by Coop Cooper
“Terra Nova” (Monday 7pm on FOX) – In the future where Earth has become ravaged and polluted, adventurous citizens get the chance to go back in time to the dinosaur age (85 million B.C.) to begin a new civilization. Ex-cop Jim Shannon (Jason O’Mara) breaks out of prison to join his family on a one-way trip to the past. On the other side they encounter two warring factions of humans fighting over a well-protected secret while trying to survive amongst predatory monsters. Plagued by clichés, the first episode rose above the poor writing with big-budgeted special effects and an intriguing mystery reminiscent of “Lost.” Trying to duplicate some of the qualities of “Avatar,” the show employs “Avatar” veteran Stephen Lang to play the gruff militaristic leader of the main colony. The pilot showed a lot of promise. Hopefully it becomes more like “Lost” and less like “Land of the Lost.”
“2 Broke Girls” (Monday 7:30pm on NBC) – Max (Kat Dennings) is a snarky, blue-collar waitress whose life becomes complicated when a millionairess who has lost everything (Beth Behrs) becomes her co-worker and moves into her Brooklyn apartment… with a pet race horse in tow. This odd couple bonds when Max’s gourmet cupcakes become a big hit and the two begin saving money to open their own cupcake shop. The total of their savings is displayed prominently at the end of each episode. Dennings carries the weight of each episode and is one of the funniest actress currently on TV. If the rest of the cast can find their legs, this raunchy show could be a big hit.
“New Girl” (Tuesday 7pm on FOX) – Zooey Deschanel plays Jess, a goofy and cute girl who gets dumped by her long-term, hipster boyfriend and moves in with three wisecracking dudes. What sounds like a run-of-the-mill sitcom is made charming and funny due to Deschanel’s natural comedic chops. The guys playing “the guys” seem a cut above the generic foils who usually play second fiddle to the lead and they all have believable chemistry. This show does run the risk of becoming annoying if her character’s quirkiness continues to overwhelm the storyline, but I have confidence that Deschanel can make it work.
“Person of Interest” (Thursday 8pm on CBS) – Jim Caviezel stars as an ex-superspy employed by a genius billionaire (“Lost’s” Michael Emerson) who chases down people who are identified by an omniscient supercomputer as a potential threat or victim of a future crime. Created by Jonathan Noland (writer of “Inception” and brother of A-list director Christopher Noland), this drama features some hard-hitting action and a plot that borders on science fiction. I’m making a bet that by casting Emmy winner Michael Emerson, his character arc will make some nefarious twists and turns, elements which made him such a fan favorite on “Lost.” Caviezel always was an action star waiting to happen. Now he has a chance to prove it.
“Prime Suspect” (Thursday 9pm on NBC) – Maria Bello plays a dedicated homicide detective who constantly suffers the cynical, misogynistic attitudes of her all-male squad. When she finally gets a difficult case, her obstinate and determined personality wins the respect of some of her colleagues while making enemies of others. Adapted from the venerable BBC series starring Helen Mirren, this police procedural’s success hinges entirely on Bello as the lead. While the show doesn’t hold a candle to last year’s unceremoniously cancelled “The Chicago Code,” it’s bound to win Emmys because it’s on a network that thrives on strong cop shows like “Law & Order.” I’m not a fan of Bello but the show is strong and I’ll give her several episodes to win me over.
“American Horror Story” (Wednesday 9pm on FX) – A family moves into a creepy old house with a horrifying past. Doesn’t look like anything original but the FX channel is a bit more edgy than the major networks. At worst this could be a goofy diversion, at best the next “Twin Peaks.”