The shows

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By Annette Bourdeau

Eleventh Hour

CBS/CTV

Thursdays 10-11p.m.

the story: A gifted biophysicist helps the government solve special cases while being protected by a beautiful (and lethal) young FBI agent.

the cast: Rufus Sewell (John Adams), Marley Shelton (Grindhouse).

the backing: Exec producer Jerry Bruckheimer (CSI). From Warner Bros. in association with Jerry Bruckheimer Television and Granada Television International.

the verdict: This U.S. adaptation of a science-based British miniseries is solid, and has enough quirks to appeal to the campy mystery lovers out there. But it may not be different enough from the countless other crime-solving shows to keep it afloat.

Fringe

Fox/CTV

Tuesdays 9-10p.m.

the story: An FBI special agent needs help from a mentally unstable but brilliant scientist to figure out how a plane full of people suffered gruesome deaths on board. She also needs the scientist’s estranged son to help her communicate with his father.

the cast: Joshua Jackson (Dawson’s Creek), Anna Torv (The Secret Life of Us), John Noble (Lord of the Rings), Charlotte Rampling (Vers le Sud).

the backing: Writers/exec producers J.J. Abrams (Lost), Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman (Alias). From Warner Bros. in association with Bad Robot and Fringe Element Films.

the verdict: It’s being touted as a modern X-Files. Could do well among sci-fi fans in its timeslot up against Dancing With the Stars and the new 90210 remake.

The Mentalist

CBS/CTV

Mondays 10-11p.m.

the story: A debonair former TV psychic uses his remarkable observational skills and intuition to help solve gruesome crimes. Think Criminal Minds meets Medium.

the cast: Simon Baker (The Devil Wears Prada), Robin Tunney (Prison Break).

the backing: Director/executive producer David Nutter (Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles), writer/executive producer Bruno Heller (Rome). From Warner Bros.

the verdict: Baker is great, but it’s doubtful that his charm alone is enough to carry the show. Probably doesn’t stand a chance up against the CSI: Miami crew.

CTV

By Annette Bourdeau

Flashpoint

CTV/CBS

Fridays 10-11p.m.

the story: Follows the personal and professional lives of members of the Strategic Response Unit, an elite team within the Toronto police force.

the cast: Hugh Dillon (Durham County), Enrico Colantoni (Veronica Mars), Amy Jo Johnson (Felicity), David Paetkau (Whistler).

the backing: Executive producer Bill Mustos (Degrassi: The Next Generation). From Pink Sky Entertainment and Avamar Entertainment, in association with CTV and CBS Paramount Network Television.

the verdict: Despite the overworked genre, it’s compelling and well-acted, and goes deeper than typical cop dramas, which may help it retain viewers. The Friday time slot may hinder its performance though.

The Listener

CTV/NBC

Sundays 10-11p.m.

the story: A brooding young paramedic struggles with a secret: he’s telepathic. He begins using his power to try to help others.

the cast: Craig Olejnik (Runaway), Ennis Esmer (Billable Hours), Lisa Marcos

(Kevin Hill).

the backing: Executive producers Christina Jennings and Scott Garvie (In God’s Country), Russ Cochrane (Whistler), Michael Amo (Tagged: The Jonathan Womback Story). From Shaftesbury Films, in association with

CTV and NBC.

the verdict: It’s already been picked up by NBC, which is a good sign, and the juicy time slot leading out of Desperate Housewives will help.

So You Think You Can Dance Canada

CTV

Wednesdays 8-9p.m.

the story: Canadian contestants vie to be crowned the country’s favourite dancer.

the cast: Hosted by Leah Miller (Much on Demand), with judges Tré Armstrong (How She Move) and Jean Marc Genereux (dancer) plus celebrity guests including the National Ballet’s Rex Harrington.

the backing: Executive producer/showrunner Sandra Faire (Rita McNeil’s Celtic Celebration, Comedy Now!). From Danse TV Productions in association with CTV.

the verdict: Will come with a built-in audience of fans of the U.S. version. A safe bet.

Star Wars: The Clone Wars

Cartoon Network/CTV

Sundays 7-7:30p.m.

the story: A spinoff of the animated movie, each episode is a ‘mini-movie’ that follows animated versions of the classic Star Wars characters plus some new additions.

the cast: Matt Lanter (Heroes), Ashley Eckstein (That’s So Raven), Tom Kane

(Kim Possible).

the backing: Executive producer George Lucas (Star Wars). From Lucasfilm Animation.

the verdict: This one has broad appeal, so it should do well among families and Star Wars geeks. Its cushy time slot leading into Degrassi should help, too.

E!

By Gariné Tcholakian

Do Not Disturb

E!/CBS Paramount

Mondays 9-9:30p.m.

the story: An egocentric general manager struggles to maintain The Inn’s reputation as one of the hottest places to stay in New York amid comical staff dynamics.

the cast: Jerry O’Connell (Crossing Jordan), Niecy Nash (Reno 911!), Molly Stanton (Twins), guest star Robert Wagner.

the backing: Exec producers Carolyn Bernstein, Brian Dobbins (Adopted), H.T. Owens (30 Days), Peter Principato and Paul Young (Reno 911!, Hollywood Residential).

the verdict: A laugh track-peppered show that parents and teens can still watch together – or not, if they’re instead tuning in to Two and a Half Men.

Worst Week

E!/Fox

Mondays 9:30-10p.m.

the story: Meet the Parents, condensed into a half-hour show and turned up about a hundred notches.

the cast: Kyle Bornheimer (Jericho), Erinn Hayes (Kitchen Confidential), Jay Malone (Boston Legal), Nancy Lenehan (My Name is Earl).

the backing: Exec producers Jimmy Mulville (Whose Line Is It Anyway?), Matt

Tarses (Scrubs).

the verdict: This laugh-out-loud comedy is merciless, but it may face an uphill battle against the final season of Corner Gas.

Knight Rider

E!/NBC Universal

Wednesdays 8-9p.m.

the story: The coolest car ever is back in a reinvented, super-charged action series.

The cast: Justin Bruening (Cold Case), Deanna Russo (NCIS), Bruce

Davison (Breach).

the backing: Exec producers David Bartis (The O.C.), Doug Liman (The Bourne Identity), Gary Scott Thompson (Las Vegas).

the verdict: Can anyone, anywhere say no to Knight Rider? Surely not the men who aren’t interested in time slot competitors So You Think You Can Dance Canada and Little Mosque on the Prairie.

Instant Beauty Pageant

E!

Sundays 7-8p.m.

the story: In this Canadian version of the U.S. Style Channel show, six ordinary women are ambushed while shopping in a mall and given three hours to race for the crown of a beauty pageant on a limited budget.

the hosts: Cameron Mathison (All My Children, CSI), Debbie Matenopoulos (E!’s Live Countdown to the Grammys).

the backing: RTR Media Inc. (From the Ground Up with Debbie Travis).

the verdict: In a world of instant microwave dinners and facelifts, why should beauty pageants be the exception? There’s nothing quite like watching budding prima donnas under pressure, and this one might find

an audience.

Global

By Mary Dickie

My Own Worst Enemy

Global/NBC

Mondays 10-11p.m.

the story: A mild-mannered efficiency expert living in the ‘burbs with family and minivan finds out that he shares a body with a shady operative who speaks 13 languages and can kill with his teeth.

the cast: Christian Slater (True Romance), Mike O’Malley (Yes, Dear), Saffron Burrows (Boston Legal).

the backing: Exec producer Jason Smilovic (Kidnapped), exec producer/director David Semel (Heroes); from Universal Media Studios.

the verdict: Although Slater hasn’t had a hit in a while, he’s got a high profile, and the post-Heroes time slot should help this drama -though it didn’t do much for previous residents Journeyman and Studio 60.

90210

Global/CW

Tuesdays 9-10p.m.

the story: Like its parent series, this follows a brother and sister who move west and enroll at Beverly Hills High – except that their father is the new principal, and Granny is a former star and Betty Ford Clinic regular.

the cast: Shenae Grimes (Degrassi: The Next Generation), Rob Estes (Melrose Place), Lori Loughlin (Full House), Jenni Garth (Beverly Hills 90210), Jessica Walter (Arrested Development).

the backing: Exec producers Gabe Sachs and Jeff Judah (Freaks & Geeks); from CBS Paramount.

the verdict: A cast including veterans of hit shows as well as Canadian Shenae Grimes and Arrested Development’s Walter, plus the built-in interest of the original’s fans and a lead-in from House? It would have to be pretty bad to fail here.

Kath and Kim

Global/NBC

Thursdays 9:30-10p.m.

the story: A spoiled divorced woman moves in with her mother; generational combat and comedy ensue.

the cast: Molly Shannon (Saturday Night Live), Selma Blair (Hellboy), John Michael Higgins (Evan Almighty).

the backing: Exec producer/writer Michelle Nader (King of Queens), exec producer/director Paul Feig (Freaks & Geeks, The Office); from Universal Media/Reveille.

the verdict: K&K was adapted from the successful Australian comedy by Reveille Studios, which did well with adaptations of Ugly Betty and The Office; add Molly Shannon and the future looks pretty bright.

Life On Mars

Global/ABC

Thursdays 10-11p.m.

the story: An LAPD detective wakes up after a car crash to find himself in 1972, bumping up against the attitudes and technology of a ’70s-era police force.

the cast: Jason O’Mara (Men in Trees), Colm Meaney (Star Trek: Next Generation), Rachelle LeFevre (Boston Legal).

the backing: Exec producers Josh Appelbaum (Alias), Scott Rosenberg (High Fidelity), Andre Nemec (October Road); from Twentieth Century Fox Television/ABC Studios.

the verdict: The BBC original was inventive and clever; U.S. networks are getting better at adapting British shows; and the producers’ track record is promising. Still, time-travel shows have had a hard time winning viewers.

The Ex-List

Global/CBS

Fridays 9-10p.m.

the story: A psychic tells a single florist that she’s already dated her future husband and has to hook up with him again within a year or be alone forever. She immediately gets out her little black book and starts tracking down exes.

the cast: Elizabeth Reaser (Grey’s Anatomy), Rachel Boston (American Dreams), Adam Rothenberg.

the backing: Exec producer/writer Diane Ruggiero (Veronica Mars), exec producer Jonathan Levin (Charmed); from Twentieth Century Fox Television.

the verdict: This adaptation of an Israeli comedy substitutes smirks and smarm for Veronica Mars’s snappy dialogue and sharp social commentary. It’s hard to imagine it lasting the winter.

Citytv

By Carey Toane

Crusoe

Citytv/NBC

Fridays 8-9p.m., Sundays 10-11p.m.

The story: Defoe’s classic character braves enemies and elements while stranded on a tropical island, with flashbacks to his earlier life in England.

the cast: Philip Winchester (Thunderbirds),

Sam Neill (The Tudors), Anna Walton (Hellboy II: The Golden Army).

the backing: Exec producers Jean Bureau and Stephen Greenberg (You Belong to Me), Justin Bodle (Pinocchio), Genevieve Hofmeyr (Flashbacks of a Fool) and Michael Prupas (The Deal). From Moonlighting Films and Muse Entertainment Enterprises.

the verdict: Duane Clark (CSI, The Practice) directs a period drama with a MacGyver-esque leading man. But the obvious comparisons with Lost mean big shoes to fill, and it’s up against Life.

Easy Money

Citytv/CW

Sundays 9-10p.m.

the story: A 28-year-old prodigal son takes over the family’s booming short-term loan business, which is nothing compared to dealing with his dysfunctional family.

the backing: Emmy-award winning exec producers Diane Frolov and Andrew Schneider (The Sopranos, Northern Exposure).

the verdict: One of the shows that CW ‘outsourced’ to Media Rights Capital, this eccentric dramedy skews to an audience slightly older than the Gossip Girl crowd.

Glam God

Citytv/VH1

Wednesdays 8-9p.m.

the story: Vivica A. Fox hosts this

half-hour reality show that pits 12 celeb-stylist wannabes against each other in hair, makeup and wardrobe challenges.

the backing: Creator and exec producer Cris Abrego (Rock of Love, Gotti’s Way), exec producers Ben Samek, Vivica A. Fox and Lita Richardson. From 51 Pictures and VH1.

the verdict: This one faces an uphill battle against America’s Next Top Model and So You Think You Can Dance Canada.

Less than Kind

Citytv

Saturdays 10-10:30p.m.,

Mondays 10:30-11p.m.

the story: Life sucks for our 15-year-old

anti-hero, what with his dysfunctional family and their failing business in Winnipeg.

the cast: Jesse Camacho (St. Urbain’s Horseman), Maury Chaykin (Blindness), Nancy Sorel (Barbie Fairytopia).

the backing: Exec producers Marvin Kaye, Chris Sheasgreen, Phyllis Laing (The Stone Angel), Mark McKinney (Kids in the Hall), Ira Levy and Peter Williamson (Paradise Falls). From Breakthrough Films & Television and Buffalo Gal Pictures in association

with Citytv.

The verdict: A Wonder Years-style cast with an Arrested Development sense of humour, this could be a winner.

Opportunity Knocks

Citytv/ABC

Tuesdays 8-9p.m.

the story: Families compete on their own front lawns in this impromptu trivia

game show.

the cast: Host J.D. Roth (The Biggest Loser).

the backing: Roth executive produces with Karey Burke (The Real Wedding Crashers), Jason Goldberg (Beauty and the Geek), Ashton Kutcher (Punk’d) and Todd A. Nelson (The Biggest Loser). From 3 Ball Productions.

the verdict: The surprise element brings a touch of Punk’d to the family game show format. It’s a tough slot, however, against

The Rick Mercer Report and The Moment

of Truth.

The Secret Life of the American Teenager

Citytv/VH1

Fridays 9-10p.m.

the story: Teen tropes with a twist: the girl with good grades gets pregnant, while the cheerleader struggles to adhere to her Christian values.

the cast: Molly Ringwald (Sixteen Candles), Shailene Woodley (The O.C.), John Schneider (Smallville), Josie Bissett (Melrose Place).

the backing: 7th Heaven creator Brenda Hampton writes and produces this series

from ABC Family.

the verdict: This heartfelt drama might well knock off The Ex-List.

Stylista

Citytv/CW

Wednesdays 9-10p.m.

the story: The reality-show version of The Devil Wears Prada, with Elle magazine’s Anne Slowey firing one intern per week.

the cast: Slowey is joined by Elle creative director Joe Zee and 11 contestants.

the backing: Exec producers Tyra Banks (America’s Next Top Model), Ken Mok (Pussycat Dolls Presents: Girlicious), Eli Holzman (The Block), Desiree Gruber and Jane Cha (Project Runway). From 10 by 10 Entertainment and Bankable Incorporated with Magic Molehill Productions and Warner Horizon Television.

the verdict: Considering its impressive pedigree, this fashion-oriented reality show has a better chance than most, even against the second half of So You Think You Can Dance Canada.

Surviving the Filthy Rich

Citytv/CW

Tuesdays 9-10p.m.

the story: An idealistic Yale grad finds herself back in her hometown, tutoring 16-year-old twin billionairesses and dealing with
love quadrangles.

the cast: JoAnna Garcia (Reba), Lucy Kate Hale (Bionic Woman), Allan Lewis (Stomp the Yard), Michael Cassidy (Smallville).

the backing: Exec producers Rina Mimoun (Gilmore Girls), Bob Levy (Gossip Girl) and Leslie Morgenstein (Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants). Alloy Entertainment with Warner Bros. Television and CBS Paramount Network Television.

the verdict: Based on the book How to Teach Filthy Rich Girls by Zoey Dean, this Gossip Girl-style comedy will no doubt have a fight on its hands against the much-hyped 90210 remake.

Valentine’s, Inc.

Citytv/CW

Sundays 8-9p.m.

the story: A private investigator specializing in matters of the heart saves everyone’s love lives but his own.

the backing: Desperate Housewives and Reaper writer Kevin Murphy takes the helm on this show from Media Rights Capital.

the verdict: This action-comedy aims its arrows at an older audience than its Gossip Girl competition, but whether it can pull off a Desperate Housewives-style runaway hit is another matter.