Japanese Penis Monsters And Murder In The Arctic: This Month’s 9 Most Anticipated New Shows

January is one of the most watched months of television, and it seems everyone is trying to take advantage of viewers’ stuck inside during the winter. There’s already a ton of highly-anticipated returning shows to contend with, like the final seasons of Justified and Parks and Recreation, plus Shameless, Girls, the third season of The Americans, and great returning comedies like It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, Archer on FX and Broad City and Workaholics on Comedy Central.

As if those, playoff football, and the Golden Globes aren’t enough, there’s quite a few new series vying for our attention, as well. These are the 9 series we’re potentially the most excited about in January.

Galavant (ABC, January 4th) — The American fairy tale-themed musical comedy looked, based on the trailers at the upfronts, like one of the most exciting new series of the season. It seems way out there zany in the best kind of way, and its absurdity ultimately may have caused ABC to lose some confidence in it, as the series will now only be running back-to-back hour long episodes for four weeks in January (until Once Upon a Time comes back). But I don’t care: The second Timothy Omundson (Psych) shows up in the teaser joyfully singing about decapitating a man, I was sold.

Empire (Fox, January 7th) — I admit that Empire looks better on paper than in reality. It’s a hip-hop Sopranos featuring a stellar cast that includes Taraji P. Henson, Gabourey Sidibe and Terrence Howard, from Lee Daniels and writer Danny Strong (who brought us The Butler). But dramas like these also may not work very well on network television, and the trailer looks a little on the hokey side. But damn, that cast!

Agent Carter (ABC, January 6th) — Assuming that Marvel has learned from its mistakes and knows better than to start off a series slowly (as it did with Agents of SHIELD), the Agent Carter spin-off of Captain America could be the perfect way to fill in the gap between SHIELD half seasons. I’m both excited at the potential, and trepidatious, knowing how easily it can be screwed up.

Togetherness (HBO, January 11th) — This is honestly the new show I’m most excited about in January. It looks like sort of the dysfunctional, HBO version of Parenthood in that it has a tender, heart-melting vibe to go along with the indie spirit of the series, which comes from mumblecore kings Mark and Jay Duplass. Mark, who also stars in The League, appears on The Mindy Project, and is in every other indie film, is also a main cast member here, along with the phenomenal Melanie Lynskey and Amanda Peet, which puts her at the same network with her husband, Game of Thrones showrunner David Benioff. This trailer is incredible.

Man Seeking Woman (FXX, January 14th) — The new FXX series takes a “sweet and surreal look at the life-and-death stakes of dating,” centering on a character played by Jay Baruchel as he soldiers through one-night stands, painful break-ups, a blind date with a troll, time travel, sex aliens, many deaths and a Japanese penis monster named “Tanaka” on his fantastical journey to find love. Wait, what? Time travel, sex aliens, and a Japanese penis monster? I’m in.

12 Monkeys (SyFy, January 16th) — There’s a good supporting cast here (Zeljko Ivanek from Damages and Kirk Acevedo (Fringe)), and obviously, the movie upon which the series is based was terrific, but who knows if SyFy can do for Terry Gilliam’s film what the Fargo TV series did for the Coen Brothers movie. I don’t trust SyFy as much as FX, but it’s gotta at least be worth a look, right?

The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore (Comedy Central, January 19th) — So far, the news shows that have come out of The Daily Show (The Colbert Report, Last Week Tonight) have been stellar, and it’s hard to expect anything less from Larry Wilmore’s new fake news show. It may not live up to The Colbert Report, but I suspect that they’ll find another fascinating new approach to news and culture that will keep us up another half hour every night.

Backstrom (Fox, January 22nd) — It’s not as though we really needed another House, M.D.-like series, but I trust enough Rainn Wilson can bring something new to the formula. He plays an “overweight, offensive, irascible detective who is engaged in a constant struggle with his “self-destructive” tendencies, and is part of a team of eccentric criminologists.” It’ll be interesting seeing Rainn Wilson in a new role, but I’m most excited about Sarah Chalke’s recurring character.

Fortitude (Pivot, January 29th) — I honestly have no idea how to find Pivot on my cable package, or if it even exists, but for a show starring Stanley Tucci, Michael Gambon, and Christopher Eccleston, I’m willing to figure it out. The series takes place in the Arctic in a small town with the promise of “opportunity, wealth and discovery.” It’s also “one of the safest towns on earth. There has never been a violent crime here. Until now.” It sounds a bit like that terrible Kate Beckinsale movie, Whiteout, but for this cast, I’m willing to give it a shot and hope it’s more like Top of the Lake set in the Arctic.