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Monday

Accidentally on Purpose 8:30 PM, CBS
Instead of Two and a Half Men, think of this show as two half-men and one lady. Billie (Jenna Elfman) is a successful writer who has a fling with a much-younger post-grad—and winds up pregnant. When she invites the couch-crashing baby daddy to live with her and their future progeny, the pair lives like the Odd Couple if Felix and Oscar were expecting.

Trauma 9 pm, NBC
Surprise, surprise: another show about the medical profession. If you like all the drama of hospital shows but wish they could be a bit more extreme, you’ll be happy to discover that Trauma follows first-responder paramedics, who must do death-defying feats to get to their patients.

Tuesday

[What’s Hot] V 8 pm, ABC
Sci-fi geeks are already geared up to watch this show, which is a re-imagining of a miniseries from the 1980s. In it, visitors from outer space—the aptly named Vs—travel thousands of intergalactic miles to bring a message of peace to Earth. Or do they? Lost’s Elizabeth Mitchell plays an FBI agent who discovers something secretive about the Vs—namely, that they may not be as cuddly and E.T.-like as they’d like the world to believe.

NCIS: Los Angeles 9 pm, CBS
Thugs are threatening national security? LL Cool J is on the case! In this spin-off of the wildly popular procedural, the rapper/actor plays a former Navy SEAL now working in undercover surveillance at the NCIS, with partner Chris O’Donnell. The show promises lots of high-tech spy gear and risky undercover, live-by-your-wits operations.

Photo by Patrick Ecclesine/The CW ©2009 The CW Network, LLC.
 

➤ Melrose Place Tuesday, 9 pm, CW
Consider Tuesday flashback-to-the’90s night. Coming on the heels of the CW’s 90210 revamp, Melrose Place is another resurrected, catty, soapy, California-based drama with an ensemble of fresh-faced up-and-comers (and a couple of original Melrose Place veterans). Watch it while wearing your old flannel and drinking a Zima.

 The Good Wife 10 pm, CBS
Jenny Sanford, Darlene Ensign, Silda Wall Spitzer—it’s tough being a political wife when your husband is involved in a sex scandal. The Good Wife’s Alicia Florrick (Julianna Margulies) knows how they feel. In the show, her husband’s scandal and subsequent divorce compels her to re-enter the workforce—at a distinguished law firm, no less—for the first time in more than a decade, competing for position with the annoying young whippersnappers just out of school.

The Forgotten 10 pm, ABC
More investigations, but, this time, the crack team isn’t looking for the killer, they’re looking for the victim. Well, the victim’s identity, anyway. When an unidentified body is considered a permanent John or Jane Doe by the police, a few amateur detectives try to pick up the slack and root out the lives behind the crimes.

Wednesday

Mercy 8 pm, NBC
With HawthoRNe and Nurse Jackie, shows about nurses are all the rage right now. Mercy follows a hospital full of ’em—and the personal dramas in their daily lives. (Is it us, or do hospitals have more drama than high schools?)

Hank 8 pm, ABC
Kelsey Grammer returns to television, doing what he’s done in some of this best TV work—annoying his on-screen family. This time, he plays an out-of-work Master of the Universe type who has to endure quality time with his wife and kids as he works his way back to the top.

The Middle 8:30 pm, ABC
Forget the gossip girls and real housewives—here’s a TV show about some normal people! At least in terms of money: As the name suggests, The Middle centers around a family that’s—gasp—middle class. Patricia Heaton plays the family matriarch, a mother of three living in totally unglamorous Indiana.

The Beautiful Life 9 pm, CW
Another show full of pretty people with dark secrets. Fashion modeling is a cutthroat biz, and this show follows a veteran model who seems to have a rare heart of gold when she takes a newcomer under her wing. Still, even with that rare moment of generosity, there’s plenty of jealousy, backstabbing, and general jerkiness to go around.

Modern Family 9 pm, ABC
Shows like The Office and Parks and Recreation bring a cinéma-vérité style to television, and Modern Family continues in that vein. The unseen documentary crew in this show, however, gets out of the office park and instead takes a look at, obviously, the modern family—and there are plenty of goings-on to document.

➤ Glee Wednesday, 9 pm, FOX
This series feels like every classic high-school movie ever made, with a group of outcasts, losers, and weirdoes (and the one token popular kid who wants to follow his passion) trying to succeed despite the discouragement from the in crowd. Their passion is glee club, so fans of a cappella, pop-song medleys, or High School Musical should tune in.

Photo by Carin Baer/FOX ©2009 Fox Broadcasting Co.

 

 

 

Cougar Town 9:30 pm, ABC
Like Accidentally On Purpose, this show features a no-longer-twentysomething single woman out on the dating scene. Friends’ Courteney Cox is the cougar in question, who takes a cue from her male peers and tries her hand at cradle-robbing.

Eastwick 10 pm, ABC
There’s toil and trouble coming to a small New England town, when three women are imbued with unusual powers from a mysterious man. Based on The Witches of Eastwick by John Updike, the show’s stars are foxier than your usual pop-culture witches, especially with Rebecca Romijn taking on the role of Roxie.

Thursday

Vampire Diaries 8 pm, CW
Between Twilight and True Blood, vampires are so hot right now. Vampire Diaries follows two members of this good-looking nocturnal brood and their fight for the soul of an impressionable teen who’s still grieving over the loss of her parents. The two vampy brothers, played by Army Wives’ Paul Wesley and Lost’s Ian Somerhalder, embody the two extremes of vampirism: those who want to live peacefully with humans, and those who want to eat them.

[What’s Hot] Flash Forward 8 pm, ABC
If you could gaze into the future, would you look? In Flash Forward, the world doesn’t get a choice—a global event causes everyone to black out for a little more than two minutes, and each person is shown a vision of what his or her life is like six months in the future. Afterward, people have to figure out if they can avoid their destinies, or if they’ll be doomed to repeat them.

[What’s Hot] Community 9:30 pm, NBC
Lots of shows are about students, but not necessarily these students: a community college filled with high school losers, housewives, senior citizens—and Chevy Chase. (For real.) The action centers around a disgraced, slick lawyer (The Soup’s snarky Joel McHale) who forms a study group of misfits all trying to get their two-year degrees.

Friday

Brothers 8 pm, FOX
Can athletes act? This sitcom banks on it, casting former New York Giant and FOX NFL Sunday analyst Michael Strahan as—what else?—a retired football player. The series finds him leaving his successful career on the New York gridiron to return to the family homestead in Texas and help out at his wheelchair-bound brother’s restaurant. Strahan just has to prove that he can act in roles more challenging than Pizza Hut and Right Guard commercials.

Saturday

The Wanda Sykes Show 11 pm, FOX
With all the fuss about David Letterman, Conan O’Brien, and Jay Leno, you may not have noticed a lady sneaking into the late-night game. Watch out, boys: brassy comedian Wanda Sykes runs a one-hour show in which she and a panel of guests will tackle current events, and she’ll also head off into the field to shoot other segments.

Sunday

The Cleveland Show 8:30 pm, FOX
You may know Cleveland Brown as the easy-going, soft-spoken neighbor to the loudmouth Peter Griffin on The Family Guy. Now he’s striking out on his own, moving in with a high-school sweetheart in Virginia for a series about living with his old flame and two children. Animation titan Seth MacFarlane also helms this show, and Arianna Huffington turns up as a guest voice.

Three Rivers 9 pm, CBS
Don’t be too surprised: Three Rivers is another medical drama. The specialty in question this time is organ transplantation, and the show follows the donors, the recipients, and especially the surgeons. Like the little black dress, shows about doctors will never go out of style.

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