Best of the Rest: Television

Tim Gunn’s Guide to Style
Let’s hope the show isn’t as sappy as Bravo’s description of it: “Gunn leads fashion-challenged women on an emotional journey to unearth their personal style.” But if we know Gunn, the Project Runway stalwart, he’ll make it work. Bravo; September 6.

K-Ville stands for Katrina-ville, as in New Orleans post-hurricane. If you know star Anthony Anderson from The Shield, then you know he can be brilliant. If you know him from Kangaroo Jack, you owe it to yourself to check out this show. Fox; September 17.

Kid Nation
It’s Frontier House meets Lord of the Flies, as a bunch of kids are let loose on a ghost ranch in New Mexico to form their own society. It’s a great idea, until somebody loses an eye. (Or, as actually happened, gets burned with hot grease.) But the advance footage is alternately funny and genuinely moving, ethical issues be damned. Is this child abuse? Reality-show gold? Both? CBS; September 19.

Back to You
Hey, if Kelsey Grammer could make psychiatry funny, imagine what he’ll do as a local news anchorman. Fox; September 19.

How I Met Your Mother
The little sitcom that may soon be the little sitcom that isn’t. For now, though, CBS is sticking with this critical favorite, even if the show’s never quite caught fire. Maybe the Emmy nomination for Neil Patrick Harris will help. Or maybe some of the Judd Apatow magic will follow star Jason Segel (he played the doofus friend in Knocked Up—no, the other one) and bring in some new fans. CBS; September 24.

We’re just blue-skying here, but Sylar is totally not dead. NBC; September 24.

NBC’s highest-testing show lands the plum post-Heroes time slot. It’s like Quantum Leap, but with less Dean Stockwell and more mood lighting, marital strife, and mental torture. Kevin McKidd (Rome) plays a newspaper reporter who finds himself traveling back in time in search of Scott Bakula’s career. We kid because we love! NBC; September 24.

Photo: Robert Voets/courtesy of CBS

The pitch is simple: It’s the Cuban Sopranos, set in Miami. Pulling it off, of course, is much trickier than thinking it up—though casting Jimmy Smits as the patriarch is a promising step. It’s nice to see him start out with a show, rather than parachuting in to save it during Season 3. CBS; September 25.

In that doozy of a season finale, every member of House’s staff either quit or got canned. All of which makes room for newcomers Olivia Wilde and Kal Penn to almost kill patients before finally discovering that very obvious rare jungle parasite lurking in their large intestines. Fox; September 25.

Grey’s Anatomy
Isaiah Washington got fired. Kate Walsh got her own show. T.R. Knight is moving to another hospital. Katherine Heigl became a movie star. In other words, this show’s got about six episodes to prove it didn’t jump the shark for good sometime last year. ABC; September 27.

The Office
Memo to Ben Silverman: Why don’t you air this show 30 times a week instead of Deal or No Deal? NBC; September 27.

Ugly Betty
Will Alexis succeed in destroying her father? Will Mode fold? Is it physically possible for Amanda’s breasts to be pushed up any further? Will Betty ever get those braces removed? Seriously, how old is she? ABC; September 27.

The pitch is simple: It’s the Irish Sopranos, set in Rhode Island. And you know what? It comes pretty close. It will get even closer this season, as the brilliant Broadway actor Brian O’Byrne joins the cast. Showtime; September 30.

Michael C. Hall (understandably) gets all the attention as Dexter, TV’s most endearing serial killer. But the ensemble is terrific too, from Jennifer Carpenter as his sister Debra to David Zayas as Angel Batista. The show will have trouble, however, topping last season’s deliriously over-the-top finale—though we can’t wait to see how it tries. It’s a bloody good time! Showtime; September 30.

Photo: Bob D'Amico; courtesy of ABC

Aliens in America
No, it’s not a Lou Dobbs special. Instead, it’s a comedy about a well-meaning Wisconsin mom who tries to improve her 16-year-old son’s social life by taking in a blond-haired, blue-eyed Nordic hottie to be his friend. Except a Pakistani Muslim boy shows up instead. Trust us—it’s funnier than it sounds. The CW; October 1.

Jerry O’Connell & Co. attempt to re-create The Office in a sedan. ABC; October 2.

Come on, you know you’re curious. The mildly amusing Geico commercial turned sitcom has been retooled on the fly, and advance word isn’t exactly stellar. Still, even if it tanks, you won’t want to miss out on this season’s Cop Rock. ABC; October 2.

Photo: Justin Stephens/courtesy of ABC

Pushing Daisies
A high-concept, Tim Burton–esque fairy tale about a man who brings the love of his life back from the dead with a touch, but can’t ever touch her again, lest he doom her. (He touches you once, you live again; he touches you twice, you die.) Be sure to tune in early and often—this is exactly the kind of delightfully quirky show that thrills critics, then fails to find an audience, then marches happily off to a quick cancellation. ABC; October 3.

Friday Night Lights
Still the best show that no one’s watching. What is it about hot teenagers, football, and terrific writing that America doesn’t get? NBC; October 5.

Samantha Who?
Christina Applegate plays a psychiatrist who goes into a coma and wakes up not remembering that she once subjected us to Jesse. Actually, she wakes up and discovers she was a horrible person before her accident. Same difference. ABC; October 15.

Best of the Rest: Television