Sunday, January 16th
The 68th Annual Golden Globe Awards, special awards show from 8 to 11pm on NBC
– The Golden Globes Awards is one of my favorite entertainment awards show of the season because they encompass both film and television…that is of course until they disappoint me, which they ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS do. Ricky Gervais is also hosting again, which is awesome. The King’s Speech leads the pack with 7 nods, followed closely behind by The Social Network and The Fighter. The Social Network has the upper hand for a Best Picture win but all three are going toe to toe in almost all the categories. Black Swan is also right on their tails giving them a run for their money…expect Natalie Portman to bring home a trophy for Best Actress. And if Friday’s Critics’ Choice Awards are any indication, The Fighter has a lock on all the supporting drama categories. In the comedy races, The Kids Are All Right should dominate, and the only suspense in the Best Actor in a Comedy/Musical category is whether Johnny Depp in The Tourist can score an upset over Johnny Depp in Alice in Wonderland (though I would personally love some Jake Gyllenhaal love for Love and Other Drugs). In the TV portion, the Globes stranded the final season of Lost. In keeping with a tradition of rewarding HBO shows, Boardwalk Empire‘s nominations included Steve Buscemi and Kelly Macdonald as well as the show itself. More surprising was the inclusion of AMC’s zombie thriller The Walking Dead, which despite its late-in-the-year premiere and a mere half-dozen episodes managed to impress the Hollywood Foreign Press Association. Other newcomers included nominations for Laura Linney and The Big C and Scott Caan for his supporting-actor work on Hawaii Five-O. It’s a race in the Best Drama Series category between newcomer Boardwalk Empire and veteran winner three years running Mad Men.
Big Love, season premiere at 9pm on HBO
– As if juggling three wives weren’t tricky enough, the fifth and final season of the critically acclaimed HBO series finds modern polygamist Bill Henrickson (Bill Paxton) tackling problems outside his three-house suburban home—and in public. Bill has built a new church and got himself elected to the State Senate, but some of his loyal followers are skeptical and the media’s glare isn’t helping. The power struggles between first wife Barb (Jeanne Tripplehorn), second wife Nicki (Chloë Sevigny) and third wife Margene (Ginnifer Goodwin) continue. And then there are the assorted family dramas including the growing pains of Bill’s eldest, Ben (Douglas Smith), and the endless challenges brought on by his father Frank (Bruce Dern) and mother Lois (Grace Zabriskie). Bold, funny and wholly original, Big Love continues to explore the evolving institution of marriage through this typically atypical family.
Monday, January 17th
Being Human, series premiere at 9pm on SyFy
– This is an American remake of a highly rated and acclaimed British series by the same name that airs on BBC America. This supernatural dramedy is a witty and extraordinary look into the lives of three twenty-somethings and their secret double-lives as a werewolf, a vampire, and a ghost. The 3 housemates struggle to live normal lives, despite their strange and dark secrets, while also helping each other navigate the complexities of living double lives.
Heavy, series premiere at 10pm on A&E
– Add Heavy to the growing list of depressing docudramas (Hoarders, Intervention) A&E has been rolling out in the past few years. Cameras follow twenty-two individuals facing extreme life-threatening health consequences as a result of their obesity. The show highlights two participants per episode documenting their incredible transformations during a six month treatment program. Unlike other weight loss series, Heavy is not a competition or stunt, but is rooted in the incredible real life day-to-day journeys of the participants during a lengthy treatment program. Through their day-to-day struggle and the voices of their loved ones, viewers will see first hand the pain and self-doubt associated with a debilitating weight problem.
Harry’s Law, series premiere at 10pm on NBC
– A new legal drama in the same vein as cancelled NBC series Outlaw starring Jimmy Smits, but this one is starring Academy Award winner Kathy Bates. This is a new dramedy from Emmy Award-winning writer/producer David E. Kelley (Boston Legal, The Practice, Ally McBeal) about how people can embrace the unexpected and other curveballs that life can throw at them. Harriet “Harry” Korn (Bates) doesn’t believe things happen for a reason, but she discovers that they sometimes do. A curmudgeonly ex-patent lawyer, Harry is abruptly fired from her blue chip law firm, forcing her to search for a fresh start. She finds it when her world unexpectedly collides, literally, with Malcolm Davies (Aml Ameen), a kind-hearted college student who desperately needs Harry’s help with his pending court case, and he subsequently goes to work for her. Harry soon finds her balance as well as new offices in an abandoned shoe store just as legal hotshot Adam Branch (Nate Corddry, The United States of Tara) accidentally hits her while driving. Inspired by Harry’s no-nonsense understanding of the law, Adam decides to take leave of his shiny corporate firm to go and work with her. Harry, Adam and Malcolm – unlikely but kindred spirits – along with the help of Harry’s shoe-savant assistant, Jenna (Brittany Snow, Hairspray), are now ready for whatever walks in through the doors of their unique establishment – Harriet’s Law and Fine Shoes.
Mega Dens, series premiere at 10pm on DIY Network
– In each episode of the new home makeover series, host and interior designer Anitra Mecadon creates over-the-top rec-room sanctuaries while giving you the skills to renovate your own family space. Whether she’s dangling from a scaffold or breaking down a concrete wall, Anitra’s rock ‘n’ roll approach gives her an edge not usually found in most designers and transforms these rooms beyond the homeowners’ wildest imaginations. These unbelievable room renovations feature incredible home theaters, innovative gaming areas, clever storage solutions and more.
Skins, series premiere at 10pm on MTV
– The trailers make it seem like the new scripted MTV series is about teens hooking up, drinking, and doing drugs to an extreme that was unheard of in my generation (and I’m only one generation older!)…and those trailers weren’t misleading at all. Skins is a wild ride through the lives of a group of high school friends stumbling through the mine field of adolescence… and stepping on most of the mines as they go. Be it sex, drugs, the breadth of friendships or the depth of heartbreaks, Skins is an emotional mosh-pit that slams through the insanity of teenage years. They’ll crush hearts and burn brain cells, while fearlessly confronting every obstacle head on…or slightly off.
Tuesday, January 18th
White Collar, midseason premiere at 10pm on USA
– The dramedy series with endless charm and savvy returns to finish off its second season. The series follows the unlikely partnership of a con artist and an FBI agent who have been playing cat and mouse for years. Neal Caffrey (Matt Bomer), a charming criminal mastermind, is finally caught (twice) by his nemesis, FBI Agent Peter Burke (Tim DeKay). They hatch an unconventional plan to grant Neal an early prison release in exchange for his services as a consultant for the FBI’s White Collar Unit, helping them catch other thieves. Through the successful apprehending of several white-collar criminals, Caffrey has proven to Burke that he will help him, and that he will not try to escape again. However, it’s hard for Neal to completely ignore his old ways and he’s still motivated to do anything to catch his girlfriend Kate’s killer. When we last left the unlikely duo, Peter discovered Neal had been using him to crack the code of the music box and took Neal off the case. But with Fowler so close, Neal has no intention of staying benched. The gang finds Fowler and finds out he is innocent—he is being blackmailed by the same person Peter has a patchwork picture of. Mozzie cracks the code inside of the music box but before he can tell anyone, he is shot by an unidentified man who steals the code. The midseason premiere finds Peter suspended by the FBI for a crime he didn’t commit. He is forced to run a sting with Neal and the gang to catch Mozzie’s shooter, and clear his name.
Wednesday, January 19th
American Idol, season premiere at 8pm on FOX
– The number 1 rated TV show for the past six years in a row has undergone quite the makeover since 2009. With every judge except for Randy Jackson leaving the show, it’s up in the air how many viewers will tune in to see season 10 of the search for the next American Idol. After much speculation and concern from the entire TV-watching and music-listening community, the new judges were finally revealed: singer and actress Jennifer Lopez and multiple Grammy Award-winning singer and songwriter, and Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee Steven Tyler, the frontman of Aerosmith “the best-selling American rock band of all time.” As always, Ryan Seacrest, aka the most overhyped and overpaid TV host ever, will return to resume his subpar hosting duties…again. He should’ve joined everyone else on the lifeboat that was floating away from this Titanic-sized disaster. The only saving grace for me is the fact that the showrunners recruited SYTYCD executive producer Nigel Lythgoe to execute the makeover, which, judging from SYTYCD’s new and improved format last season, is a very smart idea.
Hot in Cleveland, season premiere at 10pm on TV Land
– TV Land’s first scripted TV series struck gold no doubt thanks to the comedy legend that is Betty White. The show revolves around three fabulous L.A. women of a certain age who are best friends (Valerie Bertinelli, Jane Leeves and Wendie Malick). Their lives are changed forever when their plane – headed to Paris for a girls-only celebration – unexpectedly lands in Cleveland. They soon rediscover themselves in a new ‘promised land’ that is less shallow, youth-obsessed and weight-conscious than L.A. Loving their new home, the women find themselves living under one roof and battling the sassy caretaker (White) of the property they have rented. Tune in to see Mary Tyler Moore guest star in the premiere episode!
Restaurant: Impossible, series premiere at 10pm on Food Network
– After combating countless “impossible dinners,” Chef Robert Irvine faces a daunting new challenge: save America’s most desperate restaurants from impending failure in just two days with only $10,000. In his new series, Robert uses creativity and resourcefulness along with a lot of muscle in his fight to rescue these restaurants and give hope to the owners and their employees. Day one of the extreme mission begins with a thorough business assessment as Robert launches the restaurant into full service, closely observes the staff and kitchen, and determines their weakest spots. Then, he springs into action by updating the menu, retraining the staff and implementing aesthetic changes with the help of his design team. To ensure a packed house for the grand re-opening at the end of day two, Robert hits the streets to tell the community about the improved restaurant. Will the ruthless schedule, tight budget and ambitious task overcome Robert’s lofty goals, or will this tall order result in restaurant triumph? It’s like Kitchen Nightmares but with a tighter crunch time and on a cable network.
Retired at 35, series premiere at 10:30pm on TV Land
– TV Land’s second venture into original scripted series (Hot In Cleveland starring Betty White garnered the network’s highest rating ever) is a new comedy sitcom starring George Segal (Just Shoot Me, Pushing Daisies). Segal plays successful young businessman David (Johnathan McClain) who decides to leave the rat race of New York City behind and move into his parents’ (George Segal and Jessica Walter) Florida retirement home to reconnect with them, re-evaluate his life and live the dream of retirement that so many are working toward. Why his character would ever choose to do that is beyond me but there you have it.
Thursday, January 20th
Perfect Couples, series premiere at 8:30pm on NBC
– The latest addition to NBC’s Thursday night comedy line-up is a romantic comedy that follows three flawed pairs trying to get it right. Dave (Kyle Bornheimer, Worst Week) and Julia (Christine Woods, Flash Forward) are the “everyday couple,” messed up in all the “normal” ways. Dave struggles to keep both his wife and his needy best friend, Vance (David Walton) happy. Vance and the volatile Amy (Mary Elizabeth Ellis, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia) are the high-passion, high-drama couple who bring out the best and worst in each other. The third duo features Rex (Hayes MacArthur, She’s Out of My League) and Leigh (Olivia Munn, The Daily Show). Rex is a reformed party guy who has channeled his jock energy into a competitive drive to be the ideal mate. Leigh, a self-anointed relationship guru, has formed the perfect union with Rex, and now considers it her duty to mold the other couples in their image. Unfortunately, this show airs right after the precious gem that is Community, thereby totally ruining your block of comedy fun on NBC. I recommend you take a half-hour break at 8:30pm on Thursday nights, entirely avoid this show, and then come back for some good comedy.
Royal Pains, season premiere at 9pm on USA
– The sophomore series about the successful ER doctor turned reluctant doctor for hire serving the rich in the Hamptons returns for its second season. The Hamptons’ hottest doctor-in-demand Hank Lawson finally puts his conscience at ease with making big bucks from people who don’t know what how to appreciate the value of a dollar bill by providing free service to the less fortunate who can’t afford medical care.
Parks & Recreation, season premiere at 9:30pm on NBC
– I have been waiting since last season’s finale for this day…the best comedy series on TV returns for its highly anticipated and way overdue (damn you scheduling team at NBC for making us wait so long!) third season. The mockumentary comedy from the producers of the The Office stars SNL’s Amy Poehler as Leslie Knope, Deputy Director of the Department of Parks and Recreation in the small city of Pawnee, Indiana. The ever-optimistic, kind-hearted, and overly ambitious Knope never tires of trying to make her quintessentially American town just a little bit more fun and beautiful even though no one else in her department, or her town for that matter, gives a crap. The critically acclaimed series not only features smart, witty writing, and hilarious storylines, but also one of the best ensemble casts on television. Leslie’s office mate is Tom Haverford (Aziz Ansari, ‘nuff said), a fashion-obsessed wannabe player whose greatest dream is to own his own nightclub. Leslie’s boss, Ron Swanson (Nick Offerman, Children’s Hospital), hates the very government he works for, and sports one of the most impressive moustaches on primetime television. Rounding out the cast are Leslie’s best friend Ann (Rashida Jones, I Love You, Man, The Office), her ex-boyfriend Andy (Chris Pratt, Everwood), and Ron’s assistant April (Aubrey Plaza, Funny People). Adam Scott (Party Down) and Rob Lowe (Brothers and Sisters, The West Wing) joined the cast at the end of last year and will be returning for season three. Can you stand the excitement ‘cause I certainly cannot, it’s gonna be LEGENDARY! The series will be returning to the Thursday night comedy block at a new time after The Office.
Fairly Legal, series premiere at 10pm on USA
– This new legal drama is the latest of several new female-centered series USA is rolling out (Covert Affairs starring Piper Perabo as a CIA agent premiered last summer) to increase its female viewership. Kate Reed (Sarah Shahi) is a firm believer that justice can always be found-even if it’s not always in the courtroom. Once a lawyer at her family’s esteemed San Francisco firm, Kate’s frustration with the legal system led her to a new career as a mediator. Thanks to her innate understanding of human nature, thorough legal knowledge, and wry sense of humor, Kate is a natural when it comes to dispute resolution. Except, it seems, when it comes to conflicts in her own life. Since her father’s sudden death, Kate’s relationship with her new boss-her “wicked” stepmother Lauren has grown ever more complicated, and the situation with her soon-to-be-ex-husband Justin, a San Francisco ADA, is no less confusing. With help from her resourceful assistant Leonardo, Kate’s doing her best to focus on work and avoid her own problems. But with new personal challenges and tough, unconventional cases suddenly on her docket, this newly-minted mediator’s skills are about to be put to the test.
Friday, January 21st
Man Caves NFL, series premiere at 8pm on DIY Network
– In this new male-centered makeover series, contractor Jason Cameron and former NFL great Tony “The Goose” Siragusa team up to create the ultimate Man Caves. Guys need an exclusive space to hang out in their homes — a refuge where they can enjoy what they love, whether it’s a soundproofed basement used as a rock ‘n’ roll lounge and adorned with limited edition guitars; a room where diehard ski fans can chill out with a roaring fireplace and alpine atmosphere; or a lush golf-lover’s paradise, featuring a state-of-the-art virtual reality driving range, media center and top-notch equipment storage space. In each episode of this new series, Jason and The Goose create a man cave solely for one lucky guy, plus offer ideas and expert do-it-yourself instruction to help homeowners everywhere construct their own personal hangouts.
Kitchen Nightmares, season premiere at 8pm on FOX
– World-renowned chef Gordon Ramsay is back for a third course of the ultimate restaurant revival show where he steps out of his own five-star establishments and travels the country visiting some of the most unsanitary and unsuccessful restaurants in America. For many, Ramsay is their last chance to help turn around their businesses or else they’ll be forced to close their doors forever. Each week, Chef Ramsay will observe the inner workings of the chosen establishment to try and get to the root of the problem causing the business to fail. Along the way, he’ll reveal the sometimes harsh and stressful realities of running a restaurant and wastes no time getting down to business as he uses his expertise and professional experience to try and help turn an empty restaurant into the most popular, sought-after venue in town.
Onion News Network, series premiere at 10pm on IFC
– This new parody TV news comedy series brings the parody newspaper/website The Onion’s unparalleled brand of hard-hitting, merciless journalism to television-watching masses. As the nation’s number-one source for breaking news, screaming political arguments and vital information on missing teenage Caucasian girls, Onion News Network will showcase the network’s top-rated prime time show, a hyperactive graphics and sound effect-laden news explosion called “FactZone with Brooke Alvarez,” hosted by the world’s most respected news-reader. The character of Brooke Alvarez is played by Suzanne Sena, best known for her work as an entertainment reporter and host on E! and a breaking news anchor on the Fox News Channel. Brooke’s co-host, Tucker Hope, is played by Todd Alan Crain, who recently became the fourth person to ever host Jeopardy!. The Onion News Network boasts more attack satellites than any other news organization and no other channel has more secret surveillance cameras in homes, businesses, and high-level government offices. The Onion News Network is truly the most powerful name in news.
Spartacus: Gods of the Arena, mini-series premiere at 10pm on Starz
– This six-part miniseries is the prequel to the highly rated Starz original series Spartacus: Blood and Sand, an action drama about the historical figure Spartacus who led a major slave uprising against the Romans. The storyline of the prequel was originally envisioned as a flashback episode but was expanded to a mini-series because Andy Whitfield, who stars as the title character in the original series, was diagnosed with cancer. The mini-series follows the character Gannicus (Dustin Clare), the first gladiator to become Champion of Capua. The House of Batiatus is on the rise, basking in the glow of its infamous champion Gannicus, whose skill with a sword is matched only by his thirst for wine and women. These are the times a young Batiatus has been waiting for. Poised to overthrow his father and take control, he’ll freely betray anyone to ensure his gladiators are in the highest demand. And he’ll have his loyal and calculating wife Lucretia by his side for every underhanded scheme, drawing on the brazen talents of her seductive friend Gaia when it counts. Together, they will stop at nothing to deceive the masses, seize power, and bleed Capua dry.
Portlandia, series premiere at 10:30pm on IFC
– This new 6-part short-based comedy series is created, written by and starring Fred Armisen (SNL) and Carrie Brownstein (vocalist/guitarist of Wild Flag and Sleater-Kinney). Each episode’s character-based shorts draw viewers into Portlandia, the creators’ dreamy and absurd rendering of Portland, Oregon. Portlandia’s inhabitants include but are not limited to: the owners of a feminist book store; a militant bike messenger; an artsy couple who attach cut-outs of birds to everything (“put a bird on it!”); an organic farmer who turns out to be a cult leader; an adult hide and seek league; and a punk rock couple negotiating a “safe word” to help govern their love life. The show also boasts original music, the majority of which is written and performed by Armisen and Brownstein. An assortment of guest stars also inhabit Portlandia, including Kyle MacLachlan (Twin Peaks, Sex & The City), Aubrey Plaza (Parks and Recreation), Selma Blair (Legally Blonde, Hellboy), Heather Graham (The Hangover), and more.