Winter TV Preview: Notable New & Returning Shows

  • Publish Date: January 2, 2015
  • Comments: ↓ 5 user comments

Below, we take a look at the notable new and returning shows premiering between now and March 1st. (In March, we'll return with a preview of shows debuting during the spring months). Be sure to visit our frequently updated TV Premiere Calendar for a quick list of all announced TV premiere dates for 2015.

Notable newcomers

12 Monkeys Watch trailer
Syfy | January 16

Terry Gilliam's 1996 time-travel feature, itself a very loose adaptation of a previous work (Chris Marker's experimental short film La Jetée), gets its own rough adaptation in the form of this new Syfy series. Aaron Stanford (X-Men: The Last Stand) takes over the Bruce Willis role as James Cole, who travels back to the present day from the year 2043 in an attempt to prevent a global apocalypse caused by a deadly virus. Other characters in the series are either more loosely based on the film's characters, or are entirely new, and the story moves in many unexpected directions for those familiar with the film. (For one thing, expect much more of the series to take place in the future setting that the movie mostly ignored—as well as at various points in the past.) Kirk Acevedo (Oz, Fringe), Amanda Schull (Suits), Noah Bean (Nikita), and Tom Noonan (Hell on Wheels) also star.

. Agent Carter Watch trailer
ABC | January 6 (special 2-hour premiere)

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. was just the tip of the Marvel television iceberg. At least six shows set in the "Marvel Cinematic Universe" are headed to smaller screens in the very near future, including the Netflix-exclusive Daredevil, expected to arrive in May. Up first is this eight-episode event series that will replace S.H.I.E.L.D. on ABC's Tuesday night schedule for the next two months, beginning with back-to-back episodes this week. Hayley Atwell reprises her Agent Peggy Carter role from the Captain America films as well as a short film that appeared as an extra on the Iron Man 3 Blu-ray. It is actually the latter that serves as a stepping-off point for this series, which will find Carter navigating life as a single woman in 1946 while attempting to make the most of her job working for the covert Strategic Scientific Reserve. Chad Michael Murray (One Tree Hill), James D'Arcy (Secret Diary of a Call Girl), Shea Whigham (Boardwalk Empire), and Enver Gjokaj (Dollhouse) also star, while Dominic Cooper will reprise his film role as Howard Stark (Tony's dad). Joe Russo (Captain America: The Winter Soldier) will direct at least one episode.

Allegiance Watch trailer
NBC | February 5

Pilot Impressions *

 

Jarett Wieselman
BuzzFeed

"[A] superbly structured, written, and acted pilot."

 

Daniel Fienberg
HitFix

"The spycraft/cat-and-mouse aspects of Allegiance aren't fresh, but they're still well-done, at least for one episode."

NBC probably doesn't mind the inevitable comparisons to prestige cable drama The Americans that their new spy thriller is sure to pile up, even if Allegiance is unlikely to get the better end of that comparison. Actually, Allegiance seems to split the difference between The Americans and Homeland, though, technically, it is an adaptation of the Israeli series The Gordin Cell. Set in the present day, the series centers on a CIA agent (Gavin Stenhouse of Person of Interest) who discovers that his parents—played by Hope Davis (In Treatment) and Scott Cohen (Necessary Roughness)—are actually covert Russian spies who are planning a terrorist attack in the United States. Will he be loyal to his country ... or to his mom and dad? The series comes from writer-director George Nolfi (The Adjustment Bureau) and will take the 10p Thursday slot vacated by the departing Parenthood after that show's series finale on January 29.

* "Pilot Impressions" displayed on this page are critics' preliminary responses to the original (unaired) pilot episode for each series (for the few shows that had pilots available for viewing last year). These are not official reviews of the finished product. Remember that many pilots are partially or entirely re-shot before airing on TV for the first time, and may undergo tweaks or wholesale changes to casting, story, tone, and other aspects. As a result, critic impressions can and do change when the show makes its debut on the air.

. Babylon Watch trailer
Sundance | January 8

REVIEWS FROM THE UK

 

Joseph Charlton
The Independent

"A dizzying, protean, at points incoherent comedy-drama."

 

Gerard O'Donovan
The Telegraph

"Certainly Babylon had panache and strong performances. Its biggest problem, though, was that however entertaining such inward-looking intra-institutional, jargon-laced, wonk comedy may be in the context of spin-obsessed politicians (The Thick of It), Olympics organisers (2012) the BBC (W1A), it just doesn’t sit comfortably where the harsh realities of policing are involved, when people get beaten up or shot every time a senior officer dithers over 'perception'. "

Though Danny Boyle (Slumdog Millionaire, Trainspotting) has directed for television before, Babylon is the first series that he has also created and produced. It's also, somewhat atypically for Boyle, a comedy, though his writers and co-producers, Jesse Armstrong and Sam Bain, are veterans of the genre, having created the long-running cult hit Peep Show. Their new fast-paced workplace satire centers on an American PR consultant (Brit Marling) who is brought in to modernize the culture of London's police force, whose current employees prove to be unreceptive to her plans. James Nesbitt (The Hobbit), Nicola Walker (Last Tango in Halifax), Paterson Joseph (Peep Show), and Bertie Carvel (The Wrong Mans) also star, and Jon S. Baird (Filth) is among the directors for the six-episode series. (A 90-minute pilot episode directed by Boyle, which is not technically part of the first season, previously aired last fall, and it is not currently on Sundance's schedule to be re-aired.) Reviews were decent to fairly good when Babylon debuted in the UK in November, with some critics comparing the series to The Thick of It (though it's not quite at the level of that great show).

Backstrom Watch trailer
Fox | January 22

This latest take on the House/Sherlock Holmes formula (the brilliant, talented, misanthropic, self-destructive loner) is a comedic crime procedural from Bones creator Hart Hanson that's based on the Swedish book series by Leif G.W. Persson. Backstrom was actually developed for CBS a few years ago, but rejected by that network, where it wasn't a good stylistic fit. Fox revived the project and ordered 13 episodes. The hourlong series stars Rainn Wilson (The Office) as Portland, Oregon's grumpiest police detective, Everett Backstrom, who speaks his mind too freely and leads a self-destructive lifestyle while heading up his department's Serious Crimes Unit. Dennis Haysbert (24), Thomas Dekker (The Sarah Connor Chronicles), Kristoffer Polaha (Life Unexpected), and Page Kennedy (Weeds) also star.

Battle Creek
CBS | March 1

Pilot Impressions

 

Daniel Fienberg
HitFix

"The Battle Creek pilot has the cleverness you'd want from a show with its creative pedigree, but you may want/expect/hope for it to be 'better.'"

 

Kate Aurthur
BuzzFeed

"Tonally, it’s all over the place, and in the pilot at least, it has not figured out how to balance its comedy with its crime plots."

As the X-Files was winding down—and over five years before he would go on to create Breaking Bad, arguably TV's greatest drama series—writer-producer Vince Gilligan pitched this odd couple cop story to CBS, which passed on the project. The success of Bad must have changed the minds of CBS executives. A dozen years later the network suddenly became enthusiastic about Battle Creek, ordering 13 episodes without even seeing a pilot and guaranteeing that all of them would air. Dean Winters (30 Rock) plays a cynical, gruff, no-nonsense police detective working with extremely limited resources who teams up with a naive, polite, clean-cut, and well-funded FBI agent (Josh Duhamel) to clean up the mean streets of Battle Creek, Michigan. Actually, make that "semi-mean" streets; Battle Creek will have a much lighter tone than both Bad and most CBS procedurals. Also starring are Janet McTeer and Kal Penn, while House creator David Shore will serve as showrunner. Gilligan actually won't have much day-to-day involvement with Battle Creek, since much of his time will be occupied instead with ...

Better Call Saul Watch clip Watch trailer
AMC | February 8 and 9

If a show invites comparisons to Breaking Bad, well, that's an almost impossible standard to live up to. But such comparisons are inevitable when the show is itself a prequel to that TV great, set in the same universe and featuring a few of the same characters—most obviously, Saul Goodman, the shady lawyer played by Bob Odenkirk. Also returning is Jonathan Banks' Mike Ehrmantraut, while newcomers include Michael McKean (playing Saul's brother), Rhea Seehorn (Whitney), and Patrick Fabian (The Last Exorcism). In addition to retaining the Albuquerque setting, Better Call Saul will utilize many of Breaking Bad's producers, writers, and directors, with Vince Gilligan and Peter Gould credited as creators. The bulk of the show—which is much more of a serious drama than originally suggested—will take place roughly six years before the start of the events in Bad, though other time periods will be explored as well. The 10-episode series will debut right after the return of The Walking Dead on Sunday, February 8, with a second new episode airing the following night (Monday, February 9 at 10p). Saul will then continue to air on Monday nights at 10p. The series has already been renewed for an even longer second season (of 13 episodes), though Odenkirk fans may be more excited by what the comedian may be doing in between seasons.

Bosch Watch trailer Watch 1st episode
Amazon | tbd

Pilot Impressions

 

Tim Goodman
The Hollywood Reporter

"Bosch ... does what it does with flair but isn’t moving the needle on originality"

 

Alan Sepinwall
HitFix

"It needs some polishing, but Welliver and the creative team will get a lot of rope from me."

Amazon has been on a bit of a roll. After a so-so start, the shopping giant's last two original series (Transparent and Mozart in the Jungle) both scored with critics. Up next is a stylish adaptation of Michael Connelly's detective novel series from Treme/The Wire producer Eric Overmyer. (Connelly himself co-wrote the script for the pilot and signed off on the casting.) Expected to debut in early 2015 (though there's still no exact date), the series stars Titus Welliver (Lost) as LAPD homicide detective Harry Bosch, who must track down the killer of a 13-year-old boy while also facing federal murder charges himself. The cast also includes The Wire alumni Lance Reddick and Jamie Hector, plus Annie Wersching (Extant) and Scott Wilson (The Walking Dead).

. Empire Watch trailer
Fox | January 7

More high-profile than TV's last hip-hop soap opera (Sofia Coppola and John Ridley's short-lived 2003 series Platinum), Empire comes from director Lee Daniels and his his The Butler screenwriter Danny Strong (also an Emmy winner for Game Change). Expect plenty of album tie-ins if the show lasts, as Timbaland provides an original soundtrack to this drama about hip-hop mogul Lucious Lyon (Terrence Howard), who must choose a successor from among his three very different sons when he learns that he has a life-altering disease, while simultaneously fighting off a challenge from his ex-wife (Taraji P. Henson). Malik Yoba, Gabourey Sidibe, Naomi Campbell, and Courtney Love also star.

Eye Candy Watch trailer
MTV | January 12

2015 will see MTV getting into the hour-long drama game, with upcoming adaptations of the Shannara fantasy novels, the Scream movie franchise, and, first, Eye Candy. This series adaptation of R. L. Stine's novel of the same name comes from Twilight director Catherine Hardwicke. The 10-episode cyber thriller stars Nickelodeon vet Victoria Justice as a young hacker who helps track down a serial killer who is lurking on an online dating site.

Fortitude Watch trailer
Pivot | January 29

Pivot's first original drama series (co-produced with British network Sky) is a 12-episode thriller set in a tiny, peaceful Arctic town where a brutal murder upends daily life for the town's residents. (It's shot on location in Iceland.) Richard Dormer plays the town's resident sheriff, who reluctantly gets some help with his murder investigation from an out-of-town detective played by Stanley Tucci. Also starring are Michael Gambon, Christopher Eccleston, Jessica Raine, and Luke Treadaway. The series comes from Simon Donald, creator of the original UK version of Low Winter Sun.

Fresh Off the Boat Watch trailer
ABC | February 4

Pilot Impressions

 

Jaimie Etkin
BuzzFeed

"Fresh Off the Boat is quite deft in its handling of the American–Asian-American culture clash… and it’s pretty freaking hilarious, which is also a good thing."

 

Daniel Fienberg
HitFix

"Fresh Off The Boat isn't perfect, but by comedy pilot standards, it has a lot of potential."

A sort-of hybrid of fellow ABC family comedies black-ish and The Goldbergs, Fresh Off the Boat takes the culture-clash approach of the former with the period setting (albeit in the 1990s rather than the '80s) of the latter. It's actually an adaptation of Eddie Huang's hit memoir of the same name, which focuses on the future New York restaurateur's life as an 11-year-old hip-hop fan who moves with his family from DC's Chinatown to exotic suburban Orlando, Florida. The series comes from Nahnatchka Khan, creator of Don't Trust the B---- in Apt. 23. Guests will include Judah Friedlander and NBA great Scottie Pippen. Note that the first two episodes of the series will air on a special night (Wednesday, February 4) following episodes of The Middle and Modern Family at 8:30p and 9:30p, respectively; subsequent episodes will air on Tuesdays at 8p.

. Galavant Watch trailer
ABC | January 4

Primetime might be lousy with crime procedurals, zombies, and comic book superheroes, but cheeky, self-referential musical-comedy fairy tales don't exactly come around often. Described by the network as "Camelot meets The Princess Bride," Galavant comes from writer Dan Fogelman (Crazy, Stupid, Love., ABC's The Neighbors) and centers on down-on-his-luck hero Prince Galavant (Joshua Sasse), who plots revenge against the evil king (Timothy Omundson, whom critics love in the role even if they don't all love the series as a whole) who stole the love of his life (Mallory Jansen). Ricky Gervais, "Weird Al" Yankovic, John Stamos, Rutger Hauer, and Hugh Bonneville (Downton Abbey) will guest. The original songs come from Broadway and film vets Alan Menken and Glenn Slater. Galavant is being scheduled as a four-week "event" (mainly because it doesn't fit with anything else on ABC's schedule), with back-to-back half-hour episodes airing each Sunday at 8p this month while Once Upon a Time is on a brief hiatus.

Grantchester Watch trailer
PBS | January 18

REVIEWS FROM THE UK

 

Sam Wollaston
The Guardian

"Jolly, in an undemanding kind of way."

 

Michael Pilgrim
The Telegraph

"Much as I would love to come across as a sneering aesthete disdainful of cosy period drama like Grantchester, I just can’t. Because it’s good."

PBS's latest British import is a six-episode adaptation of James Runcie's mystery novel series. Grantchester is set in a small English village in the 1950s, where the local vicar (James Norton of Happy Valley) develops an interesting hobby: playing detective. He forms an unlikely crime-solving partnership with the town's overworked police detective, played by Robson Green. The series attracted a large audience when it debuted in the UK in the fall, and a second season has been ordered.

The Jinx: The Life and Deaths of Robert Durst Watch trailer
HBO | February tbd

Fans of the hit podcast Serial (or the great TV documentary series The Staircase) could be drawn to this equally twisty and ambiguous true crime story from Capturing the Friedmans director Andrew Jarecki. Unfolding over six episodes, the documentary is the result of a seven-year investigation into the life of Robert Durst, who grew up the son of a New York real estate billionaire and was accused of three crimes: the disappearance (and presumed murder) of his wife in 1982, the murder of a key witness in that case in Beverly Hills 18 years later, and the brutal killing of Durst's neighbor in Galveston, Texas (where Durst had been living a double life dressed as a woman and as the woman's male friend) the following year. (Even his own brother believes him to be a psychopath.) The reclusive Durst, who has not been convicted of any of the crimes and maintains his innocence, made himself available for interviews with Jarecki, who previously directed a feature film (All Good Things) that presented a fictionalized take on Durst's case. HBO has high hopes for the series, and is premiering it at the Sundance Film Festival later this month.

The Last Man on Earth Watch trailer
Fox | March 1

Twenty-three years after Fox last attempted to launch a new comedy series following the few survivors of a global apocalypse, the network is ready to try again. This time, the results should be much better, even if the new series has upped the difficulty factor by reducing the cast to just one actor. That person is series creator Will Forte, who plays literally the last human left alive in Tucson, Arizona in the year 2022 after an unlikely event appears to have wiped out the rest of the world's population. How will he use his newfound freedom to do and take anything he wants? Phil Lord and Chris Miller (21 Jump Street, The Lego Movie) direct the first episode and serve as producers. And Forte is quite the only person you'll see on screen; Kristen Schaal, January Jones, and Mel Rodriguez will also appear in the series, presumably through flashbacks.

Man Seeking Woman Watch trailers
FXX | January 14

Based loosely on former Saturday Night Live writer Simon Rich's short story collection The Last Girlfriend on Earth, this 10-episode comedy stars Jay Baruchel (Undeclared) as a naive 20-something navigating the world of dating after a nasty break-up. (Hint: it doesn't go too well.) Eric André co-stars as his best friend. Lorne Michaels is a producer, as is Portlandia co-creator Jonathan Krisel, who also directs. Expect plenty of surreal and absurdist touches.

The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore Watch trailer
Comedy Central | January 19

While no one could be expected to fill the shoes of the off-to-CBS Stephen Colbert (whose tenure on The Late Show is expected to begin in late summer), Comedy Central has at least tapped a funny and (by late-night TV standards) unconventional choice to fill the post-Daily Show slot four nights a week. Larry Wilmore, of course, is already known to Daily Show viewers as that show's occasional "senior black correspondent," but the comedian also has an extensive TV resume that includes hosting his own series of Showtime specials and creating, producing, and/or writing for such series as The PJs, The Bernie Mac Show, In Living Color, and, most recently, ABC's black-ish. In addition to hosting The Nightly Show, Wilmore will serve as executive producer alongside Jon Stewart, who came up with the show's panel discussion format—something that, along with an emphasis on underrepresented viewpoints, will help differentiate it from both its lead-in and its predecessor. Former Daily Show showrunner Rory Albanese will serve in that same role here.

The Odd Couple
CBS | February 19

They're the original odd couple! Well ... not even close. Matthew Perry and Thomas Lennon are the latest actors to inhabit the classic Neil Simon-created roommate characters of slob Oscar Madison (who has been played by the likes of Walter Matthau, Jack Klugman, Rita Moreno, Demond Wilson, and now Perry) and neat freak Felix Unger (Art Carney, Jack Lemmon, Tony Randall, Sally Struthers, Ron Glass, and now Lennon) in this fourth TV incarnation of The Odd Couple, which has also been a play (in multiple versions) and a feature film. Perry actually does double duty as writer/producer, along with Frasier's Joe Keenan. Wendell Pierce (The Wire), Lindsay Sloane (Weeds), and Yvette Nicole Brown (Community) also star, while Lauren Graham (Parenthood), Geoff Stults (Enlisted), and Leslie Bibb (Popular) will have recurring roles.

Schitt's Creek Watch trailer
Pop | February 11

Pop is the new name (as of January 14) of the TV Guide Network, and Schitt's Creek is the channel's first scripted series. A Canadian import, the 13-episode single-camera comedy comes from Eugene Levy, who created the series with his son, Daniel. The elder Levy stars as the patriarch of a wealthy family that loses everything, forcing them to move to their only remaining asset: the small titular town that they once purchased as a joke. Levy's fellow SCTV alum Catherine O’Hara plays his wife, while Chris Elliott co-stars as the town's mayor.

Secrets & Lies Watch trailer
ABC | March 1

Pilot Impressions

 

Daniel Fienberg
HitFix

"All there is in the pilot is a superficial version of things that other shows are doing better this year."

 

Jarett Wieselman
BuzzFeed

"I already watched The Killing once, and I’m sort of unsure why ABC would ask me to endure it a second time."

Here's a secret: ABC wishes it could have ordered more than 15 episodes of first-year hit How to Get Away With Murder (though star Viola Davis's film career prevented the network from extending the season). Instead, beginning in March, the network will have to switch to plan B for Thursday nights: an expanded remake of an Australian miniseries that aired in that country last year. (That version is streaming on Netflix for the curious.) Yes, Secrets & Lies is yet another bleak crime drama centering on a murder. Ryan Phillippe stars as a soon-to-be-divorced family man who, while out for his morning jog in the woods, stumbles across the dead body of his neighbor's young son. Naturally, he becomes the prime suspect, and he works to track down the real killer to prove his innocence while he and his family are harassed by the community. The thriller also stars Juliette Lewis as the lead detective investigating the murder, and KaDee Strickland (Private Practice) as his wife.

The Slap
NBC | February 12

Speaking of remakes of Australian TV series, here's another, though it's definitely not another murder mystery. Instead, The Slap (based on both the series and the original novel by Christos Tsiolkas) is a "complex family drama" that begins when a man slaps a misbehaving child (not his own). That one event triggers a spiraling series of consequences that include a major family quarrel, the spilling of long-held secrets, and a lawsuit. Encouragingly, there is plenty of talent on both sides of the camera. All eight episodes were written by Jon Robin Baitz (a noted playwright and former writer for The West Wing and Brothers & Sisters), while Lisa Cholodenko (the acclaimed HBO miniseries Olive Kitteridge, The Kids Are All Right) will direct at least four episodes. Peter Sarsgaard, Uma Thurman (replacing the originally cast Mary-Louise Parker after she dropped out for health reasons), Zachary Quinto, Thandie Newton, Brian Cox, Melissa George, and Penn Badgley star.

Sons of Liberty Watch trailer
History | January 25

History Channel's latest scripted miniseries event depicts the origins of the American Revolution. The cast is fairly good, as far as these things go: Jason O'Mara plays George Washington, Dean Norris is Benjamin Franklin, and Michael Raymond-James is Paul Revere, while the ensemble also includes Ben Barnes (Sam Adams, famed brewer and patriot), Henry Thomas (John Adams), Rafe Spall (John Hancock), and Ryan Eggold (Joseph Warren). The six-hour miniseries airs across three consecutive nights.

Togetherness Watch trailer
HBO | January 11

Originally announced almost two years ago, the first TV project from the Duplass brothers (Jeff, Who Lives at Home, Cyrus) has finally found a home in HBO's lineup, serving as a companion to the latest season of Girls. The brothers serve as directors and writers of each episode (though, like their other projects, much of the dialogue is improvised), and while Jay Duplass does not appear in the show, Mark Duplass (The League) stars alongside Melanie Lynskey (Two and a Half Men) as a couple whose marriage is being tested by the stresses of children and everyday life. Things get even more complicated when two more adults—her sister (Amanda Peet) and his friend (Steve Zissis)—move into their Los Angeles house after suffering setbacks. Peter Gallagher, Mary Steenburgen, and John Ortiz will guest.

In brief: Key returning series

American Idol
Fox, January 7

Series staple and longtime judge Randy Jackson is out—and music exec Scott Borchetta, best known for discovering Taylor Swfit, is in as mentor—as the venerable (or is that vulnerable?) singing competition enters its 14th season. (Also out is longtime sponsor Coca-Cola, leaving the thirsty judges cupless this season.) The premiere unfolds over two nights, airing Wednesday, January 7th from 8-9p, and Thursday, January 8th from 8-10p, but in later weeks Idol is expected to air just once per week; the results show has been eliminated.

The Americans Trailer
FX, January 28

Stream last season:
iTunes Amazon

One of critics' favorite shows in 2014, the period spy drama returns for a 13-episode third season later this month. Frank Langella and Julia Garner (Sin City: A Dame to Kill For) will join the cast in recurring roles, while Lev Gorn (who plays KGB resident agent Arkady) has been elevated to series regular.

Archer Trailer
FX, January 8

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After a major change in format for season five, the ISIS gang returns to familiar surroundings for this sixth season, though you can expect a few changes—starting (understandably) with the name ISIS itself. One holdover from last season's "Archer Vice" adventure will be Archer and Lana's new baby, who will factor into upcoming episodes. Allison Tolman (Fargo) is among this season's guests.

Banshee Trailer
Cinemax, January 9

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The third season of the pulpy Cinemax drama adds Langley Kirkwood (Black Sails), Meaghan Rath (Being Human), and Chaske Spencer (Twilight) to the cast. Expect a lot of action this year, with baddie Chayton Littlestone (Geno Segers) playing a more prominent role in the early going.

Broad City Trailer Clip
Comedy Central, January 14

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One of TV critics' favorite shows of 2014 (and easily one of the funniest new series to debut last year), Broad City returns with a 10-episode second season that will find guests such as Seth Rogen, Amy Ryan, Kumail Nanjiani, Janeane Garolfalo, Bob Balaban, Patricia Clarkson, Alia Shawkat and David Wain joining stars Abbi Jacobson and Ilana Glazer (and returning cast members like Hannibal Buress and John Gemberling).

Community
Yahoo!, tbd

Stream last season:
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Canceled after five seasons on NBC, the cult hit was given a reprieve by Yahoo!—the internet veteran's splashiest move into original programming to date—which will air a new sixth season sometime early this year, with new episodes arriving weekly rather than the all-at-once Netflix-style approach. Yvette Nicole Brown (who is moving to CBS's The Odd Couple) is the latest cast member to depart the show, though Community is adding two new regulars in Paget Brewster and Keith David, while Martin Mull and Lesley Ann Warren will guest as Britta's (Gillian Jacobs) parents. Chevy Chase may also return for a cameo.

Cougar Town Trailer
TBS, January 6

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It's time to say goodbye to The Cul-de-Sac Crew. This 13-episode sixth season will be the show's last on the air, though one cast member (Brian Van Holt, who plays Bobby Cobb) will be leaving early, in next week's season premiere (directed by star Courteney Cox).

Downton Abbey Trailer
PBS, January 4

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As always, Americans are late to the party: Downton Abbey's fifth season (which picks up in 1924, six months after season 4) has already aired in the UK, but PBS won't begin showing it until Sunday. Newcomers this year include Richard E. Grant and Anna Chancellor, while Peter Egan, who appeared briefly in season 3, will recur. The early word from critics is that this season is an improvement over last year's sub-par season 4. A sixth season is already greenlit for next year.

Episodes Trailer
Showtime, January 11

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The Matt LeBlanc comedy returns next week for a nine-episode fourth season. This year finds the show's version of LeBlanc in dire financial straits, while Sean and Beverly (Stephen Mangan and Tamsin Greig) are reluctantly dragged back to Hollywood to film more episodes of their newly revived sitcom project Pucks!. Andrea Savage (Step Brothers) joins the cast as the new network chief.

The Fall Trailer
Netflix, January 16

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This hit British crime drama (airing in the U.S. exclusively on Netflix) impressed critics with its six-episode debut in 2013, though anyone binge-watching the tale of a detective (Gillian Anderson) investigating a series of killings in Belfast perpetrated by a seemingly normal married man leading a double life (Jamie Dornan, who plays Christian Grey in the upcoming Fifty Shades of Grey) was probably shocked to get to the end of the series only to discover that there was no resolution. Never fear: a second season arrives this month—with all six episodes available immediately—to wrap up the story (though Anderson could return for a potential third season). Joining the cast this season is Colin Morgan (Merlin).

Girls Trailer #1 Trailer #2 Extended trailer
HBO, January 11

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The comedy's fourth season will feature new guests such as Spike Jonze, Natasha Lyonne, Marc Maron, Gillian Jacobs, Jake Lacy, Ana Gasteyer, and Anthony Edwards and returnees such as Bob Balaban, Jon Glaser, Gaby Hoffman, and Peter Scolari. Yes, co-star Adam Driver will return as well (despite his new high-profile film gig), though the future of Adam's relationship with Lena Dunham's Hannah will be more uncertain than ever, especially with Hannah away from New York attending the Iowa Writers' Workshop.

Glee Trailer
Fox, January 9

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This delayed and shortened 13-episode (with the premiere and the finale doubled up as back-to-back episodes) sixth season will be the last for the one-time hit. In addition to the arrival of at least five new cast members, expect many of the show's former cast members to return for a final appearance this year, which series creator Ryan Murphy describes as a return to the show's roots (mainly because it ditches its recent New York setting to concentrate on McKinley High).

Helix Trailer
Syfy, January 16

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The second season of the Ronald Moore-produced thriller leaves the Arctic behind as a deadly new outbreak is traced to an island where a cult (led by new cast member Steven Weber) is attempting to establish a utopian society. Also joining the show this season is Matt Long (Mad Men), who plays a new member of the CDC team.

House of Cards
Netflix, February 27

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Kim Dickens (Gone Girl, Deadwood) will have a recurring role in the hit political thriller's third season. Netflix has released virtually no information about the upcoming season, though it appears that there may be some intrigue with Russia. Not only are members of Pussy Riot slated to guest, but the season will introduce a "formidable" new character named Anto Ivonovich.

House of Lies Trailer
Showtime, January 11

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Joining the Don Cheadle-led dramedy's fourth season will be recurring guests Demetri Martin, Mary McCormack (In Plain Sight), Fred Melamed (Benched), Valorie Curry (The Following), Alicia Witt (Justified), and Larenz Tate (Rush).

It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia Trailer
FXX, January 14

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Getting a later than normal start, the gang returns for a 10th season (with FXX already committed to seasons 11 and 12, making Sunny the longest-running cable comedy in history) that will feature a guest appearance by Keegan-Michael Key as the host of a Family Feud-style game show. There's even a companion self-help book available next week.

Justified Trailer
FX, January 20

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Yet another show entering its final season, the critically acclaimed drama Justified looks like it will go out with a final showdown between Raylan Givens (Timothy Olyphant) and Boyd Crowder (Walton Goggins). Newcomers this year include Sam Elliott, Jeff Fahey (Lost), and Garret Dillahunt (the latest of Olyphant's Deadwood castmates to make the jump to Justified), while Mary Steenburgen, introduced late last year as Boyd's new business partner Katherine Hale, will return.

Kroll Show Trailer
Comedy Central, January 13

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The Nick Kroll-hosted sketch show returns for a third and final season—with the choice to end the series now made by Kroll, rather than the network. Guests this season include Seth Rogen, Amy Poehler, Chelsea Peretti, Nathan Fielder, Casey Wilson, and Andy Milonakis.

Looking Trailer
HBO, January 11

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Like Getting On and Doll & Em, one of HBO's little-promoted and under-the-radar shows, this San Francisco-set dramedy about a group of gay friends exploring the city's dating scene returns for a second season that will be two episodes longer than last year's debut season. Three of last year's recurring stars (Lauren Weedman, Raúl Castillo, and Russell Tovey) have been elevated to series regulars for season 2, while Daniel Franzese (Mean Girls) and Chris Perfetti (Crossbones) will have recurring guest roles.

Parks and Recreation Trailer
NBC, January 13

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Picking up three years in the future where last year's finale surprisingly left off, this seventh and final season of the critically acclaimed comedy will run for just 13 episodes. Returning guests like Jon Hamm, Paul Rudd, Megan Mullally, Natalie Morales, and Ben Schwartz will be joined by the likes of Werner Herzog (!) and Rachel Dratch, while departed stars Rashida Jones and Rob Lowe will also make an appearance. Back-to-back episodes will air weekly in the show's new Tuesday 8p timeslot until the one-hour series finale on February 24.

Portlandia Trailer
IFC, January 8

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Joining Fred and Carrie for season 5 are guests such as Paul Reubens, Anna Gunn, Seth Meyers, Jeff Goldblum, Steve Buscemi, Greta Gerwig, Olivia Wilde, Kyle MacLachlan, Kumail Nanjiani, Natasha Lyonne, Paul Simon, Parker Posey, Jane Lynch, Oscar the Grouch, and real-life Portland native Matt Groening. (This will be a big month for Carrie Brownstein, as her newly reunited indie rock band Sleater-Kinney will release their first new album in a decade on January 20th.)

Shameless Trailer
Showtime, January 11

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Season five for the Showtime dramedy (an impressive number, though the original British series on which it is based ran for 11 seasons) will see Emily Bergl (who plays Sammi) elevated to series regular. Dermot Mulroney and Sasha Alexander (Rizzoli & Isles) are among this season's newcomers.

The Walking Dead Trailer
AMC, February 8

Stream first half of this season:
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Fans of the massive cable hit are no doubt tired of waiting for the arrival of the second half of the show's fifth season, especially with many critics suggesting that this season has seen a major jump in quality. The back half of the season (which will once again run for 8 episodes) will feature a "huge change" for the remaining characters, according to producer Scott Gimple. Production has also begun on the pilot for a Los Angeles-set spinoff series (possibly titled Cobalt), which will star Kim Dickens, Cliff Curtis, and Frank Dillane.

What will you be watching?

Do any of the new winter shows sound good to you? Let us know what you'll be watching in the comments section below.

 

Comments (5)

  • LadyA  

    I really Like Scorpion. I don't understand why it was rated so low It works I think it has action and it shows Compassion and caring and brings a different view of how really smart people connect, It is funny and has great moments of understanding.sometimes things get a little strange but they all work out.

  • martinex  

    I'm a TV addict so I'll probably sample them all. Broad City is the funniest thing I've seen in years. Anxiously anticipating The Nightly Show although those are some huge shoes to fill. The first episode of Agent Carter put me to sleep. I'll be surprised if The Odd Couple is any good. Portlandia's humor is a little too subtle for me.

  • fisy66  

    Yay for Justified....it has been a wonderful ride.....and to the Aussie Axel Whitehead guest staring in Shameless.....cant wait to hear you sing!!!....always knew you had the X factor!

  • AbbieHale  

    The only ones listed that I'm looking forward to is Better Call Saul. Those not listed that will be excellent too are --- The Vikings, Game of Thrones. But thanks for the list. Also try to check the list of this article that I have read. http://www.exploretalent.com/articles/top-10-tv-shows-watch-2015/ . What do you think?

  • sheldoncoooper  

    looking forward to see the walking dead, It's always sunny, Shameless and Better call saul

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