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The Crazy Ones

Thursday, Sept. 26 (CBS)

Series Debut: In his ... triumphant? ... return to television, Robin Williams (over) plays advertising exec Simon Roberts, a whacked-out genius who's as difficult to tolerate as he is, of course, brilliant. His daughter and partner, Sydney (Sarah Michelle Gellar), is his uptight polar opposite; forced dramedy ensues. Like another new—and funnier—CBS comedy, We Are Men (premiering Monday), The Crazy Ones is a single-camera, no-laugh-track outing, which means it's ultimately doomed: The Eyeball Network's viewers need to be told where the punchlines are, and there ain't none here.

Homeland, Masters of Sex

Sunday, Sept. 29 (Showtime)

Season Premiere, Series Debut: Alleged Langley bomber Nicholas Brody (Damien Lewis) is laying so low in the Season 3 premiere of Homeland ... let's just say it's pretty damned low. Meanwhile, things are going from bad to worse to supremely effdup for Carrie (Claire Danes) during the Senate investigations into said "Second 9/11" bombing that killed more than 200, and Saul (Mandy Patinkin) takes some seriously un-Saul-like actions to distance the CIA from the whole mess. The tense "Tin Man Down" goes a long way toward getting Homeland back on track after some sub-soap distractions last season, and the sure-to-be-huge ratings should deliver a lot of curious eyes to the fantastic new Masters of Sex, the dramatized story of 1950s sexuality-research pioneers Dr. William Masters (Michael Sheen) and Virginia Johnson (Lizzy Caplan) that's more about human relationships and academia (and, yes, gorgeously-detailed Mad Men period style) than sex and nudity—but there's plenty of that, too. Go, Showtime!

Eastbound & Down, Hello Ladies

Sunday, Sept. 29 (HBO)

Season Premiere, Series Debut: At the end of Eastbound & Down's third and intended-to-be final season last year, baseball legend-in-his-own-pants Kenny Powers (Danny McBride) quit the game and faked his own death to be with his true love April (Katy Mixon). Season 4 (the real final chapter, if you trust HBO this time) opens with a sadly domesticated Kenny working in rental-car hell and denying his lust for the spotlight—until he's tapped to guest on a popular sports-talk TV show by its host (Ken Marino); in two episodes, KFP is back in all of his obnoxious glory. New companion comedy Hello Ladies, starring and almost entirely carried by Stephen Merchant, is far more low-key and dry: Brit Stuart (Merchant) and a staggeringly awkward crew of fellow singles look for love in Hollywood, with staggeringly awkward results. It's the anti-Entourage.

Breaking Bad

Sunday, Sept. 29 (AMC)

Series Finale: The finale episode of Breaking Bad is titled "Felina," it's 75-minutes long, there's still an hour of dead air called Low Winter Sun between it and Talking Bad, and ... that's all The Only TV Column That Matters™ knows. AMC isn't sending out preview screeners to TV critics or real people—and why would they?

Super Fun Night

Wednesday, Oct. 2 (ABC)

Series Debut: Don't dismiss a TV-subdued Rebel Wilson with an American accent: Super Fun Night works hilariously, largely due to Wilson's (relative) underplaying as Kimmie, a junior attorney whose recent promotion is also moving her up the social ladder. But will she abandon her equally geeky best friends (Liza Lapira and Lauren Ash) and their standing Friday shut-in "Super Fun Night"? It's an odd pairing with Modern Family, but Super Fun Night shares the same underlying sweetness and bonding. But it's also saltier and edgier then the rest of ABC Wednesday, and look where that got Happy Endings.

More by Bill Frost

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