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What to Watch Tonight…

It's the first day of the new season, and every primetime hour on the five networks is new.

Unfortunately, Fox's offering is a two-hour, stand-alone "House" (Fox, 8 p.m. ET/PT) that, while ambitious, ultimately plays like an adult after-school special. There are two terrific actors at the center of the story, as House (Hugh Laurie) is forced to confront his demons by the head of a psychiatric hospital (Andre Braugher). But most everything rings false, from House's interactions with his fellow patients (imported, it seems, from some stock company of "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest") to the very idea that a well-connected, prosperous doctor would be held captive in this snake pit.

Watch for Laurie and Braugher alone, and hope for (and expect) better when the show settles into its normal pattern next week.

Over at CBS, last season's funniest sitcom - "The Big Bang Theory" (9:30 p.m. ET/PT) - returns in top form. You get an extremely welcome return visit from Laurie Metcalfe as Sheldon's mom and some important new developments for Penny and Leonard.

Stick with CBS for an entertaining "CSI: Miami" (10 p.m. ET/PT) that prepares one character's exit, introduces another, and takes us back 12 years to a sunglass-free Horatio. Who knew?

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