Widgets Magazine

Networks debut midseason lineups

Courtesy of Showtime

As 2012 kicks off, we are presented with the gift of midseason premieres. Just a couple of years ago, the midseason was a wasteland for awful TV shows that networks were forced to air in place of their other awful cancelled shows. However, with several midseason successes each year, running from “Seinfeld” to last year’s hidden gem “Happy Endings,” there are always a couple of diamonds in the rough that turn out to be truly wonderful shows worth watching. Whether they’re on cable channels like Showtime or HBO that fly in the face of conventional program schedules and air incredible shows whenever they like, or underpublicized network shows that just need a few more viewers, the midseason is a time for new surprises and a few old favorites to return.

 

Just this past week, Showtime’s new half-hour comedy “House of Lies” premiered. While advertised to be a fun and sexy show starring Don Cheadle and Kristen Bell as high-profile consultants, it more or less turned out to be a program about people having fun and telling the audience it was sexy while Don Cheadle was a high-profile consultant and Kristen Bell tagged along. It is perhaps a little too unorganized to be compelling, but the show isn’t without its charms. The consulting team has lots of fun banter, and there seem to be a lot of shifting roles. If the best of them get pulled to the forefront, it could be something worth watching.

 

While there are several new network comedies that have already tanked, such as “Work It” and “I Hate My Teenage Daughter,” and a few that appear to be just awful, like “¡Rob!,” one actually looks like it could succeed. Based on the hit book by Chelsea Handler, the sitcom “Are You There, Chelsea?” spins off of the comedienne’s wild tales of sex and debauchery. Laura Prepon, (Donna from “That ‘70’s Show”) stars as the main character with Handler in the supporting cast. Premiering Jan. 11, it should be interesting to see if this new sitcom can succeed.

 

Courtesy of NBC

The television show most likely to succeed or burn wildly in flames is NBC’s “Smash.” While it is most likely a response to the infatuation with “Glee,” this new show promises to at least start with a higher pedigree. Former “American Idol” runner-up Katharine McPhee plays the young ingenue auditioning for a new Marilyn Monroe musical on Broadway. She faces a whole glut of challengers and obstacles in Megan Hilty’s rival theatre actress, a snide and catty Debra Messing and a whole cast of other actors and actresses who are all famous on the Great White Way but little-known to the television viewing audience. The tidal wave of singing and dancing should be immense, but it should likely be more theatrical and authentic than that of its rival, “Glee,” and an ultimately more rewarding experience for theatre fans in search of a TV show. However, we have to wait until Feb. 6 for this premiere.

 

There are also some returning shows that were on hiatus for autumn that will be returning to our TV screens in the coming months. The long-awaited return of “30 Rock” will come with the start of its full 22-episode run on Jan. 12. This means Liz Lemon, Jenna Maroney and the whole gang should be with us every week from now until summer with their zany antics and absurd humor. Animated cult favorite “Archer” roars back after its three-part “Heart of Archness” teaser in the fall; our favorite gang of crass spies will be back on Jan. 19. And sadly, without premiere dates but with network assurances that they will return are fantasy epic “Game of Thrones,” the boozy and stylish period drama “Mad Men,” the quirky “Community” and the underrated but vastly hilarious “Cougar Town.” What is certain is that this midseason should bring just as much exciting television as any other time of the year.