They say you can’t judge a book by its cover. But you can judge a new TV show by the clips shown to advertisers at the networks’ recent fall-lineup presentations. Or at least I can. So let’s get to it.
Without a Trace (CBS, Thursdays, 10-11 p.m.) Anthony LaPaglia (”Murder One”) plays a senior FBI missing-persons investigator in exec producer Jerry Bruckheimer’s sleek ”CSI” lead-out. But the biggest mystery is: Up against ”ER,” will this show vanish…without a trace?
Do Over (The WB, Thursdays, 8:30-9 p.m.) You know what’d be weird? If a thirtysomething guy woke up one morning and he was a high schooler in the ’80s again! You know what’d be even weirder? If two new shows had the exact same premise! But this sitcom seems a lot smarter than ABC’s identical dramedy ”That Was Then.”
Hack (CBS, Fridays, 9-10 p.m.) ”St. Elsewhere”’s David Morse stars as a Philly cop-turned-cabdriver who solves crimes involving his passengers. ”Homicide”’s Andre Braugher plays his ex-partner. Great cast — I just hope it doesn’t turn into ”Touched by a Cabbie.”
Firefly (Fox, Fridays, 8-9 p.m.) Okay, the clips from this ”space Western” (above) actually didn’t look that hot, but it’s penned by ”Buffy”’s Joss Whedon, so who am I kidding? I’m probably gonna love it.