It’s about vampires in Louisiana, and the non-vampire lead (Anna Paquin) is a telepathic waitress. From Six Feet Under’s Alan Ball, the man who made embalming sexy. HBO; Sundays at 9.
Portraits of a Lady…9/11
Justice Sandra Day O’Connor sits for an all-day portrait session in front of 25 artists from the Painting Group, which has met weekly in New York for the last 50 years. A sweet documentary with a Project Runway setup that never devolves into cattiness. Cinemax.
A predictably action-packed two-hour premiere, worth it just for the brilliantly gruesome (yet oddly hot) scene between Sylar and Claire. NBC; Mondays at 9.
It’s all the superintelligent-car-that-fights-bad-guys action, but kitt’s moved on from Michael Knight. Will Hasselhoff devotees be sated by the occasional cameo? NBC; Wednesdays at 8.
Fans who were in fifth grade when ER premiered are now beginning their emergency-room residencies. The show prepares to pull the plug after fifteen years. NBC; Thursdays at 10.
Brothers & Sisters…9/28
This well-written family drama still delivers the most on-point, entertaining depiction of sibling-parent relationships on TV. Plus Sally Field has only to open her mouth and the cathartic, we-love-you-mom tears start flowing. ABC; Sundays at 10.
Everybody’s favorite serial killer–forensics expert, Dexter Morgan (played to darkly sunny perfection by Michael C. Hall) thinks he’s settling into normal life when he accidentally kills an apparently innocent man. Jimmy Smits adds his lumbering Latino gravitas. Showtime; Sundays at 9.
Last season’s ending was a classic: Becca got her period, and Hank Moody got his woman back. Will he and Karen stay together? Are we in for a season of happy (dull) sex? Unlikely. We know there is a vasectomy in the first episode (ouch) and a case of mistaken … genitals (ew). Showtime; Sundays at 10.
A major network actually brought back a smart, underperforming show. Well, smack us senseless! Guess that means we have to thank NBC for keeping framed oddball detective Charlie Crews (the effortlessly cool Damian Lewis) alive. NBC; Fridays at 10.
Life on Mars…10/9
This remake of the BBC time-travel serial has already been rewritten, recast, reshot, and relocated. But it’s about a present-day New York cop who finds himself back in (scary! Badass!) 1973, so we’re excited. ABC; Thursdays at 10.
Jorja Fox is gone, Warrick got shot in last season’s finale (the premiere will reveal if he lives or dies, but it’s not like you don’t know already), and William Petersen will be exiting the show, to be replaced by the equally humorless Laurence Fishburne. We love Marg Helgenberger, but maybe not that much. CBS; Thursdays at 9.
Rufus Sewell, last seen pontificating in HBO’s John Adams and Tom Stoppard’s Rock ’n’ Roll, lands at CBS as a biophysicist–government agent. Jerry Bruckheimer adapted this British sci-fi series—and slips it into the post-CSI time slot. CBS; Thursdays at 10.
What will Stylista destroy first: the confidence of eager editorial assistants or Elle magazine itself? The CW; Wednesdays at 9.
Law & Order: Criminal Intent …11/6
Exit Chris Noth, enter Jeff Goldblum, possibly the only actor with more quirks than Vincent D’Onofrio. Yikes. USA; Thursdays at 10.