Old shows may leave some viewers ‘Lost’

By Kevin McDonough

United Feature Syndicate

ABC returns with original episodes of its potentially formidable Thursday-night line-up. All of its shows have proven audiences, but each is so complicated in its own way that returning fans may find them more intimidating than entertaining.

"Lost" (9 p.m., ABC, TV-14) moves to yet another hour, so the network must be confident that its faithful will follow it anywhere. According to the network, Locke’s camp will come under attack in tonight’s episode, but from whom or what? The "Lost" podcast at also promises some explanation as to the meaning of the tornado-like killer on the island, otherwise known as "smokey."

It’s hard to follow "Grey’s Anatomy" (8 p.m., ABC, TV-14) with the same brain-taxing scrutiny as "Lost" and its mysteries, but some find the hot-house promiscuity of this "Anatomy" lesson complicated enough to require a scorecard. The rest of us just think it’s sleazy and dumb.


Even "Ugly Betty" (7 p.m., ABC, TV-14) can get confusing if you miss a few episodes. The singular sincerity of the title character, who turns 24 in this episode, seems to require a viral infection of nastiness amongst all of the other characters. Subplots abound about sex changes, artificial insemination and the rude, evil spawn of Gene Simmons. This silly sweet-and-sour soap has become decidedly tart.

• Hal Holbrook, recently nominated for an Oscar for his role in "Into the Wild," will guest star on "ER" (9 p.m., NBC, TV-14). Holbrook did not star in every made-for-TV movie in the 1970s, but it sure seemed that way.

Other highlights

• Randy becomes Earl’s sole caretaker on "My Name Is Earl" (7 p.m., NBC, TV-14).

• A Ford Mustang gets a makeover on the fifth-season premiere of "Overhaulin’" (7 p.m., TLC).

• Johnny Depp stars in director Tim Burton’s 2005 confection "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" (7:30 p.m., Family, TV-PG).

• Clues in a murder case point to a suspect behind bars on "CSI" (8 p.m., CBS, r, TV-14,V).

• Michael and Dwight drop in on Ryan on "The Office" (8 p.m., NBC, TV-14).


• Mikey gets pedagogical with a group of second-graders on "American Chopper" (8 p.m., TLC).

• The big chief (Rip Torn) taps Jack for a promotion on "30 Rock" (8:30 p.m., NBC, TV-14). This comedy, which came under some criticism for rude language, is airing an hour later tonight.

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