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Fall TV: a marathon not a sprint

By Stephanie Holland

Anna Friel and Lee Pace star in the second season of the cult hit “Pushing Daisies.” ( ABC)

By Stephanie Holland

The dawn of fall brings about a lot of changes. The days get shorter, the leaves begin to change, kids go back to school and new television programming hits the airwaves.

Because of last year’s writers strike the number of new shows premiering is smaller than usual. This gave a lot of up and coming shows a second chance at finding an audience.

This year every night of the week offers a new obsession to get hooked on or a returning friend that you can’t wait to see again.

Here is the best of the new season broken down by the days of the week.

MONDAY:

“How I Met Your Mother” (CBS 8:30 p.m.)

This hilarious tale of a father telling his kids how he met their mother is heading into its fourth season.

Last year’s cliffhanger featured main character Ted proposing to his girlfriend Stella.

Fans of the show have long wondered when they would meet the mysterious mother; could Stella finally be it? There is also the question of Barney’s new love for Robin.

Neil Patrick Harris’s portrayal of Barney is comedy gold, and turning his character from an obnoxious yet lovable ladies man into a lovesick puppy dog is a risky proposition, however, Harris has a quality that makes viewers think Barney is capable of anything.

The talented ensemble cast of “How I Met Your Mother” welcomes viewers into a fun world of slap bets, the Bro Code and Robin Sparkles while also maintaining the atmosphere of a group of friends who will do just about anything for each other.

TUESDAY:

“Eli Stone” (ABC 10 p.m.)“Eli Stone” began life as a midseason replacement however; the uniqueness of the premise and the solid cast helped it get renewed for a second season.

It is the story of a lawyer who develops a brain tumor and begins having visions.

These visions often lead him to take cases for the underdog.

Jonny Lee Miller portrays the title character as a reformed bad boy who has suddenly realized that he has a bigger destiny.

Miller is surrounded by an all star cast that includes Broadway veterans Victor Garber and Loretta Devine and action heroine Natasha Henstridge.

Eli’s most frequent visions involve pop superstar George Michael who often plays himself.

The idea that one person can make a difference if they just decide to may seem unrealistic in this cynical world but “Eli Stone” is able to be funny, cynical and touching, all at once.

“NCIS” (CBS 8 p.m.)

Heading into the sixth season “NCIS” fans are wondering if the show will be the same now that their favorite Navy investigative team has been split up.

Mark Harmon’s special agent Gibbs will have to find a way to deal with a new director and a new team while trying to get his old team back together.

Michael Weatherly portrays Tony Dinozzo as a playboy with a heart of gold and a quick wit.

He is balanced out by Sean Murray’s straight-laced Mcgee and Cote de Pablo as Ziva David, a former Israeli superspy.

This show injects comedy and personality into its cases and that along with the team chemistry sets it apart from all the other procedurals on TV.

WEDNESDAY:

“Pushing Daisies” (ABC 8 p.m.)

A whimsical romantic comedy that spends a lot of time with dead people, “Pushing Daisies” is entering its second season hoping to capitalize on the momentum it gained last year.

Lee Pace plays Ned, a man with the power to bring things back from the dead with one touch.

When his true love dies he brings her back, but now they can’t touch, which makes for a interesting romance.

The colorful cinematography adds to the fairy tale quality of the show.

Though it only aired for nine episodes last season, it was enough to build a cult following and receive twelve Emmy nominations.

With its supernatural element, romantic themes and colorful shooting style, this is a show that can appeal to just about anyone.

“Bones” (FOX 8 p.m.)

A mix of “Moonlighting” and “CSI,” “Bones” is entering its fourth season.

After last year’s betrayal by one of their own, the show will search for a new intern from a rotating list of candidates.

The most promising choice is Scott Starret played by Michael Badalucco.

Starret is the team’s oldest intern who has had every job imaginable and uses his experience to help the “squints” solve cases.

The real fun of “Bones” is the will-they or won’t-they relationship between Emily Deschanel’s Bones and David Boreanaz as FBI agent Booth.

“Bones” is the kind of show that makes looking at crime scenes and corpses fun.

THURSDAY:

“The Office” (NBC 9 p.m.)

When we last left Dunder-Mifflin, Jim almost proposed to Pam and Dwight was caught with his ex Angela.

Television’s best comedy returns for a fifth season of workplace hilarity.

This show may have become a star vehicle for Steve Carell, but it is the ensemble cast that makes this show so hilarious.

Every member of the Dunder-Mifflin staff feels like someone everyone has worked with.

Carell’s Michael Scott is the boss that everyone loves to hate, however; Carell manages to find the sweetness beneath Michael.

Every season “The Office” seems to get a little funnier so expectations for the fifth season are high.

FRIDAY:

“Sanctuary” (Sci-Fi 10 p.m.)

The newest groundbreaking series from cable’s Sci-Fi channel is “Sanctuary” starring Amanda Tapping.

Tapping stars as Dr. Helen Magnus who runs a sanctuary for supernatural beings.

Her work has given her the ability to live longer as she is from Victorian times.

This show was originally conceived for the internet and shoots entirely on a green screen like the films “Sin City” and “300.”

Tapping is a fan favorite from her work in the “Stargate” franchise and Sci-Fi channel has developed a strong stable of unique, original programming, so “Sanctuary” looks to be another interesting hit.

SUNDAY:

“The Amazing Race” (CBS 8 p.m.)

For those who can’t afford to travel the world the next best thing is “The Amazing Race.”

The thirteenth season follows the familiar premise of teams of two racing around the world with the winner receiving a million dollars.

This year the teams feature a former NFL player, comic book nerds and the usual assortment of parents, siblings and married couples.

The drama comes in watching the teams complete various tasks during the race while not letting their relationships deteriorate.

Besides the beautiful scenery, the other star of the show is host Phil Keoghan.

Keoghan is the teams’ only constant in an ever-changing situation.

He adds an element of humanity to the drama of the chase.

“The Amazing Race” is widely considered to be the best reality show on TV and has won the Emmy for best reality program six years in a row.

With all of the choices available to audiences this season, your TiVo will be working overtime and you’ll never be able to say, “there’s nothing on” again.

Eli Stone ( ABC)

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