Cougar Town (Monday, 9:30/8:30c, ABC)
Don't ever do that to us again, ABC — by which I mean, depriving us of this blissfully daffy comedy for a long mid-season hiatus. After watching tonight's return episode in a special post-Dancing With the Stars time slot, you'll know what I mean when I say Cougar Town's absence kicked "butt". To celebrate its return, everyone get out their Penny Cans as Bobby and Laurie try to make the silly pastime a thriving business ("The game is dumb, but it is so addictive," admits Laurie), while Jules rethinks her meddlesome parenting style as she digs for Travis' long-buried time capsule. If you don't like this episode, we'll have to "agree to disagree" (again, something you'll get after watching). The show returns to its regular Wednesday (9:30/8:30c) time period this week with another new episode, as Jules and Grayson babysit Ellie and Andy's often-neglected Baby Stan.
Body of Proof (Tuesday 10/9c, ABC)
And now we attempt not to make crass "body" jokes when touting the return to TV of the famously curvaceous Christina Hendricks — aka Mad Men's fabulous Joan, like the show currently in between-season limbo. On the new hit Body of Proof, Hendricks plays the identical twin of a dead woman whose mysterious passing puzzles the docs — especially Ethan (played by Hendricks' real-life husband, Geoffrey Arend), who takes a personal interest in the case. What's Dr. Megan Hunt (Dana Delany) up to during all this? She returns to the hospital where she used to practice as a top neurologist to investigate the death of a patient, with signs leading to the culpability of her doctor (Buffy's Marc Blucas).
The Vampire Diaries (Thursday, 8/7c, The CW)
At last, we finally get to meet the season's "big bad:" the ancient vampire Klaus (Joseph Morgan), as the show travels back in time to 1491 to reveal Katherine's first encounter with Klaus and Elijah, as well as shedding light on how the moonstone curse came to be. In present time, Elena plots to outmaneuver the mighty vamp as the Salvatore brothers clash over how to protect Elena. An hour later, on the equally addictive Nikita (9/8c), our heroine decides things are getting too risky for young Alex in Division, but before she can extricate her protégé, Alex is assigned with her nemesis Jaden on an overseas mission. Will things go smoothly? Do they ever?
Bones (Thursday, 9/8c, Fox)
Why are Booth and Bones in Florida this week? Welcome to the time-honored TV tradition of the "backdoor pilot." This week's case involves the murder of an Everglades maritime museum guard amid an attempt to steal a 17th century treasure map. They enlist the help of Booth's Iraq War comrade Walter Sherman (Geoff Stults), a well-renowned "finder" — sounds like a series title to me — with "an uncanny gift to unearth anyone and anything." (There's your premise.) Sherman even has an entourage including a co-worker (Saffron Burrows) and legal advisor (Michael Clarke Duncan). All they need now is a series pick-up.
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