TV

Fall Preview: CBS

The bad news for CBS -- none of its new series is as good as last year's freshman drama, "The Good Wife."



The good news -- CBS still has some shows worth checking out.



And since the Eye was the overall ratings champ yet again last year, there's not too many holes in its schedule anyway.



The series generating the most buzz is the remake of "Hawaii 5-0." This time around, Steve McGarrett is played by Alex O'Laughlin, for whom CBS might finally have a hit series after previous misses with "Moonlight" and "Three Rivers."



McGarrett, a former Navy intelligence officer, is recruited by Hawaii's governor (Jean Smart) to form an elite police task force. Teamed with a reluctant Danno (Scott Caan), McGarrett also recruits a former cop wrongfully booted from the force (Daniel Dae Kim), who brings along his cousin (Grace Park). Together, the team hunts a terrorist (James Marsters) who killed McGarrett's father.



While the pilot is a little choppy, because they tried to squeeze a lot into an hour, there's also a lot of potential here. This is the sort of fun series more reminiscent of "NCIS" than that series' spinoff, "NCIS: LA." Though the series is built around O'Laughlin, it's Caan who emerges as the most interesting character with the best lines.



Another potentially good series for CBS is "Blue Bloods," which fills in the old "Numb3rs" timeslot on Fridays. With a cast that includes Tom Selleck as the NYC police commissioner, Donnie Wahlberg as his detective son, Bridget Moynihan as his DA daughter and Will Estes as his other son, a rookie cop, the show is well-acted.



With an overarching plotline established late in the pilot, this should also be somewhat atypical of CBS, which usually centers on more episodic fare. Though the pilot wrapped up a little too neatly for my taste, the acting is enough to warrant several looks and it's the closest CBS has to "The Good Wife."



"Mike & Molly" got a lot of positive buzz from the critics, but I was let down when I saw the pilot, which stars Billy Gardell as a cop and Melissa McCarthy as a teacher who meet at an Overeaters Anonymous meeting. While I like the idea of not building a show around two gorgeous 20-somethings, this series ended up being far too boilerplate for my taste.



"(Bleep) My Dad Says" got a lot of negative buzz, and for good reason: it falls real flat. William Shatner manages to generate a few laughs as the grouchy, goofy father who says a lot of inappropriate things, but it's kind of wasted here thanks to extremely conventional writing that just isn't sharp.



Finally, I didn't get a copy of "The Defenders," a lawyer show featuring Jim Belushi and Jerry O'Connell (no relation to the original '60s EG Marshall series), but given that it's built around Belushi as a Vegas ambulance chaser, I'm not really regretting that.



TUESDAY'S BEST BETS: "Covert Affairs" (USA, 9 p.m.) wraps up with back-to-back new episodes tonight, meaning it's the last chance to hear how great Annie Walker (Piper Perabo) is at least for the next several months.



Some shows are getting an early jump this week with the season debuts of "One Tree Hill" and "Life Unexpected" on the CW from 8-10 p.m. and "Parenthood" (NBC, 10 p.m.)



"Warehouse 13" (SyFy, 9 p.m.) is also new.



Of course, the pick of the night is "Sons of Anarchy" (FX, 10 p.m.), which isn't quite as somber as last week's opener.

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