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TV Tonight: House of Pain

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FOX

FOX

By Nielsen’s calendar it’s the first official night of the 2009–10 season (oh, typing that “10″ makes me feel old). Which means a deluge of season and series premieres and no more freebies for Jay Leno. Among tonight’s highlights—or, well, at least lights, high or otherwise:

* I enjoy House but never developed a regular habit, either as a viewer or blogger; one dose every month or two takes care of me. But tonight’s two-hour premiere is a doozy. It follows Dr. House into the psych ward where he’s committed himself, dispensing with the medical mystery of the week and instead (with guest star Andre Braugher as his shrink) makes House himself the case to be cracked. It’s searing and affecting, and it could just help Hugh Laurie wrestle that statuette from Bryan Cranston this time next year.

* CBS debuts Accidentally on Purpose, a sitcom—with Jenna Elfman as a movie critic who gets knocked up by a much younger man—that’s based on a memoir by time.com movie critic Mary Pols. While I don’t think TIME conflict policy precludes me from reviewing it, I’ll just say that I can’t recommend it—it’s predictable and caricatured and Elfman works distractingly hard to put it over. But I’ll blame the adapters instead of Pols’ book (which I haven’t read).

* I can recommend CBS’s returning How I Met Your Mother, which I’ll continue to write up most weeks, time permitting.

* Tonight also brings us another two-hour premiere, Heroes, which my TiVo will be watching on my behalf. If you want to make the case afterward that it’s worth watching again, I’ll listen—but I’ve been burned before.

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