Fall TV Watch: What's Hot on Thursday
Watch It: Ugly Betty (ABC, 8 p.m. ET)
A bizarrely, blissfully successful hybrid of comedy, drama and soap, Ugly Betty is based on a Colombian telenovela and executive-produced by Mexican actress Salma Hayek. I assume those two factors have something to do with the show’s sensibility, a campy cheerfulness that’s unlike anything in primetime. The basic story, though, will remind viewers of The Devil Wears Prada. Frump princess Betty Suarez (America Ferrera) lands a job as assistant to Daniel Meade, the new playboy editor of Manhattan fashion bible Mode. She’s been positioned outside his office precisely because she’s so unattractive that Mr. Meade (Eric Mabius) will stay focused. This is cruel. But Betty is smart, smarter than her boss, and guides him past the tiger pits being dug in the fashion jungle by a rival editor. Meanwhile, there are bigger, preposterous mysteries – Mode‘s previous editor, presumed dead, seems to be alive – and a parade of ridiculous fashionistas: a corporation full of wicked stepsisters to Betty’s Cinderella. The show is a fairy tale that doesn’t need the payoff of a glass slipper.
Smallville (The CW, 8 p.m. ET)
Season 6 starts with young Clark Kent (Tom Welling) powerless and stuck in something called the Phantom Zone. Too bad you can’t just clap for him like Tinkerbell.
Supernatural (The CW, 9 p.m. ET)
The demon-hunting Winchester brothers (Jared Padalecki and Jensen Ackles) presumably survive last season’s head-on collision. (An evil spirit was driving the truck that hit them.) The show is hip, Goth foolishness, but it’s also a lot of fun.