Jane the Virgin Mondays, 9 p.m., the CW.
Based on its outlandish premise, Jane the Virgin sounded like a reliable pick for the worst new show of the fall: The title character (Gina Rodriguez), an actual virgin at age 23, ends up pregnant when her gynecologist accidentally inseminates her with semen meant for another woman. Oh, and the semen comes from a rich hotelier who happens to be Jane’s boss—and the gynecologist’s brother. There are even more soap-opera twists in the first episode, which isn’t surprising for a show based on a telenovela. What is surprising is how well it all works, thanks to writing that is both cleverly self-aware and unabashedly emotional, plus Rodriguez’s knockout lead performance. With its mix of snark and sentiment, along with an impressively nuanced respect for both old-fashioned and progressive values, Jane engages in a balancing act that could easily fall apart after the first episode. For now, though, this oddball, endearing cross between Gilmore Girls and Devious Maids is better than anything else the networks have offered up this fall.