November begins and that means “sweeps,” when ratings are measured for the respective networks. It’s also a time to take stock of the new season and its good, bad and ugly trends.
Now that baseball is over, Fox’s schedule can settle down and viewers can get a chance to see if the critics were right in anointing “New Girl” (8 p.m.) as one of the more endearing comedies of the year.
ABC viewers have had at least three chances to see why critics gave “Last Man Standing” (7 p.m.) some of the most scathing reviews of the year. Astoundingly dated and lazily written, this Tim Allen vehicle feels like a time machine set on a one-way trip to 1987. Not that some folks wouldn’t like that.
CBS has already given a green light to a full season of “Unforgettable” (9 p.m.), the preposterously formulaic procedural about a detective with a photographic memory. The most interesting thing about this show is that it was inspired by Marilu Henner’s appearance on “60 Minutes.”
Apparently nobody at NBC imagined that viewers would ever tire of watching obese people cry on treadmills. The ratings for “The Biggest Loser” (7 p.m.) have taken a beating this fall. If it weren’t for “Sunday Night Football,” the Peacock Network would barely have a pulse.
• Over on NBC’s thriving cable cousin, USA, “Covert Affairs” (9 p.m.) returns tonight. This series features Piper Perabo as Annie, a beautiful woman who stumbles into the spy game.
Annie is very much portrayed as an “empowered” woman. So why is she constantly shown getting in and out of her clothes? For all of the CIA derring-do, it really seems like she’s on a series of dates with a new mystery man every week. Tonight, she meets a handsome chef who might be only a lonely restaurateur or the ringleader of a terror cell. Fourteen costume changes later, Annie makes the call.
• For the record, Conan O’Brien will present all of his shows this week from the Beacon Theatre in Manhattan. It’s about time.
• never understood why Conan moved to Los Angeles. Just as Jay Leno and Jimmy Kimmel thrive on the Hollywood vibe, Conan, like David Letterman and Jon Stewart, is an East Coast guy. Audiences can tell when you’re not where you’re supposed to be and trying to be somebody you’re not.
• TV-themed DVDs available today include the 1981 miniseries “Brideshead Revisited: 30th Anniversary Edition.”
Tonight’s other highlights
• A foreign exchange student fits right in on “Glee” (7 p.m., Fox).
• Jess sees a little too much of Nick on “New Girl” (8 p.m., Fox).
• Live performance and elimination on “Dancing With the Stars” (8 p.m., ABC).
• The family worries about Hope’s homicidal roots on “Raising Hope” (8:30 p.m., Fox).
• After a dad’s death, his children become targets on “Unforgettable” (9 p.m., CBS).
• Jasmine gets serious on “Parenthood” (9 p.m., NBC).
• A teen dies at a rave on “Body of Proof” (9 p.m., ABC).
• A decision by rivals may have a big impact on business on “Sons of Anarchy” (9 p.m., FX).