Episodes Episodes

9:30/8:30c Showtime
Brimming with wit and cleverness, and blessed with a stellar cast, this new cable sitcom tells the story of British-TV producers Sean and Beverly Lincoln (the exquisitely matched Stephen Mangan and Tamsin Greig), whose award-winning show is bought by American network honcho Merc Lapidus (the engagingly slick John Pankow). Merc brings the Brits to L.A. with a "stronger than stone" promise of free rein and no interference. Well, you know what they say about promises, and soon the Lincolns need to decide if they can get with the program. — Ray Stackhouse

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NFL Playoff
1/Noon c CBS
CBS gets the first of today's wild card games, with the Ravens facing the Chiefs in Kansas City. The Chiefs owe much of their success this season to their running game, led by former Longhorn Jamaal Charles. But  they'll go up against one of the NFL's stingiest defenses in the Baltimore Ravens. The second game on Fox features the Eagles hosting the Packers in Philadelphia. Michael Vick has been a dazzling offensive performer for the Birds, but their less than dazzling defense will have to figure out a way to stop Green Bay QB Aaron Rodgers. — Dave Roeder

The Cape
9/8c NBC
David Lyons returns to NBC this winter wearing a cape instead of the scrubs he wore playing rogue Dr. Brenner on ER. Lyons plays Vince Faraday, a framed cop in hiding who takes on the persona of his son's favorite comic-book hero to fight crime in his town, which is peopled with crooked police and criminals such as his nemesis, Chess (James Frain). In the series premiere, Faraday, driven by his need to find a way back to the family who believes he's dead, learns the ropes of being the Cape. — Rhoda Charles

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Bob's Burgers

8:30/7:30c Fox
The network that's home to The Simpsons, Family Guy, American Dad and The Cleveland Show has decided that it still has room for another animated comedy. H. Jon Benjamin, whose voice you may recognize from FX's Archer, provides the voice of the titular burger-joint operator, who gets a visit from the health inspector after his daughter starts a rumor during show-and-tell at school in the series premiere. — Michael Chant

Desperate Housewives
9/8c ABC
We still don't know who shot Paul Young (though Paul himself might have some ideas), but Lynette now knows about Tom and Renee's fling 20 years ago. Tom doesn't know his wife knows, but chances are he'll know that something strange is going on after what Lynette does to him tonight. Meanwhile, Gaby is beginning to act strangely herself. Very strangely. It looks like her Grace thing is becoming an obsession. And Susan needs a kidney, so it's a good thing that her mother (Lesley Ann Warren) and aunt (Valerie Harper) are in town. Or is it? — Paul Droesch

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Masterpiece Theatre9/8c PBS Masterpiece unveils a new season with the absorbing four-part Downton Abbey. Part 1 opens in 1912 with the Titanic sinking the succession plans of Lord Grantham (Hugh Bonneville), a father of three girls who's legally bound to pass his title and estate to a male — which doesn't sit well with his wife (Elizabeth McGovern) or mother (Maggie Smith, who steals every scene she's in). The likable cast also features Michelle Dockery as eldest daughter Mary and Dan Stevens as a solicitor who upends the status quo. — Jeff GemmillShameless10/9c ShowtimeThis raucous and rollicking new cable series is based on a British-TV dramedy that airs in the States on the Sundance Channel. Set in Chicago, William H. Macy stars as Frank Gallagher, "father-teacher-mentor" to a motherless brood of six struggling to make hardscrabble ends meet. The kids are all resourceful and responsible and pitch in financially when needed, while dad is an incontinent, inveterate, indecorous inebriate. Indeed. Despite it all, this gang knows how to put some fun in dysfunctional. — Ray Stackhouse