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New fall TV shows for Mondays

Mike & Molly, debuts at 9:30 p.m. Monday on CBS

Can America laugh with two, um, big-boned folks who fall in love at an Overeaters Anonymous meeting? Not if they keep writing jokes like, "I lost 3 pounds this week; took off my shirt and there it was" (pointing under arm). Instead, this show works best when it lays off the fat jokes and lets super-appealing leads Billy Gardell and Melissa McCarthy flaunt their natural charm as a fumbling Chicago cop and schoolteacher falling in love.

TiVo or Ti-NO? TiVo only if sitcom genius Chuck Lorre (Two and a Half Men) lives up to Gardell's promise and tells the story of two people who never expected to find love actually finding it.

Hawaii Five-O, debuts at 10 p.m. Monday on CBS

To push CBS's 1970s cop franchise into the modern world, producers have turned investigator Steve McGarrett into a gruff mix of Jack Bauer and 48 Hours-era Nick Nolte. One minute, McGarrett (Alex O'Loughlin) is sparring with unwilling partner Danny "Danno" Williams (Scott Caan); the next, he's blowing away bad guys all across Hawaii in a frenzied quest to find the criminal mastermind who killed his dad. Worst of all: no Wo Fat!

TiVo or Ti-NO? Since this is the third strike for star O'Loughlin (Moonlight, Three Rivers), and the show's legendary villain is MIA, I'm going to Ti-NO until further notice.

Lone Star, premieres at 9 p.m. Monday on Fox

Unknown James Wolk is a big ball of Clooney-eqsue charm, flashing boy-next-door good looks as con man Bob Allen, who has kept two families for years. He's almost good enough to keep you from noticing how ludicrous it is for a lifelong grifter to fall in love with both of his marks — and try the outlandish task of keeping both lives going at the same time, indefinitely.

TiVo or Ti-NO? Because Wolk may be the find of the season, I'd TiVo — especially to hear Jon Voight's hilariously bad Southern accent as the Texas oilman who is father to one of Allen's lady friends.

The Event, debuts at 9 p.m. Monday on NBC

What does an Obama-smooth Afro-Cuban president (Blair Underwood) closing down a Guantanamo-type detention center holding the likes of ER alum Laura Innes have to do with a hyperventilating slacker whose girlfriend just disappeared? NBC is betting the farm you'll endure a season of Lost-style misdirection to find out.

TiVo or Ti-NO? To see how they explain the massive special effect that closes the pilot episode, I'll TiVo for at least a week or two.

Chase, debuts at 10 p.m. Monday on NBC

Star Kelli Giddish has all the kick-butt lady cop moves down, smashing bad guys twice her size, wearing tight leather jackets and barely pausing to prove how unavailable she is (so guys in the audience will stay interested). But despite all the moves from the Mariska Hargitay school of acting, Giddish can't make this drama about outlaw-chasing U.S. marshals more thrilling than Tommy Lee Jones' first five minutes in the last Fugitive movie.

TiVo or Ti-NO? Unless Tommy Lee makes a cameo, it's a big Ti-NO.

New fall TV shows for Mondays 09/17/10 [Last modified: Friday, September 17, 2010 7:10pm]

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