Thursday, Jan. 17 (FX)
Season Premiere: After having gone missing for months, super spy Archer (H. Jon Benjamin) turns up with amnesia … and a sweet porn mustache. Can the ISIS (International Secret Intelligence Service, not the semi-inappropriate ’70s kids show) team restore his memory and save him from KGB assassins? Not without completely obliterating a day spa after racking up an exorbitant bill, of course. “Fugue & Riffs” isn’t the strongest Archer premiere (next week’s episode, with guest voice Timothy Olyphant from FX’s Justified, is better), but—sorta-spoiler—the hilariously blatant tribute to H. Jon Benjamin’s other animated series is sooo worth it.
Thursday, Jan. 17 (FX)
Series Debut: Australian comic Jim Jefferies plays Australian comic Jim Jefferies—it’s the middling mashup of Wilfred and Louie no one asked for! Jefferies’ self-obsessed, socially repellant expat shtick works brilliantly in stand-up form (think Russell Crowe channeling Doug Stanhope), but it doesn’t translate to Legit, a literally sad attempt to replicate Louie that comes off more like Flight of the Conchords without the music, the wit or even the HBO-level profanity (of which Jeffries is a virtuoso onstage). The show was in trouble before his wheelchair-bound brother with Muscular Dystrophy (played by DJ Qualls in the performance of a lunchtime) arrived, but after? Legit may be FX’s biggest mistake since hiring Russell Brand.
King of the Nerds
Thursday, Jan. 17 (TBS)
Series Debut: Since geek culture is now a “thing,” and TBS plays about 186 Big Bang Theory reruns a day, it was only a matter of time before some network genius dreamt up a cheap-o reality-competition show to “complement” it—hence, King of the Nerds. Eleven hyper-stereotypical geeks live together in “Nerdvana,” and each week “face challenges that will test their intellect, ingenuity, skills and pop culture prowess.” Even worse, the show is hosted by Revenge of the Nerds geezers Robert Carradine and Curtis Armstrong—they couldn’t even get that comic-book-shop owner from Big Bang. Ouch.
Friday, Jan. 18 (Fox)
Two-Hour Series Finale: Five seasons, 100 episodes and a few thousand questions later, Fringe’s dual-universe saga finally comes to a “battle for the fate of mankind” conclusion (please, no beard-stroking speculation that the show runs for 10 seasons in an alternate reality on Netflix). The Only TV Column That Matters™ will admit to not exactly understanding what was going on at various points since Fringe’s debut in 2008, but damned if it isn’t one of the best sci-fi series ever to be mishandled by broadcast television. At the very least, this’ll free up Joshua Jackson to join fellow Dawson’s Creek alum James Van Der Beek on Don’t Trust the B in Apt. 23 before that’s cancelled.
Prosecuting Casey Anthony
Saturday, Jan. 19 (Lifetime)
Movie: So, this ripped-from-the-headlines dramatization pits Parks & Recreations’ Rob Lowe (as Florida prosecutor Jeff Ashton) against The Office’s Oscar Nunez (as Casey Anthony attorney Jose Baez), and no one saw a problem with that?
Monday, Jan. 21 (Fox)
Series Debut: When a notorious serial killer (James Purefoy, Rome) escapes death row and gets back to hack ’n’ slash business, the ex-FBI agent who caught him a decade ago (Kevin Bacon, everything) is called back in—too bad he’s now an alcoholic burnout (a good-lookin’ alcoholic burnout, of course). Fortunately, he’s working with a new team (including X-Men’s Shawn Ashmore) and the killer’s ex-wife (Justified’s Natalie Zea). Unfortunately, Mr. Stabby has cult-ivated a like-minded Injustice League of murderers—a Following—to complicate matters. Creepy. As. Hell.