Review | The Bachelor

Credit: ABC

Air Date: Monday 1/2

Us Rating: ***

It's actually a good thing Ashley Hebert shut down Ben Flajnik's proposal on August's Bachelorette finale. Otherwise, viewers wouldn't get to see the cute California winemaker ro-mance this installment's dramatically diverse group of 25 would-be wives. Flajnik, 29, quickly stands apart from the nonverbal musclemen who typify the franchise (hello, Jake Pavelka and Brad Womack).

This Bachelor is grounded, wry and adorably quirky: a Josh Groban, not a Tom Cruise. The shaggy-haired Flajnik is a guy who finds spirituality in hummingbirds and giggles at his own little jokes -- low- key charms that help him click with Kentucky girl Holly and witty Rachel. They also prove to be a fascinating counter to the antics of obsessive blogger Jenna, who takes the love hunt way too seriously. Speaking of kooky, contestant Brittney trots out her adoring grandma to help her snag a first-impression rose! All in all, a beguiling beginning. (ABC, 8 p.m.)