Here we are between sweeps months, and you know what that means? Yes, a lot more repeats than many viewers would like. But also a spring awakening of new and returning shows on network and cable. As usual, it's a mixed bag of high-concept scripted drama and diverting reality TV, each hoping to find some mid-season traction before the May sweeps kick in with all of those high-profile stunts and season-ending cliff-hangers. Here's a look at the new batch of contenders, with some early first impressions (and one fond "welcome back"). Any keepers here? You'll be the ultimate judge of that.
Mondays, 8 pm/ET, Fox
Why to watch: If you miss the good old days of junky drive-in B movies.
Worth watching? Hard to tell after test-driving a partial pilot (and perusing some scripts). As fast-paced as it is preposterous,
Drive follows a caravan of unamazing racers in an illegal cross-country contest operated by a secret conspiracy. Both overheated and half-baked, at least it moves.
My score (0-10): 5
Thank God You're Here
Wednesdays, 8 pm/ET, NBC
Why to watch: If Whose Line Is It Anyway? was your idea of great comedy.
Worth watching? Depends on the player in this cheerfully cheesy improv face-off, in which guest celebs don costumes as they vamp their way through silly sketches, while judge Dave Foley benignly applauds. A wish: Can Bryan Cranston (who stole the episode I saw) be a regular? He rocks.
My score: 6
Fridays, 10 pm/ET, Sci Fi Channel
Why to watch: If life hasn't been the same since Alias signed off.
Worth watching? Jane Vasco (Kristanna Loken) is no Sydney Bristow. And as regenerating heroines go, she's no Claire from Heroes, either. Based on a comic book, this colorless angstfest pits a snarky female agent with self-healing powers against mutants who warp minds. Guess who I'm rooting for.
My score: 3
Wednesdays 10 pm/ET, AMC
Why to watch: If you enjoy seeing cool grifters fleece despicable prey.
Worth watching? Season 4 is still a charm, with the team (minus Adrian Lester) heading from London to L.A. to sell a sleazy Texas mogul (Robert Wagner) the "Hollywood" sign. Smart twists and elaborate ruses result in capers that are impeccably done and always leave you grinning.
My score: 9
Wednesdays, 10 pm/ET, Bravo
Why to watch: If Project Runway-style reality TV gets you all lathered up.
Worth watching? What a tangled weave this haircutting
competition is from the shaggy get-go. Fur and feathers fly as host Jaclyn Smith coolly observes. (Her 'do, by the way, is flawless.) Shear Genius may not be cutting-edge TV, but so far, it's fun. No fair teasing anyone who's hooked.
My Score: 7