The Following (FOX)
Kevin Bacon heads into small screen drama on Fox’s new series, The Following, from showrunner Kevin Williamson (The Vampire Diaries). The show focuses on Joe Carroll (James Purefoy), a University professor and Edgar Allan Poe aficionado turned serial killer. Years prior, Carroll went on a killing spree, that eventually came to a close thanks to agent Ryan Hardy (Bacon). The pilot begins with Carroll’s “return” to society. He’s ready to start his living masterpiece of death and Hardy is his muse.
This crime drama may feel familiar at first, but a few unique twists will have you anxious to see what’s next. After watching the Pilot last summer, I’ve been eagerly awaiting the premiere. Bacon and Purefoy have a compelling symbiotic relationship that could become Fox’s next big drama.
Premieres: Monday, January 21 at 9/8C
The Americans (FX)
You know how US TV always turns Russians into terrorists? Well, prepare to feel a hint of sorrow for two Russians sleeper agents turned real Americans in FX’s latest hour-long drama. The Americans stars Keri Russell and Matthew Rhys as Elizabeth and Philip Jennings, two seemingly ordinary American parents. They have two kids and a house with a white-picket fence. It would be the American dream, if only they were Americans.
The series jumps back-and-forth between the present, the 80s Reagan years, and the 60s, where Philip and Elizabeth were trained to be KGB operatives. While the small bits of action sequences could use an upgrade, the series is all about the internal struggle of this seemingly normal American family. Philip and Elizabeth have been living in America for almost 20 years, as such they have become the people they once were only pretending to be. They remain loyal to their mother Russia (they even call it the Motherland), but their children have been raised American. When FBI agent Stan Beeman (Noah Emmerich) moves in next door, the couple must decide where their true allegiances lie.
Although the Pilot started with a cluttered action sequence, I was full invested in this new series about twenty minutes in. Russell and Rhys do an amazing job as two conflicted spies, torn between family and country. There are also some comedic moments in Episode 2, “The Clock,” as well as spy cos-play throughout.
Premieres: Wednesday, January 30 at 10PM
Zero Hour (ABC)
The latest ABC drama blends religion with science fiction, without the Lost confusion. This new religious conspiracy starts off in Nazi Germany. You won’t really understand what’s going on until much later in the Pilot, especially since the babies look like they were ripped out of V.
The premiere jumps back-and-forth between the present and 1938 Germany as a new mystery comes to light surrounding the 12 Apostles and the fate of the world.
Similar to Alcatraz, the success of this show will depend on how fast secrets come to light and if you buy into the premise. ER star Anthony Edwards is at the center of the mystery, as the head of a skeptics magazine. Edwards will keep you watching the Pilot, while you’re racking your brain trying to figure out what’s so damn important about a clock. Don’t worry, it all comes together and the payoff will keep you tuned in for at least Episode 2. There are dull patches of Greek humor from Scott Michael Foster, recently on Californication, but it doesn’t take away too much from the drama.
Premieres: Thursday, February 14 at 8/7C
FX is quickly taking the crown for edgy cable comedies. Legit, starring Australian comic Jim Jefferies, joins FX’s cavalcade of wrongful humor, which includes: The League, Wilfred and the Emmy Award winning Louie.
Legit is an outlandish take on Jim’s life as a standup comic. Struggling to “make-it”, he wonders if he should go Legit. The pilot is filled with drug, booze and prostitution humor and a few laughs over single fatherhood. But, that’s not all. In the vein of Curb Your Enthusiasm star Larry David, Jim fancies himself a good person but his personal ideologies are often misguided and ethically obtuse. Jim’s crew includes Steve Nugent (Dan Bakkedahl, The Daily Show, 30 Rock) and Steve’s younger brother Billy (DJ Qualls, Supernatural), the latter of which suffers from advanced Muscular Dystrophy.
Needless to say, Billy’s sickness becomes a key springboard for humor throughout the series, as Jim tries to “do right” and “help” Billy live a full life.
Premieres: Thursday, January 17 at 10:30PM
In 2013, Cinemax adds Banshee to its roster of series, which currently features Strike Back and Hunted. If you haven’t checked out Strike Back yet, you really should. When it comes to action, it’s one of the best series on TV.
Banshee stars Antony Starr as Lucas Hood, an ex-con who assumes the role of sheriff of Banshee, Pennsylvania. Don’t worry, he’s not a bad guy, trying to do good. He’s just a con trying to hide out from the gangsters who want him dead, while earning a decent living as a crooked thief (can you be a crooked thief?). Imagine Raylan Givens on Justified, except this guy didn’t go into service for the US Marshal’s office.
Premieres: Friday, January 11 at 10PM
Also of note…
The Carrie Diaries (CW)
Typically, CW shows start off with bland pilots and take some time before they eventually pick up. While The Carrie Diaries won’t have nearly as much “raunch” as its big sister, Sex and the City, it will surely garner the attention of fans of Candace Bushnell fans. It’s not on my list of “must-see” TV, but those die-hard fans will want to check it out. Just don’t expect the HBO level drama. Carrie Bradshaw has been watered down and put on rinse.
Premieres: Monday, January 14 at 8/7C