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As the network onslaught begins, what if the TV critic picked out shows just for you?
"Boardwalk Empire": Premieres Sunday, 9 p.m., HBO. Grade: B
Of course, the Friendly Elitist will slobber all over HBO's "Boardwalk Empire," the Prohibition-era drama set in Atlantic City, from "Sopranos" writer Terence Winter and auteur Martin Scorsese. Everything about this marquee series evokes a super-serious quality -- and frankly, near critic-proof -- work, but it can also be a lot to gnaw on, even for mob fans. We plumb the dark depths of the soul of Steve Buscemi's Nucky Thompson, a corrupt county treasurer, but it's easy to lose track of what we're supposed to feel. The lavishly (and expensively) reconstructed Jazz Age boardwalk is precise in every way and somehow too . . . wooden, if you catch my drift. But if the pace picks up, we're in the money, honey.
"Terriers": Airs Wednesdays, 1o p.m. (began Sept. 7), FX. Grade: A
"Terriers" is FX's new dramedy, about which I raved earlier this month. I'm a tough sell on crime shows, but sharp-witted Donal Logue and lovably mutty Michael Raymond-James make this private-eye saga much more than a low-rent Rockford file. The writing is strong and the setting -- gritty, Great Recession-era Southern California -- feels spot-on.
"The Walking Dead": Premieres Sunday, Oct. 31, 10 p.m., AMC. (No grade yet)
The trailer for AMC's six-episode series "The Walking Dead" hints at being a high-quality zombie saga for the discerning viewers' braayiiiiins, though the main gist (a lawman played by Andrew Lincoln wakes up in a hospital to a world that's been overrun by zombies while he was comatose) feels a bit lifted from "28 Days Later." Still, my eagerness to lay hands on a preview copy is through the roof -- and the walls. You now have plans for Halloween.
"Detroit 1-8-7": Premieres Tuesday, 10 p.m., ABC. Grade: D+
As for "Detroit 1-8-7," nothing to see here. Let the pros be the ones to tape off the crime scene, snap on some latex gloves and poke around at the discovered remains of ABC's much-revised, no-longer-a-faux-documentary ensemble series about some very busy homicide detectives in Motor City. The show stars Michael Imperioli ("The Sopranos") as an emotionally inscrutable yet highly skilled veteran of the department.
She loves nothing more than to come home, nuke a Lean Cuisine and watch shows where women are smart and kick butt. She's still shopping for an "Alias" replacement and has often settled for stuff like "Covert Affairs," "The Ghost Whisperer" and "Real Housewives" catfights. In her spare time she's an ardent Gleek and likes "The Good Wife." Got anything?
"Nikita": Airs Thursdays at 9 p.m. on CW. Grade: C