Key spring debuts
We'll return with a full spring television preview in early March. In the meantime, here is a quick look at some of the new and returning shows debuting in March and April (and beyond) that we're looking forward to the most ...
Awake Watch trailer
(NBC, date/time TBD)
It may arrive even earlier than spring, but NBC still hasn't scheduled what, on paper, sounded like one of its most promising new shows of the 2011-12 season, and one that had probably the best received pilot of any new show this season. That delay, though, has us worried, especially since production was halted after six episodes to allow time to tweak the series. The second TV drama from Lone Star creator Kyle Killen (Homeland's Howard Gordon is another producer), the visually arresting but challenging Awake follows a police detective (Brotherhood's Jason Isaacs) whose life is split into two alternate realities after a terrible car accident: one in which his teenage son lives, the other in which his wife survives. The split reality will, understandably, pose problems for his personal life as well as his crime investigations; fortunately, he has a therapist in each world. Cherry Jones (24), Laura Allen (Terriers), B.D. Wong, and Wilmer Valderrama (That '70s Show) co-star.
(Fox, Sundays at 8:30p starting March 11)
Fox's animated comedy proved to be a grower (though not in the ratings) in its increasingly funny first season last year, and the network has enough confidence in the series that its upcoming second season has been extended to a full 22 episodes. Joining returning cast members H. Jon Benjamin (Archer), Dan Mintz, Eugene Mirman, and Kristen Schaal will be guests such as Megan Mullally, Kevin Kline, Sarah Silverman, and Parks & Rec's Aziz Ansari and Nick Offerman.
Check It Out! with Dr. Steve Brule
(Adult Swim, date/time TBD)
Tim and Eric may have moved to the big screen (their Billion Dollar Movie arrives in theaters March 2 after debuting at Sundance), but the duo's Awesome Show spin-off (starring John C. Reilly as the host of a low-budget, early morning local television show) will return for a second season this spring, possibly as soon as March.
(ABC, date/time TBD)
Sorry, Abed: ABC's critically lauded but poorly titled sitcom is still not listed on the network's midseason schedule, but a March start for a shortened (15 episode) season 3 is likely, though a quick cancellation for the new sitcom Work It could theoretically advance that schedule. Star Courteney Cox will direct one of the upcoming episodes, while Busy Philipps' Laurie will have a new love interest played by Edwin Hodge (Jack & Bobby).
Game of Thrones Watch trailer
(HBO, starting in April)
Stephen Dillane (John Adams), Natalie Dormer (The Tudors), Liam Cunningham (Outcasts), Gwendoline Christie, and Gemma Whelan are among the actors joining the cast of HBO's critically acclaimed fantasy series for its second season, which will introduce the character of Stannis Baratheon to the proceedings. And, yes, the dragons will return.
Girls Watch trailer
(HBO, starting in April)
Judd Apatow is among the producers of this new comedy created and directed by and starring Lena Dunham (Tiny Furniture 71), which follows the lives of a group of women in their early 20s struggling to live in New York City. In other words, unlike, say, Sex and the City, expect a realistic look at modern urban life.
(AMC, starting in March)
For the first time since its 2007 premiere, AMC's acclaimed drama took a year off in 2011, which was great for any other dramatic series seeking Emmy nominations but less fun for those of us waiting to see how Don Draper's surprise engagement is working out. Details are scarce about the upcoming fifth season, though star Jon Hamm will direct the first episode.
(ABC, Thursdays at 8p starting March 15)
Ashley Judd brings some star power to ABC (in her first TV role since NBC's Sisters in the early 1990s) as a single mother—and former CIA agent—determined to find her son after he vanishes under suspicious circumstances while studying abroad. Shot on location in Europe, this twist-filled, 10-episode drama from Gregory Poirier (National Treasure: Book of Secrets) also stars Sean Bean (Game of Thrones) as her late husband (he appears in flashbacks) and Cliff Curtis (Trauma) as a CIA agent who assists her search.
Touch Watch trailer
(Fox, Mondays at 9p starting March 19)
Kiefer Sutherland returns to Fox with this ambitious 13-episode drama from Heroes creator Tim Kring. Sutherland stars as the father of an autistic boy who has a gift for seeing patterns that no one else can see, which will gradually reveal a mystery that links seemingly unrelated characters across the world. The cast also includes Danny Glover and Gugu Mbatha-Raw (Undercovers). Viewers will get an advance look at the show when the pilot airs nearly two months early following an episode of American Idol on Wednesday, January 25.
Veep Watch trailer
(HBO, starting in April)
Julia Louis-Dreyfus moves to cable for her newest adventures in comedy, with a show created by Armando Iannucci (In the Loop 83, The Thick of It). Like Iannucci's past work, Veep is a political satire, and it finds Louis-Dreyfus playing the new Vice President of the United States, though the job isn't quite what she expected it to be. Anna Chlumsky and Tony Hale also star.
Later in 2012
The final season of Breaking Bad (AMC) will likely be split in two, with the first eight episodes probably debuting this summer and the final batch held back until early 2013 ... Aaron Sorkin's The Newsroom (HBO) finds the creator in his comfort zone (politics, news, TV) with a drama set behind the scenes at a cable news network; Jeff Daniels, Emily Mortimer, and Sam Waterston star ... The acclaimed Sherlock (PBS) will return with three new 2-hour episodes in early May ... The third season of Louie (FX) should appear this summer ... Charlie Sheen will return to television, appropriately enough, in a sitcom adaptation of the film Anger Management (FX) ... Chloë Sevigny stars as a pre-op transsexual assassin (!) who discovers that (s)he's a father in the British drama Hit & Miss, which will air in America (likely this summer) on DirecTV ... Also debuting on DirecTV this summer is a fifth and final season of the Glenn Close drama Damages, which will feature guests Ryan Phillippe and Jenna Elfman ... Arriving this summer, a revival of the primetime soap Dallas (TNT) has surprisingly good early buzz ... Based on a BBC miniseries, the Netflix original political satire House of Cards stars Kevin Spacey and comes from producer/director David Fincher and writer Beau Willimon (whose play Farragut North became the film The Ides of March) ... Mary McDonnell will take the lead in Major Crimes (TNT), a spinoff from The Closer ... Julianne Moore stars as Sarah Palin in the made-for-HBO movie Game Change, which focuses on the 2008 presidential election.
What do you think?
Which shows are you planning on watching over the coming months? Let us know in the comments section below.