“The New Normal” /Tuesday 9:30pm, NBC
You can’t peg creator Ryan Murphy. He’s been behind the seedy “Nip/Tuck,” the ridiculous “Glee,” the brilliant “American Horror Story”—and now he tries his hand at an unconventional conventional sitcom with “The New Normal.” The show follows the de facto family that emerges after Goldie, a small-town single mom, moves to California in an attempt to make a better life for herself and her daughter, and ends up becoming the potential gestational surrogate for a gay couple (Justin Bartha of The Hangover movies and Andrew Rannells, star of the Broadway smash The Book of Mormon). But Goldie’s uptight grandmother (forever cougarlicious Ellen Barkin) has followed her west, and isn’t having any of the gay old times. The cast also features “Real Housewife” Nene Leakes, who has proven surprisingly great at scripted comedy in her recurring role on “Glee.”
“The X Factor” /Wednesday-Thursday 8pm, Fox
After incessant hype, Simon Cowell’s American version of talent competition “The X Factor” debuted last year…and promptly fizzled. Can you even remember the winner’s name? (It was Melanie Amaro.) Has she even released an album? (No, not until December, and her single hasn’t been a hit.) Shortly after the first season wrapped the show cleaned house, firing judges Paula Abdul and Nicole Scherzinger, as well as host Steve Jones. As I write this, a new host has yet to be named, but the new judging panel is a big step up. Joining Cowell and the returning L.A. Reid will be former Disney star Demi Lovato (her own pop career currently exploding thanks to “Give Your Heart a Break”) and, more importantly, IT’S BRITNEY, BITCH! Yes, Miss Spears is on the panel this year, and here’s hoping she brings the crazy even better than Paula did.
“Revolution” /Monday 10pm, NBC
NBC hasn’t had a great track record with high-concept sci-fi series—see “The Event” and “The Cape”—but it’s giving it another shot with this post-apocalyptic drama. “Revolution” gives us a world in which all electrical power—everything, including batteries—is suddenly wiped out. The show takes place several years in the technology-free future, focusing on a specific family that has some kind of connection to the outage, a son kidnapped by a ruling militia, and a daughter (Tracy Spiridakos, “Being Human”) trying to find him and restart the country. The cast includes Elizabeth Mitchell (“Lost,” “V”) and Giancarlo Esposito (the awesome, terrifying Gus from “Breaking Bad”).