There used to be a time where we got a longer break after New Year’s before all the new and returning television shows came back, but the winter has quickly become the most crowded season of television. It’s also the most viewed season of television (everyone is stuck inside), so the networks have been aggressive in trying to get a slice of all those viewers. There are enough new and returning shows in January alone to fill your entire television schedule, and that doesn’t even include all the network shows returning from the fall.
There’s no rest for the weary television viewer. Here are the new and returning shows to look out for in January.
Downton Abbey (PBS) — I’m sure there are some people excited about the return of Downton after the crazy-train season it had last year, although most of the people who are really excited have probably already procured the series (which already aired in the UK) in less-than-ethical means.
Cougar Town (TBS) — The gambit to move Cougar Town frpm ABC to TBS paid off last season, as it was TBS’s highest rated comedy (and didn’t actually lose that many viewers after leaving ABC). I’m looking forward to having Bobby Cobb back in my life.
Intelligence (CBS) — The procedural starring Josh Holloway debuts on Tuesday, but it will move back to its regular Monday time-slot the next week.
Killer Women (ABC) — The midseason series follows the life of Molly Parker (Tricia Helfer), a recently divorced woman, former beauty queen, and a daughter of a sheriff. She rises to the top ranks of one of the most elite and male-dominant law enforcement establishments, the Texas Rangers. I don’t have a lot of faith in it, but for Helfer, I’ll give it a shot.
Justified — We’ve seen the first few episodes and they are so good, but my favorite part is that Eugene from The Practice and Avon Barksdale from The Wire play partners in it, and they are real-life brothers!
Psych (USA Network) — I think I’ve heard from three or four people now that the musical episode of Psych that debuted last month is still on their DVRs. It’s still on mine, too. I like Psych. A lot. But it’s just not the same as it used to be.
Banshee (Cinemax) — People have been absolutely raving about the first season lately, so I expect that the second season will bring with it a lot of new viewers.
Helix (SyFy) — Ronald D. Moore’s (Battlestar Gallactica) new series follows a team of scientists from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention who travel to a research facility in the Arctic to investigate a potential outbreak of disease. While there, they find themselves stuck in a life-or-death situation that could decide the fate of the future of mankind. I09 suggests its SyFy’s best new series in years.
The Spoils of Babylon (IFC) — A spoof on event TV miniseries starring Tobey Maguire, Kristen Wiig, Tim Robbins, Jessica Alba, Val Kilmer, Haley Joel Osment, Michael Sheen, and Will Ferrell. It looks insane, like a full-length Funny or Die series.
Shameless (Showtime) — The series — one of my favorites — returns, and this season, there’s no Steve, which means Fiona (Emmy Rossum) will be dating a lot, which probably also means Fiona will be naked a lot.
True Detective (HBO) — We’ve already talked about this Matthew McConaughey/Woody Harrelson series, and I will just say that, after the first three episodes, it is every bit as good as you’d hoped it would be.
Girls (HBO) — The great thing about Girls is how it brings the worst out in everyone!
Chozen (FX) — Who wouldn’t want to see an FX animated series from the creators of Archer and Eastbound & Down about a gay, white rapper voiced by Bobby Moynihan.
Archer (FX) — I know, I know, you all are more excited about Archer’s return than anything else on this list.
Suburgatory (ABC) — I am just really thoroughly excited to have Jane Levy and this sitcom back on our television screens. I enjoy the hell out of this sitcom.
Sherlock (PBS) — Only 16 more days of avoiding spoilers from everyone in the UK and America who has already seen the first episode. DAMN YOU, PBS.
Looking (HBO) — The new series from HBO starring Jonathan Groff (and featuring Scott Bakula) about a group of gay friends living in San Francisco is already getting good advanced notices.
Workaholics (Comedy Central) — This is another show that seems to gain more and more new viewers in between every season. The first three seasons are on Amazon Instant, if you want to catch up before the premiere.
Wahlburgers (A&E)– It’s a reality show about Mark, Donnie, and the rest of the Walhberg family opening up a burger restaurant, and I know it probably won’t be that great, but god help me, I love the Wahlbergs. I’ll at least watch the premiere.
Black Sails (Starz)– The ten-episode series from exec producers Michael Bay, Brad Fuller and Andrew Form is a prequel to Robert Louis Stevenson’s novel Treasure Island, and though it still hasn’t debuted, it’s already been renewed for a second season based on the excitement surrounding the series from last year’s Comic Con.