It's been a pretty mild season for fall TV, if you don't count Bruno Tonioli calling Michael Bolton's jive probably the worst one ever on Dancing With the Stars.
Nothing about the new shows seems as extreme as Bruno's comment. Some of them probably will stick around for a while — yes, I'm talking about you, Hawaii Five-O and Blue Bloods. A couple — Lone Star and My Generation — were canceled quickly.
Even so, there's a lot to appreciate on the small screen.
Here are some impressions of the most entertaining shows and performances of the past few weeks. I don't know whether Bruno would agree. And I'm afraid to ask him.
The Middle (8 p.m. Wednesday, ABC): Although Modern Family gets all the compliments, this sitcom is also dependably funny — and watching it is a great way to unwind after a hard day at a stressful job. Because when Patricia Heaton, as a charmingly frazzled working mom, throws bags of frozen brownies at her kids because there's no time to pack a lunch, you can relate.
Scott Caan of Hawaii Five-O (10 p.m. Monday, CBS): Magnetism runs in the family of this emerging actor, son of Godfather star James Caan. As Danny "Danno" Williams, he brings some edgy charisma and humor to this reboot of the original CBS drama. His energy is as cool as the show's theme song.
Detroit 1-8-7 (10 p.m. Tuesday, ABC): I tuned in because I wanted to see the Detroit settings, but I'm sticking around for the melancholy. And no one is portraying a tormented character better than Michael Imperioli, who, as brusque but dedicated detective Louis Fitch, is bringing back memories of David Caruso's great first year with NYPD Blue.
Alison Brie of Community (8 p.m. Thursday, NBC): As the sweet but invariably tense Annie, the actress stands out in a talented cast led by Joel McHale. She also plays Trudy, the supportive, 1960s wife of Pete Campbell on AMC's Mad Men. It can't be easy juggling two jobs — in different decades.
The Event (9 p.m. Monday, NBC): Jason Ritter and Blair Underwood are bringing realistic angst to the mysterious, action-laden drama. Their performances are a good argument for why fans of 24 and Lost should consider making this similarly intriguing program a weekly viewing event.
Jennifer Grey of Dancing With the Stars (8 p.m. Monday, 9 p.m. Tuesday, ABC): How do you compete for attention with Bristol Palin, The Situation and the Bruno-Bolton feud? It's easy for Grey, who is as graceful now as she was in 1987's Dirty Dancing.
Blue Bloods (10 p.m. Friday, CBS): It's good to see Tom Selleck starring in a CBS series again. The show is off to a good start in the ratings. Now if only they could do something about the overly obvious dialogue.