Ghost Whisperer, Law & Order, Smallville, Dollhouse, Medium & Numb3rs are all returning tonight… and then we have the premiere of a FOX comedy with a retired football player?

Friday hasn’t been this popular for television since ABC was in its hay-day with TGIF and Boy Meets World (Feeny!). With seven hours of new and returning programming stuffed into a three hour block, you’re either going to have to make some tough decisions on what to watch, or be a DVR master.

Let’s take a look at tonight’s lineup.

What’s New?

8:00 PM

FOX – Brothers: “Pilot/House Rules & Anniversary”
(one hour special)

Mike Trainor seemingly has it all – he’s a good-looking, wealthy and recently retired NFL player living the high life in New York City. With one phone call from his mom, Adele, Mike’s life changes in an instant. He comes home to Houston to find that his brother Chill, whose life changed drastically after a car accident left him in a wheelchair, is struggling to keep his restaurant afloat and that his father’s memory is not as sharp as it used to be. When Adele reveals everyone’s secrets, the family decides it’s time for a fresh start.

Later, Mike’s date spends the night at his parents’ place propelling his mom, Adele, to set specific house rules for her very grown sons. As all the family members try to find their way living together again as adults, Mike and Chill are taken aback at their new assigned daily chores and strict limitations on overnight guests. Meanwhile, Coach forgets his and Adele’s anniversary and lands in the doghouse, forcing him to come up with a creative way to make it up to her.

I’m not really putting much faith in this show lasting the season. I don’t care if you were a fan of Michael Strahan on the Giants, there’s no way you can tell me this show looks great. The only thing that redeems it, IMHO, is Daryl Mitchell being part of the cast, but even then, he can’t hold the entire show on his own. If you’re interested in this, watch it now because I suspect it might be gone soon. Oh yeah… and thanks for the wonderful lead-in you’re giving Dollhouse, FOX.

What’s Returning?

If you’re not tempted by the former Giants’ comedy series on FOX, it’s a good thing the other networks have stepped up and premiered all your favorite Friday night primetime shows at once.

8:00 PM

CBS – Ghost Whisperer: “Birthday Presence”

Melinda gives birth to a baby boy who also has the gift of seeing spirits, but with one important difference which will have far-reaching consequences.

After Jay Mohr left this show to start his own sitcom, I’ve fallen behind in the whole Ghost Whisperer mythology. The fact that they believed Jamie Kennedy could replace Jay Mohr was ridiculous and now that Kennedy and Love Hewitt are dating, it means he’s not going to be gone any time soon. ‘Til that happens, I’ll take a pass.

NBC – Law & Order: “Memo from the Dark Side”

The body of a young war veteran is found in a parking garage and the murder is connected to a law professor who used to work for the Department of Justice.

For some reason, I’ve never been a fan of Law & Order. I don’t know why, I enjoy CSI and all the other procedurals. I guess back in the day when it was Law & Order or NYPD Blue, I was a Blue-man.

The CW – Smallville: “Savior”

Clark (Tom Welling) tells Jor-El he’s ready to start his training, but Jor-El sends him back to Metropolis to cut ties with Lois before he can begin. Chloe (Allison Mack) is shocked when Lois (Erica Durance) suddenly reappears after having been missing for weeks, but Lois has no recollection of vanishing into thin air with the Legion ring.

While investigating a monorail crash, Lois meets John Corben (guest star Brian Austin Green), a new reporter at The Daily Planet, with a negative attitude toward the Red-Blue Blur. Chloe begs Clark to use the Legion ring to go back in time to save Jimmy, but he refuses, driving a wedge into their friendship. Meanwhile, Oliver (Justin Hartley) continues down a dark road, and Zod (Callum Blue) arrives at the Luthor mansion.

Oh, I’m very excited for this. While I don’t enjoy Smallville as much as Supernatural, I’m still caught up in it. Even with Michael Rosenbaum leaving the show I’ve stayed a fan because I love Green Arrow and find his portrayal on the show extremely entertaining. Mix in Brian Austin Green guest staring and the addition of Callum Blue (Dead Like Me, Secret Diary of A Call Girl) to the cast and you have me sold. Keep an eye out later for a full write up and discussion of tonight’s episode. If interested, you can check out a sneak peek at tonight’s episode.

(pg. 2 for the 9pm & 10pm slots)

9:00 PM

FOX – Dollhouse: “Vows”

Picking up a few months after the first season finale, Echo, who now sporadically remembers past “imprints” due to Alpha’s machinations, weds a wealthy and charismatic British businessmen tied to one of Agent Ballard’s open FBI cases. Dr. Saunders struggles with being an Active and makes Topher the target of her aggression, and Boyd mixes business with pleasure in a risky venture. Meanwhile, Adelle makes Ballard an offer he can’t refuse.

Battlestar Galactica star Jamie “Apollo” Bamber guest stars.

I like Dollhouse. I didn’t at first, but as things started flowing, I was hooked. I’m excited to see where this is going. Although, I am a little sad that FOX didn’t air the infamous 13th episode, “Epitaph One,” as it revealed a lot about where the show’s going and what’s going to happen. I will be watching this and enjoying it. Can’t wait to see what happens. If you’re a fan of the show, check out our discussion of Dollhouse Season 2.

I need to note that while I really enjoy Dollhouse, my least favorite part is Tahmoh Penikett as Paul Ballard. There’s just something about his acting style that bugs me. Who would have been great as Paul Ballard? The actor that plays Jennifer Love Hewitt’s husband on Ghost Whisperer, David Crawford Conrad. (Think about it. You’ll agree with me.)

CBS – Medium: “Déjà Vu All Over Again”

Allison and her family deal with the outcome of her brain surgery and its possible lasting effects. Also, a local television station owner asks Devalos and Scanlon to look into the possible stalking of his sportscaster, who is also his wife.

In the battle of Medium and Ghost Whisperer, I’ve always been a Ghost Whisperer fan. Now that Ghost Whisperer let me down, I’m a fan of neither. The only episode I’ve seen of Medium was where Kelsey Grammer guest starred as death. I liked it, but I prefer to have my Patricia Arquette fighting Freddy Kruger (Nightmare on Elm Street 3), rather than being psychic. (Even though she was kind of psychic in Nightmare 3, you know what I mean.)

10:00 PM

CBS – Numb3rs: “Hangman”

Don and the team must protect high-profile activist Benjamin Polk at a political rally, but it soon becomes a manhunt when they search for a sniper trying to kill Polk. Also, Charlie awaits an answer from Amita about his marriage proposal.

Bill Nye the Science Guy… Science rules! I love this show. I love everything about this show. It’s so nerdtastic. The fact that the creators cite Bill Nye the Science Guy as inspiration for this show makes happy. Judd Hirsch is great, as always, and the relationships between the brothers and the investigative team are just wonderful.

What Else Is On?

With seven new and returning shows, it’s hard to find something else on tonight that it’s either in the “new” or “returning” category. Still, I’ve been able to wrangle up a couple.

9:00 PM

USA – Monk: “Mr. Monk and the Voodoo Curse”

10:00 PM

USA – Psych: “High Top Fade Out”

There we have it… If you don’t have something to watch tonight, you probably don’t own a TV. Luckily, that’s not an excuse anymore as you can find most of these programs online.

So, what will you be watching? Are you tempted by a hilarious defensive lineman? Going to be whispering it up with some ghosts? Or, are you going to rock it “pineapple style” with Psych?

Lets hear it!

Source: The Futon Critic