Fox's carrying the baseball playoffs and World Series has bumped a lot of its regular series off the air (and forced baseball fans to sit through promos that boil down to ''please remember that our shows are coming back''). But a promo is no substitute for an actual episode. Maybe the following ideas will help more.
-- ''Arrested Development'': The first two season are now available on DVD. And besides giving you a chance to catch all the details you missed the first time, deleted scenes give you a fresh laugh.
-- ''Bones.'' Use the available time as an excuse to do some reading. The series was inspired by mystery novels by Kathy Reichs, and by Reichs herself. The books' main character has the same name as the TV show's, Temperance Brennan. Beyond that, though, the book Temperance is very different -- but the books have an entertaining blend of science, mystery and characters. And if that doesn't do it for you, maybe you should just record ''CSI'' and only watch the scenes with Jorja Fox or Marg Helgenberger.
-- ''House.'' If you're watching for an edgy look at medicine, try ''Bodies,'' the dark and depressing hospital show now airing on BBC America. (You can find out more at www.bbcamerica.com. ) If you're watching for Hugh Laurie, well, he may be playing an American doctor but he's a Brit. So you could still watch ''Bodies.'' But if you watch because ''House'' can also make you laugh, try ''The Young Visiters,'' a strange little comedy co-starring Laurie, which is available on DVD.
-- ''Kitchen Confidential.'' Another reading assignment: Find Anthony Bourdain's book ''Kitchen Confidential,'' which inspired the series but is more outrageous.
--''Prison Break.'' As I said in a previous post, cable's FX will replay the first seven episodes in a marathon from noon to 7 p.m. on Oct. 23, the day before the show is scheduled to return. But that doesn't do you much good now. How about a Stacy Keach marathon, courtesy of the DVD sets of ''Titus'' and ''Mike Hammer''?
In fact, I've had the ''Mike Hammer'' set sitting near my desk for some time, to remind me to write about DVD paths to current TV stars' pasts. (Other candidates: ''T.J. Hooker,'' for fans of ''Boston Legal's'' William Shatner, and ''Doogie Howser, M.D.,'' for people rediscovering Neil Patrick Harris on ''How I Met Your Mother.'')
But back to the topic at hand.
-- ''Reunion.'' Get those old, embarrassing clothes out of the back of your closet (you know you have them), start thinking about every miserable thing that happened when you were young, and load up the CD player with ''Like, Omigod! The '80s Pop Culture Box (Totally)' and ''Whatever: The '90s Pop and Culture Box.'' Warning: For the ''Reunion'' effect to be complete, you must be very, very good-looking.
-- ''The O.C.'' I could suggest the DVDs of the first two season, not least because the first season is much better than what has come since. But you may also want to think about this, as described on Television Without Pity (www.televisionwithoutpity.com ): " 'Seth Cohen Starter Pack -- Rehab Edition' for Kirsten, which contains books by Chuck Klosterman, Craig Thompson, and Motley Crüe's autobiography, because when it comes to getting over your addiction to alcohol, nothing helps like a book with a huge bottle of Jack Daniels-y looking liquor on the cover.''
I know, we're talking here about addiction to a TV show, not to alcohol. But when your viewing need is great, that's tomato/to-mah-to.
-- ''The Simpsons.'' Donut run.
Feel free to post your own suggestions in the comments section.
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