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Vegas, Baby!


“The Player”The Player - Season 1
Thursday, Sept. 24 (NBC)
Series Debut: Phillip Winchester (“Strike Back”) plays Alex Cane, an ex-FBI operative now working as a Las Vegas security consultant who’s approached by the mysterious “Mr. Johnson” (Wesley Snipes — yes, that Wesley Snipes) to play a game: Try and stop these high-stakes crimes while a secret society of the super-rich bets on the outcome, aided by a high-tech “crime prediction” computer — so, it’s “Person of Interest” with a pit boss. Snipes and Winchester are solid and the action is flashy (“The Player” comes from the same producers as The Blacklist), but there’s also a tired “Who killed my wife?!” subplot and the fact that NBC hasn’t launched a viable Thursday-at-9 player since “ER” ended. I could say roll the dice on this one … but I won’t.

“Heroes Reborn”
Thursday, Sept. 24 (NBC)
Series Debut: Noah (Jack Coleman) is back, and Hiro (Masi Oka) and Matt (Greg Grunberg) drop in but, as the title suggests, this is a whole new “Heroes.” See, kids, back in a time when Marvel movies and DC television series weren’t dropping every other week, there was a show called “Heroes,” about seemingly ordinary people who suddenly discovered that they had superpowers — we’re talking ancient history, like 2006. After an excellent first season, the series went cross-eyed, eventually ending unceremoniously with Season 4 in 2010; showrunner Tim Kring promises “Heroes Reborn” will be the back-on-track reset he originally promised in 2007 … and 2008 … and 2009. You may find yourself rooting harder for Zachary Levi (“Chuck”) as a vigilante Hero hunter.

Sunday, Sept. 27 (ABC)
Series Debut: Remember when “Homeland” didn’t suck and the term “Sexy Terrorism Drama” actually meant something? “Quantico,” from “Gossip Girl” and “Smash” producer Joshua Safran, aims to bring back the STD … yes, I just noticed it, too. Anyway: A group of pretty FBI recruits (including Bollywood star Priyanka Chopra, who may be the most super-humanly gorgeous being on the planet) learns that one among them may have masterminded a major outside attack on U.S. soil; flashbacks to first day of training and worried realizations of “Well, I’ve had sex with everyone here — but did I bang a terrorist?” ensue. “Quantico” has an intriguing, twisty story and a solid — and did I mention hot? — cast; now TD just needs to catch up to the S.

“The Grinder”
Tuesday, Sept. 29 (Fox)
Series Debut: Fox wound up with one of the worst new sitcoms of the season (that would be John Stamos’ gawdawful “Grandfathered,” also premiering tonight), and one of the best in “The Grinder” — both just happen to be headlined by handsome older dudes. The Grinder was a charismatic lawyer character Dean (Rob Lowe, taking that loony “Parks & Recreation” energy to a new level) played on TV so, naturally, after his show is canceled, he returns to his small hometown to work in his brother Stewart’s (Fred Savage) real law firm. The townsfolk love it; Stewart, not so much. Lowe and Savage are a perfect comic wacky/straight-man team — maybe enough so to overcome their “Grandfathered” lead-in. CV

Bill Frost writes about television for Salt Lake City Weekly, talks about it on the TV Tan Podcast (Tuesdays on iTunes and Stitcher), and tweets about it at @Bill_Frost.

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