A crowded midseason: A guide to what’s on TV this winter and spring

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A crowded midseason: A guide to what’s on TV this winter and spring

Posted on: January 9th, 2014 by tommyj

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If this year’s TV mid-season has anything going for it, it’s quantity.

I’m not sure I’ve seen a more crowded field of new series and special presentations in January and February (and continuing on into March and April).

Here’s my attempt to at least make some sense of the coming flood, which abates a bit during the Sochi Olympics.

FRIDAY

– “Enlisted” (Fox at 9:30 p.m.) It’s a comedy about three Army brothers (Geoff Stults, Chris Lowell, Parker Young) stationed at a rear-detachment base in Florida.

– “$10 Million Bigfoot Bounty” (Spike at 10 p.m.): The sasquatch pursuit never ends. Actor Dean Cain hosts this weekly competition show in which hunters must deliver proof of the elusive creature.

– “Helix” (Syfy at 10 p.m.) A team of researchers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention travels to the Arctic and finds something that could wipe out all of us. Billy Campbell (“The Killing”; “Once and Again”) stars in this drama/thriller.

SATURDAY

– “When Calls the Heart” (Hallmark at 9 p.m.): A new original series about a young teacher (Erin Krakow) who leaves big-city life to teach in a small frontier prairie town in the 19th century.

SUNDAY

– “The 71st Annual Golden Globe Awards” (NBC at 8 p.m.): Tina Fey and Amy Poehler return to host this loosey-goosey night of film and TV honors.

– “True Detective” (HBO at 9 p.m.): Highly touted eight-episode crime drama stars Woody Harrelson and Matthew McConaughey as Louisiana detectives investigating a macabre murder that has obsessed them for nearly two decades. The narrative hopscotches around from 2012 to 1995 to 2002.

MONDAY

– “Chozen” (FX at 10:30 p.m.): An animated comedy about a gay white rapper (voiced by “SNL’s” Bobby Moynihan) who goes by the name Chozen, fresh out of prison and now seeking another chance at fame.

– “Don’t Trust Andrew Mayne” (A&E at 10 p.m.): In this goofy reality show, a magician uses his talent to assist people seeking revenge on others.

– “Bitten” (Syfy at 10 p.m.): Based on Kelley Armstrong’s novels, in which a young woman leaves behind her werewolf pack (and the man who turned her into a howler) for a new life in the big city.

TUESDAY

– “Building Wild” (National Geographic Channel at 9 p.m.): Two home-building experts tackle jobs from clients who want to build cabins in challenging locations.

– “Inside Job” (TNT at 9 p.m.): Job-seeking execs live together and vie for a six-figure corporate position in this reality show — but one of them is a mole who is spying on the others’ behavior.

– “Save Our Business” (TNT at 10 p.m.): Yet another show where a successful entrepreneur administers advice and tough love to struggling business owners.

WEDNESDAY

– “Crazy Hearts: Nashville” (A&E at 11 p.m.): Reality series follows a group of musicians trying to make it in country music. Moves to its regular slot at 10 p.m. on Jan. 16.

JAN. 16

– “Under the Gunn” (Lifetime at 9 p.m.): Tim Gunn calls in former “Project Runway” winners to provide guidance to young designers in a new fashion competition.

JAN. 17

– “The Square” (Netflix): From the filmmaker of “StartUp.com” and “The Control Room,” a documentary about Cairo’s Tahrir Square during the “Arab Spring” uprising.

– “The Diamond Collar” (OWN at 10 p.m.): Reality series about James “Head” Guiliani, a former associate of Mafia man John Gotti who now runs a dog-grooming parlor in Brooklyn.

JAN. 18

– “Flowers in the Attic” (Lifetime at 8 p.m.): A new movie version of V.C. Andrews’ popular mystery/horror novel, starring Heather Graham, Ellen Burstyn and Kiernan Shipka (“Mad Men’s” Sally Draper).

– “My Gal Sunday” (Hallmark Movie Channel at 9 p.m.): Adventures of husband-wife crime solvers (Rachel Blanchard and Cameron Mathison), based on short stories by Mary Higgins Clark.

– “Mom’s Got Game” (OWN at 10 p.m.): Reality series follows former WNBA basketball star Pamela McGee and her 25-year-old son, JaVale McGee, a center for the Denver Nuggets.

JAN. 19

– “#RichKids of Beverly Hills”(E! at 10 p.m.): This docu-series follows a clique of fancy kids who gain Internet notoriety by promoting their every action and thought on social media.

– “Looking” (HBO at 10:30 p.m.): A new dramedy about three gay men in San Francisco who are at different stages of life and emotional issues.

JAN. 20

– “Klondike” (Discovery at 9 p.m.): Richard Madden (Robb Stark from “Game of Thrones”) stars as one of two adventurers who head for the Yukon in 1890 during the gold rush. It’s Discovery’s first original miniseries drama.

JAN. 21

– “American Masters: Salinger” (PBS, check local listings): Television premiere of Shane Salerno’s 2013 documentary about the reclusive author, with 15 minutes of new material included.

JAN. 22

– “Broad City” (Comedy Central at 10:30 p.m.): Upright Citizens Brigade alums Abbi Jacobson and Ilana Glazer bring their critically acclaimed online series to Comedy Central.

– “The Wahlburgers” (A&E at 10:30 p.m.): Brothers Mark and Donnie Wahlberg head back to Boston to join forces with their brother Paul and open a hamburger restaurant.

JAN. 23

– “Rake” (Fox at 9 p.m.): Greg Kinnear happily and believably sinks his pearly whites into this amiably sharp drama (based on a hit Australian series) about a criminal defense attorney who finds trouble everywhere: He’s up to his ears in gambling and IRS debts, drinks way too much, lives in a ratty apartment above a restaurant and is hopelessly in love with the prostitute he pays for conversation and backgammon games. His therapist is also his ex-wife. “House” comparisons will surely abound, but “Rake” is easily one of the more confident network dramas to come our way of late.

JAN. 24

– “Mitt” (Netflix): Straight off the bill at the Sundance Film Festival, this documentary follows the unsuccessful Romney presidential campaign of 2012 and tries to get into the mind and personality of the man himself.

JAN. 25

– “Black Sails” (Starz at 9 p.m.): At first glance, this is a sprawling, big-budget pirate drama series that somehow manages to feel too cheap. “Black Sails” follows several bands of Caribbean-based pirates in 1715, “the golden age of pirating.” When the British Navy starts to crack down on these legendary criminals, the pirate Capt. Flint (Toby Stephens) allies with the daughter of New Providence Island’s crime kingpin to chase after the ultimate treasure.

– “Lizzie Borden Took an Ax” (Lifetime at 8 p.m.): Christina Ricci stars in this made-for-TV movie as the infamous woman charged with ax-murdering her parents in 1892.

JAN. 26

– “The 56th Annual Grammy Awards” (CBS at 8 p.m.): LL Cool J returns to host the music industry’s biggest awards night.

JAN. 28

– “The Capones” (Reelz at 10 p.m.): Docu-series about a “larger-than-life” family (translation: yells and fights with one another a lot) who run a pizzeria and claim to be distantly related to the famous mobster.

JAN. 29

– “Hawking” (PBS, check local listings): A new one-hour documentary about famed physicist Stephen Hawking.

– “Fleming: The Man Who Would Be Bond” (BBC America at 10 p.m.): Four-part miniseries drama about the real-life inspiration for the 007 character — a sophisticated maverick whose life was upended by World War II.

FEB. 1

– “Oscar” (TCM at 8 p.m.): A documentary about the history of the Academy Awards.

FEB. 2

– “Super Bowl LXVIII” (Fox): Lots of Roman numerals, a Bruno Mars halftime show, the spendy Madison Avenue commercials and — oh, right — a professional football championship game.

– And don’t forget “Puppy Bowl” (Animal Planet at 3 p.m.) and, for some reason, “Kitten Bowl” (Hallmark at noon).

FEB. 4

– “American Experience: The Amish — Shunned” (PBS, check local listings): Documentary explores the worlds of women and men who found themselves banished from their Amish communities.

FEB. 6

– “The Tonight Show With Jay Leno” (NBC at 11:35 p.m.): Long-time host Jay Leno says goodbye. (For the second time.)

FEB. 7-23

– “XXII Olympic Winter Games” (NBC): From Sochi, Russia. Will it be as grim as some expect?

FEB. 9

– “The Night That Changed America: A Grammy Salute to the Beatles” (CBS at 8 p.m.): All-star concert will commemorate 50 years (exactly) since the Fab Four appeared on Ed Sullivan’s show.

FEB. 24

– “The Tonight Show With Jimmy Fallon” (NBC at 11:35 p.m.): The affable host reboots his late-night talk show, now from New York instead of Burbank, Calif. (And the Roots are sticking with him.)

FEB. 26

– “Mixology” (ABC at 9:30 p.m.): This new comedy is set in a bar called the Mix, where 10 single people have random encounters and conversations in their unending quest for love. If I understand the concept correctly, the entire season (however long it lasts) takes place on a single night.

FEB. 27

– “Review” (Comedy Central at 10 p.m.): Andy Daly stars as a “life critic,” who reviews experiences instead of arts and culture.

MARCH 2

– “The 86th Annual Academy Awards” (ABC at 8 p.m.): It’s Oscar night! Get ahold of yourselves!

MARCH 6

– “Sirens” (USA at 10 p.m.): Denis Leary co-produces this new comedy about three EMT dudes in Chicago.

MARCH 9

– “Resurrection” (ABC at 9 p.m.): The residents of Arcadia, Mo., react to the fact that a young boy who died 32 years ago has returned — unchanged — from the dead. (Not to be confused with the excellent French miniseries “The Returned,” but it looks a little bit like it.)

MARCH 11

– “Mind Games” (ABC at 10 p.m.): Steve Zahn and Christian Slater star as Clark and Ross Edwards, two brothers who run an agency that helps clients fix their problems through psychological manipulation and influence. (Zahn plays the goofy, genius one.)

MARCH 19

– “The 100” (CW at 9 p.m.): A refreshingly taut and well-executed futuristic sci-fi series about a group of 100 jailed juvenile delinquents who are banished from an orbiting space-station colony and sent to live on Earth — 97 years after a nuclear apocalypse. They’ve barely crash-landed when things get pretty “Lord of the Flies.”

MARCH 25

– “Story of the Jews” (PBS, check local listings): Author Simon Schama explores Jewish culture and history in this five-part (two-night) documentary series.

MARCH 31

– “Friends With Better Lives” (CBS at 9 p.m.): A new sitcom about six pals, premiering after the one-hour “How I Met Your Mother” series finale. Takes over the 8:30 p.m. slot on April 7.

APRIL 6

– “The 49th Annual Academy of Country Music Awards” (CBS at 8 p.m.): Blake Shelton and Luke Bryan will return as hosts.

WAITING IN THE WINGS

These shows haven’t been given air dates, but they’re expected sometime before May …

– “Game of Arms” (AMC): Reality series about competitive arm-wrestling.

– “Turn”(AMC): Drama about spies in the Revolutionary War.

– “Gang Related” (Fox): Cop drama. An elite LAPD officer has a past with Latino gangs.

– “Surviving Jack” (Fox): Comedy set in the 1990s about a father and his teenage son.

– “Us and Them” (Fox): Comedy starring Jason Ritter and Alexis Bledel as young lovers.

– “Crisis” (NBC): Drama in which a bus carrying children of the Washington, D.C. elite — including the president’s son — is taken hostage. Gillian Anderson stars.

– “The Night Shift” (NBC): Drama about the overnight staff at a San Antonio hospital.

– “About a Boy” (NBC): Comedy based on Nick Hornby’s novel.

– “Growing Up Fisher” (NBC): Jenna Elfman and J.K. Simmons star in this comedy about a family going through divorce.

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