Skeet Ulrich stars in "Jericho" (7 p.m., CBS) as Jake Green, a moody, mysterious prodigal son who returns to his sleepy Kansas hometown to get some money left to him in a will. We know he's trouble because he tells everyone a different story about his disappearance. We know he's moody because the mopey music tells us so. Jake's dad (Gerald McRaney) happens to be Jericho's mayor and deports himself with the ramrod straightness of every McRaney character.
All of this takes a backseat when the news brings vague reports of "global violence." A televised presidential address is cut off, and nuclear mushroom clouds appear on the horizon. Uh-oh: the Big One.
"Jericho" has the paranoid feel of an extended "Twilight Zone" episode. We're stuck in a small town, cut off from a world that may have ended. What do you do? Whom do you trust? And, most importantly, why do you want to watch a show this dark and claustrophobic at 7 p.m.?
¢ "Kidnapped" (9 p.m., NBC) begins, naturally enough, with the kidnapping of Leopold Cain (Will Denton), the brainy son of New York tycoon Conrad Cain (Timothy Hutton). Warned not to tip off the police, the tight-lipped Cain hires Knapp (Jeremy Sisto), a shaggy but ruthlessly efficient and unorthodox private eye with a good record of retrieving victims. At Knapp's insistence, Cain keeps his son's absence hush-hush. We know Cain is supposed to be secretive, but he seems almost emotionally lobotomized, as does his wife, Ellie (Dana Delaney). FBI investigator Latimer King (Delroy Lindo) butts into the case when looking into the disappearance of Leopold's bodyguard, shot down during the boy's kidnapping.
More on 'Jericho'
"Kidnapped" has mysteries galore, but viewers will have to decide whether these characters are interesting enough, or coherent enough, to follow for an entire season.
Tonight's other highlights
¢ Caroline Rhea hosts a new season of "The Biggest Loser" (7 p.m., NBC).
¢ Tyra Banks hosts a new season of "America's Next Top Model" (7 p.m., CW).
¢ "Biography" (7 p.m., Biography Channel) profiles "Superman" star George Reeves.
¢ A sicko's riddles may yield clues to a still-living victim on "Criminal Minds" (8 p.m., CBS).
¢ A proposal to die for on "CSI: NY" (9 p.m., CBS).
¢ The final four compete on "Project Runway" (9 p.m., Bravo).