Thanks to the networks, it’s going to be a happy New Year indeed.
ABC, NBC, FOX, Showtime, and HBO are all rolling out new series over the first few months of 2012, and Wetpaint Entertainment has whittled down the lengthy list of debuts to 12 dramas, comedies, and reality shows you should definitely check out. Happy watching!
Premiere date: Sunday, January 1 at 10/9c
What it’s about: Writer/actor/director Chris Lilley, creator of Summer Heights High, returns to HBO as six different characters: identical twins Daniel and Nathan Sims, former Surfing World Chamption Blake Oakfield, U.S. rapper S.mouse, a Japanese momager of a skateboarding whiz, and Juvenile Justice Centre worker Ruth Sims, aka Gran.
Why you should watch: Giggle your way through one episode of the uber-funny Summer Heights High and you’ll have all the proof you’ll need. Chris Lilley is a freakin’ genius.
Hou$e of Lie$
Premiere date: Sunday, January 8 at 10/9c
What it’s about: Fast-talking Marty Kaan and his team of MBA-toting management consultants put the “con” in consulting as they charm smug, unsuspecting corporate fat cats into spending a fortune for their services.
Why you should watch: Oscar-nominee Don Cheadle plays Marty, and Forgetting Sarah Marshall star Kristen Bell is a member of his ruthless Galweather & Stearn team. Plus, Marty has a sassy cross-dressing son who’s guaranteed to steal many a scene.
Are You There, Chelsea?
Premiere date: Wednesday, January 11 at 8:30/7:30c
What it’s about: Based on Chelsea Handler’s book Are You There, Vodka? It's Me, Chelsea, this new comedy is about Chelsea Newman (Laura Prepon, That ‘70s Show), a fun-loving woman who has a life-changing realization.
Why you should watch: Laura Prepon is hilarious, and anything based on Chelsea Handler’s life is sure to be wildly entertaining. Even better? Real-life Chelsea plays fictional Chelsea’s pregnant, dry-witted sister.
Premiere date: Thursday, January 12 at 9/8c
What it’s about: Walter Sherman (Geoff Stults) can locate pretty much anything under the sun — and he’s parlayed his skill, which was the surprising result of brain damage suffered from an IED explosion, into a successful career. Michael Clarke Duncan also stars in this spin-off series from Bones creator Hart Hanson.
Why you should watch: Geoff Stults without a shirt is a real treat. And 50 Cent has signed up for a guest spot!
Premiere date: Monday, January 16 at 8/7c
What it’s about: From executive producer J.J. Abrams, Alcatraz is a thriller centered on America's most infamous prison — the one-time home to the most villainous murderers, rapists, kidnappers, and thieves. When a former Alcatraz inmate turns up as the prime suspect in a San Francisco homicide, SFPD Detective Rebecca Madsen (Sarah Jones) launches an investigation that uncovers a sinister — and surprising — threat.
Why you should watch: You can’t beat J.J. Abrams’s special brand of mind-bending craziness, and Lost’s Jorge Garcia is back on a J.J. Abrams show as “Doc,” an Alcatraz expert.
Premiere date: Sunday, January 29 at 10/9c
What it’s about: From director Michael Mann and Deadwood creator David Milch, Luck takes a provocative look at the world of horse racing — from the owners to the gamblers to the jockeys.
Why you should watch: The star-studded cast includes Nick Nolte and Dustin Hoffman. ‘Nuff said.
I Just Want My Pants Back
Premiere date: Thursday, February 2 at 11/10c
What it’s about: Jason is a twentysomething slacker living in Brooklyn who loses his pants after a one-night stand. Literally — the girl just up and takes them. The hitch? He’s really into her. On his quest for his elusive hookup (and his beloved jeans), Jason finally starts to do a little growing up.
Why you should watch: It’s about sex and a pants thief — what’s not to love?
Premiere date: Monday, February 6 at 10/9c
What it’s about: The Great White Way. Starring Debra Messing, Christian Borle, Anjelica Huston, and Katharine McPhee, Smash traces the drama-filled development of a brand-new Broadway musical about the life of Marilyn Monroe.
Why you should watch: This music-filled series could be the next Glee — and Steven Spielberg (the Steven Spielberg) is an executive producer.
Premiere date: Sunday, March 4 at 10/9c
What it’s about: Amanda (Leslie Bibb), a former mean girl, is forced to return to her Dallas hometown after her marriage ends in scandal in this snarky drama based on Kim Gatlin's book Good Christian Bitches. Amanda has changed in the 20 years since high school (for the better), but will her old classmates welcome her with open arms or seek revenge? Kristin Chenoweth also stars in this series from the creator of Sex and the City and writer of Steel Magnolias.
Why you should watch: In the premiere, Kristin Chenoweth’s character quips, “Relax, cleavage helps your cross hang straight!” Expect a whole lotta opulence, snark, and “judginess.” Endless judginess.
Premiere date: Tuesday, March 13 at 9/8c
What it’s about: This new reality series pits 14 unknown fashion designers against one another in a competition for the title of Fashion Star, a cool $6 million, and the launch of their line at Macy's, H&M, and Saks Fifth Avenue. Elle Macpherson is the host and executive producer, and Jessica Simpson, Nicole Richie, and John Varvatos are the celebrity mentors. At the end of each episode, America will have the chance to immediately purchase the winning designs showcased that week.
Why you should watch: A fashion competition with a twist? We’re in!
Premiere date: Thursday, March 15 at 8/7c
What it’s about: Former CIA Agent Becca Winstone (Ashley Judd) travels to Europe to track down her son after he goes missing while studying abroad. As her search leads her from exotic locale to exotic locale, Becca learns how far she’ll go to save the one thing she has left in the world. Game of Thrones’ Sean Bean also stars.
Why you should watch: The hunky Sean Bean.
Premiere date: Monday, March 19 at 9/8c
What it’s about: Martin Bohm (Kiefer Sutherland) is a widower and single father who can’t connect to his mute 11-year-old son. But after a string of bizarre coincidences, Martin learns that the boy is connected to the past, present, and future — and it’s up to Martin to interpret and act on what his son sees.
Why you should watch: Kiefer Sutherland is back on FOX after his eight-season run on 24. Perhaps Martin Bohm will be TV’s new Jack Bauer?