10 Midseason TV Shows Worth Watching
(NEW YORK) -- For now, it's holiday specials galore, punctuated by re-runs and more stuff you've probably already seen (Christmas with the Kranks? No, thanks.)
Look forward to January and February, when a slew of new series will make their mid-season premieres, or, in some cases, continue after a lengthy hiatus.
Here are some shows to catch up on over the holidays and DVR in the new year.
For a fun, guilty pleasure.
Revenge and Pretty Little Liars. No new drama on broadcast TV has corralled as much of a fan following as Revenge, ABC's show about an innocent-looking schemer trying to avenge her father's tarnished name and death by wiping out just about everyone in the Hamptons. Critics are loving it too -- Madeline Stowe, who plays the nemesis of a bitter Emily Thorne, scored a Golden Globe nomination. They get back to plotting on Jan. 4.
Over on ABC Family, Pretty Little Liars begins the second half of season two on Jan. 2. Part Gossip Girl, part Beverly Hills, 90210, the series about a group of genetically blessed high school girls and the mysterious text messages they receive draws you in but doesn't take itself too seriously. It's frothy fun for the whole family.
For all-out laughs.
30 Rock and Eastbound and Down. After a longer-than-usual break (owing to star, creator and executive producer Tina Fey's new baby), 30 Rock comes back to TV on Jan. 12. The sixth season of the NBC cult favorite features a new boyfriend (James Mardsen) for the unlucky-in-love Liz Lemon and per usual, a roster of A-list guest stars, including Kelsey Grammer and Denise Richards.
Eastbound and Down, the hilariously dark series about a washed-up MLB pitcher and his questionable cast of characters, returns to HBO for its third (and final) season on Feb. 19. Season two saw Danny McBride's Kenny Powers hustling up cockfights for money in Mexico. Expect similar ridiculousness with the upcoming batch of episodes.
For critically acclaimed fare.
Downton Abbey and Justified. The Emmy-winning period drama Downton Abbey is back for its sophomore season. The show takes place in England around the time of the first World War, where matters of the heart, threat of financial ruin and Jane Austen-esque family entanglements dominate. If you like your wit dry and served with a British accent, this one's for you. Season two starts Jan. 8 on PBS.
FX's Justified also scored an Emmy (best supporting actress, Margo Martindale). The updated take on a cops-and-robbers western with Timothy Olyphant as a stone-faced, Southern-bred, sometimes above-the-law enforcer earned a heap of praise last season. The gang comes back for Justified's third installment on Jan. 17.
For a foodie fix.
The Layover and Bizarre Foods America. Gawk at awesome food while actually (gasp) learning something. In the case of Anthony Bourdain's Layover, you'll find answers to questions like, "Where should I grab lunch when I find myself in Miami for three hours?" Each show finds the No Reservations host in a new city for a day or so, and he always manages to have an enviable time while eating some drollworthy local grub. (We cheated a little here -- you can actually see new episodes through the holidays and into the new year, a welcome break from the yule log you're probably watching right now.)
Andrew Zimmern's leaving the exotic insects alone for the latest season of Bizarre Foods and hitting the road in the good old US of A to uncover little known eccentricities of the American diet. We may not eat crickets but we're pretty interesting in our own right. Series premieres Jan. 23.
For a dose of reality TV drama.
"The Bachelor" and "The Jersey Shore." When you want to revel in someone else's drama instead of your own (and who doesn't after the holidays?) tune into these reality TV staples. The 16th season of "The Bachelor" premieres Jan. 2 on ABC. Expect hopeful eyes, glittery dresses, tearful rose ceremonies and maybe, possibly, love.
Love's not likely to be found on MTV's "Jersey Shore," which starts its fifth season on Jan. 5. But glass-throwing, high-pitched shrieking, and GTL-ing? Check, check and check.
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