Series Debut: They’re four alpha-male corporate execs but, damn it, they have feelings, too! Big Shots was apparently shooting for Sex and the City With Dicks but just wound up with dicks. Watching metrosexual power-players whine about relationships, kids, office politics and golf just makes The Only TV Column That Matters™ long for the days of AMC’s Mad Men that much more: bang a secretary, pour a bourbon, light a Lucky and shut the fuck up already.
Moonlight Friday, Sept. 28 (CBS)
Series Debut: If you still miss Angel or even Forever Knight, there’s a new crime-fightin’ vampire with a heart of gold in town; this one sleeps in a freezer and looks a lot like The Shield’s Alex O’Loughlin. That’s about all there is to report, because Moonlight has undergone several cast, script, showrunner and title changes (previous names: Twilight and Crime-Fightin’ Vampire With a Heart of Gold) since CBS first picked it up; could be all sock puppets and show tunes by the time it gets on the air.
Dexter Sunday, Sept. 30 (Showtime)
Season Premiere: At the end of Dexter’s excellent first season, our Serial Killer With a Heart of Gold had finally eradicated Miami’s Ice Truck Killer (who’d turned out to be his own brother, who was dating Dex’s stepsister to get to him … you had to be there) and all seemed relatively right in Dexter’s sorta-wrong world—so why so down at the onset of Season 2? A month later, it’s more bowling than killing: “My life’s been all Jekyll and no Hyde.” He’s not only off his vigilante game, but his freaked-out sis has moved in with him and his girlfriend suspects he may have framed her douchebag ex-husband and sent him back to prison (which Dex did—the guy wasn’t quite evil enough to murder). Then there’s the discovery of the bodies of his previous villainous victims—and Dexter can’t even carry out a nice, relaxing kill. Why drop a returning Showtime series in the midst of these new network debuts? To illustrate how cable is taking chances and thriving while rabbit-ear TV can’t figure out why it’s bleeding viewers with crap like …
Cavemen, Carpoolers Tuesday, Oct. 2 (ABC)
Series Debuts: Yes, Cavemen is the new sitcom based on those Geico insurance ads, so it already has a built-in audience of people with 30-second attention spans. Now, it’s 30-minute comedic allegory for racial and class divisions … yeah, sure; they’ll hang with it. Except that the first version of Cavemen’s pilot sucked harder than Allstate, so ABC sent it back to be “reworked”—a phrase on par with, “Let’s make this commercial 1,000 percent longer! With other commercials in it!” As for Carpoolers: If you liked the underrated/underwatched Sons & Daughters (Fred Goss stars here), you’ll probably wonder why no one brought that back instead of watering it down and moving it into the commuter lane. I know I did.
Pushing Daisies Wednesday, Oct. 3 (ABC)
Series Debut: Then again, sometimes networks take too big of a chance with something that might have even been difficult to pitch on cable: Pie-shop owner Ned can bring the dead back to life with one touch, but a second sends them back Dirtnap City for good—helpful for solving murder cases with his private-eye buddy (doesn’t everybody have one?); not so much when he revives his childhood sweetheart. Pushing Daisies comes from the creator of Wonderfalls and Dead Like Me, and shares their offbeat tones of sweet romance and dark humor—and, eventually, probably a DVD discussion group on Amazon.com about brilliant-but-canceled shows. Catch it while you can …
n• CSI, Without a Trace Thursday, Sept. 27: Sara’s gone missing, then the Trace team searches for Shark. CBS
• My Name Is Earl, The Office, ER Thursday, Sept. 27: Full-hour premieres for Earl and The Office, while ER enters its 57th season. NBC
n• Ghost Whisperer, Numb3rs Friday, Sept. 28: So many boob and math jokes, so little space. CBS
n• Las Vegas Friday, Sept. 28: Nikki Cox is gone, but Tom Selleck has arrived. Doesn’t seem like a fair trade. NBC
• Desperate Housewives, Brothers & Sisters Sunday, Sept. 30: The housewives enter their 60s, and I still hate Brothers & Sisters. ABC
• American Dad Sunday, Sept. 30: The Smiths go on vacation, which can’t end well. Fox
• Brotherhood Sunday, Sept. 30: The best Rhode Island mobster drama since Family Guy returns to fulfill your Sopranos-free life. Showtime
• South Park, The Sarah Silverman Program Wednesday, Oct. 3: Cartman struggles to reach the new Wednesday-night offensiveness bar set by Sarah Silverman, who joins a pro-life group and then performs an anal abortion on Steve. Good times. Comedy Central
Listen to Bill Mondays at 8 a.m. on X96’s Radio From Hell. Anal-abortion blogging at BillFrost.tv.