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Lori’s List: TV highlights for Sept. 17-23

The Blacklist - SeasPilot

The Blacklist - Season Pilot

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Updated: September 16, 2013 7:59PM

“BROOKLYN NINE-NINE” (7:30 p.m. Tuesday on WFLD-Channel 32): Out of a weak crop of new fall sitcoms, this Andy Samberg-starring workplace comedy about a rag-tag group of New York Police Department detectives is the best of the bunch. Chicago’s own Andre Braugher nails it as (gay) straight man to Samberg’s wacky antics. The talented comedic ensemble makes the most of the strong material from “Parks & Recreation” vets Dan Goor and Mike Schur (a k a Mose from “The Office”).

“THE LEAGUE” (9:30 p.m. Wednesday on FXX): Chicago Bears quarterback and wife Kristin Cavallari guest star in this bawdy cable comedy about fantasy football fanatics. Jay and Kristin are forced to interact with superfans Kevin (Stephen Rannazzisi) and Jenny (Katie Aselton) when both couples’ kids — Chalupa and the Cutlet — are enrolled in the same Winnetka preschool.

“THE BLACKLIST” (9 p.m. Monday on WMAQ-Channel 5): James Spader’s performance as an enigmatic FBI fugitive suddenly offering to play for the good guys is enthralling enough to make me overlook — for the time being — a few weak spots in this thriller reminiscent of “The Silence of the Lambs.” Spader’s character isn’t a serial killer, but his relationship with a rookie FBI profiler (Megan Boone) has Hannibal Lecter/Clarice Starling overtones. It could be the fall’s best new drama if it doesn’t veer off course and drive into the ditches of hokey predictability or outrageous implausibility.

“HOSTAGES” (9 p.m. Monday on WBBM-Channel 2): CBS is trying something different from its usual police procedural fare with this highly serialized, 15-episode drama starring Toni Collette and Dylan McDermott. Collette plays a surgeon ordered to kill the U.S. president in order to save her family, who harbor secrets of their own. The audience-friendly fate of their pet dog is a reminder that this is broadcast, not cable TV. 

Welcome back, comedies: Following a new “New Girl,” “The Mindy Project” returns at 8:30 p.m. Tuesday on WFLD-Channel 32 with guest star James Franco. Sketch stars “Key & Peele” kick off a promising season three at 9:30 p.m. Wednesday on Comedy Central, where angry substitute teacher Mr. Garvey (Key) continues to terrorize his students. “How I Met Your Mother” begins its swan song season at 7 p.m. Monday on WBBM-Channel 2.

More newcomers: The decidedly unfunny “Dads” debuts at 7 p.m. Tuesday on WFLD-Channel 32, while Chuck Lorre’s marginally better “Mom” premieres at 8:30 p.m. Monday on WBBM-Channel 32.

Award time: Hollywood hands out the hardware during the 65th “Primetime Emmy Awards,” hosted by Neil Patrick Harris, at 7 p.m. Sunday on WBBM-Channel 2.

So long: The six finalists in “America’s Got Talent” perform one last time at 8 p.m. Tuesday on WMAQ-Channel 5 before a winner is crowned Wednesday. Time’s up on “The Million Second Quiz” at 7 p.m. Thursday on WMAQ-Channel 5. Chicagoan Andy Herren hopes to walk away from the “Big Brother” house $500,000 richer in the 90-minute finale at 8:30 p.m. Wednesday on WBBM-Channel 2.

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