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The Globe and Mail

TV: Five shows worth watching tonight: Sept. 25

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DRAMA NCIS CBS, Global, 8 p.m. ET/PT Strange but true: The return of this no-frills action series – for a tenth season! – is the highlight of the new fall season for many viewers. Although NCIS is off the radar of most TV reviewers, the show ranks among the most-watched shows on U.S. television and regularly pulls in a Canadian audience of roughly two-million viewers weekly. The season-opener picks up where last spring’s cliffhanger finale left off–with the NCIS headquarters torn apart by a bomb attack by CEO-turned-terrorist Harper Dearing (Richard Schiff). The search for the bomber requires co-operation with the FBI, but are the agents handling the case telling the truth? Veteran Canadian actor Matt Craven resumes his guest role of Secretary of the Navy Clayton Jarvis. COMEDY

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COMEDY Ben and Kate Fox, CITY-TV, 8:30 p.m. ET/PT This new sitcom has sleeper potential in spades. Debuting tonight, the premise casts journeyman comic actor Nat Faxon, likely better known for winning a screenplay Oscar last year for The Descendants, as a nice guy slacker named Ben who returns to his hometown to reunite with his younger sister Kate, played by Dakota Johnson (probably more famous for being the daughter of Melanie Griffith and Don Johnson), a sensible single mom raising a five-year-old daughter. Ben is aghast when he discovers Kate is leading a life of peaceful domesticity, so he makes it his mission to inject fun and chaos into her humdrum existence. In tonight’s premiere, Kate dives headlong back into the dating scene while her big brother tries to prevent an ex from getting married.

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COMEDY New Girl Fox, CITY-TV, 9 p.m. ET/PT Last season’s sleeper surprise hit, this comedy vehicle for Zooey Deschanel has breathed new life into the Tuesday Monday -night TV lineup. The coquettish actress is charming and funny as the free-spirited Jess, a free-spirited schoolmarm who dumps her two-timing boyfriend and moves in with three likeable boyos, namely, Schmidt (Max Greenfield), Nick (Jake Johnson) and Winston (Lamorne Morris). The second season opens with Jess still looking for true love in all the wrong places, which results in her pretending to be the blind date of a handsome stranger. Her three roommates, meanwhile, are unnerved by an unannounced visit from Winston’s mean-spirited mama, played by TV veteran Anna Maria Horsford.

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DRAMA Vegas CBS, Global, 10 p.m. ET/PT Welcome to the small screen, Dennis Quaid. Formerly a middling movie star in films like The Right Stuff, The Big Easy and Footloose, the 58-year-old actor moves to television in this new period-piece crime drama. The premise casts Quaid into the real-life role of Ralph Lamb, a fourth-generation rancher and Second World War veteran who became sheriff of Las Vegas back in the early 1960s. Hired by the mayor to stem the tide of criminal types flooding into Sin City, like Chicago wiseguy Vincent Scavino (Michael Chiklis), the recently-appointed general manager of the swanky casino The Savoy. Do the good ol’ boy and the sleazy mobster butt heads? The clash of wills begins in tonight’s opener in which Lamb investigates the murder of the Nevada governor’s niece. Canada’s own Carrie Ann Moss classes up the concept as the Las Vegas district attorney.

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MOVIE One True Thing Vision, midnight ET; 9 p.m. PT No matter the setting or script, Meryl Streep takes each film she appears in to a higher level. Consider this 1998 drama that earned Streep yet another Oscar nomination for her portrayal of Kate, a fifty-something housewife understandably devastated by a terminal cancer diagnosis. Kate’s bookish husband George (William Hurt) convinces his journalist daughter Ellen (Rene Zellweger) to come home for caregiving duty, which of course leads to a touching rapprochement between mother and daughter in the former’s final days. Based on a novel by New York Times columnist Anna Quindlen.

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