January TV Preview: Don’t Miss These 10 Premieres


January is a notoriously lame month at the movies, but thankfully, TV makes up for the shortfall with a packed schedule of new and returning series. Ring in the new year with Fox’s new sitcom The Mick, starring Kaitlin Olson, which premiered in a special time slot on New Year’s Day, and Paolo Sorrentino’s The Young Pope on HBO, starring Jude Law, which premieres mid-month. Maybe you’re waiting for Scandal to come back into your life after a long hiatus, or the Norman Lear-produced One Day at a Time remake to land on Netflix. (It drops in just a few days, and it’s well worth the wait.) New year, new you, new shows to fill the cold winter months when all you want to do is hide under a blanket with a takeout menu and see how long you can go without washing your hair.

1/1: The Mick (Fox)

This new sitcom stars It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia’s Kaitlin Olson as the hard-partying, binge-drinking sister of a woman who married rich and lives in a mansion in Greenwich, Connecticut. In the pilot episode, which aired on Sunday (the second airs tonight, in the show’s regular Tuesday timeslot), Olson’s Mackenzie — a.k.a. Mickey — finds herself looking after her niece and nephews when her sister and brother-in-law are arrested for fraud during a Labor Day barbecue. Created by Always Sunny producers Dave and John Chernin, The Mick’s first four episodes are solid enough to leave me hopeful that this series will be more than a vehicle for Olson’s talents.

1/4: It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia (FXX)

Kaitlin Olson’s been busy — Always Sunny’s twelfth season premieres the same week as her new sitcom, with a very funny musical episode that’ll please all the Nightman Cometh fans out there. (Just to whet your appetite, it’s called “The Gang Turns Black.”) This long-running FX original, now on sister channel FXX, is still going strong twelve seasons in. The new season is a delight: In one episode, the gang visits a waterpark; in another, they inadvertently create a sitcom starring Mac’s and Charlie’s moms; another parodies the Netflix docu-series Making a Murderer. Crack open a beer and enjoy.

1/5: Nashville (CMT)

If you caught the sneak peek of Nashville’s fifth season premiere in December — on a new channel, after ABC cancelled the musical soap last season — you’ll have noticed a slight change of pace and tone, for the better, in my opinion. Nashville was always a bit of a guilty pleasure, but in its fourth season it really started to go off the rails, introducing and abandoning characters and plotlines like a neglectful parent. The show picked up new showrunners, Marshall Herskovitz and Ed Zwick of thirtysomething, on the way to its new home, CMT, and already it feels less hurried and manic and a little more laid back. After all, this is a show about country musicians. What’s the rush?

1/6: One Day at a Time (Netflix)

I know it’s only the first week of January, but I feel pretty confident declaring this Netflix reboot of the 1970s-80s Norman Lear-developed sitcom about a single mother one of the best new shows of 2017. The remake, with boasts Lear as an executive producer, stars Justina Machado as Penelope, a Cuban-American army veteran and nurse raising her teenage daughter and son in the L.A. neighborhood of Echo Park, with the help of her mother, played by the dazzling Rita Moreno. It’s a classic multi-camera, living-room sitcom, but unlike so many of the broadcast networks’ offerings, this one doesn’t feel cheesy or retrograde. It’s warm, funny, excellently cast, and actually feels like an accurate reflection of a contemporary American family. It’s wonderful, and you should watch it.

1/11: Workaholics (Comedy Central)

I don’t know about you, but now feels like the right time to say goodbye to this surprisingly steadfast sitcom about three lazy white guys who dropped out of college and don’t like to work but somehow manage to keep their jobs. Workaholics’ seventh season, which premieres this month, will be its last; in the season premiere, “Trainees Day,” Adam, Blake, and Anders (stars Adam Devine, Blake Anderson, and Anders Holm) put their own spin on a new employee orientation day.

1/15: Homeland (Showtime)

Showtime has already made the first episode of Homeland’s sixth season available on the channel’s streaming and on-demand platforms — but if you haven’t seen it yet and still don’t know the fate of our beloved Quinn (Rupert Friend), I won’t spoil it. As the showrunners already revealed, Season 6 will take place in New York City (the premiere picks up with Claire Danes’s Carrie living in Brooklyn, a few months after the events of the previous season’s finale), and will unfold during the time between the presidential election and inauguration — which, as we all know, can feel like a lifetime.

1/15: The Young Pope (HBO)

A.k.a., the one where Jude Law is a sexy pope in a giant white hat. HBO’s latest drama is a co-production with the U.K.’s Sky Atlantic and the French cable channel Canal+, and comes from the mind of Italian filmmaker Paolo Sorrentino, who has written or co-written and directed all ten episodes. Law plays Lenny Balardo, the former Archbishop of New York who becomes Pope Pius XIII. He’s no regular pope — he’s a cool pope, one who smokes in his palace office, drinks Cherry Coke Zero for breakfast, and shocks with his unorthodox addresses. Diane Keaton co-stars as Sister Mary, a nun who raised the orphaned Lenny; Italian actor Silvio Orlando is excellent as Lenny’s foil, Cardinal Angelo Voiello.

1/19: Scandal (ABC)

Scandal’s last season had its ups and downs, but despite its best efforts it was just no match for the volatility of the real-life presidential campaign it paralleled. But I think Season 6 could right the ship — if the show bestows the fictional presidency on First Lady Mellie Grant (Bellamy Young), who’s up against Frankie Vargas (Ricardo Chavira). The last season left off with each candidate choosing a running mate — Mellie going with Jake (Scott Foley) and Frankie picking Cyrus (Jeff Perry). The new season won’t leave us hanging too long, moving the action to election night so we can (hopefully) get this Mellie Grant presidency on the road.

1/19: Baskets (FX)

FX’s strangest comedy, Baskets stars Zach Galifianakis as Chip, who graduates from a prestigious French clowning school only to wind up as a rodeo clown in his hometown of Bakersfield, California. Martha Kelly co-stars as his sad-sack friend, and Louie Anderson earned a supporting actor Emmy for his performance as Christine, Chip’s mother. The first season ended much as it began: with Chip’s life in shambles. After the rodeo shuts down, Chip hops on board a freight train out of Bakersfield; the season premiere, “Freaks,” finds him trying out a new life with a band of wandering street performers.

1/27: Z: The Beginning of Everything (Amazon)

This period drama from Amazon stars Christina Ricci as Zelda Sayre, soon-to-be Zelda Fitzgerald; the series follows Zelda and her future husband Scott from their first meeting in 1918, in Montgomery, Alabama, through their famously dizzying social life in New York, Paris, and beyond. The pilot, which was released in November 2015, felt a little shopworn, almost as if we’re meant to regard Zelda as the original “manic pixie dream girl” — a familiar type rather than an actual person. Still, at the very least, the show’s dreamy production value will be a draw for all you Jazz Age fetishists.