A Navy captain's wife and his angelic, piano-playing, blind daughter are abducted for ransom. (I know. We're barely two minutes into the show and I was groaning, too.) The kidnapper — who's tormenting the captain via webcam on his office PC — demands two million bucks in a creepy, electronically altered voice. And the little blind girl is, of course, freakishly developed in her other senses and thus is able to help the NCIS investigators save her parents. That is, when she's not too busy weeping and tugging at the viewer's heartstrings like a Dickensian orphan. Ugh. It's just old-fashioned melodrama — the same ol' schmaltzy, manipulative kind of TV drama I hate, even if it does have the modern technological twist. Sorry, Mark Harmon's still a handsome silver fox (and Michael Weatherly didn't look so bad in that sweaty tank top either), but I still can't get into NCIS.

By the way, some things seriously bugged me about this "In the Dark" episode — and I'm not just talking about the kidnapper's implicit threats of rape, when he wasn't straight-up threatening to kill the blind girl and her mom. That scene where the I.T. guy "accidentally" looked up Sasha Alexander's skirt — prompting her to yank him out from under her desk by his ears like some naughty schoolboy — was an example of very sexist and distasteful writing. On a lesser note, I'm also continuously annoyed by Pauley Perrette's character, Abby. I don't care how bright this forensics geek girl is. Would the Navy really allow her to work in a federal office building with that severe Goth-style hair and wardrobe? I don't think so. It's ridiculous and distracting. Abby needs an Ambush Makeover pronto.

Gilmore Girls
Thanks to everyone who e-mailed me last week about calling Luke's cell-phone number — which turned out to be the real number of some guy in Connecticut. An alarming number of you actually jotted it down and called, just like me! Y'all also got the same weird voice-mail message I heard. Freaky, no?

Movin' on... Must Michel — Lorelai's French concierge guy at the Dragonfly Inn — be such an embittered drama queen? It bothers me that the only gay person in Stars Hollow (that we know of) has to be so bitchy and unpleasant toward children. The baby-sitting thing with the kids was clearly supposed to be cute, but it wasn't. And what's with Lorelai storming around the inn being such a neurotic, bossy, Leona Helmsley-ish grump? I kept waiting for her to start screaming, "The Palace does not serve wet lettuce!" This exchange between her and Sookie summed it up nicely, though:

Sookie: Do you know the last time I saw staff and maids this scared of their boss? Your mother's house.Lorelai: Ow! Knife in the gut. Yes, I get that Lorelai was upset about being on the outs with Rory — it was bound to happen when she started acting like a real mother to her daughter instead of a "friend." Still, it was a relief when the Gilmores made up because I don't watch my GG to stress out, OK? And they need to resolve this adultery mess with Dean because I can't take too many more tense, ugly scenes. Like Lindsay's mother likening Rory to Hester Prynne from The Scarlet Letter in front of the whole town. That was so soapy, I thought for a second that I was watching...

One Tree Hill
Finally, after seeing Chad Michael Murray's buzz cut in commercials for the new season, we finally get an explanation (of sorts) for it:

Nathan: Three questions. Number one. What happened to your hair?
Lucas: I left it in Charleston.

Translation: "Durrr... I'm soooo cool. Way too cool to analyze my new hair like the people who watch this show will." Whatever. Anyway, I'm torn about the buzz cut. It looks too short, and I'm not sure Chad has the right stuff to pull off such a rough, masculine look — his head's too small and his features are too delicate. Still, it's an improvement on his old coif, which looked like he'd ordered himself one of those Flowbee home-haircut gadgets off late-night cable. Not good! (By the way, that's my last Flowbee joke, I promise!)

Daniel's Moral Moment
OK, listen up, 'cause I'm about to have myself a Dr. Phil rant. I have a real problem with the bad values the WB is promoting tonight. On GG, Rory's lost her virginity to Dean, who's in his late teens and married. On One Tree Hill, Haley and Nathan are also in their late teens and married. And it's not even like a baby was involved in either case, so what's up with these kids getting hitched so young, before they've even had time to mature and figure out who they are? But the worst was Brooke posting Peyton's nude photos on the Internet — which actually earned Peyton some welcome, positive attention from attractive guys her own age. As if! It seems really irresponsible for One Tree to promote such recklessness to its young female viewers, who will only make themselves easy targets for sexual predators if they imitate Brooke and Peyton's high jinks online.

Nip/Tuck OK, what is with these TV psychos with creepy, electronically altered voices tonight? First, I see it on NCIS and now here! Difference is that Nip/Tuck's nut, The Carver, is much scarier than the one-dimensional villain from that other show. When that spooky Mardi Gras mask appeared in Sean's shower door — I can never resist an homage to Psycho — the suspense sucked me right in. Can't wait for next week's season finale, when Sean is scheduled to have memorable encounters with two crazy individuals: The Carver and guest star Joan Rivers! (If only they were one and the same — now that would be stunt casting.) P.S. I must commend Nip/Tuck for being the only show I've seen tonight that promotes sexual responsibility. Finally, after getting his freak on with half the Western Hemisphere, Dr. Christian Troy had an STD scare and got an HIV test. He also braved the unenviable task of calling his sexual partners to suggest they get tested, too. Not only that, he comforted Gina in her time of need — and reminded sexually active guys everywhere why it's really important to get tested and use condoms, no matter what your sexual orientation.And Daniel is now officially off his soapbox. At least for this week!