Watch It: Shark (CBS, 10 p.m. ET)
James Woods, who is starting to look like the better-groomed twin of Oscar winner Geoffrey Rush, gives a performance that’s smooth, playful and big – on a different scale than you’ll see in most dramatic series. He plays a hotshot defense attorney who suffers a moral crisis and decides to devote his formidable cunning to doing good by taking a job with the L.A. district attorney’s office. I actually wish he’d stayed on the dark side, quashing considerations of decency under his shoe like a stale marshmallow. But an actor this good having a time this good is worth at least a nibble.
Skip It: Six Degrees (ABC, 10 p.m. ET)
J.J. Abrams, one of the creators of Lost, is also coexecutive producer of Six Degrees. Like Lost, it’s a show in love with the ineffable – and how often do you get that on network TV? Jeez, how often do you even get to use the word “ineffable”? I’m not sure this one will work, though. Set in Manhattan, it follows the gradual blossoming of connections – random, karmic, who knows? – between a group of strangers. The strangers happen to be played by a fantastic cast (Hope Davis, Campbell Scott, Jay Hernandez), but in the premiere you’re always aware of a faint but bothersome hum. Might be an unconvincing delicateness. Souls this frail would already have left the big mean city for the boroughs.
Grey’s Anatomy (ABC, 9 p.m. ET)
“Oh, Dr. McDreamy – it’s you! Oh, and I – I don’t have anything to wear, the place is a mess. I’m not ready. But it’s not – this isn’t Sunday, is it? Oh my.” Don’t you be caught unawares, like that foolish viewer. Starting tonight, ABC’s hit show moves from Sundays to Thursdays.
CSI: Crime Scene Investigation (CBS, 9 p.m. ET)
In what’s probably the boldest programming move of the fall, Anatomy will be going up against CBS’s long-running powerhouse CSI, which is countering with an episode that features cute soulful singer John Mayer. And he and Patrick Dempsey have similar hair.
ER (NBC, 10 p.m. ET)
The medical drama that launched the career of a McDreamy named George Clooney enters its 13th season with the aftershock of last season’s cliffhanger shootout. John Stamos, as a paramedic named Tony Gates, will officially become part of the regular cast.
My Name Is Earl (NBC, 8 p.m. ET)
The comedy’s second season begins with that human sack of trash Earl (Jason Lee) tackling No. 183 on his list to rectify past wrongs.
The Office (NBC, 8:30 p.m. ET)
Yes, it’s back to Scranton, Pa., and a pathetic world of bad management, paper supplies and the touchingly awkward romance between Jim (John Krasinski) and Pam (Jenna Fischer). Ineffable, that might be another word for them.
What’s Hot, What’s Not, Part One