The 2003-04 television season officially begins Monday (or so Nielsen Media Research has decreed), and about one-third of the 37-series freshman class is premiering this week.
Here they are:
- "Two and a Half Men" (CBS, 9:30-10 p.m. EDT Monday). Charlie Sheen and Jon Cryer co-star in this sitcom about a wealthy, swinging bachelor whose home is invaded by his dweeby brother and bratty nephew.
- "Las Vegas" (NBC, 10-11 p.m. Monday). James Caan plays a former CIA agent who runs surveillance for a leading Vegas casino-resort in this lavish action-adventure-soap whose stars also include Josh Duhamel and Nikki Cox.
- "Navy NCIS" (CBS, 8-9 p.m. Tuesday) has been spun off, sort of, from the long-running military drama "JAG" and focuses on the NCIS (Naval Criminal Investigative Service), a team of special agents investigating crimes connected to Navy and Marine Corps personnel. It stars Mark Harmon and David McCallum.
- "I'm With Her" (ABC, 8:30-9 p.m. Tuesday) is a sitcom about a regular guy (David Sutcliffe) who courts, weds, then copes with the celebrity of a big-time movie star (Teri Polo). Created by Chris Henchy ("Spin City"), it's based on his real-life marriage to Brooke Shields.
- "One Tree Hill" (WB, 9-10 p.m. Tuesday) is a youth-oriented drama about two basketball-loving high school lads who are secretly half brothers and whose father pampers one (James Lafferty) while casting off the other (Chad Michael Murray).
- "The Brotherhood of Poland, New Hampshire" (CBS, 10-11 p.m. Wednesday) is a David E. Kelley-created drama about three middle-aged brothers and the declining New Hampshire town they've always lived in. Randy Quaid is a star.
- "Coupling" (NBC, 9:30-10 p.m Thursday) is "Friends" with extra naughtiness, thanks to a half-dozen oversexed thirtysomethings (based on the British comedy of the same name).
- "Joan of Arcadia" (CBS, 8-9 p.m. Friday) is a drama starring Amber Tamblyn as a normal teen with an abnormal penchant for encountering different folks who reveal themselves as God, then hand her godly chores to do. Joe Mantegna and Mary Steenburgen play her parents.
- "Miss Match" (NBC, 8-9 p.m. Friday) is a lighthearted romance starring Alicia Silverstone as a perky young divorce lawyer moonlighting as a matchmaker. Ryan O'Neal co-stars as her father and the boss at her law firm.
- "Luis" (Fox, 8:30-9 p.m. Friday) stars Luis Guzman as a feisty but goodhearted Puerto Rican family man who runs a doughnut shop (and tries to run everybody's life) in his multicultural Spanish Harlem neighborhood.
- "Hope & Faith" (ABC, 9-9:30 p.m. Friday) is a sitcom about a down-to-earth Midwestern homemaker (Faith Ford) who invites her sister, a soap opera washout (Kelly Ripa), to move in with the family.
- "The Handler" (CBS, 10-11 p.m. Friday) is a crime drama starring Joe Pantoliano as an FBI agent who trains and oversees agents who go undercover to solve crimes in Los Angeles.