Rachel Bilson Rachel Bilson

As opening nights go, last Monday's kickoff to the fall season was pretty spectacular. Now with the two Charlies laid to rest (and Sheen charred at the celebrity roast), we'll see how Two and a Half Men holds up, along with the rest of CBS' comedy lineup. Add some high-profile dinosaurs to the mix this week, and it should be another fascinating night.

First, the new shows, from Fall Preview:

My initial Take on Fox's Terra Nova (two-hour premiere at 8/7c): "Bigger isn't always better, but in this case, it may be enough. Terra Nova will win no prizes for its cardboard characters and clunky writing, but hey, it's got CGI dinosaurs! This is the fall's grandest escape and riskiest swing." To elaborate: This lavishly produced family-friendly sci-fi time-travel adventure isn't what you'd call edgy — from Steven Spielberg, it has Jurassic bark, but not much bite — and it lays on the "starting over" schmaltz a bit heavily as we follow a family through a Stargate-like portal into a settlement 85 million years in the prehistoric past on a separate time stream, giving humans a second chance to create a civilization without destroying the planet. (The dystopian prologue makes the world of Blade Runner look like a musical comedy.) If you can make it past the exposition, and the earnest family clichés — a rebellious teenage son, an awkward brainiac daughter — there's plenty of satisfying dino action. And it all looks gorgeous. Precious little on network TV feels like an "event" (not to be confused with The Event) anymore, and if this can't take a bite out of the competition, it may be a while before we see its like again.

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