Wednesday, Feb. 9 (FX)
Season Premiere: Somewhere during Season 1 of Justified, FX’s excellent extrapolation of Elmore Leonard character Raylan Givens (played by Timothy Olyphant and a righteous Stetson), it became The Raylan & Boyd Show. Not that Olyphant couldn’t carry the series alone, but the promotion of frenemy Boyd Crowder (Walton Goggins) to series regular was genius—what’s a flawed lawman without an even-more-flawed criminal nemesis? Season 2 ties up previous threads quickly and moves into a more long-arc flow, as opposed to Season 1’s Baddie of the Week format—not that there aren’t some serious scumbags lined up. Speaking of U.S. Marshals …
Thursdays (Adult Swim)
New Series: Chris Elliott is back on TV! Well, cable. Well, Adult Swim—but still! In Eagleheart, Elliott stars as Marshal Chris Monsanto, a lawman who plays by his own rules and delivers justice with as much violent punching, kicking and shooting as possible, warranted or not (mostly not). A more ridiculous take on Walker, Texas Ranger? Before Eagleheart, impossible; now, a glorious late-night reality.
Saturday, Feb. 12 (Syfy)
Syfy may have peaked (or jumped the sharktopus) last month with the epic Mega Python vs. Gatoroid, but they’re still cranking out cheap Saturday-night B-flicks like Little Caesar’s pizzas—with extra cheese! (I’m a professional; don’t try this at home). Iron Invader, starring several Syfy/Sci-Fi repertory actors who’ve yet to find work outside of the channel, boasts a perfect three-sentence pitch I wish I’d written: “A meteorite crawling with space bacteria crash lands in a junkyard. The unusual combination of alien bugs and earth garbage brings a huge metalwork to life. The ungrateful Iron Invader then goes on a killing spree.” Damn, “ungrateful”? They’re developing … feelings!
The 53rd Annual Grammy Awards
Sunday, Feb. 13 (CBS)
This is on the down-low, so keep it to yourselves: It’s not actually the Grammys, but an intervention to confront Katy Perry about her out-of-control addiction to appearing on awards shows. If this doesn’t happen before the notoriously humid Muy Caliente Awards on Univision next month, we fear Perry and her two dependents may not live to perform on MTV’s Spring Break 2011. Don’t watch, just pray.
Monday, Feb. 14 (CBS)
Series Debut: First, there was NBC’s Perfect Couples (meh). Then, Fox’s Traffic Light (funny). Now, CBS’s Mad Love—what’s with the rash of couples comedies lately? This one has the advantage of debuting on Valentine’s Day (aww, cute) and a near-perfect cast: Jason Biggs (American Pie), Sarah Chalke (Scrubs), Tyler Labine (Reaper—let’s just forget Sons of Tucson) and Judy Greer (the list is endless; currently, Archer). Unfortunately, it’s also on CBS, which means an annoying laugh track and writing that errs on the dumber side of How I Met Your Mother (or the smarter side of Mike & Molly). One couple (Biggs and Chalke) are in love; their respective best friends (Labine and Greer) hate each other; gooey snuggling and salty-sexy bickering ensue. That’s the show. If you’re actually home on Valentine’s Night, it’s probably all you and your cats need.
Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior
Wednesday, Feb. 16 (CBS)
Series Debut: The Only TV Column That Matters™ is a fan of the original Criminal Minds; it’s more densely plotted and darker than the rest of the CBS forensic-crime fluff it’s lumped in with, and the cast clicks like few others on television—even when they inexplicably dump one blonde (A.J. Cook) and replace her with a younger-model blonde (Rachel Nichols), it still works. So, even though spin-off Suspect Behavior is top-lined by Forest Whitaker(!) and Janeane Garofalo(!!), and CM techie Garcia (Kirsten Vangsness) will be pulling double-duty, I’m … uh, suspect.