There are many TV options to choose from. Too much for any one person to completely monitor, but that doesn't mean we're not going to do our best to sift through all the listings and figure out what you should be watching every week...with all the highlights, lowlights and guilty pleasures you can stand.
Monday, Oct. 4th
8:00 p.m. How I Met Your Mother (CBS)
This week's episode finds Barney employing his seduction tactics in order to convince Ted to take a job for his huge firm. (Whoa, that sounded way too much like gay porn.) Meanwhile, the super-hot Robin (Cobie Smulders) gets sloppy drunk and calls her ex. One of our favorite sitcoms, HIMYM hasn't disappointed this season, but if they don't reveal the identity of the titular mother this season, we might have to jump ship.
Tuesday, Oct. 5th
9:00 p.m. Raising Hope (FOX)
FOX's new sitcom was created by the same people who brought us My Name Is Earl, which is pretty evident in just about every scene of this show about a 23-year-old dude taking care of his infant daughter (the result of a one-night stand) after the mother is executed for being a serial killer. (Yep, it's a comedy.) The cast is solid—bolstered by the presence of bawdy old broad Cloris Leachman—and the concept funny, so we'll keep coming back to this outlandish, white-trash-in-a-good-way premise for now.
Wednesday, Oct. 6th
10:00, 10:30 p.m. Steven Seagal: Lawman (A&E)
Welcome back, Steven Seagal: Lawman; we missed you, your laughable hairpiece, and your signature brand of squinty justice! The best parts of the first season came when perps recognized Seagal from his crappy movies and then he came back with some platitudes or, better yet, rage. Expect more rage this season, especially after he turned down a role in The Expendables (but turned up in the inferior Machete). There's always the sequel, Steve...
Thursday, Oct. 7th
8:30 p.m. 30 Rock (NBC)
Our favorite episodes of the surprisingly long-running quirkfest (now in its fifth season!) are the ones where Tracy Morgan's Tracy Jordan gets to run wild, which sounds like the case in this week's ep as guest star Queen Latifah (seen above in ridiculous hat) tasks Alec Baldwin's Jack with making more diverse programming, and he turns to Tracy. Speaking of "surprisingly long-running," 88-year-old Carl Reiner will also turn up, so clear your Thursday schedule.
Also on Thursday
11:35 p.m. Late Show With David Letterman (CBS)
It's kind of ridiculous how much hipper Letterman's show is than Leno's. Take this Thursday's Late Night, for example. Dave has Stephen Colbert and Jackass 3D's Johnny Knoxville, as well as Gorillaz performing. (How does a cartoon band play live?) Leno has the hot but annoying Katherine Heigl, Outsourced goon Ben Rappaport, and Meat Loaf. (The dish would be far more exciting than the singer.) And if you want more Jackass than just Knoxville's interview, check out MTV on Saturday as they've got Jackass: The Beginning premiering at 10:00 p.m., followed by The Making of Jackass 3D at 11.
THE SILVER LINING
Thursday, Oct. 7th
10:00 p.m. Beach Heat Miami (Showtime)
Less a "silver lining" and more of a "call to attention," Showtime's "shoo-in for an Emmy nomination" series is basically a sluttier, naked-er Baywatch. You're welcome.
'WE ARE THE LAW' WEDNESDAYS
Check this out: The 10:00 spot on Wednesday has not one, not two, but three new lawyer-centric shows. That's ABC, CBS and NBC, with FOX wisely staying out of the game because of their hour-earlier news coverage. The strange thing? None of these new shows are terrible. ABC's The Whole Truth follows both sides of the story and features Rob Morrow and still-smokin' Maura Tierney (rocking the short hair). Meanwhile, CBS' The Defenders stars Jerry O'Connell and Jim Belushi, whose According to Jim lasted longer than anyone ever expected. (Ever.) They play Vegas lawyers, and everything seems sexier there. Finally, NBC's latest entry in the Law & Order empire, L&O: Los Angeles, boasts Alfred Molina, Terrence Howard and Depp-lite Skeet Ulrich (seen above) in a classier-pedigree cast. We guess this knock-down-drag-out ratings fight will determine who the strongest crusaders for justice really are, but for fans of the genre, it's like picking which child to save from the housefire first: the sexy Las Vegas one, the tried-and-true one whose format you can recite by heart ... or the other one.