Creator Marc Cherry hits the seam with "Desperate." The intriguing series is part drama, part comedy, part murder mystery and clearly fills the Sunday night void left by HBO's "Sex and the City." "Desperate Housewives" is ABC's mainstream version focusing on the lives and loves of four central female characters, albeit with a suburban twist.
2. `Lost,' ABC
From the pen of "Alias" creator J.J. Abrams, "Lost" has been the second swing of a one-two punch from the Alphabet Network. The great writing, superb acting and exotic sets took care of the rest. For those who haven't tuned in yet, think, "Castaway"-meets-"Survivor"-meets-"Jurassic Park"-meets "Lord of the Flies." Got it?
3. `Without a Trace,' CBS
Even though this procedural drama kicked off in 2002, "Without a Trace," has become a valuable weapon in CBS's Thursday night arsenal. The series has occasionally beaten "ER" in the Thursday 10 p.m. slot and suddenly "CSI" isn't CBS's only ratings thriller. The drama centers on an FBI agent who helps solve mysteries by recreating victims' misery.
4. `House,' Fox
"House" is yet another procedural, but it's on our list because, well, everyone in the office loves it. This drama is about a grumpy doctor named Gregory House, who can diagnose just about any malady. British actor Hugh Laurie might be gaining a new fan base with "House," but to us, he'll always be Prince Regent from Rowan Atkinson's BBC period comedy "Blackadder."
5. `Entourage,' HBO
This was a toss-up with HBO's other acclaimed drama, "Deadwood," which lost out because we couldn't stand all those cowboys a cussin'. "Entourage" seems as honest a representation of Hollywood as we've ever seen. Swoon-worthy Vince Chase is an up-and-comer and takes advantage of everything Hollywood has to offer, just so long as his pack of dopey friends are involved.
6. `Rescue Me,' FX
As Tommy Gavin, Denis Leary leaps to the aid of all those who need his help, but he's forced to stand by and watch his ex-wife date other guys. The show has been compared to "Hill Street Blues" and is one of FX Network's many gems, not that we're forgetting about the hugely enjoyable "Nip/Tuck."
7. `Huff,' Showtime
The premise of this show sounds bleak: a psychiatrist must cope with the aftermath of a patient's suicide in his office. It hasn't quite found an audience yet, but the cast is phenomenal and Showtime has already renewed it. Hank Azaria plays the psychiatrist, Dr. Craig Huffstodt, while Blythe Danner plays his mother. We predict good things for this unusual series.
8. `Significant Others,' Bravo
Director Robert Roy Thomas says he saw the potential to create a comedy series about relationships while filming commercials. The show follows couples such as financial analyst James and his free-spirited wife Chelsea as they work through their individual traumas and address the audience as if we are their counselors. Watch with your partner and see the fur fly.
9. `Nanny 911,' Fox
It wouldn't be fair to leave out the reality genre altogether, so we plumped for the utterly compelling "Nanny 911." Each week an expert British nanny is assigned to a family having trouble coping with little hellions (one child stuffs a banana down the sink drain.) The nannies help families get on track by explaining why parental behavior is often the root of the problem.
10. `Boston Legal,' ABC
Forget "The Practice," "Ally McBeal" or any other law-office TV thing. Concentrate, instead, on William Shatner opposite James Spader: From their surreal deep and meaningfuls (musings on the Shatner character's predilection for women with wooden legs, for example) to their witty, under-stated rejoinders on stuffier, intellectually inferior colleagues, they are a treat.