“Raising Hope,” “Family Game Night,” “Dexter”


“Raising Hope” 

Tuesday 9pm, Fox

Nobody paid much attention to this new comedy by the creator of “My Name is Earl,” but it has quietly emerged as one of the few bright spots in Fox’s fall schedule. Much of that has to do with the strong “Glee” lead-in, but the show has its own charms. The series follows a well-meaning but directionless 20something, who finds his purpose after his one-night stand with a serial killer results in an unexpected baby he has to take care of after mom gets the death penalty. He decides to raise the kid along with his white-trash family (Martha Plimpton, forever my favorite Goonie, is great as the grandmother still young enough to pop out more kids herself). Things sometimes go shockingly crass (let’s all work together to keep Cloris Leachman’s top on, O.K.?), but there’s an honest sweetness underlying all the dead teeth and vomiting on the baby.

“Family Game Night”

Friday 7pm, The Hub

Board-game companies have really stepped up their cross-platform branding lately, hence next summer’s Battleship movie (which somehow stars Rihanna, Eric the vampire from “True Blood,” and…aliens). An arguably better fit is this game show that takes classic board games, makes them gigantic, and pits two families against each other for cash and prizes. So kids compete in massive, specialized versions of Sorry, Cranium, Scrabble and other games. Consider it the new “Double Dare,” except with that winking idiot Todd Newton in the host seat instead of the ever-chipper Marc Summers. 


Sunday 9pm, Showtime

This fifth season is one of transition for “Dexter.” Last season ended with America’s favorite serial killer of killers discovering his sweet wife dead in the bathtub, the latest victim of the big bad he’d been trying to take down. As he comes to grips with being a widower and a single father, he’s also wrestling with that figurative blood on his hands while trying to get actual, guilty blood on them to satisfy his “dark passenger.” Meanwhile, the show-runners who shepherded the series through its past few seasons have left, casting doubt on how well the acclaimed series could hold up. So far so good, and there are lots of juicy seeds planted that should burst into beautiful, bloody fruition, like the voodoo-based murderer currently terrorizing Miami, a would-be female conspirator (Julia Stiles), and the cops finally cluing into Dexter’s double life.