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Mixed Notes: Hello, New Season Tuesday

By Rich Heldenfels Published: September 25, 2012

A trio of new shows tonight: -- "Ben & Kate" and "The Mindy Project" on Fox, "Vegas" on CBS -- along with season premieres of "New Girl," "NCiS," "NCIS: LA" and "Private Practice," and the ongoing seasons of "The Voice," "Go On," "The New Normal," "Parenthood" abd "Dancing With the Stars" (with its first results show).

Chalk it up to my demographics, but I have been asked most about "NCIS," since it had the double-cliffhanger ending of Ducky collapsing on the beach and a bomb going off at NCIS HQ. I have seen the season premiere, and will not offer any spoilers here -- except to say that fans should be satisfied, and that the episode is an especially tense and suspenseful one, as it deals with the hunt for Harper Dearing (Richard Schiff).  While"NCIS" is not a show that dazzles Emmy voters, it should get more regard; it is solidly structured, ably acted (especially by Mark Harmon) and effectively paced. To be sure, it can stumble, especially when it decides a multi-episode story line needs to be wrapped up. But for the most part, its fan base is well deserved and well served.

I am somewhat mixed on the new shows. Liked but didn't love "The Mindy Project," but liked it enough that I will be back for more. Mindy Kaling is funny, willing to be less than likable and all the more entertaining because of it. "Ben and Kate": has me on the fence; I laughed some at the pilot, and Nat Faxon does well by his goofball character, but I wasn't completely sold; it's a subject for further consideration.

Ditto for "Vegas," heavily promoted for bringing Dennis Quaid to series television, but Quaid's rancher lawman seems to be a nonstop scowl in search of a character. The reason to watch the show is far more the presence of Michael Chiklis as Quaid's mobster rival; Chiklis knows plenty about playing charismatic, amoral characters (see "The Shield") and I was far more interested in watching him than Quaid. We'll see how it goes.

"New Girl" is just something I didn't keep tabs on last season, and I have yet to muster enough energy to check out the Season 2. We'll save that for possible later discussion.

No interest in "NICS:LA," and fell off the "Private Practice" bus years ago. I have been watching "Go On," though, and it's just likable enough to keep me tuned in. Not great, but not awful.

As for "DWTS" and some other Monday fare, I will be catching up tonight.



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