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The New Season in Review: Monday Madness 2010/9/20 10:14:50

Forget surviving Premiere Week. Just making it through Monday is going to take nearly superhuman endurance this season. So many diverse and worthy choices, I almost won't miss The Big Bang Theory being shuffled off to Thursdays.

Let's start with the new, and in each case, I'll reprint my Fall Preview blurb with some additional comments. And then on to the handful of returning favorites I've been able to screen in advance.

From the top, my favorite new drama: Fox's Lone Star (9/8c). "This fall's best and most original drama taps a gusher of intrigue and twisty romance, with star-is-born James Wolk the most irresistible con man since Lost's Sawyer. Where is this story going? Can't wait to find out."

To elaborate: Newcomer James Wolk is a classic example of TV's ability to create stars (much easier than repackaging them once they're famous), and the role of Robert/"Bob" Allen fits him like a perfectly tailored suit — or a pair of broken-in boots, depending on which persona he's playing that day. In this soapy drama, he's portraying a charming and super-slick grifter juggling a double life — until his heart gets in the way. Married to a wealthy oil heiress in Dallas (Adrienne Palicki from Friday Night Lights) whose mogul father (Jon Voight) welcomes him into the family biz, yet smitten by a girl-next-door (Eloise Mumford) from down-home Midland, where he's engineered an elaborate swindle under the supervision of his crooked dad (David Keith), Bob has his hands full. We may not approve of what Bob's up to, but that never stopped Dallas fans from hanging on J.R. Ewing's every sneer, and Bob's much more of a lovable softie. (In truth, he's more like a less sanctimonious, and thus more interesting, Bobby Ewing.) I am so curious to see how long they can play out this emotional tightrope act.

As the TV fates would have it, Lone Star faces another of the most-hyped and riskiest shows of the season: NBC's The Event (9/8c), about which I wrote: "This lavish and gripping high-concept conspiracy thriller is desperate to be the Next Big Thing, but risks being a Big Whatev if it doesn't pull back on the pilot's chaotic time jumps. Good thing Jason Ritter's hero makes us care what happens next."

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