Did you have a relaxing break? Good, because January TV is upon us and there’s a surprising amount of it!
Let’s bitch it out…
It’s a new year, so let’s do things a little differently for 2017, shall we? Rather than focus on three categories (New & Notable, Returning Favourites and Guilty Pleasures), let’s dial down into the Top Picks for the month: New, Returning and Wild Card (the show that could fall into either category, but could flame out just as easily). As a reminder, the list only contains scripted series and I’ll be watching shows marked with an asterix (*).
Top Pick: New
The Young Pope S1* (Jan 15 – PBS): Also known as “sexy Jude Law Pope”. This Sky Atlantic, Canal +, HBO collaboration debuted in the UK back in October and a second series has already been commissioned. Early reviews indicate that the series is “stunning, thoughtful and visually arresting” (The Guardian) and “very good news for Jude Law, who hasn’t had an intelligently meaty role like this for some time, and he delivers the goods” (Variety) so it’s definitely one to watch out for.
- Runners up: Tom Hardy returns to TV with historical miniseries Taboo (Jan 10), NPH debuts his take on Count Olaf in A Series of Unfortunate Events (Jan 13) and Christinas Ricci finds a worthy role as Zelda Fitzgerald in Z: The Beginning of Everything (Jan 27)
Top Pick: Returning
Outsiders S2* (Jan 24 – WGN America): This series just landed in the tenth spot on my Best of 2016 list so now is the perfect time to catch up before S2 begins. As I said in my description a few days ago, this is basically my new Justified: a series set in the Appalachians featuring two warring factions. Here it is the Farrell clan, an inter-generational mountain people who have their own government and rules VS the townsfolk (and big mining company) below who can only see the mountain for its financial worth. The first season explored the conflict within the Farrells as well as outside as their way of life was threatened by modernity, by the return of Joe Anderson’s outcast, Asa Farrell, and by David Morse’s Big Foster, whose ego threatens to destroy the clan. S2 looks to escalate things further and the results are guaranteed to be explosive.
- Runners up: Grimm finishes its run with S6 (Jan 6) while Colony returns for S2 (Jan 12) as do The Magicians and The Path (both Jan 25)
Riverdale S1* (Jan 26 – The CW): 75 years after Archie Comics started its run, The CW debuts Riverdale, a “sexy, gritty, Twin Peaks-inspired” take on the classic characters. Everyone’s favourite dopey redhead, his blonde and brunette paramours, asexual always-hungry friend and all of the others are accounted for…but the tone is decidedly one fixated on mystery, death and secrets (hence the Twin Peaks reference). Whether or not this lends the new series an edge in a world of 400+ series, or over-complicates an otherwise enjoyable teen series remains to be seen. Riverdale is an easy pick for the Wild Card slot for January 2017.
- Runners up: Will NBC’s long delayed dystopian take on The Wizard of Oz, Emerald City, be worth the wait (Jan 6)? Can Sherlock S4 (Jan 1) bounce back after the abysmal failure of The Abominable Bride? And is Scandal still relevant in a Trump world (Jan 19)?
Full List of New and Returning Series – January 2017
Sunday, Jan 1:
- The Mick S1 (FOX – 8pm EST): The Mick follows Mackenzie a brash, two-bit hustler from Rhode Island who must assume guardianship of her sister’s three high-maintenance children.
- Ransom S1 (CBS – 8:30pm EST): Top crisis and hostage negotiator Eric Beaumont uses his insight into human behavior to resolve the most difficult kidnap and ransom cases. (Moves to Saturdays at 8pm EST beginning Jan 7)
- Sherlock S4* (PBS – 9pm EST): The fourth season features Toby Jones as a new villain.
- Conviction S1 (ABC – 10pm EST) – New timeslot
Monday, Jan 2:
- Shadowhunters S2 (Freeform – 8pm EST): Only hours have passed since Jace left with Valentine and all hell has broken loose at The Institute. Alec, Isabelle and Clary are desperate to find Jace, but are quickly stopped in their tracks with the arrival of Victor Aldertree, who means business about getting the Institute back on track. But getting the New York Shadowhunters in-line with The Clave may be counterintuitive to Alec, Isabelle and Clary’s plan to rescue Jace.
- Beyond S1 (Freeform – 9pm EST): A young man wakes up from a coma after 12 years and discovers new supernatural abilities that propel him into the middle of a dangerous conspiracy (All episodes available today via Hulu, 1 episode airs per week on Freeform)
Tuesday, Jan 3:
- New Girl S6 (FOX – 8pm EST): The sixth season of ensemble comedy NEW GIRL continues to follow Jess (Zooey Deschanel) and the gang as they attempt to find their respective places in the world, while begrudgingly accepting the responsibilities of adulthood – from marriage to career advancement – with often hilarious results (New timeslot)
- Bones S12 (FOX – 9pm EST): Zack is back and the end is near for the long running FOX procedural (Final season)
Wednesday, Jan 4:
- It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia S12 (FXX – 10pm EST): This season, the gang goes to a waterpark, deals with a Wolf Cola PR nightmare, and actually spends a whole day tending bar!
- Man Seeking Woman S3 (FXX – 10:30pm EST): Josh Greenberg (Jay Baruchel) has battled a lot in his quest for love, but this season of Man Seeking Woman will see him face his toughest challenge yet – a serious, long-term relationship. In order to make it, Josh and his new love will have to work together and learn to live as a team.
Thursday, Jan 5:
- Nashville S5 (CMT – 9pm EST): The revived series moves from ABC to CMT for its 5th season. Much of the cast (including Hayden Panettiere) will return, though Will Chase and Aubrey Peeples will no longer be part of the show, and Connie Britton will appear in just 10 of the 22 episodes before exiting the series.
- Portlandia S7 (IFC – 10pm EST): Season 7 guests include Abbi Jacobson, Maria Bamford, Run the Jewels, The B-52s, Andy Richter, Tim Heidecker, Rachel Dratch, and Laurie Metcalf (plus returning guests such as Steve Buscemi, Kyle MacLachlan, Mitch Hurwitz, Natasha Lyonne, and Kumail Nanjiani).
Friday, Jan 6:
- One Day at a Time S1 (Netflix – 3am EST): When no one else is there to tell you you’re wrong, there’s always family. Nobody puts the love in tough love quite like the Alvarez family. One Day at a Time is a new show from legendary producer Norman Lear. (All episodes are available today)
- Grimm S6* (NBC – 8pm EST): NBC’s long running supernatural procedural runs out the clock with a final 13 episode season that will undoubtedly feature Nick (David Giuntoli) fighting Renard (Sasha Roiz), a new mid-season villain and a baby for Rosalee (Bree Turner) and Monroe (Silas Weir Mitchell). For additional scoop, check out TVLine‘s preview and look for the return of my weekly reviews every Saturday (that’s right, I’m coming out of retirement to cover the final season!)
- Emerald City S1* (NBC – 9pm EST): Swept up into the eye of a tornado, 20-year-old Dorothy Gale (Adria Arjona) is transported to another world – a mystical land in great peril, where an all-powerful wizard has forbidden magic and rules over many kingdoms. This is the fabled Land of Oz in a way you’ve never seen it before, where lethal warriors roam, wicked witches plot in the shadows and a young girl from Kansas becomes a headstrong heroine who holds the fate of their world in her hands.
- Sleepy Hollow S4 (FOX – 9pm EST): In the Season Four premiere of Sleepy Hollow, Crane and Jenny begin to navigate life following the unexpected death of Abbie Mills. When he finds himself in a the nation’s capital, Crane must forge unlikely partnerships in his quest to find the next Witness, as he discovers that there is more evil at play than he realized was possible.
Tuesday, Jan 10:
- Taboo S1* (FX – 10pm EST): The eight-episode miniseries is about an adventurer who returns to Britain from Africa along with fourteen stolen diamonds to seek vengeance after the death of his father.
Wednesday, Jan 11:
- Schitt’s Creek S3 (Pop – 8pm EST): Season 3 will find the Roses at a crossroads between longing for the life of extreme wealth and extravagance they left behind and embracing the ho-hum, make-shift but lovable town they’ve reluctantly come to call home.
- Girlfriend’s Guide to Divorce S3 (Bravo – 10pm EST): This season, the women deal with redefining themselves while experiencing significant changes in their personal and professional lives. A few of the highlights — Abby struggles to revamp her image and figure out what’s next after her meeting with SheShe goes awry. With her ex Jake (Paul Adelstein) handling finances, Abby switches gears to try her hand at romance novels and finds inspiration from her son’s enigmatic baseball coach, Mike (James Lesure). After being left at the altar, Delia (Necar Zadegan) questions if she is marriage material and focuses her attention on getting her career back on track.
- Workaholics S7 (Comedy – 10pm EST) – Final season
Thursday, Jan 12:
- Colony S2* (USA – 10pm EST): Colony returns for Season 2 when mysterious intruders are still in control of a near-future Los Angeles. In an effort to get their son back, Will (Josh Holloway) has been cooperating with the Collaborators and now knows about his wife Katie’s (Sarah Wayne Callies) alliance with the Resistance. With her secret out, and now finding themselves on opposite sides of the battle, have they jeopardized any hope reuniting their family?
Friday, Jan 13:
- Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events S1* (Netflix – 3am EST): Based on the internationally best-selling series of books by Lemony Snicket (aka Daniel Handler) and starring Emmy and Tony Award winner Neil Patrick Harris, A Series of Unfortunate Events recounts the tragic tale of the Baudelaire orphans — Violet, Klaus, and Sunny – whose evil guardian Count Olaf will stop at nothing to get his hands on their inheritance. The siblings must outsmart Olaf at every turn, foiling his many devious plans and disguises, in order to discover clues to their parents’ mysterious death. (All episodes are available today)
- Sneaky Pete S1 (Amazon – 12am EST): From Executive Producers David Shore and Bryan Cranston, Sneaky Pete revolves around a con-man (Giovanni Ribisi) who, after leaving prison, takes cover from his past by assuming the identity of his cellmate, Pete. He moves in with Pete’s unsuspecting family and is roped into the family’s bail bond business. In order to keep the charade up, he plays the part of a skip tracer, taking down criminals worse than himself—and discovering a family life he’s never had. (All episodes are available today)
Sunday, Jan 15:
- Homeland S6 (Showtime – 9pm EST): Several months after she thwarted a terrorist attack in Berlin, Carrie Mathison is living in New York where she’s begun working to provide aid to Muslims living in the U.S. (Premiere already online)
- Victoria S1* (PBS – 9pm EST): The eight-hour drama follows Victoria (Jenna Coleman) from the time she becomes Queen in 1837 at the age of 18 through her relationship with Lord Melbourne (Rufus Sewell), her first prime minister and intimate friend, and her courtship and marriage to Prince Albert (Tom Hughes). Famous for her candor and spirit, she was the first woman who seemed to have it all: a passionate marriage, nine children and the job of being queen of the world’s most important nation. Her often tumultuous reign lasted for 63 years.
- The Young Pope S1* (HBO – 9pm EST): Lenny Belardo is no ordinary Pope. He is the youngest and first American Pope in history. We find him on the morning of his first day in office, preparing to enter into the power struggles inside the closed, secretive Vatican state.
Tuesday, Jan 17:
- Teachers S2 (TVLand – 10pm EST): Teachers follows six elementary school teachers as they try to mold young minds, even though their own lives aren’t really together. The comedy is based off of the web series created by the Katydids and is executive produced by Alison Brie, Ian Roberts and Jay Martel.
Wednesday, Jan 18:
- SIX S1 (History – 10pm EST): SIX follows Navy SEAL Team Six, the best of the best, whose 2014 mission to eliminate a Taliban leader in Afghanistan goes awry when they uncover a U.S. citizen working as a jihadist fighter with the terrorists.
Thursday, Jan 19:
- Grey’s Anatomy S13B (ABC – 8pm EST)
- Scandal S6 (ABC – 9pm EST): The presidential election results are in: will it be Mellie (Bellamy Young) and Jake Ballard (Scott Foley) or Frankie Vargas (Ricardo Chavira) and Cyrus (Jeff Perry)?
- How To Get Away With Murder S3B (ABC – 10pm EST): The midseason revealed the body under the sheet was Wes (Alfred Enoch) and that he was dead before the house fire. Expect the back half of the season to identify his murderer.
- Baskets S2 (FX – 10pm EST): Chip Baskets (Zach Galifianakis) wants to follow his dream of being a French clown, but reality keeps interfering. The Baskets family is at its most fragile. After losing his wife and rodeo job, Chip jumps on a train to get out of Bakersfield, but a gang of gutter punks, the police and an unexpected tragedy drag him back into the drama he tried to escape.
Friday, Jan 20:
- Frontier S1 (Netflix – 3am EST): The series follows Declan Harp (Jason Momoa), a part-Irish, part-native American outlaw who is campaigning to breach the Hudson’s Bay Company’s monopoly on the fur trade in Canada (All episodes are available today)
Sunday, Jan 22:
- Mercy Street S2 (PBS – 8pm EST): Allegiances blur and loyalties shift as the war pushes the drama beyond the hospital. Follow the growing chaos at Alexandria’s Mansion House, the precarious position of the Green family and the changing situation of the burgeoning black population.
Monday, Jan 23:
- Quantico S2B (ABC – 10pm EST): New timeslot
Tuesday, Jan 24:
- Legends of Tomorrow S2B (The CW- 9pm EST) – New timeslot
- Outsiders S2* (WGN America – 10pm EST): Set in the fictional town of Blackburg, Crockett County, Kentucky, the series tells the story of the Farrell clan and their struggle for power and control in the hills of Appalachia.
Wednesday, Jan 25:
- The Path S2* (Hulu – 12am EST): The Path follows a family at the center of a controversial cult movement as they struggle with relationships, faith and power. Each episode takes an in-depth look at the gravitational pull of belief and what it means to choose between the life we live and the life we want. (2 episodes debut today, followed by 1 each week)
- The Magicians S2* (Syfy – 9pm EST): Jason Ralph stars as Quentin Coldwater, a brilliant grad student who enrolls in Brakebills College for Magical Pedagogy, a secret upstate New York university specializing in magic. He and his 20-something friends soon discover that the magical fantasy world they read about as children is all too real— and poses grave danger to humanity.
Thursday, Jan 26:
- Supernatural S12B (The CW – 8pm EST)
- Riverdale S1* (The CW – 9pm EST): As a new school year begins, the town of Riverdale is reeling from the recent, tragic death of high school golden boy Jason Blossom — and nothing feels the same. Welcome to a town where everything is perfect, but nothing is as it seems.
Friday, Jan 27:
- Z: The Beginning of Everything S1* (Amazon – 12am EST): Z: The Beginning of Everything is a bio-series of the life of Zelda Sayre Fitzgerald, Southern Belle turned flapper, writer and icon of modern feminism. (All episode debut today)
Sunday, Jan 29:
- Black Sails S4 (STARZ – 9pm EST): In the wake of Charles Town, the world lives in fear of Captain Flint. But when his campaign of terror crosses over into madness, it falls to John Silver to locate the man within the monster. Meanwhile, with Eleanor Guthrie gone, Jack Rackham and Captain Charles Vane struggle to secure Nassau for the ages. All will be tested when a new threat arrives. It knows them. It understands them. And in the blink of an eye, it will turn them against each other (Final season)
Tuesday, Jan 31:
- The Fosters S3B (Freeform – 8pm EST): Former foster teen Callie is now officially adopted into the Adams Foster family. She must put aside any romantic feelings for Brandon and does so by throwing herself into her website, even drawing the interest of an investor. After his performance at Disney Hall, Brandon focuses his energy on his music, working with Mat on a musical for their senior project. Mariana’s relationship with Mat is still estranged, so she turns her attention toward running for junior class president. Jesus makes a friend who is into street racing and, at his prompting, questions Ana about his biological father. When Mike discovers a secret that his foster son AJ is keeping, he is torn about what to do with the information. Jude must face the fact that his boyfriend has decided to move away while a serious medical issue for Stef results in a clash of opinions between her wife, Lena, and her mother, Sharon.
- Switched at Birth S5 (Freeform – 9pm EST): The final season will include the topical issue of campus race relations — culminating with an episode told from the perspective of several African-American characters — and the milestone 100th episode of the series.
Whew! That’s it for January. What’s on your scorecard? Check back in February for another month’s worth of fun and be sure to keep an eye out for Grimm reviews starting Sat, January 7.
Descriptions provided by Metacritic.com & YouTube