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New TV shows for Monday nights this fall

Terra Nova, 8 p.m., Fox

Debuts Sept. 26

Irish hunk Jason O'Mara (ABC's Life on Mars) tops the latest sci-fi TV distraction from Steven Spielberg. Fleeing a polluted future, selected humans hop through a natural fissure in time, traveling 85 million years to a dinosaur-filled past where no one needs air tanks to breathe and O'Mara can doff his shirt with impunity. Having Stephen Lang on hand to play the outpost's nail-tough leader only reminds you how, um, "inspired" this concept was by blending Avatar and Jurassic Park.

TiVo or Ti-NO? In hopes Spielberg and two producers from the world of Star Trek (including St. Pete native René Echevarria) can bring feature-film spectacle on a network TV budget, I'm going to TiVo.

2 Broke Girls, 9:30 p.m., CBS

Debuts Monday

How mediocre is the fall's new lineup of network comedies? This uneven show about a street-smart, cash-strapped waitress befriending a suddenly impoverished Paris Hilton clone — one big gag comes when Paris deux accidentally tases her new working-class pal — is the second-best string of jokes debuting this fall. Just watch out for the punch lines about dried clam sauce and meth-head co-workers with rotting teeth.

TiVo or Ti-NO? Because star Kat Dennings just might become a prettier, funnier, fiercer Janeane Garofalo, I'm all TiVo on this one. (The show moves to its regular time slot, 8:30 p.m., on Sept. 26.)

Hart of Dixie, 9 p.m., the CW

Debuts Sept. 26

Don't blame The O.C. alum Rachel Bilson; all the characters on the CW look about eight years too young for their job and/or social status. So it makes sense that Bilson's urbane, ambitious young doctor Zoe Hart, forced to leave Manhattan for a stint working in a medical practice in backward Bluebell, Ala., would look more suited to downing plastic cups of Everclear punch at a frat party. And don't worry if it seems outlandish that she would outshine a local rival with 10 times her experience; that just shows you're paying attention.

TiVo or Ti-NO? If you've seen Doc Hollywood or Northern Exposure, then you know what's going to happen as Bilson's Hart learns to appreciate her new home. No wonder original co-star Nancy Travis left her role here as the put-upon assistant to play a put-upon wife in Tim Allen's new ABC yakfest. Ti-NO.

The Playboy Club, 10 p.m., NBC

Debuts Monday

The surprise here isn't that star Amber Heard insists a '60s-set drama about women who seek independence by donning satin swimsuits and bunny ears is empowering. It's that, for a series centered on the most enduring nudie magazine in history and set in the Chicago social club, NBC's effort captures so little. It's as if producers were so afraid to be labeled sexist or exploitative that they forgot to be sexy and irreverent. Yes, NBC has made a series about Playboy that isn't sexy.

TiVo or Ti-No? There's a plot about Heard's Playboy bunny accidentally killing a mobster and Eddie Cibrian's smoothie lawyer Nick Dalton helping her hide the crime. But it mostly reminds you how badly NBC has stumbled, attempting a more populist Mad Men and winding up with a backdrop for Rat Pack songs. Ti-NO.

New TV shows for Monday nights this fall 09/14/11 [Last modified: Thursday, September 15, 2011 3:13pm]
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