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Watching Stuff Tuesday

By Rich Heldenfels Published: September 24, 2013

Tonight brings the premieres of "Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D," "The Goldbergs," "Trophy Wife" and "Lucky 7," all on ABC; and the season premieres of "NCIS," "NCIS:LA," "Person of Interest," all on CBS, and "Chicago Fire," on NBC.

I have not seen "S.H.I.E.L.D." yet, since ABC has limited its availability, but there is no show I have looked forward to more. I have watched the handful of available clips time and again and have enjoyed some long after I knew the jokes. So I have hopes. Also, I am a complete nerd.

"Lucky 7" is an earnest, trying-to-be-heartfelt drama, but there's nothing particularly distinctive or distinguished about it. NBC tried something similar, called "Windfall," back in 2006 and ended up burning it off as a summer series. I don't see "Lucky 7" doing much better; by the end of the pilot I was pretty tired of it, although it will probably get the requisite second viewing before I give up entirely.

I am pretty sure I watched "The Goldbergs" at some point, but none of it was memorable -- which is saying something when Wendi McLendon-Covey is involved. I may look at it again to see if I missed something, but I doubt it.

I am sure I watched "Trophy Wife," an extreme comedy in the vein of things like "Raising Hope," and the cast is top-notch. I wasn't wild about the pilot but saw just enough going on to want to see another episode.

As you may be able to tell from all this, and from my notes on Monday's schedule, the television season has a bunch of blah spots, Which makes me want even more for "Agents" to be good.

Also DVR'ing tonight: the season premiere of "NCIS" and a second episode of "Brooklyn Nine-Nine," which had a promising premiere last week.

On other viewing notes, was anyone else bothered by the way the folks on "Bones" seemed unwilling to think that Cam's identity-theft crisis might be traced back to their current master-criminal nemesis?

"Dancing With the Stars," which Lynne Sherwin and I will discuss in a video soon, is certainly more efficient in its once-a-week format (although I am going to have to look up how they're scoring the contestants from this point on*) and it has some very good dancers. But it also has the usual weird judging and a determination to remind us of the personal crises for some of the dancers, I liked the way Valerie Harper welcomed some tough judging, because that fits in with her message that she can still try things, and be seen as a regular person, while dealing with cancer. Now let's have a telecast where her cancer isn't even mentioned; we all know it's there, and the show is still in theory a dancing competition.

That said, it is still a show in the thrall of the Houghs. That was agonizingly clear in the announcement that Julianne is coming back as a guest judge while her brother is in the competition, and the repeated shots of Julianne in the audience; the only person who seemed to get more screen time was Steven Tyler. But here's a bit of the Hough announcement:

Julianne Hough returns to “Dancing with the Stars,” to guest judge for the first time alongside Bruno Tonioli and Carrie Ann Inaba, MONDAY, OCTOBER 7 (8:00-10:01 p.m., ET) on ABC. Hough was a two-time professional champion on “Dancing with the Stars” before making a seamless transition to award-winning recording artist and actress. She stars with Russell Brand and Octavia Spencer in Diablo Cody’s upcoming “Paradise,” which marks the Academy Award-winning screenwriter’s directorial debut. She starred opposite Josh Duhamel in Lasse Hallstrom’s film adaption of Nicholas Sparks’ “Safe Haven” and her previous film credits include “Rock of Ages,” “Footloose” and “Burlesque.” She launched her first shoe line, Julianne Hough for Sole Society, and stars next in the thriller, “Curve.”

*UPDATE. Here's how ABC explains the process on its website:

Things are a little different for Fall 2013. During the live show every Monday night, the stars will dance their hearts out. Then, fans like you vote for your favorite dancers.

The following week, the stars will perform again, and the judges will give each couple a score based on several factors, including technical execution. Those scores will be added to your votes from the previous week, and the couple with the lowest combined score from judges and viewer votes will be eliminated from the competition toward the end of that week’s episode.

So for example, your votes after Week 2 will be combined with the judges’ scores from Week 3 to determine who goes home at the end of Week 3. That means these dancers will have to bring it every week. If they had a bad week followed by a good week, the judges might be their saving grace. But a terrible performance might be enough to cancel out a solid performance the week prior -- you’ll have to watch to find out.

Keep in mind that on episodes after the first week, a couple will be eliminated at the end of the show, so any votes cast for that eliminated couple that week will not be included in determining next week’s results. To avoid this situation, you can wait until after the elimination at the end of the show to cast your votes, so you know which couples are still in the competition.

For example, say you cast all your votes in Week 2 for Dancer A because they really blew your socks off. So your votes for Dancer A will be combined with the judges’ scores during next week’s show in Week 3, right? But wait! Dancer A was the first dancer eliminated, so at the end of Week 2 they were sent home. They weren’t even around in Week 3 to have your votes combined with the judges. In that situation, unfortunately, your votes won’t be included in determining next week’s results -- and you won’t get them back.

So use your votes wisely. If you wait until after the elimination at the end of an episode, you’ll know who’s still in the competition before casting any votes for next week’s show.

The scoring and format of the show is unique to the series and is not based on a standard dance championship. The competition is governed by the Official Rules made available to each couple; the summary here is for informational purposes only.


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