During some television seasons, just "OK" is the best you can expect.
The 2012-2013 season, which officially begins Sunday, isn't the worst to come along in a while, but it's also not highly spectacular.
Settle for a so-so season. It could be far worse.
There are standouts.
ABC's "Last Resort" — which sounds like a 21st century spin on "Fantasy Island" — is a high-octane underwater espionage hour about a rogue submarine crew caught between the U.S. government and plans for a nuclear attack of another nation. Andre Braugher stars.
CBS's "Elementary" distinguishes itself from other procedural dramas by putting a new mark on the story of Sherlock Holmes (Jonny Lee Miller) and Watson (Lucy Liu). He's a recovering addict. She's his support. The story is set in modern times.
CW's "Arrow" is based on the adventures of the DC Comics character Green Arrow. Newcomer Stephen Amell is Oliver Queen, a rich playboy who returns from five years stuck on an island. He has a new sense of justice and a thirst for revenge.
NBC's "The New Normal" is blessed with two strong comedic voices — though they are not the leads of the series. Ellen Barkin is a scene stealer as a bigot who opposes her granddaughter being a surrogate mother to a gay couple. Reality star Nene Leakes also shines as a sassy administrative assistant to one of the gay men.
Over on Fox, "The Mindy Project" has a sweet tone in a comedic story of a doctor (Mindy Kaling) searching for balance in her life.
Big stars turning up in primetime include Dennis Quaid ("Vegas") and Lily Tomlin ("Malibu Country").
Other highlights for the week of Sept. 23-29. All times are Eastern. Listings subject to change. Check local listings.
-- "Primetime Emmy Awards" (8 p.m. ABC). Jimmy Kimmel is host of the ceremony that applauds excellence in television. British import "Downton Abbey" is among the major nominees.
-- "Dancing with the Stars: All Stars" (8 p.m. ABC). Pam Anderson, Kelly Monaco, Bristol Palin and Emmitt Smith take to the dance floor once again in this roundup of past favorites competing for the best of the best.
-- "Partners" (8:30 p.m. CBS). Two best pals — one gay, the other straight — navigate each other's eccentricities during this sitcom from the creators of "Will & Grace."
-- "NCIS" (8 p.m. CBS). A 10th season launches as the team looks for the elusive mastermind who bombed the docks and destroyed the NCIS headquarters.
-- "Ben and Kate" (8:30 p.m. Fox). This new sitcom explores the co-dependent bond of a brother and sister (Nat Faxon and Dakota Johnson). Hilarity ensues.
-- "The Mindy Project" (9:30 p.m. Fox). An aimless doctor (Mindy Kaling) tries to pull it together as she juggles her demanding job and her personal life in this new comedy series.
-- "Vegas" (10 p.m. CBS). Heading up this new crime drama series, Dennis Quaid is just the man in town to try and clean up a dirty Las Vegas in the 1960s, but Michael Chiklis is standing in his way.
-- "The Middle" (8 p.m. ABC). Brick grows a tomato when the fourth season sprouts.
-- "Law & Order: SVU" (9 p.m. NBC). Season 14 opens with Cragen arrested for murder and the squad getting a new captain.
-- "The Neighbors" (9:30 p.m. ABC). The start of this new comedy has newcomers to the block discovering everyone around them are aliens from outer space.
-- "Last Resort" (8 p.m. ABC). A rogue U.S. submarine crew goes off course when they are caught up in subversive moves against another country in this new action drama starring Andre Braugher.
-- "Elementary" (10 p.m. CBS). A new weekly spin on the classic detective story, Sherlock (Jonny Lee Miller) is an addict, and his partner/life coach Joan Watson (Lucy Liu) rolls her eyes at him a lot and tries to keep him on the straight and narrow.
-- "Made In Jersey" (9 p.m. CBS). For this new comedy-drama, a working-class woman (Jessica Blank) uses her street smarts to compete with her more polished peers at a top New York law firm.
-- "Fringe" (9 p.m. Fox). The fifth season starts with a search for Olivia in 2036.
-- "Lake Placid: The Final Chapter" (9 p.m. SyFy). A sheriff has giant crocodiles to face in the fourth installment of the horror movie series.
© 2012, Knoxville News Sentinel Co.
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