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Finally, Relief

Posted by Matthew Gilbert  January 6, 2009 04:14 AM

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What a TV dead zone the past few weeks have been, no? There has not been a lot to watch, to say the least. When you're digging up "Leverage" and "Numb3rs" on demand and scanning Barbra Streisand's expressions on "The Kennedy Center Honors" for subtext, you know you're scraping the bottom.

But Happy New Year, friends. A whole bunch of good shows are returning in the next month or two, so your DVR won't be feeling so lonely and unneeded. Here's a short list of highlights:

"Scrubs": Tonight (Tues.) at 9 on ABC.
"Nip/Tuck": Tonight (Tues.) at 10 on FX.
"Damages": Tomorrow (Wed.) at 10 on FX.
"American Idol": Jan. 13 at 8 on Fox.
"Friday Night Lights": Jan. 16 at 9 on NBC.
"Battlestar Galactica": Jan. 16 at 10 on Sci Fi.
"Big Love": Jan. 18 at 9 on HBO.
"Flight of the Conchords": Jan. 18 at 10 on HBO.
"Lost": Jan. 21 at 9 on ABC.
"Burn Notice": Jan. 22 at 10 on USA.
"The Closer": Jan. 26 at 9 on TNT, for 5 episodes.
"Medium": Feb. 2 at 10 on NBC.

And there are promising new series on the way, too, including:

tonic.jpg"The United States of Tara" is Showtime's strange new comedy (is that phrase becoming redundant?) about a suburban mother with multiple personalites. Executive produced by Steven Spielberg and written by Diablo Cody ("Juno"), the series actually works on its own unique terms. Toni Collette steals the show. Jan. 18 at 10 on Showtime.

timr.jpg"Lie to Me" features yet another Brit on American TV -- Tim Roth -- as a crime investigator who is a kind of human lie detector. He can read people's facial tics and body language and determine whether or not they are telling the truth. Based on the premiere, this one has potential. Jan. 21 at 9 on Fox.

tomc.jpg"Trust Me" is an advertising drama, but it's not at all like "Mad Men." The series is lighter and contemporary, and it brings back Tom Cavanagh from "Ed" and Eric McCormack from "Will & Grace." It may be a little too cute for its own good; but we'll see. Jan. 26 at 10 on TNT.

Also new and due in the next month: Joss Whedon's "Dollhouse" (Feb. 13 on Fox) and Patrick Swayze in "The Beast" (Jan. 15 on A&E).

What are you looking forward to?

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39 comments so far...
  1. Psych starts on USA this Friday too! Sophomoric? Maybe. Silly, light and funny? Definitely!

    Posted by Redheaded wonder January 6, 09 07:50 AM
  1. Breaking Bad is coming back, too!

    Posted by johnnytwotimes January 6, 09 08:17 AM
  1. Burn Notice, like most USA originals, has a few new episodes coming later this month.

    Posted by thepassenger January 6, 09 08:25 AM
  1. Friday Night Lights is the best show on TV. Acting is great. Stories (for the most part) are real. The critics ignore it, which means it must be good.

    Posted by SMan January 6, 09 08:29 AM
  1. Yes, Burn Notice... I love that show. I've added to the list above. (Breaking Bad isn't due until March, and I'm trying to stick to Jan-Feb).
    Matthew Gilbert

    Posted by Matthew Gilbert January 6, 09 08:32 AM
  1. 24 returns this Sunday evening!!!!!!

    Posted by joeybl January 6, 09 08:42 AM
  1. Life on mars!

    Posted by Mel January 6, 09 08:56 AM
  1. Sarah Connor!

    Posted by Mark January 6, 09 09:06 AM
  1. Breaking Bad in AMC in March!

    Posted by MadMags January 6, 09 09:10 AM
  1. 24!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Posted by Dan January 6, 09 09:29 AM
  1. ``Flashpoint'' returns on Friday night. It's a terrific show and Enrico Colantoni is a great actor although I still miss ``Veronica Mars''!

    Posted by Nancy Burrell January 6, 09 09:32 AM
  1. Thank you ABC -- for saving Scrubs. One of the funniest, most original comedies ever on TV!

    Posted by IM4Quality January 6, 09 09:42 AM
  1. without a doubt, DAMAGES! Glenn Close and Rose Byrne gave us two smart, sexy, powerful women. The plots/episodes were complex, the storytelling style used was perfect for the show (slowly peeling back the layers of the mystery), and just when you think you had it all figured out, the final episode shocked you about 6 different ways. The first season's tagline was 'Trust No One', and it was the best advice for the viewer.

    Posted by ron thibodeau January 6, 09 09:54 AM
  1. Why no mention of 24 returning this Sunday? That's what I'm looking forward to the most!

    Posted by Brad January 6, 09 10:23 AM
  1. Poor Pushing Daisies. The most creative and entertaining show on network TV in years is being pushed aside.

    Posted by Han January 6, 09 10:29 AM
  1. Pysch!!!

    Posted by Joy January 6, 09 10:48 AM
  1. Looking forward to Psych and the last season of Monk!

    Are there dates yet for How I Met Your Mother (love it!) and Bones?

    Posted by Zainab January 6, 09 11:01 AM
  1. Yay for Psych and Monk!

    Posted by jeannie January 6, 09 11:05 AM
  1. Psych, Monk, and Scrubs :D

    Posted by sabend January 6, 09 11:05 AM
  1. I am so excited for Nip/Tuck, and this Thursday ER!!!!!

    Posted by lovestv January 6, 09 11:21 AM
  1. Another AMEN to ABC for bringing back Scrubs, god I love that show.

    Posted by Teresa January 6, 09 11:24 AM
  1. I am most looking forward to Lost, Friday Night Lights and Battlestar Galactica.
    The last couple of weeks have been awful. Except for Leverage and reruns of No Reservations - there has been NOTHING on TV. As for new shows I am curious about Lie to Me because I like Tom Cavanaugh and United States of Tara just because it looks kinda interesting.

    Posted by Tracy January 6, 09 11:52 AM
  1. Courtney Cox replacing Dr Kelso on Scrubs might turn out to be the biggest miscasting of the year. I don't see how she replaces the role and might have to turn out to be more of a "Friend" to the characters.

    Not real happy about that.

    Posted by Doug January 6, 09 12:00 PM
  1. Friday Night Lights is an over the top melodrama. From what I have heard of the new episodes (which have already aired on direct TV) is that these episodes are even more over the top and scattered than previous seasons. They let kids miss school for weeks at a time and not be punished.

    The previous poor town is all of a sudden too big for one school.

    It is a waste of time and deserved to be canceled. Is Lila a good christian girl like in season 2 or a sex crazed teen as in season 1? Well don't look for any mention of her christian ways as they are ignored as she returns to he sexing it up ways!

    Posted by Doug January 6, 09 12:03 PM
  1. MONK! can't wait for this Friday and a new episode

    Posted by mg January 6, 09 12:03 PM
  1. I can't believe you forgot about the greatest series of all "24" which is back this Sunday on FOX.

    Posted by JCR January 6, 09 12:17 PM
  1. The 24 movie was on in November. I was trying to stick to mentioning shows that haven't been around since last season. But yeah, 24.


    Posted by Matthew Gilbert January 6, 09 12:30 PM
  1. So glad 'Scrubs' is back! The diatribe's delivered by Dr. Cox, and subsequently derailed by Jordan, have been sorely missed! One more time, from the top!

    Posted by Snibs January 6, 09 12:30 PM
  1. 24, House, ER, Nip/Tuck, Smallville, Dollhouse (Feb), Sarah Connor (Feb), 90210, and all 3 Law & Order shows.

    Posted by Jerry January 6, 09 12:48 PM
  1. I'm looking forward to a reality series where we can lynch the ABC execs who kill all the great shows like "Pushing Daisies" and "Eli Stone".

    Posted by JimRice4HOF January 6, 09 12:54 PM
  1. Charles in Charge baby!!!

    Posted by bill January 6, 09 01:08 PM
  1. Hooray Lost & Life! And welcome back to the Raj/Barney/Alan trifecta on CBS Mondays. RIP Pushing Daisies- we hardely knew ye. You will be missed

    Posted by mynameisbob January 6, 09 01:16 PM
  1. Life, Lost, Scrubs, Friday Night Lights - all the best. Hope Life doesn't go the way of Pushing Daisies, which was good!

    Posted by tvgal January 6, 09 02:25 PM
  1. Dr House on FOX, starting Monday, don't like Courtney Cox, never have never will

    Posted by Prof Dumbledore January 6, 09 02:44 PM
  1. LOST and Burn Notice - AWESOME SHOWS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Posted by mom2kids January 6, 09 03:18 PM
  1. LOST.......need I say any more? It's already written on my calendar - in ink

    Posted by Robyn January 6, 09 03:30 PM
  1. Lost - only 15 days and 3 hours to go!

    Also, I'm hoping that IMDB has its information correct and HBO's "The Pacific" will finally see the light of day this year.

    Posted by Toeknee January 6, 09 04:59 PM
  1. 24, Lost Damages Oh Yeah!

    ...Battlestar Galactica is sooo 2006.

    Posted by MiloT January 6, 09 07:32 PM
  1. BS-frakking-G!!

    Posted by Ambrose Chapel January 7, 09 06:37 AM

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