Bad writing trumps great talent every time.
The new sitcom "The Millers" (8:30 p.m., CBS, TV-PG) proves this in nearly every scene. Will Arnett ("Arrested Development") stars as Nathan Miller, a local news-
caster too intimidated by his mother, Carol (Margo Martindale, "Justi fied"), to admit he's gotten divorced. Besides, he was looking forward to a swinging single life without
But word leaks out, and this inspires Carol to live out a long-held desire -- to dump her idiot
husband, Tom (Beau Bridges, "Masters of Sex").
Carol, who adores her son, respects no personal space, and leaves no thought unsaid, moves in with Nathan and treats him like a child, when not screaming at Tom on the phone after he moves in with Debbie (Jayma Mays, "Glee"), Nathan's long-ignored sister. If watching Martindale and Bridges exchange crude patter about masturbation is your cup of tea, then "The Millers" is the show for you.
---Sean Hayes ("Will & Grace") returns to NBC with "Sean Saves the World" (9 p.m., TV-G). This resolutely uninspired series dusts off one of the oldest tricks in the sitcom book, the "instant father." A divorced dad of 14-year-old Ellie (Sami Isler), Sean finds his workaholic world reordered when she decides to move in with him full-time.
We learn that Sean divorced Ellie's mother when he discovered "she wasn't a gay man." Linda Lavin ("Alice") returns to TV as Sean's brassy and opinionated mother. Hayes should stick to producing shows like "Hot in Cleveland" for TV Land, where retro is the norm. In replacing "The Office" with this creaky
vehicle, NBC has set back the sitcom at least 20 years.
---A Stanford-bound valedictorian (Joseph Haro) from a striving Latino family puts his dreams on hold when he discovers his ditzy girlfriend (Ella Rae Peck) is pregnant with his child.
This sets up a contrived sitcom, "Welcome to the Family" (8:30 p.m., NBC, TV-PG), that revolves around the culture clash between Latino parents (Ricardo Chavira and Justina Machado) grasping at the American dream and lazy suburban parents (Mary Mc-
Cormack and Mike O'Malley) grasping at one last chance to evade impending middle age. For all of its laugh-track antics, "Family" reminds us why unplanned and unwanted teen pregnancies used to be considered tragedies.
---Imagine a pact with the devil that grants you good looks and immortal life, but makes you lose all sense of humor and irony. Voila: "The Originals" (9 p.m., CW, TV-14), a "Vam pire Diaries" spin-off set in a stylized and gentrified New
Orleans. Baffling, contrived and frequently laughable, "Originals" looks like a perfume commercial but lasts an hour, offering viewers a painful taste of eternal boredom.
---Elena concludes a productive summer on "The Vampire Di aries" (8 p.m., CW, TV-14).
---Olivia realizes her dad's dark potential on "Scandal" (10 p.m., ABC, TV-14). A clip show (8 p.m., TV-14) reviews events from past seasons.
---Beatles interpretations continue on "Glee" (9 p.m. Fox, TV-14).
---And baby makes three on "Grey's Anatomy" (9 p.m., ABC, TV-14).
---The contest calls for cutting edge on "Project Runway" (9 p.m., Lifetime, TV-PG).
---A documentary filmmaker runs with the big cats on "Man, Chee tah, Wild" (9 p.m., Discovery, TV-PG).
---"Society X With Laura Ling" (10 p.m., E!, TV-14) explores peculiar youth subcultures.
---An equation adds up to murder on "Elementary" (10 p.m., CBS, TV-14).
---Julia discovers a kindred spirit on "Parenthood" (10 p.m., NBC, TV-PG).
Trey Parker and Matt Stone use puppets to lampoon war-on-terror politics and pieties in the 2004 musical comedy "Team America: World Police" (8:30 p.m., Sho 2).
---Raj tests the gang on "The Big Bang Theory" (8 p.m., CBS, TV-PG).
---Off the grid on "Parks and Recreation" (8 p.m., NBC, TV-PG).
---Auditions continue on "The X Factor" (8 p.m., Fox, TV-14).
---Sydney takes charge on "The Crazy Ones" (9 p.m., CBS, TV-PG).
---Carl Reiner guest stars on "Two and a Half Men" (9:30 p.m., CBS, TV-14).
---Eve develops new interests on "The Michael J. Fox Show" (9:30 p.m., NBC, TV-14).
---Kerry Washington is scheduled on "The Daily Show With Jon Stewart" (11 p.m., Comedy Central).
---Jerry O'Connell, Lauren Cohan and Erin Foley appear on "Conan" (11 p.m., TBS).
---Chris Franjola, Cameron
Esposito and Gary Valentine are booked on "Chelsea Lately" (11 p.m., E!).
---David Finkel sits down on "The Colbert Report" (11:30 p.m., Comedy Central).
---Jay Leno welcomes Julianne Moore and Billy Gardell on "The Tonight Show" (11:35 p.m., NBC).
---John Mayer and Katie Lowes appear on "Jimmy Kimmel Live" (11:35 p.m., ABC).
---Meredith Vieira, Tavi Gevinson and Phantogram visit "Late Night With Jimmy Fallon" (12:35 a.m., NBC).
Kevin McDonough can be reached at email@example.com.