Hello darlings and Happy New Year. Are you cheery?
Yeah, I know. But we mustn't grumble. Why, the other day I visited the Drudge Report online. This is something one does with trepidation. Usually Drudge exists to inform the world that Barack Obama is a deranged tyrant and the U.S. is about to be invaded by vast armies of welfare bums.
But the other day the main headline, delivered in all-capitals, was this: "WORLD SAFEST, RICHEST, HEALTHIEST IN HISTORY!" You could have knocked me down with a feather boa. That's just great – everybody cheer up. Now, all we need is some new TV content to get us through the next few months. You want a New Year's resolution? Try this: Watch more TV.
The mid-season avalanche is almost upon us. You want distraction? It's coming. As to whether it is all a delight remains to be seen. In the coming weeks a lot of new and returning shows will be reviewed in this column. In the meantime, here's the calendar, divided into sort-of genres. It's only a skeletal lineup and this column accepts no liability for disappointment.
Schitt's Creek, starring Eugene Levy, Catherine O'Hara and Chris Elliott starts on CBC Jan. 13. Rich people are forced to move to a small town they happen to own.
Sunnyside, "the next step in Canadian comedy" according to Rogers, is "a hybrid of situation comedy, sketch and sitcom" from Gary Pearson (This Hour Has 22 Minutes) and Dan Redican (The Kids in the Hall). It stars Kathleen Phillips (Mr. D, This Hour Has 22 Minutes) and Pat Thornton (Satisfaction, The Jon Dore Show) and the voice of Norm MacDonald, and starts Jan. 8 on City. It promises "an unpredictable and magical quality." Promises, promises?
Togetherness chronicles what happens when a Los Angeles couple (Mark Duplass, Melanie Lynskey) who seem happily married with kids, invite the wife's sister and the husband's brother to live with them. It starts on HBO Jan. 11. One suspects "comedy" in this case involves cringing.
Man Seeking Woman stars Canadian Jay Baruchel as a lovelorn single chap in search of "true, lasting love." It's based on former Saturday Night Live writer Simon Rich's short-story collection The Last Girlfriend on Earth and starts Jan. 14 on FXX. One suspects it's about dating and stuff.
Drama (of the criminal kind)
Better Call Saul, the fiercely anticipated "prequel" to Breaking Bad, with Bob Odenkirk as lawyer Saul Goodman six years before he ever met that Walter White guy, starts Feb. 8 on AMC. Everything else get out of the way, this is the big one coming down the track.
CSI: Cyber plans to take the CSI franchise to the Internet where the real skulduggery unfolds. It stars Patricia Arquette and James Van Der Beek, and hopefully involves more than people staring at computers. It starts March 4 on CBS. Arquette plays a character based on the real Irish cyberpsychologist Mary Aiken who, my sister says, is a very nice person.
American Crime, a big-ticket drama thanks to the stars Felicity Huffman and Timothy Hutton and the premise of a racially charged trial that stirs up the ugly in a community, starts March 5 on ABC. While it is unlikely to be as tough-minded as a cable drama, it does promise a toxic story about "race, class and gender politics" and things have become more toxic on those issues since the short-run drama was developed.
Say Yes to the Dress Canada, about which there are no words to describe the anticipation, brings the phenomenally successful bridal franchise to Canada. It starts next week, with back-to-back episodes on Jan. 7 on W. Can Canada possibly have its own Randy Fenoli? With bated breath we await the answer.
World's Funniest Fails, about which no words can describe the anticipation of potential ugliness, is a blatant attempt by Fox to create its own version of America's Funniest Home Videos, but for people who surf YouTube. It's even derived from the YouTube channel FailArmy. It promises to "depict funny misfortunate events" and starts Jan. 16. One is reminded that Fox used to be daring, not derivative.
That's only a small selection of the coming cornucopia. Stick with me here.