Mickey's Mega Rave: I stopped watching ER some time around George Clooney's departure, so it was purely by accident that I caught the October 9, 2008 episode, "Another Thursday at County," which was anything but. New chief resident Dr. Cate Banfield (Angela Bassett, who I would pay money to watch read the phone book) stormed the castle! It was a toss-up as to which was more toxic: the risin released by a homegrown terrorist or Banfield's brusque, maniacally competent workplace persona. She's like Kerry Weaver with better skin.
2 of 12 Greg Gayne/Fox
Matt's Mini Rant: I'm starting to think that time-traveling back to the 1960s might be Lincoln Burrows' only way of ever getting some lovin'. For years now, Prison Break fans have been clamoring for the big guy to pitch some woo. Instead, Michael gets all the (rather chaste) romance, while Linc's would-be flame, Sofia, is inexplicably MIA. Pure brawn needs hugs, too!
3 of 12 Andrew Eccles/NBC
Tim's Mega Rave: Let's hope NBC is willing to keep pouring zillions into Kings for a few months, despite the premiere's unimpressive ratings. We know, creating a gorgeous, butterfly-filled alternate reality is expensive. But the show deserves time to explore its audacious impulses (and shed a bit of its corniness).
4 of 12 HBO
Mickey's Mini Rant: HBO's True Blood came out of the coffin strong, aiming for deep and rich, but unsubtle metaphors take a bite out of its complicated portrait of vampire culture. It sucks!
5 of 12 Randy Holmes/ABC
Matt's Mega Rave: GLAAD may be "disheartened," but this Grey's Anatomy fan is thrilled to see the Erica-Callie romance put out of its misery. What was touted over the summer as being daring and informed in its exploration of someone's coming out, instead too often played on-screen as awkward, devoid of chemistry and titillating purely for titillation's sake (Mark knows Callie's bits better than she does?). Kudos to Shonda Rhimes for taking a precise scalpel to this romance.
6 of 12 Randy Holmes/ABC
Mickey's Mini Rant: Remember the fuss we made about Brothers & Sisters' Justin and Rebecca kissing? Who knew their biggest controversy would be how boring a couple they are?
7 of 12 AMC
Mickey's Mega Rave: It's called Mad Men, but without Christina Hendricks, Elisabeth Moss and January Jones, Don Draper & Co. would just be blowing smoke. It wasn't easy being a broad in the world of Sterling Cooper this week: Joan was passed over for a deserved promotion; Peggy's secret continued to weigh on her; and, sadly, there's no better TV than watching Betty come apart at her meticulous seams.
8 of 12 NBC
Matt's Mini Rant: Chuck has made me hungry... for a plot twist I don't see coming down Broadway. (I'm gesturing out my office window, at Broadway.) After getting Season 2 off to a strong start, the NBC comedy revealed that our hero's first love (guest star Jordana Brewster) is an enemy spy. This just weeks after Sarah's former high-school mate (guest star Nicole Richie) was revealed to be... an enemy spy. With enemies like those, can't a spy get a bona fide friend?
9 of 12 Ron Tom/ABC
Mickey's Mega Rave: Te amo, Gaby and Carlos! Of all the demented love stories that Marc Cherry's Desperate Housewives has given us, none has tickled me more than the Solises' logic- and ethics-free union. Eva Longoria Parker and Ricardo Chavira have pulled off the most radical transitions of the show's five-year jump — Gaby went from vain model to insecure, dumpy mother; Carlos morphed from venal corporate shark to sensitive New Age masseur — without losing either character's essential edge.
10 of 12 MTV
Matt's Mini Rant: As illuminating as MTV's Britney: For the Record was, something smelled fishy. Setting aside the obvious timing to the launch of her new album, ponder this: The first documentary Spears consents to just so happened to kick off at an MTV Video Music Awards show where she veritably ran the table with several huge wins? Should we call her "Lucky," or is the coincidence all just a bit "Outrageous"?
11 of 12 Richard Foreman/Fox
Mickey's Mini Rant: What's more frustrating — that Dr. House relentlessly egged on an armed gunman during a hostage situation or that, after subduing him, he gave the gun back to him when he hadn't satisfactorily rendered a diagnosis? In my heaven, every episode of House is 45 seconds long and every one ends with the bad doc getting slugged in the teeth.
12 of 12 HBO
Mickey's Mini Rant: Big Love's new season is so outstanding that I've taken three wives as a sign of my devotion. But I ask you: Four? Really? What was the rush to bring Ana into the fold? I thought Bill would only take another wife when he received a testimony from God to do so. Did he? Or did he just like the former waitress' cherry pie?