TV is back in full swing, and I couldn’t be happier; it seems like there are several really great shows this season, and I have yet to find myself digging hard for something to watch.  Of course, this can be a problem because I like to check out obscure programs on cable, or streaming services, and I haven’t had much time for that recently.  My picks this week are all mainstream shows from major networks but each one is entertaining, high quality and well worth the time and/or DVR space.

Brooklyn Nine-Nine (8:30 PM Tuesday FOX) I wasn’t sure about this comedy in the beginning; Andy Samberg made some classic videos on SNL and his film Hot Rod had some very funny moments, but I wasn’t certain he could carry a sitcom all by himself.  The good news is, Samberg is great in Brooklyn Nine-Nine (he just won a Golden Globe) and he doesn’t have to carry the show because he has one heck of a funny cast to work with.  In addition to Samberg’s award, the show also won for best TV series in the musical or comedy category, making it very nearly a certainty for a second season.  If you haven’t been watching the show catch up on HULU (every episode is currently available which doesn’t happen often so get to it!) and then set an appointment for Tuesdays at 8:30 PM.

Chicago P.D. (10:00 PM Wednesday NBC) to say this series is gritty is a vast understatement; In the first two episodes a cop got killed, there were several beheadings, a kidnapper got shot, a drug dealer got beaten up while in custody, a dead guy got his pinky ring stolen by a police officer and the head of the special unit around which the series revolves (Jason Beghe) scares the, shall we say the doody, out of what seems to be an internal affairs officer who thought she could control him but quickly found out she wasn’t as in charge as she thought.  It’s one of those “I’m not above the law I am the law!” sort of stories which is appealing in the fantasy world of television because it feels good to think that the bad guys are gonna get theirs, but in reality we would never want police to behave like Jason Beghe’s Sergeant Hank Voight.   One or two of my favorite police dramas have grown a little old and repetitive, so I’m glad to have Chicago P.D. pick up where they have left off in my viewing schedule.  Episodes one and two are available to stream on HULU.

Rake (9:00 PM Thursday FOX) Starring Greg Kinnear as a criminal defense attorney with a self-destructive nature and a propensity for taking on some bizarre cases this new FOX dramedy looks good in previews, and Greg Kinnear was great in As Good As It Gets, The Matador, and more recently The Kennedys so I will be tuning in to watch the series premiere this Thursday.

Dracula (10:00 PM Friday NBC) After only ten episodes this well written and acted series is coming to an end for the season, and quite possibly it won’t return for a second; ratings haven’t been great.  This reimagining of the Dracula story is actually quite engaging and Jonathon Rhys Meyers has been excellent as I predicted when I recommended this series before its premiere back in October.  The preview for the final episode looks like it won’t be one for the squeamish; the term bloodbath comes to mind.  At any rate, if you’re a fan of the show be sure to tune in on Friday and cross your fingers in the hope we will see Dracula rise from the grave yet again in the fall of 2014.

And don’t forget sports fans, we have Super Bowl XLVIII and the Sochi Olympics coming soon!

– John Morton