NBC; E! Network; HBO
NBC; E! Network; HBO
Baby, it's cold outside, and that means it's the perfect time for a lot of TV watchin'! So which new series and new seasons are worth your time in the coming weeks? We're running down the best of this season's winter TV premieres, starting with numbers 10 through six:
10. Friday Night Lights (DirecTV 101 & NBC): We're not going to stop talking about this show until, well, they turn the lights out. (The last half of this season returns to DirecTV 101 on Jan. 5 and the full final season premieres on NBC later in the spring.) Season five shines a spotlight on Vince's (Michael B. Jordan) leadership of the East Dillon Lions and Coach Taylor's (Kyle Chandler) push toward another state championship. Sadly, leading the Lions is a lot like herding teenage cats—the stars undermine the team for their own benefit, and the struggling kids can't get on top of their personal problems long enough to succeed on the field. Will the Lions take home a trophy? Will Riggs (Taylor Kitsch) ever get out of jail? We're begging you, for the last time ever (sniff), tune in and find out. Please?
9. Off the Map (ABC): If you were to marry Lost and Grey's Anatomy, two of ABC's greatest successes of the past decade, the resultant offspring would be the new drama Off the Map. Combining Lost's tropical splendor with Grey's' fool-proof medical soap structure, Off the Map is a veritable TV paradise of pretty people with major problems, both medical and personal. To make it even more irresistible, Grey's boss Shonda Rhimes is an executive producer (OTM show runner Betsy Beers is also a Grey's alum), and they've stocked the cast with beloved TV faves like Friday Night Lights' Zach Gilford and Wonderfalls' Caroline Dhavernas. If you liked either Lost or Grey's, definitely take a look at Map.
David Moir/USA Network
8. Fairly Legal (USA) and Harry's Law (NBC): Welcome to the courtroom drama's post-Law & Order-era. Unlike the L&O view of the legal system, which values the system above all else, Sarah Shahi's Kate on Fairly Legal and Kathy Bates' Harriet on Harry's Law value justice over the rule of law (the system doesn't necessarily always convict the guilty or defend the helpless the way it ought), so these two crusaders go about delivering that justice in their own idiosyncratic ways. The method employed Shahi's Kate is a wily combination of flirtation and formal mediation—she helps people talk through their problems rather than clogging the legal system with endless briefs—while Bates' Harriet represents her indigent clients in court using the tricks she picked up when she was a highly paid patent lawyer. Both broads are smart and funny, and both series are brightly written and well-stocked with charming supporting characters. (Gerald McRaney and BSG's Michael Trucco stand out on Legal, Brittany Snow and Rob Corddry are both fab over on Law.) In short, if you're looking for a new legal lady in your life, Kate, Harry or both will serve you quite well, thank you very much.
8. Kourtney and Kim Take New York (E!): As two of our favorite Kardashians hit the Big Apple to establish another Dash boutique; Scott Disick gets into a bar brawl (sort of) and buys a Rolls Royce (oh Scott); and Kim celebrates the big three-oh in Las Vegas with a "30 by 30" bucket list. Will the girls achieve their goals? Will sometime-bad-boy Scott stay on the straight and narrow? Watch starting Jan. 23 and see for yourself!
6. Big Love (HBO): Anybody else remember that way back when Big Love premiered, it seemed like a show about uptight, god-fearing Utah polygamists might not be a good fit for a premium cable network known for sex and violence? Little did we know then how twisted Bill Henrickson's (Bill Paxton) world could be, what with triple connubial bliss and a long-running war with the compound crazies who begat him in the first place. It's all coming to an end this season, and we're told to expect nothing less than a polygamist apocalypse. Look for a veritable zoo of Utah subcultures to parade through the show this season, along with a few of Bill's enraged customers, friends, family and neighbors. We've also heard tell of a shocking twist for Alby's (Matt Ross) immediate family when he returns from exile for a purifying purge of Juniper Creek. Also look for the return of fan faves Ana (Branka Katic) and Heather (Tina Majorino), the latter of whom might just be shedding her lesbian tendencies for a romance with Douglas Smith's Ben. What?!