From 'Sex&Drugs&Rock&Roll' to 'Tut'

SDRR-600
Although Dennis Leary (right) is the topliner, his new series benefits greatly from the smooth and believable performance of John Corbett (left). (Patrick Harbron/FX)

* SEX&DRUGS&ROCK&ROLL. 10 p.m. Thursday, FX.

* THE JIM GAFFIGAN SHOW. 10 tonight, TV Land.

* IMPASTOR. 10:30 tonight, TV Land.

* TUT. 9 p.m. Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Spike.

FOR SEVEN seasons of FX's "Rescue Me," Denis Leary played an alcoholic firefighter whom women inexplicably treated like a rock star.

Tomorrow, he's back as a washed-up lead singer named Johnny Rock, in FX's "Sex&Drugs&Rock&Roll."

Karma's come calling in the form of the 25-year-old daughter named Gigi (Elizbeth Gillies, "Victorious") he never knew he had. She wants a music career, she has a couple of hundred thousand dollars at her disposal and she's willing to spend a bit of it to reunite Johnny with his estranged bandmate, Flash (John Corbett), so that they can write her some songs.

Successful sitcoms have been launched on premises slighter than that, but this one's helped considerably by the casting of Gillies - whose character, it turns out, actually can sing - and Corbett, who's as smooth as Leary is rough, and whose character may offer something closer to a real-world perspective on the music world. Though I also love Elaine Hendrix as Ava, the backup singer who's stuck with Johnny, never entirely losing hope in him.

Cliches abound, and I'm not sure Leary's insta-father reaction to the band's interest in Gigi isn't one of them. But if your favorite part of "Rescue Me" was the firehouse repartee, there's a very funny scene in the premiere that makes it clear that boys will still be boys and that Gillies definitely isn't on Nickelodeon anymore.

TV Land's new sitcoms

TV Land, continuing its mission to ditch the "Hot in Cleveland" crowd for their younger siblings, launches two new sitcoms tonight.

Neither is as striking as its Sutton Foster comedy, "Younger," and the better one - "The Jim Gaffigan Show" - arrives after first making the rounds at CBS and NBC.

But, then, NBC's struggled with comedy lately, and CBS tends to hold new ones to high ratings standards. Gaffigan, who's co-producing with his wife, Jeannie, may be better off at TV Land.

He's not the first comedian to play a version of himself on TV, but he may be the first to play a comedian living with his "Shiite Catholic" wife (Ashley Williams) and their five children in a not-so-large New York apartment.

Five kids aside, the show's humor, like Gaffigan's standup, tends to be more food-based (better to eat before you watch?) than sexual.

Maybe there's an edgier Gaffigan crying to get out, but the edgiest thing about the show is its approach to his family's religion, which is matter-of-fact and specific. And wholly refreshing.

Which is more than I can say for "Impastor," in which Michael Rosenbaum ("Smallville") plays Buddy Dobbs, a con man on the lam who, through a series of unhappy accidents, finds himself impersonating a Lutheran minister.

A gay Lutheran minister, at that.

The running joke is that Buddy, whose knowledge of Scripture is nil, is continually stumbling into situations where he's able to help people in spite of himself.

Sara Rue ("Less Than Perfect") shines, as usual, as the new pastor's secretary, Dora, but it's hard to see even Rue keeping this one from collapsing under its own stupidity.

Spike's 'Tut'

King Tutankhamun died young and left a not-so-beautiful corpse.

So say the scientists, who disagree about the cause of death but note any number of physical issues possibly tied to his parents having been brother and sister.

Still, millennia after his demise, the teenaged pharaoh's a rock star and, starting Sunday, the figurehead for an attempt by bro-mancer Spike to attract women.

Because there's nothing we like better than British-accented guys wearing gallons of eyeliner.

"Tut," a three-night miniseries, stars Ben Kingsley as Ay, the grand vizier, and Avan Jogia as the pharaoh he's advised, and largely controlled, since Tutankhamun assumed the throne as a young boy.

Married, as was the custom, to his sister Ankhe (Sibylla Deen) but in love with another (Kylie Bunbury), Spike's Tut lives, perhaps, a more interesting life than history's did, distinguishing himself as both a lover and a fighter.

But maybe not interesting enough. Three nights' worth of "Tut" became a slog, some of it through copious amounts of spurting blood. By the end, I was as ready as any of his scheming enemies to see the pharaoh tucked away in his tomb.


Email: graye@phillynews.com

Phone: 215-854-5950

On Twitter: @elgray

Blog: ph.ly/EllenGray