It’s midseason premiere time! January is the second best time of the year for those of us who are hopelessly devoted to our television sets, or–at least in my case–our laptops and video streaming sites. Second only to the fall premiere season, winter has some of the best TV debuts of the year–even if summer is trying to give winter a run for its money. This year, maybe even more so than previous years, had some great series debut. From Intelligence to Spoils of Babylon and True Detective to Opposite Worlds, there seemed to be something for everyone. Although some shows have already been cancelled (looking at you, The Assets), it’s been a generally good premiere season. Or maybe I’m going crazy from the polar vortex temperatures and sun deprivation. Anyway, here are my five picks of the best new series on TV (plus a couple premieres still coming).
5 Best Midseason Premieres
As someone who binge watches Project Runway on a regular basis (Hulu will be my undoing), I’m naturally going to watch the veteran fashion series’ spin off, Under the Gunn. Instead of following the format as Project Runway, Under the Gunn is set up like NBC’s The Voice. With Tim Gunn as the host, the series brought on Project Runway and Project Runway: All Stars alumni Mondo Guerra, Anya Ayoung-Chee, and Nick Verreos to mentor teams of designers.
Throughout the first two episodes, the designers had the challenge to create a look that represented their aesthetic in 6 hours, then the mentors chose their teams. Already I have my favorites–Brady Lange, Sam Donovan, and Stephanie Ohnmacht–plus I’m trying to bet which mentor has the best team–Mondo, obviously. Since I’ve officially marathoned every season of Project Runway available on Hulu (which is only 6-10–shame on you Hulu!) I’m particularly happy that Under the Gunn will be filling the void left in my life while it’s sister series is on hiatus.
Although I don’t usually go for sitcoms, I had been waiting since last summer for Enlisted. It seemed like an oddball comedy in a similar vein as Brooklyn Nine-Nine. Plus, I’ve loved Chris Lowell since the short lived mid-2000s teen drama Life As We Know It. Fox’s new comedy stars Lowell alongside Geoff Stults and Parker Young as brothers Derrick, Pete, and Randy Hill respectively. As the sons of a respected member of the army, the three brothers all joined to follow in the footsteps of their father.
While Pete was always the star of the family, after a mishap in Afghanistan–punching his superior officer in the face–he finds himself stationed alongside his brothers in Fort McGee, Florida. As a member of the rear detachment unit, the brothers and their fellow soldiers are in charge of taking care of the base and the families left behind. Enlisted is equal parts silliness, hilarity, and sentimentality for anyone looking to pick up another comedy this winter.
What can I say? I’m a sucker for those supernatural dramas! Syfy’s Bitten may not win any Golden Globes, but this Canadian import has got me hooked. It’s the right mix of real world soap opera drama with supernatural mysteries to keep me coming back week after week. Bitten is based on the Women of the Otherworld fantasy series by Canadian author Kelley Armstrong. Although I haven’t read the series, I was intrigued enough by the premise of Bitten to check out the pilot recently–two hours later I was completely caught up on the show.
Bitten stars Laura Vandervoot as Elena Michaels, the only female to survive the bite of a werewolf in some really long period of time (I hope this doesn’t turn into a women-are-weak thing, because that would completely turn me off the show). After being away for a year, Elena is called back to her home, Stonehaven, when a girl is murdered by a rogue werewolf–called a mutt. However, Elena has a tense relationship with one fellow member of her pack and rejects the part of herself that is a werewolf. Some aspects of Bitten are very cliche as far as supernatural dramas go, but the characters are unique enough that I’ve already gotten attached to some of them.
Although only one episode of Starz’s new pirate series, Black Sails, has aired, I’m already hooked. After the third Pirates of the Caribbean movie, I thought Hollywood had drained the well of pirate drama dry. Then they made another one and I couldn’t help but think they had gone a little overboard. (Sorry, I couldn’t resist the horrible joke.) But Black Sails has completely changed my mind. Written as a prequel to Robert Louis Stevenson’s famous novel Treasure Island, Black Sails follows a young John Silver (Luke Arnold) who becomes a member of the crew on Captain Flint’s pirate ship.
The cast is wonderful, though I didn’t recognize many of the actors or actress–actually, the only person I recognized was Zach McGowan as Captain Charles Vane. Even though there’s only been one episode I already love half the characters–Max (Jessica Parker Kennedy), Billy Bones (Tom Hopper), Captain Flint (Toby Stephens), Eleanor Guthrie (Hannah New), and Anne Bonny (Clara Paget). Okay, maybe more than half the characters, but that’s a good sign. Plus, the series is executive produced by Michael Bay and Brad Fuller so it has to be good, right? Well, if the first episode is any indication–and that the show was already renewed for a second season–then the answer is yes.
Apparently I am really loving SyFy’s programming this winter because Helix is another of my favorite new shows. The science fiction drama received a lot of comparisons to AMC’s The Walking Dead. While The Walking Dead is about a post-apocalyptic world after a zombie virus outbreak, Helix is the story of a virus outbreak–not necessarily zombie. In the pilot, a team from the headquarters of the Centers for Disease Control travel to a research facility located in the arctic. However, between a love triangle and a not-so-forthcoming staff, coupled the a highly deadly and dangerous disease, Helix is no where near lacking in drama.
Though the plot progression in the series is a bit slow, I’m finding that Helix is quickly becoming one of my favorite shows currently airing new episodes. I’ve also gotten incredibly attached to the characters. In just a few episodes, I’m extremely curious to find out who will make it out alive (although one of my favorite characters is already dead–so there goes that). It’s the perfect mixture of science fiction with drama and horror; I’ve been recommending it to literally everyone who will listen, which is a true testament to how much I enjoy Helix. You can check you my full review of the pilot at TV and Film Review.
PLUS 3 Anticipated Series Premieres
Mixology – Feb. 26
ABC is trying to promote Mixology to fans of the series that was cancelled long before its time: Happy Endings. However, that strategy isn’t working so well because fans of Happy Endings are still angry that the show was cancelled. As for me, I’ll be tuning in to see if the concept–the whole first season follows a cast of singles in a bar and takes place over the course of one night–works for a TV show.
Star-Crossed – Feb. 17
In all honesty, Star-Crossed sounds a bit like Twilight with aliens instead of vampires, but I’m kind of okay with that. I like aliens, I like soapy teen dramas, I should probably give it a chance, right? I had my doubts about Reign, and that became one of my favorite television shows of 2013, so maybe Star-Crossed will be good.
The 100 – March 19
A post-apocalyptic Hunger Games-esque series based on a young adult novel? The 100 literally has “me” written all over it. Set 97 years after a nuclear war that left Earth uninhabitable, humanity’s survivors send a ship full of 100 teenaged delinquents to the planet in hopes that everyone can return. Although I’m still bitter that the pilots of The Selection and Delirium didn’t get picked up, I’ll give The 100 a shot–I’ll probably love it anyway.