TNT: Something Old, Something New

TNT continues to up its slate of original programs, with two series making their season debuts tonight.

"Leverage" (TNT, 9 p.m.) returns for its second season as well as returning as my favorite of TNT's offerings. The series follows a team of master criminals, led by a former insurance investigator Nate Ford (Timothy Hutton), who has turned them into his band of merry men (and women) by robbing the greedy and helping the needy.

At the end of last season, Nate's team disbanded, but soon they are brought back together for another job -- the talented con artist (Gina Bellhorn), Nate's potential love interest and an absurdly bad actress except when it comes to the con; the muscle (Christian Kane), who coincidentally is a master chef; the geek (Aldis Hodge), who really doesn't like to be involved in dangerous situations; and the cat burgler (a scene-stealing Beth Riesgraf), who seems to have some form of Asperger's when it comes to dealing with any other person.

"Leverage" is stylish fun, very reminiscent of the AMC series "Hustle" (but not quite in that class yet). Even if you missed Season 1, it's easy to catch up with.

"Leverage" is followed by the series premiere of "Dark Blue" at 10 p.m. It stars Dylan McDermott ("The Practice") as an FBI agent who leads a team that specializes in undercover operations.

I didn't get a screener, but the pilot has generated some buzz, so it's probably worth a look.

WEDNESDAY'S BEST BETS: Not a lot else going on tonight, with ABC's reality offerings of "Wipeout" and "I Survived A Japanese Game Show" running from 8-10 p.m. against Fox's "So You Think You Can Dance?"

"The Philanthropist" (NBC, 10 p.m.) returns to Nigeria tonight, only to find his previous efforts didn't go quite as planned.