Here’s a one-stop overview of the new season

As the fall seaso starts, new stories keep nudging old ones aside.
Still, I wanted to keep the  fall season-preview package handy. So I’ve put all four stories together here, updating them slightly.
First is an overview; then are three lists rounding up the shows — the scripted ones on broadcast networks (includig “Ghosts,” shown here) … the unscripted broadcast ones … then a sampling of scripted cable shows. Here we go. . Read more…

He’s an accidental rock star

James Wolk is a rock star now – albeit a pretend one – and that’s ironic.
Wolk stars in “Ordinary Joe,” which reruns its pilot film at 8 p.m. Friday (Sept. 24) on NBC, then continues at 10 p.m. Mondays. In TV’s splashiest role, he plays the same guy in three lives – as a cop, a nurse and a musician.
“When Jimmy got on stage, he just completely transformed into this rock star,” said writer-producer Russel Friend. Read more…

Best-bets for Sept. 24: quick rerun of extraordinary “Joe”

1) “Ordinary Joe,” 8 p.m., NBC. Monday was way too busy, packing three of the best new shows alongside “NCIS” and more. If you missed the “Ordinary Joe” debut, catch this quick rerun. We meet Joe (James Wolk) on graduation day, facing three choices. Then we follow all three – cop, nurse, rock star (shown here) – through joy and pain. It’s a complicated task pulled of by a subtle script and gifted actors. Read more…

Best-bets for Sept. 23: lotsa “Law,” plus Kenny

1) “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit” and “Law & Order: Organized Crime” season-openers, 8 and 10 p.m, NBC. A slick congressman says he’ll be in the White House; Benson (Mariska Hargatay) says he’ll be in prison for making mothers trade sex for housing. It’s a tough case – that gets tougher at the end of the first hour. One character (Chief McGrath) is written and played way too broadly, but others are – in the “L&O” fashion – solid enough. Then “OC” finds Stabler (Christopher Meloni, shown in a previous episode with Hargitay working undercover . Read more…

Best-bets for Sept. 22: wonder and ego and more

1) “The Wonder Years” debut, 8:30 p.m., ABC. The original series began in 1988 as a comedy-drama, then kept leaning to the drama side. Now this well-crafted reboot starts there. We meet Black family (shown here) in middle-income Montgomery, Ala. Don Cheadle is the adult narrator, looking back at his childhood; Dule Hill is his dad. There are some laughs, but this is the spring of 1968; life soon turns serious. Read more…

Best-bets for Sept. 21: Season-openers … and an “FBI” marathon

1) “FBI” trilogy, 8-11 p.m., CBS. Sprawling across three shows and two continents, this is an epic way to launch a new series. At 8, the “FBI” season-opener has the slaying of a woman who was at a yacht party with some rich creeps; two “FBI: Most Wanted” guys, Crosby and LaCroix – are soon involved. Then the “Most Wanted” opener, at 9, points to the debut of “FBI International” at 10. Zadan (Zeeko Zaki, shown here in a previous epiosde), from “FBI,” rushes to the Budapest bureau, to pursue a Jeffrey Epstein-type villain and his hostage. Read more…

Best-bets for Sept. 20: three new shows — good ones — and more

1) “Ordinary Joe” debut, 10 p.m., NBC, rerunning at 8 p.m. Friday. In a year when the networks try safe, simple concepts, here’s the exception: On graduation day (shown here), Joe faces three paths (literally); then we flash ahead to three variations of his life. He’s a cop, a nurse, a rock star; he marries Amy or Jenny or neither. In each case, he finds warmth, joy and agony. Written and played with subtle skill, this has great work from James Wolk and strong support from Elizabeth Lail and Natalie Martinez. Read more…

The Lacheys: great jobs, extreme commute

It’s a problem that many couples face in this modern world – two jobs, two cities, lots of commuting.
Ten miles is workable … 50 miles is tougher … but how about 2,558 miles each way? “I’m racking up some frequent-flyer miles,” Nick Lachey said with a laugh.
The Lacheys (shown here at their 2011 wedding) are the new season’s power couple: Vanessa stars in CBS’ “NCIS: Hawaii” (10 p.m. Mondays); Nick is a judge on Fox’s “Alter Ego,” debuting at 9 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday (Sept. 22-23.) Read more…

Best-bets for Sept. 19: Emmy awards … and Emmy-worthy “Ali”

1) “Muhammad Ali” opener, 8 p.m., PBS, rerunning at 10:15; continues through Wednesday. Ken Burns again tackles a larger-than-life figure, rippling with contrasts. Ali was a sweet-spirited kid who grew up in a devout Baptist home. Dyslexic, he stumbled in school, but compensated by being the class clown. He started boxing at 12; then, in his teen years, his 6-foot-3 frame began to fill out. He became a great athlete and a force of global impact (shown here), ideal for Burns’ flawless touch. Read more…