Lone Star (Monday, 9/8c, Fox)
My favorite new drama of the fall season is a provocative and twisted romance with a touch of Dallas-style oil intrigue, as a con man (charmer James Wolk) juggles a double life with a rich wife in Houston and a down-home sweetie in a small town where he's pulling a swindle. How long can he get away with it? We'll see. The show faces competition from NBC's heavily hyped conspiracy thriller-fantasy-adventure hybrid The Event, cloaked in mystery and hobbled by a convoluted time-jumping script. But Jason Ritter as the everyguy hero embroiled in the madness is so likable you can't help but want to tune in next week to see what happens. DVR alert.
Glee (Tuesday, 8/7c, Fox)
Last year's most pervasive pop-culture phenom returns for a highly anticipated second season, with the New Directions glee club looking to expand and overcome its underdog status. As auditions ensue, look for a guest appearance by pop star Charice and for some Rachel-Finn conflict as they argue over the new recruits. Hey, if everyone got along, there would be no show. This show leads directly into my favorite new fall comedy, Raising Hope (9/8c), a raucous white-trash sitcom about a single-dad slacker tending to a surprise baby with the help of his outrageous family, which includes the great Martha Plimpton and the terminally wacky Cloris Leachman. They're a hoot.
Modern Family (Wednesday, 9/8c, ABC)
Proud and deserving winner of a best-comedy Emmy for its freshman breakthrough season, this brilliant sitcom returns with Phil agreeing to sell his beloved old station wagon, but not before taking the family for one last nostalgic — and, we presume, calamitous — ride. Meanwhile, Cameron (Emmy winner Eric Stonestreet) turns to father-in-law Jay for help in building a princess castle for daughter Lily. And precocious Manny has a study date with a cute classmate. This show is the centerpiece of ABC's winning comedy lineup, which includes The Middle, the new Better With You and, following Family at 9:30/8:30c, the premiere of Cougar Town with Jennifer Aniston joining her old Friend Courteney Cox as Jules' unorthodox new therapist.
Grey's Anatomy (Thursday, 9/8c, ABC)
Aftershocks from last season's nail-biting shoot-em-up cliffhanger continue to resonate among the Seattle Grace staff, as James Tupper (from last season's Mercy, returning to the hospital genre) arrives as a trauma counselor. Just in time, it would seem, as a recuperating Derek impulsively resigns as Chief and plunges back into surgery. And there's good news for the show's 'shippers, as Cristina deflects all of the head-shrinking to focus on making wedding plans with Owen. It's gotta go better than what happened with her and Burke, right?
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