September 19, 2011 12:00 PM

2 Broke Girls

CBS, Sept. 19, 9:30 p.m. ET/PT |

COMEDY

One of the best new sitcoms of the fall, 2 Broke Girls is as unpretentious and unassailably sturdy as the Brooklyn diner where it’s set. Kat Dennings is Max, a cynical waitress who patrols the room like a tank, armored against whatever blue-plate specials life might hurl at her. Max doesn’t-can’t-hide her dislike for her inept new coworker Caroline (Beth Behrs), who looks like Paris Hilton philosophically shaken by the ultimate nonexistence of the true BFF. She’s in exile from the Upper East Side after her father, a crook on the Bernie Madoff scale, lost everything. The excellent Dennings (Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist) is given the upper hand here. She gets the zingers. But Behrs holds her own, letting Caroline’s common sense outweigh her willowy silliness. The girls’ chemistry should keep the show (cocreated by Whitney Cummings, who has her own new NBC sitcom, Whitney) breakdown-free.

The Secret Circle

CW, Sept. 15, 9 p.m. ET/PT |

DRAMA

Paired with The Vampire Diaries, Circle is another pleasurably trashy teen fantasy in which the hormonal surges of youth are expressed as a magical yet scary power. Beats worrying about acne. Cassie (Britt Robertson) is orphaned after her mother is mysteriously flambeed. Moving to Mom’s old town, she’s courted by snarky kids united in a network older than Facebook-witchcraft! The thought that their circle will be completed by Cassie, who also has special gifts, excites them more than a season of Jersey Shore set in hell. The acting is flat, but the show casts a hokey spell.

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