Wednesday, September 21, 2011

FALL TV SEASON: Wednesday Night's Tube Feast

The tele schedule for Wednesday is a tangled web, with overlapping new shows I'd like to check out clashing with the tried and true. Even Tivo can't solve my scheduling conundrums this time.

At 8 p.m., nothing is going to preempt my dedication to the third-season opener of The Middle, TV's best, albeit seemingly overlooked comedy. Ray Romano guests—amusing, since Patricia Heaton played his hubby on Everybody Loves Raymond (a show I pretty much detested as much as I adore Middle). The Heck family is so deliciously dysfunctionally crafted, with poor geek daughter Sue, would-be teen hipster son Axl and the weirdest character on TV, young son Brick, who whispers his inner thoughts out loud. Tonight's episode runs a full hour.

Unfortunately, that means I'm missing the launch of The X Factor, with cute host Steve Jones and the reunion of judges Simon Cowell and Paula Abdul, which I'd like to watch, if only to add to the ratings so that American Idol is further humiliated. Boo to Fox for counter-programming its new juggernaut against The Middle.

At 9 p.m., I'll join the rest of the nation for season three of Modern Family, which, of course, wiped up the Emmy Awards. ABC is airing back-to-back episodes, first featuring the Pritchett clan at a dude ranch in Jackson Hole, Wyo., then Mitchell and Cameron intending to adopt a second kid (zzzz).

At 10 p.m., I'm staying with ABC for the pilot of Revenge, about some chick played by Emily VanCamp who has it out for a bunch of rich people that screwed her diddy in the past. While the drama doesn't sound overly intriguing—and advance reviews are tepid—I'm tuning in because it's set in fave locale Southampton and co-stars dreamy Josh Bowman (best known for allegedly dating Amy Winehouse and Miley Cyrus). Considering that the show is up against CSI and Law & Order, it sounds like ABC doesn't have much faith, either.