<p>Maria Hill (a cameo-ing Cobie Smulders) and Phil Coulson (Clark Gregg)&nbsp;in &quot;Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.&quot; </p>

Maria Hill (a cameo-ing Cobie Smulders) and Phil Coulson (Clark Gregg) in "Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D."

Credit: ABC

Review: ABC's 'Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.'

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Are too many companies too invested to let 'The Avengers' spin-off be special?

The overstuffed nature of the title "Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D." says a lot about "The Avengers" TV spin-off (it debuts tonight at 8 on ABC) as a whole. It's a show serving multiple masters in ABC, Disney and Marvel — and, in turn, the throng of Marvel superhero films to which the show will be very loosely tied. It has a whole lot of producers, though the most famous and talented of them, Joss Whedon, is too busy making the "Avengers" sequel to be as hands-on as he was in his days with "Buffy the Vampire Slayer," "Angel" and "Firefly."  The pilot episode introduces three different point of entry characters for the audience, on top of mysteriously bringing Clark Gregg's Phil Coulson back from his apparent "Avengers" death.  There are many potentially fascinating shows lurking inside the "S.H.I.E.L.D." pilot, but the primary agenda seems to be to make a superpower-flavored "NCIS" — which, conveniently, will be airing right against "SHIELD."

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<p>Cristin Milioti as the Mother in &quot;How I&nbsp;Met Your Mother.&quot;</p>

Cristin Milioti as the Mother in "How I Met Your Mother."

Credit: CBS

Season premiere review: 'How I Met Your Mother'

Cristin Milioti gets her first big exposure as the Mother

"How I Met Your Mother" has begun its ninth and final season. A quick review of the premiere coming up just as soon as I want the Kennedy package...

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<p>Toni Collette in &quot;Hostages,&quot;&nbsp;Anna Farris in &quot;Mom&quot;&nbsp;and James Spader in &quot;The Blacklist.&quot;</p>

Toni Collette in "Hostages," Anna Farris in "Mom" and James Spader in "The Blacklist."

Credit: CBS/NBC

Fall TV Reviews: 'Mom,' 'Hostages' & 'The Blacklist'

The TV season officially kicks off tonight with a Chuck Lorre sitcom, a Jerry Bruckheimer drama, and James Spader

Hey everybody, as you know I am still in the hospital. Infections are tricky things, and we're just working to get this one under control.

I'll be fine, but for now — and even after I'm home — I'm going to be at half-speed, at best, for a while. With the TV season officially beginning tonight, this is not an ideal time for that, but what can you do? I'll be writing fewer reviews, what I do write will often be shorter than normal, etc.

As it happens, this is a pretty weak season in terms of new shows, so I have no problem cutting bait on long reviews (or reviews of any kind) of most of the newbies. When I have time or energy, I'll put together posts like this one with very quick hits on what's debuting that night, just so you have some sense of my initial thoughts. If I stick with a rookie, maybe down the road I'll do something longer. (And some shows, like "SHIELD," will get the fuller treatment up-front.) There may be shows that are just skipped altogether, maybe a lot, depending on how I feel as the week moves on.

Three premieres tonight, with a sitcom and two dramas. In order:

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<p>Aaron Paul as Jesse Pinkman in &quot;Breaking Bad.&quot;</p>

Aaron Paul as Jesse Pinkman in "Breaking Bad."

Credit: AMC

Review: 'Breaking Bad' - 'Granite State'

Walt skips town in the series' devastating penultimate installment

A review of tonight's "Breaking Bad" coming up just as soon as I'm managing a Cinnabon in Omaha while owning three pairs of Dockers...

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<p>Michael C. Hall in the &quot;Dexter&quot;&nbsp;series finale.</p>

Michael C. Hall in the "Dexter" series finale.

Credit: Showtime

Series finale review: 'Dexter' - 'Remember the Monsters?'

Dexter tries for a happy ending, but has the series earned one?

A review of the "Dexter" series finale coming up just as soon as I tell you what the pen is for...

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<p>Patricia Arquette and Steve Buscemi in &quot;Boardwalk Empire.&quot;</p>

Patricia Arquette and Steve Buscemi in "Boardwalk Empire."

Credit: HBO

Review: 'Boardwalk Empire' - 'Acres of Diamonds'

Nucky explores a Florida business opportunity, Richard's homecoming doesn't go as planned, and Dr. Narcisse sows dissent between Chalky and Dunn

A quick review of tonight's "Boardwalk Empire" coming up just as soon as I meet the world's tallest midget...

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<p>Will the people of &quot;Mad&nbsp;Men&quot;&nbsp;have to hang their head again at Emmy time, or will they bounce back for a drama series win?</p>

Will the people of "Mad Men" have to hang their head again at Emmy time, or will they bounce back for a drama series win?

Credit: AMC

Emmys 2013 Predictions: Outstanding Drama Series

Will 'Homeland' repeat? Could this finally be the year for 'Breaking Bad' to win the top award?

The 2013 Primetime Emmy Awards will be presented on Sunday, Sept. 22, starting at 8 Eastern on CBS, with Neil Patrick Harris as host. From now until Sunday (sometimes multiple times a day), Dan Fienberg and I will be making our usual picks for the major categories — for both what should win and what will (and keep in mind that Dan is much better historically at predictions than I am).

It's time for our final category: Outstanding Drama Series, which includes reigning winner "Homeland," four-time champ "Mad Men," former winner (in the miniseries category) "Downton Abbey"), two shows that seem to be riding a wave of buzz in "Breaking Bad" and "Game of Thrones," plus "House of Cards," which may get points both for all the movie people involved (Emmy voters are impressed by movie people) and for the newness of the Netflix model.

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<p>Is this the year &quot;Louie&quot;&nbsp;breaks through to beat &quot;Modern Family&quot;&nbsp;for the comedy series Emmy?</p>

Is this the year "Louie" breaks through to beat "Modern Family" for the comedy series Emmy?

Credit: FX

Emmys 2013 Predictions: Outstanding Comedy Series

Will 'Modern Family' four-peat, or is this year for a 'Big Bang' or 'Louie' upset?

The 2013 Primetime Emmy Awards will be presented on Sunday, Sept. 22, starting at 8 Eastern on CBS, with Neil Patrick Harris as host. From now until Sunday (sometimes multiple times a day), Dan Fienberg and I will be making our usual picks for the major categories — for both what should win and what will (and keep in mind that Dan is much better historically at predictions than I am).

As we head into the home stretch, we're dealing with the nominees for Outstanding Comedy Series, which includes two past winners in "30 Rock" and "Modern Family," two shows that expanded their nomination footprint this year in "Louie" and "Veep," plus the wildly popular "Big Bang Theory" and critically-adored "Girls."

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<p>The original &quot;NYPD&nbsp;Blue&quot;&nbsp;team of David Caruso and Dennis Franz.</p>

The original "NYPD Blue" team of David Caruso and Dennis Franz.

Credit: ABC

'NYPD Blue' 20th anniversary: The cop show that helped change television

Steven Bochco wanted network to outdo cable, but instead inspired Tony Soprano and friends

As most of you know, "NYPD Blue" is the show that changed my life, prompting me to unofficially launch my career as a TV reviewer and eventually leading to my first job at The Star-Ledger. It's also one of the shows that changed TV, albeit not in the way its creators intended.

I've told the former story a bunch lately. On the occasion of this weekend's 20th anniversary of the show's debut, it's important to reflect on the much broader impact of "NYPD Blue."

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<p>Will Emmy voters' love of movie actors work in &quot;House of Cards&quot;&nbsp;star Kevin Spacey's favor?</p>

Will Emmy voters' love of movie actors work in "House of Cards" star Kevin Spacey's favor?

Credit: Netflix

Emmys 2013 Predictions: Outstanding Lead Actor in Comedy/Drama

Will Damian Lewis get another win? Is this Louis C.K.'s year?

The 2013 Primetime Emmy Awards will be presented on Sunday, Sept. 22, starting at 8 Eastern on CBS, with Neil Patrick Harris as host. From now until Sunday (sometimes multiple times a day), Dan Fienberg and I will be making our usual picks for the major categories — for both what should win and what will (and keep in mind that Dan is much better historically at predictions than I am).

Next up, we're dealing with the comedy and drama lead actor categories. The former has a pair of two-time winners for their nominated roles, plus Jason Bateman's return to a category for which he was last nominated in 2005. The latter pits last year's winner Damian Lewis against three-timer Bryan Cranston, two-time Oscar winner Kevin Spacey and the Emmy-less Jon Hamm, among others.

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