Coming to a TV near you

Rob Lowe stars as D.C. lawyer John "Jack" Turner in "The Lyon's Den," a new drama appearing Sunday nights on NBC.
The best drama of the fall television season might be seeing which of the new lot of shows is the first to be canceled.

Actually, there is some promise among the dramas, with familiar names Rob Lowe, Mark Harmon and David E. Kelley popping up in new projects. The comedies, while offering a few potential laughs, provide less appealing choices like Whoopi Goldberg's resurrection from the center square, another "Friends" rip-off and Mullets.

Here's a guide to the season's new shows to help you set your TiVo:


I'm With Her (Tues. 8:30 p.m.)
"I'm With Her," loosely based on its writer's real-life marriage to Brooke Shields, is a new comedy about an average guy who falls for a flashy movie star. It stars Teri Polo and Patrick Owen and gives a bit of hope to regular guys everywhere.

It's All Relative (Wed. 8:30 p.m.)
In "It's All Relative," a newly engaged couple must cope with family tensions -- his father is a bigoted bartender and she has two gay dads.

Karen Sisco (Wed. 10 p.m.)
"Karen Sisco" is a TV show based on a movie based on a book. Jennifer Lopez played the title character in "Out of Sight" (from Elmore Leonard's novel) and Carla Gugino takes over the role in the series about a tough U.S. Marshal on Miami's Gold Coast.

Threat Matrix (Thurs. 8 p.m.)
This new drama takes an inside look at issues of terrorism while centering around an elite Homeland Security task force. The time slot, against "Friends" and "Survivor," won't provide much security, however.

Married to the Kellys (Fri. 8:30 p.m.)
"Married to the Kellys" stretches the definition of TGIF. Breckin Meyer is a fish-out-of-water New Yorker who takes a "Road Trip" to Kansas City to be with his new wife and her typically (or stereotypically) Midwestern family.

Hope and Faith (Fri. 9 p.m.)
Fans of "Live with Regis and Kelly" can now start and end their Fridays with Kelly Ripa. The ex-soap star stars as an ex-soap star who moves in with her housewife sister and family in "Hope and Faith."

10-8 (Sun. 8 p.m.)
"10-8" is the latest from Aaron Spelling, pairing Danny Nucci as a Los Angeles Deputy Sheriff trainee and Ernie Hudson as his tough mentor.


Two and a Half Men (Mon. 9:30 p.m.)
"Two and a Half Men" has star power (Charlie Sheen) and joins the network's strong Monday lineup, but its mixed reviews could ultimately doom it. Sheen is a wealthy bachelor whose life is disrupted when his soon-to-be-divorced brother (Jon Cryer), and his 10-year-old son move into his Malibu beach house.

Navy NCIS (Tues. 8 p.m.)
If you're confused by "Navy NCIS," there's good reason. The new Mark Harmon show is similar in both title and theme to fellow CBS initial dramas CSI and JAG. Harmon is part of the Naval Criminal Investigative Service, a team of special agents who investigate crimes that are in any way connected to Navy and Marine Corps personnel.

The Brotherhood of Poland, N.H. (Wed. 10 p.m.)
David E. Kelley leaves the legal dramas behind and gets all "Picket Fences" on us with "The Brotherhood of Poland, N.H." Randy Quaid leads a strong cast as the police captain of the small town in the title.

Joan of Arcadia (Fri. 8 p.m.)
Possibly the most well-received of all the news shows is "Joan of Arcadia," in which God appears to teen-ager Joan (Amber Tamblyn) in various forms. Mary Steenburgen and Joe Mantegna play Joan's parents.

The Handler (Fri. 10 p.m.)
Last seen getting decapitated by Tony Soprano, Joe Pantoliano returns with head firmly attached as an FBI agent who trains undercover agents in "The Handler."

Cold Case (Sun. 8 p.m.)
"Cold Case" is another crime drama from Jerry Bruckheimer ("CSI," "Without a Trace") -- with a twist. The detective (Kathryn Morris) tackles cases that have long remained unsolved.


The Ortegas (Sun. 8:30 p.m.)
A contender for worst new comedy, "The Ortegas" features Al Madrigal and Cheech Marin as part of the titular family who host a talk show from their backyard. A real studio audience and real celebrity guests might not be enough to save this adaptation of a hit British show.

Arrested Development (Sun. 9:30 p.m.)
On the other end of the spectrum is "Arrested Development," a new comedy that just might be too quirky to last. Jason Bateman becomes head of a truly dysfunctional upper-class family after his father (Jeffrey Tambor) is sent to prison.

Skin (Mon. 9 p.m.)
Don't be fooled by the title -- "Skin" is on Fox in prime time, not late-night cable. In this modern-day Romeo and Juliet, star-crossed teen-age lovers Adam and Jewel are the son of an ambitious district attorney and the daughter of the porn mogul the D.A.'s trying to bring down.

A Minute with Stan Hooper (Wed. 8:30 p.m.)
Norm McDonald tries again with "A Minute with Stan Hooper," a comedy in the style of "Newhart" (and from the same creator) that has big-city TV talking-head Hooper moving to small-town Wisconsin with his wife.

Tru Calling (Thurs. 8 p.m.)
Fox's answer in the "Friends" and "Survivor" time slot is "Tru Calling," with former Buffy star Eliza Dushku as a morgue worker who can go back in time 24 hours to prevent the murders of the victims who show up at the morgue. Bring it on!

The O.C. (Thurs. 9 p.m.)
You may have already caught a few episodes of "The O.C.," which debuted in early August as the first of the new batch. Ratings and word-of-mouth have been strong for this family drama about a troubled teen living the good life with the well-to-do family of his public defender.

Luis (Fri. 8:30 p.m.)
Character actor Luis Guzman, who tends to turn up in just about every movie, now turns up on television with the cleverly titled "Luis." Guzman's an opinionated Puerto Rican donut-shop owner and landlord in this comedy that's not afraid to take ethnic jabs.


Las Vegas (Mon. 9 p.m.)
James Caan stars in "Las Vegas" as the head of a Casino surveillance team. Like the city itself, the show is big on presentation with "All My Children" hunk Josh Duhamel as Caan's protege and a tantalizing trio of Molly Sims, Vanessa Marcil and Nikki Cox.

Whoopi (Tues. 8 p.m.)
With Bill Maher banished to cable, "Whoopi," with Whoopi Goldberg as a singing diva turned hotel owner, may be the most politically incorrect show on the networks. Her brother, a former employee of Enron, his white girlfriend who acts black and an Iranian handyman fuel the un-PC humor.

Happy Family (Tues. 8:30 p.m.)
"Happy Family" is anything but, as the adult but immature children of John Larroquette and Christine Baranski return home to live with their parents. The Emmy-winning parents aren't enough to carry the show, one of several this season dealing with the "Boomerang Generation" of grown kids returning home.

Coupling (Thurs. 9:30 p.m.)
Something sounds familiar about "Coupling" -- a comedy in NBC's Must-See Thursday lineup about six single 30-something friends in a big city. The American version of a British show, it's "Friends" with the sex themes turned up to 11. It could be called "Friends, with benefits."

Miss Match (Fri. 8 p.m.)
Eight years after desperately trying to fix up Brittany Murphy in "Clueless," Alicia Silverstone again finds success as a moonlighting match-maker in "Miss Match." The catch? By day, she's a successful divorce attorney.

The Lyon's Den (Sun. 10 p.m.)
Rob Lowe didn't travel far from "The West Wing" to "The Lyon's Den." No longer a White House speechwriter, Lowe is an idealistic D.C. lawyer working in a far-from-idealistic law firm. With this potential hit, Lowe could avoid the curse of actors who leave in the middle of a successful show.


Eve (Mon. 8:30 p.m.)
Hip-hop star Eve, fresh off her successful acting turn in "Barbershop," now tries the small screen. She's a Miami fashion designer who just can't seem to find any luck in love.

All of Us (Tues. 8:30 p.m.)
Produced by, inspired by and occasionally guest-starring Will and Jada Pinkett Smith, the new comedy deals with a man who is balancing a new fiancee, a 5-year-old son and his soon-to-be ex-wife.

Rock Me Baby (Tues. 9 p.m.)
Dan Cortese is a shock jock who tries not to lose the shock while adjusting to life as a new father. The only real shock will be if this show, panned by critics, lasts the season.

The Mullets (Tues. 9:30 p.m.)
Seriously, this is a real show. The Mullet brothers -- roofers by profession, rockers by nature, and sporting the hairdo that inspired the show -- have a foxy mother who is up for a party but mainly butt heads with their new step-dad. Yeah, we can't believe it either.

Jake 2.0 (Wed. 9 p.m.)
Supposedly the best of UPN's new shows -- high praise indeed -- Jake 2.0 is about a computer geek who is transformed into an NSA secret agent after a lab accident infects him with "nanites" (fancy sci-fi computer speak) that give him super-human powers.


One Tree Hill (Tues. 9 p.m.)
In this drama, filmed in some of the same North Carolina settings as the departed "Dawson's Creek," a working-class boy and an arrogant upper-class boy discover that they are half brothers living in the same country town.

Steve Harvey's Big Time (Thurs. 8 p.m.)
Steve Harvey hosts a new variety show that's short on talent, unless you consider escaping from a washing machine to be a talent. It's basically a half-hour of stupid human tricks.

Run of the House (Thurs. 9:30 p.m.)
Whoa! Joseph (we'll still call him Joey) Lawrence stars in this unappealing comedy about four siblings who live together in Michigan after their parents move to Arizona for health reasons.

Like Family (Fri. 8:30 p.m.)
Star Holly Robinson Peete's husband, NFL quarterback Rodney Peete, lasted just half a football game before being replaced. Will his wife fare better with this comedy about a single white mom and her teen son moving in with her black friend's family?

All About the Andersons (Fri. 9:30 p.m.)
A single dad and his little son move in with Anthony's parents (John Amos and Roz Ryan) so he can pursue his dream of being an actor. Loosely based on the life of star Anthony Anderson, once a struggling actor and single dad.

Tarzan (Sun. 9 p.m.)
Calvin Klein underwear model Travis Fimmel should be comfortable with the wardrobe as Tarzan, whose wild lifestyle has been transplanted from Africa to New York City. Sarah Wayne Callies is Jane, the NYPD detective who has frequent run-ins with jungle boy.