Top 10 Midseason Shows You Should Watch
It’s a new year, folks, and with a new year, us TV lovers are treated to the return of some of our favorites, as well as the treat of some new ones. I’ve been lucky enough to screen a few of my top picks below, but I’ll be watching eagerly on my couch along with you for most of them. So as I’ve said sayonara to 2012, I also bid adieu to NCIS, Gossip Girl and Elementary repeats. Give me my television back!
Downton Abbey – PBS via ITV1 – January 6
Yes, I’m jealous that the English got it first. And yes, I could have sneaky and watched illegally. But why ruin any of my favorite shows with buffering? Downton is one of the rare period pieces on television that can get me excited and not put me to sleep, and really, it’s because it’s about the characters and their circumstances. I’m invested in Mary and Matthew and their upcoming nuptials. I need to know what happens with Bates sentence to life in prison, and how Anna will deal. Despite Cora and Robert at the head of their prestigious family, and Mrs. Hughes and Mr. Carson at the helm of the downstairs staff, they’re still one big, oft-dysfunctional family.
Deception on NBC
Bunheads – ABC Family – January 7
Bunheads is no Gilmore Girls, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t something witty and sweet about Paradise, a small town filled with aspiring ballerinas, and Michelle, the ex-Vegas dancer who found herself connecting with the studio-running mother of the man she loved and lost in basically a day. I was sad for Michelle when she essentially maced and ruined The Nutcracker and became Paradise’s town leper. I teared up when Hubbell appeared to her in a dream, telling her that she was meant to bring a little change to the small town. And, I literally cried when her little ballerinas jumped on their chairs in solidarity and said, “O Captain! My Captain!” And I laughed all the way to getting there. With the relationship between Michelle, Fanny, and the four teen ballerinas at the core, I’m not sure if Paradise will ever be paradise for the smart, dry, dance loving city girl, but it does feel like home.
Deception – NBC – Jan 7
Revenge hasn’t really lived up to the standard it set in season one, so I gladly welcome another show to try and mix it up with a little sudsiness, murder and mystery. Deception stars Meagan Good as Joanna Locasto, a cop and former best friend of a recently murdered socialite named Vivian Bowers. When her ex-partner calls in a favor, Joanna finds herself undercover and back in the Bowers’ home, where she grew up as a kid. The number of secrets she could uncover is endless. This is Days of Our Lives if it tried to do a The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo arc.
Cougar Town – TBS – January 8
Who knows the craziness that will ensue now that Cougar Town has moved to TBS, but I’m happy for the much deserved revival of one of my favorite comedies. With Jules and Grayson having married and rode off into the sunset (evading cops in the process), the dynamic will undoubtedly change, but I believe the writers handled the transition from friends to dating very well, so I have faith that they’ll drum up some funny marital ups and downs pretty easily.
Justified – FX – January 8
Seriously, Raylan Givens must be lucky in Kentucky, because he should have been dead long ago, and he’s still kicking and taking down criminals by any means possible. The best part of Justified is the backwater entanglement between a U.S. Marshall and the old anti-law locals that he grew up with. I thought they couldn’t sustain the momentum from season two and the Bennett clan, but I wasn’t let down with all the bloodshed last season. The writers deepened the Harlan world by smartly bringing back Dickie and Boyd, while giving us a very different kind of villain in Quarles and a new shade of criminal in Limehouse. Besides, a hand was completely butchered off in the finale! Thank you!
1600 Penn – NBC – Jan 10
We’ve already had a sneak peak at 1600 Penn, and the word is mixed on this comedy about a pretty odd first family in the White House. There’s definitely some growing pains to be had, especially with the central and over the top brother, played by Josh Gad, but I find Bill Pullman to be charismatic, as a president should be, but also just funny enough for one of the more straight characters. Plus, I just want to give Jenna Elfman another shot. The jury’s still out, but I’m intrigued to see where this show can go, and some the newest comedies that I’ve found myself gravitating to, like New Girl and Ben & Kate, needed some time to find its voice and footing.
Girls – HBO – January 13
A show that I can talk about is usually a show that’ll keep me interested, and Girls made me laugh, cry, cringe, and gag while wondering what the hell I’m watching and why the hell I relate to these self-absorbed and spoiled 20-somethings sometimes. Lena Dunham writes funny, real dialogue even when the situations seem completely absurd. She’s brought to the forefront confused characters, not yet adults, but no longer cute kids. That hasn’t done well in a TV landscape that would rather show 90210 bikinis or Gossip Girl Upper East Side shenanigans. I also appreciate her character Hannah’s complete comfort in her body and her sexuality, even when I don’t really want to see it. I can’t keep my eyes off it! At the same time, those self-absorbed and spoiled 20-somethings are also as deep as they seem vapid. Even if what they say doesn’t make sense to me, I can feel their unwavering belief in it. They care about each other, dysfunctionally but so honestly.
AnnaSophia Robb as Carrie Bradshaw
The Carrie Diaries – The CW – Jan 14
Remember when Ringer looked promising? The CW hasn’t had a great track record with fun and interesting concepts. Still, they’ve kept me holding on with the work that’s been done on shows like Supernatural and the newer Arrow. The Carrie Diaries can piggyback off of Gossip Girl’s end and bring us a new young girl rushing towards her destiny and desires in the big city. AnnaSophia Robb plays a teenage Carrie Bradshaw just as she starts chasing her fashion dreams while also dealing with school and guys and girlfriends. It may not be as saucy as its adult counterpart, but it could be adorable and plucky and a lot of fun to watch one of my favorite characters grow up.
American Idol – FOX – Jan 16
I don’t have much to say about this choice. American Idol is going on 12 seasons, and if you’ve been breathing during the last decade, you know a ton about the reality gem’s winners and losers and judging panel hiring and firing even if you’ve never watched it. But I’m just so excited to see what Mariah Carey and Nicki Minaj are going to do. I am equally annoyed by these divas as I am in awe of their musical talents. Most of all, I totally love a girl fight!
The Following – FOX – Jan 21
Kevin Bacon! On TV! Can you imagine the number Seven Degrees you could play in just one episode?! All kidding aside, I want to see a show really go for the gut of its viewers, and The Following promises to be gritty and violent and dark. Bacon stars as Ryan Hardy, an ex-FBI agent called back to help catch Joe Carroll (James Purefoy), a serial killer of over 10 female college students. The critics have already hyped the show up, so all I can hope is that they keep it focused on the mad mind of a monster and the sharp mind of the only man who has ever caught him and don’t make me wish it was broadcast on a cable network.
There’s a lot to look forward to now that we’ve left last year behind. I’m sure you can think of some shows that you will or already love, so please, sound off below. And check out some of the shows and their debut dates that almost made the cut.
- Pretty Little Liars (1/8)
- The Joe Schmo Show (1/8)
- Lost Girl (1/14)
- Being Human (1/14)
- Suits (1/17)
- Body of Proof (2/5)
- Zero Hour (2/14)
- Game of Thrones (3/31)
Images courtesy of David Giesbrecht/NBC and the CW.