Thursday, Sept. 10 (The CW)
Series Debut/Season Premiere: Saying that The Vampire Diaries isn’t the worst new show on The CW is like saying H1N1 isn’t the worst virus strain of the 21st century (that would be Spencer Pratt). It’s a sliding scale. Sure, it’s better than Twilight—a movie The Only TV Column That Matters™ admittedly only saw three minutes of before falling into fits of convulsive, potentially fatal laughter for hours—but that ain’t much of a recommendation. All you need to know: The Vampire Diaries, the tale of a young woman torn between two bloodsucking brothers (one good, one evil, both dreamy), leads into Supernatural, the most underrated series on network-ish TV. ’Nuff said.
Sunday, Sept. 13 (Fox)
One-Hour Series Finale: After 13 seasons, the propane tank has finally run out: Hank Hill & Co. have been given the boot by Fox, thus eradicating the net’s final tie to the ’90s and opening the door for a live-action CW remake: KOTH, starring Chad Michael Murray as Hank, Audrina Patridge as Peggy and Prince Michael Jackson as Bobby, with a special appearance by Chris Brown as Boomhauer. Yep. Yep. Yee-ep.
||Pawtucket Patriot Ale
Sunday, Sept. 13 (HBO)
Season Finales: HBO is finally back in Hitsville with True Blood; Hung has performed turgidly in the ratings, as well (that’s not the last of the dick jokes). Likely because True Blood has gone completely over-the-top in Season 2, amping up the sex, violence and capital-A Acting to sensory-overload levels—sorry, ladies, but if Stephen Moyer played vampire Bill any more like a cartoon he’d be Cajun Count Chocula. In the season finale, Mistress of Evil Maryann (Michelle Forbes) is on the brink of subsuming the town of Bon Temps in an orgy of blood and Acting, and only Sam (Sam Trammell) can stop her— perhaps by shape-shifting into Hung’s man ’ho Ray Drecker, if you get my drift. In the first-season closer of Hung, Ray (Thomas Jane) is caught in a Battle of the She-Pimps for control of his massive, throbbing business. Who said it’s a downward economy?
Monday, Sept. 14 (NBC)
Series Debut: Remember The Tonight Show With Jay Leno? It’s like that, only a half-hour earlier. Jay’s new five-nights-a-week gig is being decried/hailed by TV critics as everything from “the death knell for scripted network television” to “at least it’s not Jimmy Fallon,” but who cares? You’ll check it out for a week or so, as you did Conan O’Brien on Tonight, then flee in droves for CBS. Possible upside: If this grand experiment fails, we can all pitch in and buy NBC at a police auction.
Tuesday, Sept. 15 (A&E)
Season Finale: OK, A&E: The Cleaner hasn’t sucked nearly as much in Season 2 as it did in Season 1—the show has actually improved, and not by giving more screen time to Grace Park (which was my only suggestion … besides killing off Benjamin Bratt). In the season finale, William the Junkie Whisperer (Bratt) celebrates seven years sober by helping an old pal (Richard Lewis!) get off heroin and back with his wife (Annabelle Gurwitch!!). The Cleaner: The Love Boat of substance abuse.
Wednesday, Sept. 16 (The CW)
Series Debut: See Gossip Girl and One Tree Hill; multiply by 10.