1. FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS (NBC, Tues., 8 pm, premiere 10/3). Riffing off the 2004 movie, this show centers on the small, dusty town of Dillon, Texas, where people live and die by the high school football team. The townsfolk REALLY want the team to win those 2006 state championship rings, and well, thats a lot of pressure to put on high school kids. Theyre counting on coach Eric Taylor (Kyle Chandler, the bomb guy on Greys Anatomy) to pull it off. After five years as the offensive coordinator for the team, hes been promoted to head coach, a job that includes playing therapist to the kids who come through his lineup. This isnt another lame movie-to-TV translation. Its like watching the movie all over again. Its all about those tiny, fleeting moments in life that are way more important than the big ones. Its all good, and so is this show.
2. HEROES (NBC, Mon., 9 pm, premiere 9/25). Everybody needs a hero, right? Or maybe youd rather BE a hero. Thats the premise of this series about everyday joes who discover they have special gifts. A Texas cheerleader (Hayden Panettiere) learns shes indestructible. A Vegas stripper (Ali Larter), discovers her mirror reflection has a mind of its own. A prison inmate (Leonard Roberts) wakes up outside of his cell. A gifted artist (Santiago Cabrera) learns he can paint the future. A down-on-his-luck cop (Greg Grunberg) can hear peoples thoughts. A young man (Milo Ventimiglia) can fly. And a corporate drone (Masi Oka) can move space and time. The ultimate destiny of all these folks is, of course, to save the world, because thats what superheroes do. Throw in jealous lovers, corporate takeovers, drug addictions, dysfunctional families, and youve got another Lost-worthy show that keeps you hooked week after week.
3. SIX DEGREES (ABC, Thurs., 10 pm, premiered 9/21). Taking the Kevin Bacon theory into prime time, this show says were all connected through a chain of six people. In this case, the six people are assorted New Yorkers caught in a tangled web. Mae (Erika Christensen) is a free spirit whos popped for indecent exposure after a night on the town. Her court-appointed attorney Carlos (Jay Hernandez) calls in a few favors and is rewarded with her phone number. Sadly, it turns out to be fake, so he tracks her down at her job a hip nightclub hes nowhere cool enough to get into. Outside the club, Carlos meets Damian (Dorian Missick), a limo driver who offers to get him in VIP style. Carlos just misses Mae, whos decided to quit her job, but not before picking up a mysterious black box from the clubs safe. Oh, theres more. Lots more. But I dont want to ruin it for you. Suffice to say that all these strangers are drawn together by coincidence? Despite the schmaltzy narration and love-struck doe-eyed characters (Thanks, Greys Anatomy. Really.), this thoughtful show makes you think about destiny.
4. BROTHERS & SISTERS (ABC, Sun., 10 pm, premiere 9/24). Think YOUR familys got problems? Check this one out. New York-based radio talk show host Kitty Walker (Calista Flockhart) is heading home to Los Angeles for her birthday. Her dad, William (Tom Skerritt), is a conservative, Leave-it-to-Beaver type with a devoted wife, Nora (Sally Field). Thomas (Balthazar Getty) is the golden-boy son who never left the family business, but hes got serious debt woes. Sarah (Rachel Griffiths) is a workaholic mom whose marriage to Joe is imploding as they deal with their autistic son. Kevin (Matthew Rhys) is an ambitious, gay U.S. attorney whos losing touch with his family. And Justin (Dave Annable) is the troubled son, still trying to process his time as a soldier in Afghanistan. The good thing about these kinds of shows is they make us feel SO much better about our own lives. The bad thing about these shows is theyre so darn depressing. Life doesnt have to be such a soap opera. Really. Come on, lets see a little smile
Jane Louise Boursaw is a freelance writer specializing in the movie and television industries. Email HYPERLINK mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com or visit her Web site, HYPERLINK http://www.ReelLifeWithJane.com www.ReelLifeWithJane.com.