yet to find a steady gig, given his charisma and deadpan comic timing, but hopefully the third time's a charm.

"Mad Men" (AMC)
Spoilers: The creator Matthew Weiner has said that he intends on ending the series in present day.

8pm "The Secret Life of the American Teenager" (ABC Family)

9pm "Make It or Break It" (ABC Family)

10pm "Scandal" (ABC)
Plot: Olivia Pope (Washington) dedicates her life to protecting the public images of the nation's elite and making sure their secrets never get out. She's a former White House communications director for the President (Goldwyn), but has left to start her own crisis management firm. She's hoping to begin a new chapter of her life, but is finding out that she cannot leave parts of her past behind. Her staff includes a womanizer (Cusick) considering settling down, a smooth and efficient litigator (Short), an investigator (Stanchfield), a hacker (Diaz) with a CIA past, and a fresh faced lawyer (Lowes) quickly learning the world of crisis management.
Cast: Kerry Washington (The Last King of Scotland and Ray), Henry Ian Cusick ("Lost"), Columbus Short (Stomp the Yard and Death at a Funeral), Guillermo Diaz ("Weeds" and "Mercy"), Darby Stanchfield ("Jericho" and Waitress), Katie Lowes ("Easy Money"), Tony Goldwyn (Ghost), Jeff Perry ("Grey's Anatomy").
Verdict: I'm really excited about this series both because it's headlined by an African American woman, and because it deals with scandals which is honestly what most Americans tune in for when it comes to politics.

10pm "Magic City" (STARZ)
Plot: Centers on Miami mobsters and other characters from Miami Beach in the late 1950s.
Cast: Jeffrey Dean Morgan (Watchmen and "Grey's Anatomy"), Olga Kurylenko (Quantum of Solace), Danny Huston (X-Men Origins: Wolverine), Steven Strait (10,000 B.C.), Christian Cooke (Cemetery Junction), Jessica Marais, Kelly Lynch, Yul Vasquez (The A-Team), Dominik Garcia-Lorido (City Island), Elena Satine, Alex Rocco (The Wedding Planner), Matt Ross ("American Horror Story"), Michael Rispoli (The Rum Diary)
Verdict: The creators of this series are obviously trying to capitalize on the buzz of the gangster-fueled "Boardwalk Empire," as is HBO's "Luck" and as did NBC's "Playboy Club," unsuccessfully. But the only way it'll succeed is if its gangsters are as compelling, conflicted, and ruthless. From the looks of it so far though, it seems like their more interested in being attractive.

10:30pm "Girls" (HBO)
Plot: A comedy about the experiences of a group of girls in their early 20's.
Cast: Lena Dunham (Tiny Furniture), Jemima Kirke, Allison Williams, Adam Driver, and Zosia Mamet
Verdict: It's written by one of Hollywood's up-and-coming young screenwriters, who is said to have a refreshing take on the 20something set.

9pm "Eureka" (Syfy)

10pm "Veep" (HBO)
Plot: Centers on former Senator Selina Meyer who finds being Vice President of the United States is nothing like she expected and everything everyone ever warned about.
Cast: Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Anna Chlumsky (My Girl), Tony Hale ("Arrested Development"), Matt Walsh ("Outsourced"), Timothy Simons, Reid Scott ("My Boys"), Sufe Bradshaw
Verdict: It kind of seems like a higher-stakes version of "Parks and Recreation" if Leslie Knope actually achieved her dream to get to the White House, if she were as unprepared as Sarah Palin, and as awkward as Michael Scott ("The Office"). And being on a cable network it has the freedom to dive deeper into the R-rated intricacies of politics without having to be coy or goofily censored. But I think in order to really hook people it'll have to have a great supporting cast.

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