Beyond the new shows premiering on Sept. 27, the night marks the return of two second-year dramas: CBS' "Person of Interest" -- which despite its procedural bent, ended its high-rated first year on a cliffhanger -- and ABC's Washington-set drama "Scandal."
To its credit, "Person" became more enjoyable and compelling as the season went on, and the show picks up neatly where it left off, filling in more blanks about Michael Emerson's character and the mysterious machine he created, which allows him to predict, vaguely, when bad things are going to happen.
Beyond its vigilante motif -- with Jim Caviezel as the butt-kicking half to Emerson's reclusive billionaire -- the show has found a way to better incorporate its supporting players and done a firstrate job of casting guest stars, including Ken Leung (like Emerson, a "Lost" alumnus) in the premiere.
Created by Jonathan Nolan (who worked with brother Christopher on the "Batman" films), "Person" taps into the cathartic aspects of crimefighting, but does so with more wit and mythology than the average CBS procedural, and the show's success should liberate it, if the premiere is any indication, to push those boundaries even further.
As for "Scandal," which comes from "Grey's Anatomy" creator Shonda Rhimes, nothing in the second-season opener dispels the misgivings I harbored upon reviewing last spring's seven-episode run, which ABC made available to critics in its entirety.
Another "Lost" graduate, Henry Ian Cusick, has left the show (it's mentioned, briefly), but the core remains in place, with Kerry Washington still barking out lines like "I will win this!" in her unconvincing role as a D.C. political fixer, and Tony Goldwyn as the wimpiest, most-neutered Commander in Chief ever. (A few women wrote to insist I was missing what a fabulous romance the show is, and while I make it a point not to argue opinions with people, no, it's not.)
The premiere not only picks up where last season left off, but also incorporates a subplot about a congressman implicated in a sex scandal (now that's original). It's one of those ways "Scandal" tries to create the illusion of being hip and smart, when it's really has all the depth of a perfume commercial.
Having given the show a second chance, I can honestly say I won't pick on it anymore. Because in terms of watching "Scandal," eight is enough.