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edge staff writer


The return of television's second season

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One of the hallmarks of a new year is a resolution to change. We resolve to quit bad habits and pick up good ones, to eat less or work out more.

That desire for change is true in the world of television as well; each January brings us a wealth of new network offerings aimed at trimming the unwatched fat and finding new hits to capture viewers. You never know what's going to stick, but here are some of the fresh attempts TV will be making over the next couple of months to snag your attention.

'Deception' Jan. 7, 10 p.m. NBC


While this is the first new network series to make its debut in 2013, there's not a lot 'new' about it. Meagan Good stars as Joanna Locasto, a detective whose childhood best friend Vivian Bowers has been found dead of an overdose. However, an FBI agent believes that Vivian's death was no accident and that her wealthy family was somehow involved. So Joanna reconnects with the Bowers family in an effort to figure out what really happened. There's the slightest whiff of ABC's 'Revenge' about this show - at least in terms of tone.

By all accounts, 'Deception' looks to be super-soapy; however, primetime soap operas have been making a modest comeback of late. If this show isn't overly derivative and can balance the melodrama with some decent characterization, it might be all right.

'1600 Penn' Jan. 10, 9:30 p.m. NBC


Who doesn't love the idea of a Presidential sitcom - especially one that puts Bill Pullman back into the Oval Office? '1600 Penn' looks to be kind of standard dysfunctional sitcom family stuff, only set in the White House. Series creator Josh Gad, who also stars as the President's dimwitted son Skip, has assembled a decent cast, led by Pullman and Jenna Elfman but really based in the strength of ensemble, to try and maintain NBC's single-camera comedy edge with the imminent departure of schedule mainstays such as '30 Rock' and 'The Office.'

'1600 Penn' has a decent pedigree, but it remains to be seen if the premise can hold up over time. Although if they at any point manage to work in a 'Today, we celebrate our Independence Day!' line for Pullman, they will officially have won at television.

'The Carrie Diaries' Jan. 14, 8 p.m. CW


OMG! A 'Sex and the City' prequel! Be still my beating heart! Everything I've seen regarding this new CW show (based on the novel of the same name by Candace Bushnell) screams mediocrity. It's basically the chronicles of a young Carrie Bradshaw, following her through her senior year of high school and showing us the beginnings of her path toward becoming a 'writer.' Frankly, it's the sort of teen-oriented dreck that tends to flourish on the CW if they can get the youngsters and draw in some of the older fans of the original show, it'll do just fine.

Will I be watching it? Heavens no. Will others watch it? They might, actually. There's certainly a built-in fan base a fan base likely looking for some way, any way to get the taste of that abysmal 'Sex and the City 2' movie out of their mouths.

'The Following' Jan. 21, 9 p.m. FOX


Kevin Bacon is on TV! Hooray! And he's on a FOX show that might just have some creepiness potential. Created by Kevin Williamson, this show focuses on a charismatic, iconoclastic serial killer named Joe Carroll. This killer has developed a cult of followers made up of fellow killers and devoted to carrying out Carroll's sinister machinations. Opposing him is FBI agent Ryan Hardy (played by Bacon), the man who caught Carroll the first time. With a new team in place, the broken Hardy must try and thwart Carroll's nefarious plans.

'The Following' is one of those shows that could go either way. It might be brilliant, it might be abysmal. If nothing else, the subject matter might well cross the line of what has traditionally been acceptable on network television. We'll see if Williamson can bring home the Bacon.

'The Taste' Jan. 22, 8 p.m. ABC


I tend to steer clear of the competition/reality shows in these previews, but I have to admit that 'The Taste' despite its transparent rip-off of a name and premise has caught my attention. Essentially a food-based version of NBC's 'The Voice,' you've got a panel of celebrity judges (including everybody's favorite foodie curmudgeon Anthony Bourdain) who will be mentoring professional and amateur chefs in an attempt to create winning dishes. At the end of the day, the judges will sample the food while blindfolded. For some reason.

One gets the impression that this show got greenlit through little more than increasing desperation on the part of executives. Not only is the format brazenly pirated, but it doesn't even look to be all that watchable. Having said that, this will probably be the breakout hit show of 2013, leaving us to look forward to the 2014 premier of 'The Smell.'

'The Americans' Jan. 30, 10 p.m. FX


This period piece is one of the more potentially intriguing offerings of the spring season. It is set in the 1980s and follows Philip and Elizabeth Jennings, a typical suburban couple. Typical that is, except for the fact that they are KGB officers who have been trained to impersonate Americans and act as sleeper agents. The pair struggles to maintain the cover of their home life including their two children with their responsibilities as spies. Oh, and there's an FBI counterintelligence agent living on their street.

Word is that 'The Americans' will include a liberal dose of dark humor to go with its Cold War premise. If that turns out to be the case, this show might just be a pleasant surprise, though the general lack of buzz doesn't look all that promising.

'Do No Harm' Jan. 31, 10 p.m. NBC


In a world where old ideas are constantly made new again, it's kind of surprising that it has taken this long to offer up a modernized version of 'Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.' That's essentially what we've got here; Dr. Jason Cole is a respected neurosurgeon who has been hiding a dark secret. He has an alternate personality; a borderline sociopath named Ian Price. For five years, Cole has kept Ian under control with an experimental sedative. But it's not working anymore and after his years of imprisonment, Ian is seeking revenge on everything Cole holds dear.

'Do No Harm' has a premise with a lot of potential. It all boils down to how the premise is executed. This could well be one of the best new shows of the spring; however, it could also be one of the biggest disappointments.

'Zero Hour' Feb. 14, 8 p.m. ABC


As someone who derives infinite entertainment from the world of conspiracy theory, I must admit to having high hopes for 'Zero Hour.' It stars Anthony Edwards as Hank Galliston, editor of the too-awesomely-named-to-be-real magazine 'Modern Skeptic Magazine.' Surprise surprise the guy who has devoted his life to debunking crazed conspiracy theories soon finds himself swept up into one when his wife is abducted and he discovers a hidden map a map that holds the key to one of the grandest mysteries in all of human history.

Could this be some warmed-over mishmash of 'The Da Vinci Code' and 'National Treasure?' Perhaps; Edwards even looks like what you might get if you bred Tom Hanks and Nicolas Cage. But if it does work, it could be awfully cool.

'Cult' Feb. 19, 9 p.m. CW

The CW goes meta with this offering, which by the way was rejected by the network six years ago. The show essentially revolves around a mysterious cult that has sprung up around a television show that's about a cult. Journalist Jeff Sefton is investigating the mysterious disappearance of his brother, who was convinced that a hit TV show also called 'Cult' - meant to do him harm. It turns out that there's a dark underbelly to this particular program's fan base their obsession with the show is bleeding into the real world with potentially deadly results.

The premise makes it sound like this show should be hosted by Xzibit 'Yo dog! I hear you like cults! So we made your TV show called Cult' about a cult surrounding a TV show called Cult!'' However, the CW has often proved that people can be convinced to watch almost anything.

'Golden Boy' Feb. 26, 10 p.m. CBS


CBS is unafraid to stick with a formula that works. Hence, the most-watched network offers up yet another take on the crime drama. 'Golden Boy' follows the rise of police officer Walter Clark to the heights of his profession he becomes the youngest police commissioner in New York City history. The show basically documents the price he pays both personally and professionally to achieve his rapid success. Essentially, we follow the guy from officer to detective and so on from age 26 until he makes commissioner at 34.

One assumes this show is going to bounce around in time showing us snippets from various moments in Clark's past as well as his present. Whether the premise has legs is something else entirely; knowing the end point might remove some of the drama from the proceedings.


There are plenty of other new shows coming down the pike in the months that follow a show about pirates and a show about Russian mob widows. There's a 'Silence of the Lambs' prequel series and sitcoms about boomerang kids and family businesses. And I would be remiss in not mentioning one of the most eagerly anticipated television events in recent years (albeit one that is neither a new show nor is it on broadcast television):

'Arrested Development' Netflix

A recent production halt has left the streaming debut of Season Four up in the air; rumor has it that the release will be in May, but nothing has been officially confirmed. It really doesn't matter; I'm willing to wait. Netflix will be releasing the season (reportedly consisting of 12 to 15 episodes) sometime this spring. The season will be laid out anthology-style, with each episode focusing on a specific character and all episodes becoming available simultaneously.

If you don't know why you should be excited about this, I have this advice for you: go ahead and skip some of these new network offerings and take the time to watch all three extant seasons of 'Arrested Development,' one of the best television comedies of the last 20 years.


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