Fall TV Watch: What's Hot, What's Not
Watch It: Heroes (NBC, 8 p.m. ET)
If you missed Monday night’s premiere, then make a super effort to see this second-night repeat of one of the season’s most exciting new shows (Heroes regularly airs Mondays at 9 p.m. ET). A sprawling, mysterious science-fiction adventure, Heroes tracks the emerging destinies of a group of deceptively regular-looking mutants as they start to realize and test their strange powers. It’s something like X-Men, but without the costume fetish or the romanticized self-anguish. We have a high school cheerleader who methodically breaks and burns her body because she knows it will miraculously heal. A nerd in Tokyo figures out how to teleport himself, another guy has an irrepressible urge to fly – again, psychologists, you may find this richly suggestive – and a single mother sees her reflected image not quite in sync with her movements. There’s so much going on, the story at this point is barely coherent, but it also feels tantalizingly, implicitly whole. If all the pieces don’t fit initially, they may just mutate until they do.
Help Me Help You
(ABC, 9:30 p.m ET)
There are two very good performances in Ted Danson’s new sitcom. One, of course, is Danson’s, playing a famous psychologist: Bill Hoffman is working through his midlife issues with some dignity but not much success. Danson can sketch out a range of small foibles – smug vanity, thin skin – without ever seeming like a buffoon, creep or clown. He seems to have an actual interior life. The second good performance is by Bruce Altman, as another psychologist, less prominent, who loves Hoffman’s daughter and (professionally) loves Hoffman, too. Altman is silly but so ardently sincere he’s likable – he’s never a buffoon, creep or clown, either. The rest of the show is about Hoffman’s group-therapy patients and their various problems with intimacy, sexuality and so on. Unfortunately, they are buffoons, creeps and clowns. Maybe borderline-personality ones, to boot.
The Gilmore Girls (The CW, 8 p.m. ET)
The new season finds Lauren Graham and Alexis Bledel still chirping hysterically like two adorable chickadees that might detonate into a shower of feathers and birdfeed. And Mama Gilmore’s relationship with Luke (Scott Patterson) remains a big fat mess.