Monday, January 3, 2011

Winter TV 2011 Preview

After a lackluster fall with few (if any) truly quality breakout hits and several unfortunate cancellations, will the midseason bring networks and viewers better luck? Look ahead at all of the major new shows coming in the new year. — Television Without Pity

Live to Dance (debuts Jan. 4, 8 PM, CBS)
What Is It: The soft-hearted people at CBS clearly felt bad for Paula Abdul after her exit from Idol, so they've given her a show that is at least somewhat more in her wheelhouse. She's producing and judging this dance competition that basically sounds like So You Think You Can Dance, except there are groups as well as soloists. Don't we already have America's Best Dance Crew for that?
Should You Watch?: Probably not, but curiosity might merit a peek at one episode... or more.

Episodes (debuts Jan. 9, 9:30 PM, Showtime)
What Is It: A British couple are set to bring their hit show to America, but when they get to Hollywood, they're forced to replace one of their talented theatrically trained actors with a larger than life version of Matt LeBlanc.
Should You Watch?: Sure. It's from the creators of The Class and of the shows from Friends stars debuting this winter, this is by far the better one.

The Cape (debuts Jan. 9, 9 PM, NBC)
What Is It: Yet another superhero show! ER's David Lyons (from that latter seasons of ER) is a former cop who is framed for murder, is presumed dead and then becomes a vigilante.
Should You Watch?: It's worth a shot. After all, it's got to be better than the last season of Heroes. Plus, it's got Summer Glau for all the nerds.

Shameless (debuts Jan. 9, 10 PM, Showtime)
What Is It: An adaptation of the British series, William H. Macy stars in this show about a dysfunctional blue-collar Chicago family. Macy's a drunken patriarch whose daughter has to keep the family in check.
Should You Watch?: Yes. The British series is a hit, and William H. Macy is sure to deliver.

Lights Out (debuts Jan. 11, 10 PM, FX)
What Is It: It's a boxing drama about a former heavyweight champion trying to find ways to support his family now that he's retired from fighting.
Should You Watch?: Absolutely. It may be familiar material, but it's done in a dark, twisted and really compelling way.

Off the Map (debuts Jan. 12, 10 PM, ABC)
What Is It: It's the latest medical drama from Grey's Anatomy/Private Practice creator Shonda Rhimes and it's set in the South American jungle. We can expect sexy doctors dealing with emotional issues, saving patients and hooking up.
Should You Watch?: Yes. If you are a fan of her other shows, you won't want to miss this. Especially since someone finally saw fit to give Wonderfalls' Caroline Dhavernas a job.

Being Human (debuts Jan. 17, 9 PM , Syfy)
What Is It: A remake of the British series of the same name, about a ghost, a werewolf and a vampire living together as roommates.
Should You Watch?: Maybe. The UK series had a great premise, though it got a little soapy, so this might be worth a look.

Harry's Law (debuts Jan. 17, 10 PM, NBC)
What Is It: Kathy Bates basically plays the House of the legal world. She's a curmudgeonly lawyer who was fired from her job and opens a new firm in a shoe store.
Should You Watch?: Yes. It's Kathy Bates. If you don't tune in, she'll come find you and tie you to a bed and do all manner of unkind things to you. 

Skins (debuts Jan. 17, 10 PM, MTV)
What Is It: It's based on the UK series that's like Gossip Girl to the Nth degree. Filled with sex, drugs and a lot of crazy teenage antics.
Should You Watch?: Maybe. We're a little skeptical because the original was just so awesomely outrageous. Then again, MTV did bring us Undressed, so they do know something about scripting smutty young adults.

Perfect Couples (debuts Jan. 20, 8:30 PM, NBC)
What Is It: A sitcom about three couples and their struggles to maintain relationships.
Should You Watch?: Maybe. Olivia Munn is in it, so that's a plus (for us, at least), but on the other hand, it also sounds like the most generically boring sitcom on the planet.

Fairly Legal (debuts Jan. 20, USA)
What Is It: A lawyer gets tired of the system and decides to become a mediator.
Should You Watch?: No. Sounds like every other USA show, but even more cookie cutter.


Kourtney & Kim Take New York (debuts Jan. 23, 10 PM, E!)
What Is It: The two Kardashian sisters are "taking" New York.
Should You Watch?: No. We skipped Kourtney and Khloe "taking" Miami. Same goes here.

Joan & Melissa: Joan Knows Best (debuts Jan. 25, 9 PM, WE)
What Is It: A reality show following Joan Rivers as she moves in with her daughter Melissa.
Should You Watch?: No. These two were annoying together on Celebrity Apprentice, so a show solely about them sounds like our worst nightmare. 


The Chicago Code (debuts Feb. 7, 9 PM, Fox)
What Is It: It's the newest cop drama from Shawn Ryan, who created The Shield and Terriers. It stars Flashdancer Jennifer Beals as Chicago's police superintendent and Brotherhood's Jason Clarke as a retired cop trying to clean up the city.
Should You Watch?: Yes. It may not be as gritty as The Shield, or as quirky as Terriers, but it has potential.

Mixed Signals (debuts Feb. 8, 9:30 PM, Fox)
What Is It: A relationship comedy about friends and romantic entanglements.
Should You Watch?: It's probably safe to skip this unoriginal sounding show, unless you are a huge fan of The Office's David Denman.

Mr. Sunshine (debuts Feb. 9, 9:30 PM, ABC)
What Is It: Matthew Perry stars as the manager of a sports arena, trying to deal with odd daily requests.
Should You Watch?: Sadly, no. We wanted to love this show. It's got one of our favorite Friends, the always awesome Alison Janney, James Lesure (arguably the best part of Las Vegas), Andrea Anders (from Better Off Ted) and a plot that made us think this could be the new Sports Night. It isn't.


America's Next Great Restaurant (debuts Mar. 16, 9 PM, NBC)
What Is It: Yet another food competition show, but in this one chefs are competing to open several chain restaurants. Because we're sure that every culinary student grew up hoping that someday they could start a Bennigan's or Applebee's of their very own.
Should You Watch?: No. Unless you have a particular fondness for judge/mentor/investor Bobby Flay.

Body of Proof (debuts Mar. 29, 10 PM, ABC)
What Is It: Dana Delany is a badass brain surgeon who got in a car accident, injured her hand so she can't operate and must now settle for being a really awesome medical examiner who likes to figure out how her "patients" died.
Should You Watch?: Yes. It's a little bit Crossing Jordan, a little bit Quincy and it has Dana Delany. 
Breaking In (debuts Apr. 6, 9:30 PM, Fox_)
What Is It: Someone gave Christian Slater another show. Hope this comedy about a high tech security firm fares better than his recent dramatic efforts. And as a bonus this one also stars Reaper's Bret Harrison.
Should You Watch?: Maybe. We're cautiously optimistic about this one. 

Happy Endings (debuts Apr. 13, 10 PM, ABC)
What Is It: Elisha Cuthbert dumps her groom-to-be on their wedding day, disappears for a while and then tries to make amends and rejoin their group of friends. Awkward.
Should You Watch?: Maybe. If you can get past wishing that Kim Bauer got eaten by a mountain lion after her runaway bride moment, then it might be the show for you.

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