During its free preview weekend, Showtime expands its adult-oriented lineup of "Shameless" and "Californication" with the addition of "House of Lies," which debuts Sunday at 10 p.m.
(You can currently catch a heavily censored version online at Showtime's website).
Starring Don Cheadle as a top-flight LA-based management consultant, it's not much different than "Californication" in that it is centered around a 40s divorced man who sleeps around a lot but is also a loving father.
In Marty Kaan's (Cheadle) case, that means accepting a 10-year-old son who wants to audition for the lead in "Grease" -- as Sandy.
Meanwhile, Kaan's firm is called to New York to bid for a client, a bank whose executives want to be able to keep their large bonuses despite getting a bailout and then screwing its various customers. Marty's competition? His ex-wife Monica (Dawn Olivieri).
I found the first half of the show a little all over the place, but the ending, in which Marty's team makes its presentation, was good enough that I'm willing to check out future episodes. Hopefully, I won't be burned by that decision the same way I was with "Californication" and the god-awful "Shameless."
Showtime's record for comedy is a little hit-and-miss, with shows like "Nurse Jackie" and "United States of Tara" garnering Emmy wins. "Episodes," starring Matt LeBlanc, made my list of Top 10 Comedies this year and got a well-deserved Golden Globe nomination for its star.
I don't know, maybe I was expecting a little more from the same network that gave us "Homeland" in a new show that stars the likes of Cheadle and Kristen Bell, and while "House of Lies" was decent, it was also a little lackluster. But check it out for yourself.
THURSDAY'S BEST BETS: I always find it a little bit odd when the networks decide to roll out the new shows and when they don't. For example, CBS' Tuesday lineup was all-new, but tonight is all reruns. Same for Fox and NBC.
ABC, however, returns "Wipeout" at 8 p.m. (it's always funny when someone else gets hit in the face by a swinging bar), which precedes new episodes of "Grey's Anatomy" and "Private Practice."
The CW, which has been rerunning "Secret Circle" all week to catch up new viewers, has a new episode of the show tonight at 9 p.m., following a new "Vampire Diaries."