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| Image by fxnetworks.com

And with those three words in the opening credits the current season of

soared into the preposterous stratosphere last evening. And you didn't have to be a longtime Dina Meyer fan--as in, we wingnuts who fondly recall her Lucinda Nicholson from the original

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Beverly Hills, 90210

, harbor a perhaps unhealthy appreciation for

Starship Troopers

, willingly paid money to see

Johnny Mnemonic

and

Dragonheart

, and actually watched Fox's noirish, occult-y soap

Point Pleasant

during the three months it was on in 2005--to enjoy the non-stop insanity that FX piped into living rooms. Jennifer Coolidge reprised her role as high-maintenance actress Candy Richards, hiring McNamara/Troy plastic surgery to sculpt her body to more, well, voluptuous proportions for when she appears in her hip-hop video, "Yo Stank." (During the surgery, said video plays onscreen, a piece of almost Dada absurdity that could have come straight from another project with a small Coolidge role, the irrepressible

Pootie Tang

.) And the episode was just getting started. Still to come: Dr. McNamara (John Hensley) dream-talking to Portia de Rossi while her scalp is pulled back for a face lift; a body's cremated remains pithily pie-tossed into faces; and a career man-slut realizing an outspoken lesbian may be just the woman for him. And then there was Meyer's glorious turn as a woman Dr. Christian Troy (Julian McMahon) meets at a breast cancer support group, who--after they hook up with Duran Duran's "Save a Prayer" playing on the soundtrack (few shows on TV use pop music with such sarcastic verve)--has a peculiar request for the doctor. And while, yes, many actresses could deliver the goods when called to inflict self-mutilation in a high-end surgery waiting room with an electric carving knife, but only Meyer, arguably, can do so with such cavalier calm--and clad in such a smashing power skirt suit.

The second best part about last night's

Nip/Tuck

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? Catching the new season teasers for

, which returns in April, and

, Joss Whedon's mighty return the small screen Feb. 13.

It's difficult to get much of a read of a program through only its pilot, but with any luck Fox's new

is worth following for the moment, if only for Tim Roth's blithe turn as Cal Lightman, a psychologist who hires out his expertise in reading nonverbal body language to law enforcement investigations. Just what has Roth, that nimble workhorse of 1990s independent movies, been up to recently? Last summer's

The Incredible Hulk

, Michael Haneke's

Funny Game U.S.

remake, a small bit in Walter Salles' 2005 Japanese horror remake

Dark Water

, and . . . well, a few things here and there that passed by quickly (

Youth Without Youth

,

Don't Come Knocking

). It's great to see him in a leading role, although I am Roth fan still waiting for his directorial follow-up to his indelible 1999 debut behind the camera,

The War Zone

--an unflinching British drama, like Gary Oldman's own directorial debut, 1997's

Nil By Mouth

, that looked back to the uncompromising social realism practiced by Alan Clarke on British television in the 1970s and 1980s.

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