While the broadcast and cable networks are trotting out quite a few new and returning shows this spring, the season truly belongs to two culturally significant returnees: HBO’s Game of Thrones, back for a bloodthirsty second season, and AMC’s critical darling Mad Men, which returns for a fifth season after a hiatus of several years. (OK, it has only been about 18 months since Season 4, but it’s felt far longer than that.) Both shows return to their Sunday evening time slots, meaning that most of us will be staying in that night to catch up with Madison Avenue ad men and a Dothraki khaleesi, among other amusing characters. (Also returning: AMC’s deeply polarizing mystery The Killing, which returns April 1, airing in the same time slot as Game of Thrones. Expect a bloodbath.)
Fans of Community will relish the return of the Greendale study group on Mar. 15, after it was unceremoniously placed on an indefinite hiatus last fall. NBC will also use the season to debut two comedies that it’s had sitting on the shelf: Bent (beginning Mar. 21) and BFF (which launches April 4). Elsewhere, CBS will bring out rookie cop drama NYC 22—formerly known as The 2-2 (say that aloud!)—on Apr. 15; Showtime will offer the return of Nurse Jackie, The Big C, and The Borgias on Apr. 8; and The CW will head north (or, er, west) with the debut of Los Angeles-set Canadian drama The LA Complex on Apr. 24.
But when it comes to the new shows, such as ABC’s Missing, Scandal, and Don’t Trust the B---- in Apt. 23 (winner of the worst new title of the year award), it’s a decidedly mixed bag, with some intriguing newcomers already on the air (like NBC’s Mobius strip-like Awake) and some duds (ABC’s GCB) about to make room for a new crop of offerings over the next few weeks.
Will any of these shows click with audiences the way that their returning brethren have? Or are they destined to be forgotten come May, when the broadcasters will announce their new slates and decide the fate of so many of these newbies?