Tuesday, Jan. 17 (FX)
Season Premiere: What to know about Season 3 of Justified: U.S. Marshal Raylan Givens (Timothy Olyphant) is watching his back for Bennetts more than ever after the death of family figurehead Mags; girlfriend Winona (Natalie Zea) is pregnant; Boyd (Walton Goggins) is still the worst/best friend to have; Boyd’s gal Ava (Joelle Carter) may or may not have survived that gunshot at the end of last season; and there’s a pickup-load of heavy-hitter guest stars coming to Harlan, Ky., (including Carla Gugino, Neal McDonough, Jere Burns and Dexter’s Desmond Harrington). If none of this makes sense, you need to get Seasons 1 and 2 now, and then come to Brewvies (677 S. 200 West, 21 and over), where True TV will be presenting Justified on the big screen every Tuesday at 8 p.m., free and followed by an encore run of FX’s American Horror Story. You’re welcome.
Thursday, Jan. 12 (CBS)
Series Debut: Since ABC’s Work It has already sewn up the Worst New Sitcom of the Year/Decade/Epoch title, it should be critical smooth sailing for Rob Schneider’s ?Rob!, right? Yeah, probably not: The former Deuce Bigalow stars as a twitchy gringo who marries into a tight-knit Mexican family—so, by TV law, the disapproving patriarch of said family has to be Cheech Marin. At least Work It is aggressively awful; ?Rob! couldn’t be more lifelessly innocuous if it were on TV Land, or on TBS as Tyler Perry’s ?Rob!. There’s nothing here—and yet it’ll still get higher ratings than the return of 30 Rock on NBC tonight. For shame, ’Merica.
Sunday, Jan. 15 (Fox)
Series Debut: Before you ask, “Shouldn’t this have happened seven years ago?”, consider this: Should it have happened at all? This new cartoon take on the 2004 film hit Napoleon Dynamite features all of the original actors’ voices, but also flat artwork and nary a fresh idea. Bring back Bob’s Burgers, already.
Monday, Jan. 16 (Fox)
Series Debut: Over 300 criminals who were supposedly transferred out of Alcatraz prison in 1963 suddenly begin appearing in the present day, un-aged and un-rehabilitated—and only a plays-by-her-own-rules San Francisco cop (Sarah Jones) and an Alcatraz historian (Jorge Garcia) can stop it. Well, them and a phantom-inmate-hunting secret agency housed in a high-tech “Batcave” underneath The Rock. Alcatraz is some heady, twisty stuff to drop midseason, but if it can overcome network audiences’ lame resistance to sci-fi—and cut back on characters gravely intoning “This … is Alcatraz”—it could become the next Lost instead of the next Fringe.
Being Human, Lost Girl
Monday, Jan. 16 (Syfy)
Season Premiere, U.S. Debut: Speaking of lame resistance to sci-fi, it’s a new year at Syfy! Against all expectations, last year’s Americanized remake of the British hit Being Human actually didn’t suck—The Only TV Column That Matters™ still isn’t sold on the vampire, but the ghost and the werewolf are worthy answers to their U.K. counterparts. The real find of Syfy’s newly branded “Powerful Mondays,” however, is Canadian import Lost Girl: An orphaned woman (Anna Silk) not only learns that she’s a human-draining succubus, but there’s an entire underworld of her kind, divided by a hard clan line of good and evil. She chooses to remain a free agent, taking on a human sidekick (Ksenia Solo) and becoming a supernatural private eye of sorts. Despite the been-there setup, Lost Girl’s odd mix of sex, violence, social politics and humor (provided mostly by Solo) suggests a budget Buffy relocated to Showtime. Who expected Syfy and Canada to deliver?