After the endless promos for Rescue Me, it's not a spoiler to reveal that Tommy (Denis Leary) isn't dead, despite last year's shot-in-the-bar cliffhanger finale. His brief encounter with The Afterlife, however, is less heavenly than utterly hellish. This vision prompts Tommy to get right with Jesus—at least for a few episodes, anyway. Meanwhile, the 62 Truck firehouse is in danger of being shut down due to NYC budget cuts, and Sheila (Callie Thorne, still amazing, still Emmy-less) wants her son out of the firefighter life now. This is already looking like the most chaotic/cathartic season yet, and there's still another to go before it all ends (presumably badly) on Sept. 11, 2011.
As for the premiere of Louie: If you liked comic Louis CK before, you'll love him now; Louie is a no-compromise, no-comfort comedy—even more so than his dead HBO series Lucky Louie. It's a half-hour comedy, but the 30 minutes are actually split into two 15-minute storylines completely unrelated to one another; kind of an Adult Swim approach. In the pilot right after Rescue Me, recently-separated Louie goes on the most awkward first date ever, then "helps out" on a school field trip with his daughters; the second episode is simply a vulgar poker game with Louie and some fellow comics, followed by Louie learning his that divorce is final. Intercut with all of this is CK doing stand-up in various dives, like the seedy flipside to Seinfeld. It's daring, it's funny (again, only if you like CK) and it's either going to be an instant hit or a bomb to rival Lucky Louie. At least CK and FX took the chance.