“The Cape” (9 p.m., NBC). Series premiere. Now this could be interesting. This is the story of an honest cop in a corrupt city who gets framed, fakes his own death, and becomes a superhero to clear his name and win back his family. It looks very comic-booky and very earnest (so not a lot of wink-wink, nudge-nudge moments like in “Kick Ass,” but hopefully not as self-serious as “The Dark Knight”). I’ve heard critics describe it as everything from shallow and unsatisfying to an admirable attempt that somehow falls short to a rousing, entertaining, throwback action series. I’m intrigued, and just hope it’s better than the last couple of seasons of “Heroes.”
“Masterpiece Classic: “Downton Abbey’ ” (9 p.m., PBS). Series premiere. If you love period costume dramas, this one’s for you. It’s the first in a four-part British miniseries about the goings-on of an aristocratic English family and their servants that takes place on a lavish country estate in 1912. Sounds very “Upstairs, Downstairs” meets “Gosford Park.” Not my cup of tea, but it’ll probably be very well done.
“Worst Cooks in America” (9 p.m., Food Network). This is lightweight but entertaining enough in its own way. Tonight the recruits go to a farm to cook an omelet using fresh ingredients. That’ll thrill the animal-loving vegetarian.
“Episodes” (9:30 p.m. Showtime). Series premiere. Matt LeBlanc plays himself in this scathing, satirical look at Hollywood. It’s about a beloved British TV series being remade in Hollywood and dumbed down to the extreme, to the extent that the dopey LeBlanc is now the star. He’s supposed to be terrific, very self-deprecating and funny. But overall reviews from some of my favorite critics are mixed: Mo Ryan says it’s uneven and cliched, but Tim Goodman finds it hilarious. If you’re a Comcast digital cable subscriber, Showtime is having a free weekend for On Demand shows, so even if you don’t subscribe to Showtime, you can check it out and decide for yourself.
“Shameless” (10 p.m., Showtime). Series premiere. This adaptation of a longtime British drama stars William H. Macy as an alcoholic father and Emmy Rossum (“Phantom of the Opera”) as his oldest daughter trying to keep their dysfunctional family running. It veers between comedy and drama, but based on the bleakness, more toward the drama. Again, I’ve heard very mixed reviews (here’s one). And sorry, but as of Saturday, this was unavailable through On Demand for that free Showtime weekend.
“Top Gear” (10 p.m. History). A 500-mile race between a plane and a car (another stunt lifted directly from the British version), and Bret Michaels hits the test track.
“Louis C.K.: Hilarious” (10 p.m. Comedy Central). A new standup special from one of the darkest, most hilarious comedians out there.
Games of the day
NFL playoffs: Ravens vs. Chiefs (10 a.m., CBS). The Ravens’ tough defense faces the Chiefs power running attack. Should be interesting.
NFL playoffs: Packers vs. Eagles (1:30 p.m., Fox). Another good offense vs. defense matchup; can Green Bay’s D slow down Michael Vick?
Fight Hunger Bowl: Nevada vs. Boston College (6 p.m., ESPN). Ridiculous name and it’s being played ridiculously late in the bowl season. But it’s being played at AT&T Park, which is pretty much the only thing going for it.
“Bob’s Burgers” (8:30 p.m., Fox). Series premiere. Wow, an animated Fox show that’s not created by Seth MacFarlane! This one comes from the creator of “Home Movies” and “Dr. Katz” and revolves around a family-owned burger joint and all the hijinks that ensue. From what I’ve seen, it looks pretty mehh.
“Californication” (9 p.m., Showtime). Season premiere. Hank’s back for a fourth season of debauchery. I gave up on this a long time ago.