Television’s midseason is upon us, thanks to the returns of shows like NBC’s action-comedy Chuck, HBO’s family drama Big Love, and ABC’s latest iteration of dating show The Bachelor. People are already buzzing about CBS’ latest feel-good reality franchise, Undercover Boss, which will premiere after the Super Bowl (Feb. 7), and the latest season of Survivor, which will pit the show’s most memorable heroes against its most notorious villains (Feb. 11).
But, for 2010, that’s just the tip of the iceberg, as both broadcast and cable networks prepare to launch dozens of new shows and return some favorites to the lineup.
Traditionally, the wintertime was an opportunity for the broadcast networks to roll out some more experimental fare—or to burn off shows that wouldn’t be sticking around for a full season. But over the last few years, the first quarter has become a battleground for some of television’s biggest hits.
Click Image for 15 Reasons to Watch TV This Winter
American Idol, the biggest smash of them all, now launches each January and will likely carry Fox to another victory this season; ABC’s scripted hit Lost, returning in February, and Fox’s real-time espionage thriller 24, both rewrote the rules for when shows should and could be launched each year.
Lost sails off into the sunset at the end of this season, Jack Bauer returns to save the day once more on 24, gladiators circle in an ancient arena on Spartacus, lawyers attack with bloodthirsty malice on Damages, robots come to life on Caprica, and a lawman tips his hat on Justified—all while the Winter Olympics loom large over the schedule.
Can’t keep track of the midseason onslaught? The Daily Beast has rounded up our recommendations for new and returning shows coming up over the next few months as well as some things to keep your eye—and remote—on this season.
Jace Lacob is the writer/editor of Televisionary, a website devoted to television news, criticism, and interviews. Jace resides in Los Angeles. He is a contributor to several entertainment Web sites and can be found on Twitter and Facebook.