Leverage Leverage

9/8c TNT
Season 3 swiftly progresses with Nate Ford and his Ford-tough band of avenging outlaws continuing their quest to crush greedy power figures and corporate villains. The con is on and the scheme picks up steam when honest small-business proprietors are blackmailed into committing crimes. As Nate's crew works its high-tech magic to derail the blackmailing plot, an unexpected adversary comes to the fore. Tom Skerritt guest stars. Series executive producer Dean Devlin directed the episode. — Dean Maurer

True Blood
9/8c HBO
Sookie has always turned a deaf ear to folks who've been telling her to put Bill in the past. But now that he drank nearly all of her blood — inadvertently or not — will she finally listen? As strange as it may sound, that question may take a backseat from here on out, considering the deaths last week of three fairly important characters: Lorena; Coot; and the Magister. But the juiciest bit of all has to be the fact that Eric, of all people (or vampires), knows what Sookie is — even before she knows herself. — Joe Friedrich

Sunday Night Football
8/7c NBC
The Cowboys are loaded on both sides of the ball, and are expected to be Super Bowl contenders. The Bengals added the mercurial T.O. to the flamboyant Ochocinco. But the teams involved today really don't matter much because, except for a series or two, you won't be seeing a lot of familiar faces. The Hall of Fame Game offers the annual opportunity to revel in the fact that football's back! Rookies, veterans, hard hits, penalty flags, goal-line stands — Canton is the cornerstone. Life is good. — Dave Roeder

MLB Baseball
8/7c ESPN
In the supposed year of the pitcher, the Red Sox and Yankees weren't exactly doing their part through eight head-to-head meetings entering this weekend series in the Bronx, having averaged over 13 runs per contest. Tonight's expected starters were major culprits, as hard-throwing right-handers Josh Beckett (10.43) and A.J. Burnett (10.61) both built a double-digit ERA against the powerful lineup of their AL East mega-rival. Burnett faces a little different Boston bunch in August than in April. Besides injuries galore, Adrian Beltre and David Ortiz have both turned around slow starts and are ready to give newly minted Hall of Famer Jon Miller a big fly to call in the ESPN booth. — Roger Leister

Army Wives
10/9c Lifetime
Fort Marshall gets a visit from Dr. Jill Biden, playing herself, who launches the fort's annual road race in support of a summer camp for military families. While there, she gets a chance to discuss some concerns of the families of deployed soldiers. Denise is also hosting a visit. Her two sisters are in town, but things are arguably less companionable since the siblings spend most of their time fighting with each other. — Rhoda Charles

Mad Men
10/9c AMC
Having wrung all the joy and good cheer that they possibly could wring out of Christmas, the mad men and women head into New Year's. "Creative shaman" Don is hopping a flight to Acapulco and, with a 24-hour layover in Los Angeles (does that make it an L.A. over?), Harry wants him to wine and dine a client at the Brown Derby. Lane, who'd much rather be working, is finishing up some last-minute details before he heads to London for a week of Auld Lang Syne-ing. — Ray Stackhouse

Family Guy
9/8c Fox
Three years ago, Family Guy did a season-opening hour-long Star Wars send-up. Folks liked it (and the DVD sold well), so those galactic Griffins are at it again in this Empire Strikes Back spoof, which first aired in May. Once again, Chris doubles as Luke Skywalker, Peter as Han Solo, Lois as Princess Leia, and Stewie as Darth Vader. Other villains include the Cookie Monster, while James Caan and John Bunnell (World's Wildest Police Videos) have voice cameos as themselves. — Paul Droesch