Winter’s here and most of your favorite series are going into hibernation for the holidays. Some will be gone for quite a while (“Glee” won’t be back until the beginning of February; “The Event” is off until the end of February). But with the new year will come an avalanche of fresh shows. Here’s a quick look ahead to what’s coming:
Tuesday, Jan. 4
“V” (ABC). The alien invasion drama that ABC tried to kill last year is back. But it was pushed back from the fall schedule and the number of episodes have already been reduced. Someone at the network must really hate this show. Watch it, but don’t get too attached.
“Caprica” (Syfy). Speaking of shows hated by their network, tonight Syfy burns off the remaining five episodes of the canceled “Battlestar Galactica” prequel.
“Southland” (TNT). Almost two years after its premiere, the fairly gritty cop drama that got canceled by NBC and revived by TNT is back with 10 truly new episodes (the ones that aired last year were ones that never aired on NBC).
Thursday, Jan. 6
“Wipeout” (ABC). A special winter edition. Makes sense — snowballs go “splat” too.
“Jersey Shore” (MTV). Season 3 starts, and this time they’re back in Jersey and will release a new cast member, Deena, from the spray-tan booth and into the wild.
Sunday, Jan. 9
“The Cape” (NBC). The trailer for this superhero drama looked pretty cool back in May, but the recent buzz has been less than favorable.
“Episodes” (Showtime). Matt LeBlanc is getting a lot of critical buzz in this self-mocking comedy about a has-been actor starring in the awful American version of a hailed British series. (Wait, a Showtime comedy starring someone who’s not a female movie star of a certain age? What a novel concept.) This looks pretty funny.
“Shameless” (Showtime). William H. Macy stars as an alcoholic father in this (probably not awful) American version of a hailed British series.
“Californication” (Showtime). David Duchovny is back for a fourth season of depravity. Ehh, I gave up after Season 2.
“Bob’s Burgers” (Fox). A new animated series about a family-run burger joint.
Tuesday, Jan. 11
“Lights Out” (FX). Looks like another gritty, high-quality FX drama; this one’s about a washed-up boxer and his struggles to support his family.
Wednesday, Jan. 12
“Off the Map” (ABC). Shonda Rhimes (“Grey’s Anatomy”) stars in this medical drama about doctors working at a clinic in the Amazon. So basically a tropical “Grey’s Anatomy.”
Sunday, Jan. 16
“Big Love” (10 p.m., HBO). Bill and his many wives are back for a sixth and final season.
Monday, Jan. 17
“Being Human” (Syfy). The American version of the outstanding British drama about a vampire, a werewolf an a ghost who are housemates. I’m skeptical it’ll be anywhere near as good as the original.
“Skins” (MTV). It’s across-the-pond remake night; this is the U.S. version of the controversial British show about teenagers indulging in sex and drugs. But even on MTV, it won’t be nearly as racy as the original.
“Harry’s Law” (NBC). David E. Kelly (“The Practice,” “Boston Legal”) is back with another quirky legal drama; this one stars Kathy Bates.
Tuesday, Jan. 18
“White Collar” (USA). Neal and Peter are back for more crime-solving capers in the second half of Season 2.
Wednesday, Jan. 19
“American Idol” (Fox). The juggernaut returns. Only now with JLo and Steven Tyler and without Simon Cowell. This could be a train wreck, but half the country will still watch.
“Hot in Cleveland” (TV Land). The overpraised sitcom returns for a second season.
Thursday, Jan. 20
“Parks and Recreation” (NBC). About time. It bugged me all fall that the most consistently hilarious network comedy of last season was being bumped in favor of the dreadfully unfunny “Outsourced.”
“Perfect Couples” (NBC). A pretty standard-sounding romantic comedy about a bunch of married couples. G4 “Attack of the Show” host Olivia Munn is among the stars.
“Fairly Legal” (USA). Sarah Shahi stars in a new legal dramedy about a disillusioned San Francisco lawyer who becomes a mediator.
“Royal Pains” (USA). It may be winter, but it’s always summer in the Hamptons as the good doctor returns for Part 2 of Season 2.
Friday, Jan. 21
“Spartacus: Gods of the Arena” (Starz). “Spartacus: Blood and Sand” is on hiatus until Starz can get back (or recast) star Andy Whitfield, who was diagnosed with cancer. So to hold over fans, they’ll offer this six-episode gladiator miniseries that serves as a prequel. Count on lots of blood and sex.
Wednesday, Jan. 26
“Face Off” (Syfy). Sorry, no one will be transplanting Nicolas Cage’s face onto anyone else. This is just a reality show where special-effects makeup artists compete against each other.
Thursday, Jan 27
“Archer” (FX). More sick, twisted and hilarious animated spyjinks with Sterling Archer, the worst secret agent on the planet.
Monday, Feb. 7
“The Chicago Code” (Fox). Jason Clarke (“Brotherhood”) stars in this drama from “The Shield” creator Shawn Ryan about a cop trying to fight corruption. I’m pretty wary of network cop dramas, but this could be a good one. It’s got a great pedigree, at least.
Wednesday, Feb. 9
“Mr. Sunshine” (ABC). The new sitcom with Matthew Perry and Alison Janney running a sports arena will bump “Cougar Town” for a couple of months.
Wednesday, March 16
“America’s Next Great Restaurant” (NBC). Contestants try to win financial backing to turn their restaurant into a national chain. Good lord, is that how they judge a “great restaurant”? I guess McDonald’s is the best restaurant in the world then. Bobby Flay and Chipotle founder Steve Ells are among the judges and investors.
Tuesday, March 29
“Body of Proof” (ABC). A medical mystery series starring Dana Delany as a neurosurgeon-turned-coroner. Sounds like a modern version of “Quincy.”
Wednesday, April 13
“Happy Endings” (10 p.m. Wednesdays, ABC). Starring Elisha Cuthbert (the annoying Kim Bauer from “24”), this is an ensemble sitcom following a group of friends who try to stick together after the couple they’re all friends with breaks up. Sounds like it wants to be like “Modern Family,” only with friends instead of family.
Also in April
“Game of Thrones” (HBO). The highly anticipated fantasy epic about a war of succession that tears apart a kingdom finally hits the small screen. It looks like it’ll have big-screen touches though, with a sprawling story, sumptuous scenery and big-budget effects. This could be awesome.
So what do you think looks good? Which shows sound like they’ll be canceled after three episodes? Is there an upcoming series that you’re dying to see? Personally, I can’t wait for “Lights Out” and “Game of Thrones.”
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