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Tubegazing: 'Heroes' and 'Runaway'

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Heroes (NBC, debuts Monday Sept. 25, 9 p.m.): Identity quest seems to be a new theme for the 9 p.m. slot on Mondays as NBC's "Heroes" and The CW's "Runaway" explore the subject in different ways. One of the oddest new shows this fall, "Heroes" chronicles the possible superhero – or superfoe – hidden inside even the most ordinary of people. A hospice worker (Milo Ventimiglia, above, l.) believes he can fly. An artist finds himself able to paint the future, much to the concern of his girlfriend (Tawny Cypress, above, r.). And an office worker in Japan teleports at will. (His scenes come with subtitles!) What they do with their powers and the impact they'll have on others is the raison d'etre of the show; the moody noir tone and offbeat writing are the reasons to tune in. Grade: A–

Runaway (CW, debuts Monday, Sept. 25, 9 p.m.):

"Runaway," on the other hand, features a family on the run from its real identity. Headed by Donnie Wahlberg (wearing the season's worst hairpiece), the Rader family (wife and three kids), must go undercover and on the lam after the dad is framed for a murder and his children are threatened. They set up as "the Hollands" in a small Iowa town and struggle with all the small and large challenges of being a family with no past and a fictitious present. A good and likable cast combine with thoughtful writing to make this family/thriller (a new genre?) worth watching. Grade: B+

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