Feeling good about Fox

Until now, I'd been feeling so-so about this TV season. Still wobbling from the strike, networks have had weak line-ups.

Now, however, there's good news: Fox is on a roll.

Some of that was expected. "24" had a terrific debut Sunday and Monday (Jan. 11-12); "American Idol" is off to a good start tonight (Tuesday, Jan. 13, see the preview/review in my previous blog).

But that's just the start. I've just seen three of Fox's mid-season hours. Each is fresh, bracing, well-made and -- this is the good part -- really original. They are:

-- "Dollhouse," in which Joss Whedon ("Buffy") has crafted a wondrous showcase for Eliza Dushku. She plays an open vessel, someone who continually has her own memories wiped out and is given a personality melded from others. The opener requires a huge coincidence, but we'll forgive that. This is a fascinating hour, both visually and in Dushku's wide-ranging performance.

-- "Lie to Me," in which Tim Roth plays an expert on the body language of truth and lies. This gets creepy at times, but pulls viewers into an engaging mental journey, "House"-style.

-- And my favorite, "Glee."

You really don't expect a drama about a high school glee club, but this has been pulled off with the style and flair of "Pushing Daisies."

It also has a bonus -- a chance for Tony-nominated singers to become Fox stars. Matthew Morrison ("Light on the Piazza") plays the teacher; Lea Michele ("Spring Awakening") is his star student.

Both play immensely likable people who sing pop tunes . They do it beautifully, but the show also adds wonderful detours -- including one school doing a cheery, chirpy, glee-club version of "Rehab."

Moments like that add to a show that already had my attention.  For the rest of this season, Fox will be be fun to watch.