Through the years, I've developed some theories about television shows. Many of them have to do with set decoration. If a sitcom features a perfect kitchen with expensive appliances, the comedy will fail. Why? Because real characters don't live in showrooms. Some of the best comedies, from "Seinfeld" to "Roseanne" to "Everybody Loves Raymond," have featured detailed sets revealing their characters' tastes, social status and quirks.
The same theory can be extended to thrillers, including the new "Eyes" (9 p.m., ABC). No, thank goodness, this isn't another drama about a blind cop. Tim Daly stars as Harlan Judd, a private eye in a super-high-tech firm with offices that look like they were borrowed from the most posh precincts of the Microsoft corporate campus.
"Eyes" has some interesting characters and some genuine plot twists, but the absurdly grandiose set tells us that "Eyes" is not grounded in economic reality or even common sense. The best private detectives used to work out of a desk containing nothing but a revolver and a flask. Their idea of office decoration extended to the window on the door, which allowed us to read their names spelled backward (E-D-A-P-S M-A-S) on the wavy glass.
Daly does his impish best to keep "Eyes" jumping. His ultra-slick agency is hard-up for cash, so he takes on the case of a corporate embezzler. This being TV in the 21st century, the thief doesn't hightail it to Bermuda, but spends his ill-gotten gains in plain sight, hiring bevies of prostitutes to keep him company.
"Eyes" offers a welter of subplots. One sleuth is sleeping with the sleuth wife of a private-eye colleague. Harlan's ex-boss-turned-arms dealer may or may not be trying to buy the firm, and apparently there is a spy in the nest of "Eyes."
Tonight's other highlights
- Scheduled on "60 Minutes" (7 p.m., CBS): an interview with Jack Welch and his wife.
- Meg's boyfriend gets a letter from Uncle Sam on "American Dreams" (7 p.m., NBC). This marks the season, and probably the series, finale for "Dreams."
- Locke and Boone discover a secret hatch on "Lost" (7 p.m., ABC).
- Bartlet asks Leo to bring order to an unruly convention on "The West Wing" (8 p.m., NBC).
- The votes are tallied on "American Idol" (8 p.m., Fox).
- Sydney is on the brink on "Alias" (8 p.m., ABC).
- Young mobsters on "CSI: NY" (9 p.m., CBS).
- A depraved cult's practices leads to murders on "Law & Order" (9 p.m., NBC).