CBS' Person of Interest (9/8c) is one of the fall's few new dramas of interest, and it appears to be a keeper. Though not without some formula aspects — this is CBS, after all, so things tend to get wrapped up pretty neatly by the hour's end — the intriguing Interest sends its damaged heroes on their high-tech vigilante missions under a tantalizing cloak of paranoid secrecy. Each week, there's also the promise of heightened and stylized mayhem at the hands of the coolly lethal Reese (Jim Caviezel), who's so unflappably taciturn in his explosive takedowns of rooms full of bad guys he can make Jack Bauer look like a blabbermouth wimp.
Reese's partner in crime-stopping, Michael Emerson as the mousy genius Finch, is equally reserved and mysterious, but just as determined to see justice done by targeting potential victims and/or perps, staying a step ahead of the perplexed authorities. There's an urgency to their rogue actions, and that's especially true with this week's episode, made available for preview, in which they come to the aid of a tough judge (David Costabile, most recently the ill-fated chemist Gale on Breaking Bad) who's being squeezed by villains (including Fringe Observer Michael Cerveris) who've kidnapped his son.
When Reese steps in, the judge alternately sputters, "Who are you? What are you? Where are you getting your information?" (The last question involves "the Machine," which no one really understands, so best not to go there.) Reese follows his leads with Terminator-like bluntness, not exactly taking no prisoners — because a few end up trussed in a car trunk — but never flinching from hand-to-hand combat or a gun battle. It's all a bit over the top, but much twistier and less conventional than the standard whodunit. It's worth checking out as it settles in on one of the week's busiest nights.
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Among tonight's other highlights:
Game 2 of the World Series on Fox (starts at 7:30/ET), as the Cardinals try to make it two in a row as they take on the Rangers at home in St. Louis.
We're still catching our breath from last week's insane episode of the CW's The Vampire Diaries. What didn't happen when the evil vamp Klaus brought naughty sis Rebekah and poor possessed Ripper-Stefan back to Mystic Falls? Now we know that Elena's doppelganger blood is the key to Klaus's army of hybrids, with werewolf Tyler the first guinea pig. Meanwhile, Matt arranged for Bonnie the witch to revive him from drowning so he could commune with his ghost sister. Speaking of ghosts, the spirit of Anna helped Jeremy and Katherine find the body of Michael, the vampire hunter so powerful his very name prompts Klaus to flee. So what's next? In tonight's episode (8/7c), these crazy kids start their senior year, and only Tyler-the-hybrid seems to be enjoying himself. Maybe too much. And who's the new student in Alaric's history class?
The OWN Documentary Club takes on the media (including TV, movies, the Internet, publishing and advertising) for their discouraging and demeaning depiction of women, emphasizing images of beauty and conformity, in Miss Representation (9/8c), with cultural/political heavyweights including Condoleezza Rice, Katie Couric, Nancy Pelosi, Rachel Maddow and Gloria Steinem weighing in.
Few of the above are likely to be champions of MTV's appallingly successful Jersey Shore (10/9c), which wraps its season-long excursion to Florence, Italy — an historic locale that may have weathered worse invasions, though it's hard to imagine — as the gang packs up to return to Seaside Heights, regardless of the governor's feelings about them. This will be followed by a premature reunion show at 11/10c, and an online Jersey Shore Hook-Up live stream (two words you really don't want to association with this crew) at midnight/11c, as they answer fan questions from Times Square.
On CBS, the Engagement is back on. Rules of Engagement, that is, the longtime utility player that was supposed to have been banished to Saturdays this fall to burn off its sixth season for syndication purposes. But then the atrocious How to Be a Gentleman crashed and burned on Thursday, so Rules is back (8:31/7:31c) as a Big Bang companion piece, kicking off its new season with Russell trying to weasel out of his marriage to Liz (Bridesmaids' Wendi McLendon-Covey).
Giving Skin-emax a run for its money, Showtime gets dirty after hours with the second-season premiere of Gigolos (11/10c), about the "unscripted" exploits of male escorts in Las Vegas. This is being paired, we kid you not, with Dave's Old Porn (11:30/10:30), a soft-core twist on Mystery Science Theater 3000. Comedian Dave Attell guides viewers through a retro stash of vintage VHS porn, which he watches and mocks alongside such outspoken celebrity friends as Chelsea Handler, Adam Carolla and Whitney Cummings. Look for actual porn stars to drop by to discuss their classic performances. Because it's doubtful they have a better offer.
So what else is on? ... Guest-star alert: The hilarious Laurie Metcalf returns to CBS' The Big Bang Theory as Sheldon's mom. ... A.J. Langer, who we've loved since she was Angela's BFF Rayenne on My So-Called Life almost a generation ago, shows up on ABC's Private Practice (10/9c) as a woman from Cooper's past — because Charlotte apparently hasn't suffered enough. ... Coldplay guests on Comedy Central's The Colbert Report (11:30/10:30c) for the first time, performing the TV debut of a song from their new album "Mylo Xyloto." A second performance will be available online at www.ColbertNation.com. ... And finally, for reality fans, a twofer from CMT: Sweet Home Alabama (9/8c), which is basically a countrified Bachelor, builds its second season around last year's runner-up Tribble Reese, a former Clemson quarterback who gets to choose between city and country girls. This is followed by the sixth-season premiere of Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders: Making the Team (10/9c), and I'm just sorry Carson Kressley won't get to reprise this week's rah-rah Dancing With the Stars routine on the show. Or will he?
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