When naming the best new shows of 2011, I put NBC's "The Voice" on the list because the creators managed to make something unique that stood out from the "American Idol"/"X-Factor"/"America's Got Talent" format that most music competitions take.
The producers managed to find four judges (Adam Levine, Christina Aguilera, Cee Lo Green, and Blake Shelton) that complemented one another; a terrific range of vocal talent; and the right mix of letting the judges and the public decide who would be the eventual winner.
Season 2 kicks off Sunday night after the Super Bowl at 10 p.m. (or whenever the game finishes). And while "The Voice's" ratings were only two-thirds that of "Idol," it seems to have spooked the latter show to the point where "AI" constantly seems to point out that it was the first music competition in the US on this scale. Newsflash: Telling people you are great doesn't actually MAKE you great.
It's hard to say what Season 2 of "The Voice" will bring. It's hard to imagine coming up with better vocal talent than they had in Season 1, but they do bring in a wider variety of contestants than "Idol" does.
NBC certainly needs "The Voice" to duplicate its numbers from last year when it moves to Mondays, especially since it will provide the lead-in to the network's highly promoted drama "Smash."
Provided they don't try to muck around with a good thing, "The Voice" has a good shot at building on its audience.
WEEKEND'S BEST BETS: Tonight you'll get to see Tom Selleck give one of his best performances in "Blue Bloods" (CBS, 10 p.m.), following new episodes of "A Gifted Man" and "CSI: NY." Even though the Selleck storyline is the "B" story as Frank is confronted with the death of his former partner, who was with him on 9/11, the final scene really dominates the script.
"Nikita" and "Supernatural" are finally back on the CW with new episodes from 8-10 p.m., while the alt-universe "Fringe" crew (Fox, 9 p.m.) travels to our universe.
NBC replaces "Chuck" with "Who Do You Think You Are?" at 8 p.m., followed by "Grimm" at 9 p.m. ABC has a new "Shark Tank" at 8 p.m.
On cable, "Merlin" (SyFy, 10 p.m.) is new.
On Saturday, there's a new "The Fades" (BBC America, 9 p.m.)
On Sunday, the Super Bowl kicks off at 6 p.m. on NBC, with the pre-game show lasting about 8 hours leading into it, followed by "The Voice."
There isn't much else as the other networks offer reruns. "Masterpiece" (PBS, 9 p.m.) does continue with "Downton Abbey."
The premium channels seem undaunted, as HBO has "Luck" at 9 p.m. while Showtime has its normal lineup of "Shameless" at 9 p.m., followed by "House of Lies" and "Californication."
PREDICTION: Pats 24, Giants 17.