The West WingAs a died-in the-wool Aaron Sorkin-ite, it's hard to watch beloved characters on

The West Wing become dramatic lame ducks to make way for the Aldas and Smitses of the world. It's like breaking up with a girl you still hang around with: It's awkward and weird, but there's always a chance you might end up friends. If not, well, maybe you can still get lucky occasionally. That end-of-an-era feeling pervaded tonight's season premiere, starting with the cheap theatrics of that flash-forward opening where we learn Danny and C.J. are married and Will's a congressman. Are you kidding me? Then to see Toby and C.J. cut the Santos campaign off at the knees on the education initiative and dismiss Josh out of hand. Ouch. And don't get me started on Josh giving Donna the beat-down in a job interview. Heartbreaking.

Still, I'm beginning to believe that this new-look, campaign-driven version of the show can work. Watching Santos give my boy Leo the business for 45 minutes is tough, but when he explains he needs to set the tone as his own man well, I kinda buy it. Joey's polling data on Santos is right on the money: I do want to go get a beer with this guy. Besides, is it just me, or does the show drag now when we're actually in the West Wing? The military-shuttle investigation just doesn't have the oomph of a good old-fashioned MS scandal. And there's no way C.J. leaked it. No way.

At the end of the day, the question remains: Is The West Wing as good as it used to be? As Annabeth tells Leo: If you don't like a question, reject the premise. So here's my answer: I think this girl and I can still be friends, and there's a good chance I just might get lucky this season.  Jon McDaid

Desperate Housewives
At like, 8:58, I was giddy that the girls were coming back, loaded with six Emmys and tons of expectations. And you know what? Eh. Even the "Oh, my god" moment of Zach's so-called death was smudged first by his not being dead, then by Susan's ditching Mike over his creepy love child. Come on. We probably won't see the man-fro'd geek for a few more episodes, and James Denton has apparently upped his cardio. Have at it, woman! You too, Gaby. Carlos is still locked up, he thinks it's his baby now go get that John boy back! Roses, non-alkie mimosas, those abs? Give that up, you're as dumb as you are slutty. As for my Bree, I'm loving her going head-to-twisted-head with Rex's mom and the idea of a Marcia Cross meltdown gives me the vapors. But replacing his prep-school tie mid-funeral? Please, the widow Van de Kamp would so know that was poor form. Though she does get line-of-the-night for that "I will go nondenominational so fast" threat to switch churches just to bar her monster-in-law from the service. And speaking of burials, are they trying to kill Felicity Huffman's shot at a second statue? Having Lynette cart Penny to an interview was silly enough. That she scored the job while changing a diaper had my eyes rolling in new and exciting ways, OK? I half-expected the boss to throw in a "You've got moxie" after he hired her. Don't get me wrong; I adore my Wisterians. I just wish there had been more "Wow." And more Alfre Woodard. Hopefully we'll get both soon, on top of some info about the Applewhites' basement prisoner. Until then, let's all ponder whether Matthew is really Betty's son, and which of our Housewives had a little work done over the summer. Other than the obvious, of course. We'll discuss next week.  Damian J. Holbrook

Grey's Anatomy
I would like first to clarify something I wrote in my Watercooler recap of the season finale back in May, since I got a few feedback replies about it. When I referred to George telling Olivia he had syphilis and I called her Mayim Bialik, I was kidding. One of my many middle names, which you'll know if you've read my Being Bobby Brown recaps, is "Sarcastic." Olivia was actually played by Sarah Utterback, an utter Mayim clone. OK, got that out of the way. Awesome season premiere. I love that we now know that Addison Shepherd was the actual cheater in the marriage with McDreamy, not the one being cheated on and she cheated with his best friend! Why do I keep relating to the characters I write about? I had a similar experience once (and it was an extremely hurtful experience), so I know exactly how McDreamy feels. The fact that he's McSeparated and not still McMarried makes him look so much less like a McJerk. Meredith still ain't havin' it, though but I bet that changes in future weeks.

Meanwhile, back at the Cristina ranch, she has got to tell Dr. Burke she's pregnant especially since the bastard just dumped her. And I was happy that George stood up for himself and refused to be the "sponge" for Dr. Webber. Alex hugging George was a great moment at the end. But the best moment of the entire episode was Addison shockingly defending Meredith to the patient who was just cheated on by her husband. Kate Walsh kicks butt as Addison, and I hope she sticks around. She adds spice to an already hot show. And finally, in the "obscure guest star" department, I must point out that Joe the bartender was played by Steven W. Bailey. If you think he looked familiar, maybe it's because he was the title character of Fox's "reality" show My Big Fat Obnoxious Fiancé. Obscure with a capital O!   Dave Anderson