Winter TV Preview: 5 New Shows We Like Already
We know: We didn't think we had room in our lives for any more TV shows, either. But a new year means new TV, and after getting an early look at these five new series premiering soon, we're ready to clear some space off our DVRs to make room for them. Give these promising newcomers a shot; they're worth deleting all those old "Honey Boo Boos" for.
1. "True Detective" (HBO, premieres Jan. 12)
It's only January, but this quietly riveting crime drama already looks like a contender for 2014's best new show. Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson bring serious star power to this tense tale of two cops (one a family man, one a loner) investigating a ritualistic murder across two decades. Observing how the men change over time as they pursue justice, it's more a morality tale than a strict procedural, and it won't get stale, either: The series will refresh each season, "American Horror Story"-style, with new characters and a new crime.
2. "Rake" (Fox, premieres Jan. 23)
Need a new TV antihero? Keegan Deane might be able to fill that Walter White void. Greg Kinnear shines as the brilliant attorney who's juggling a crippling gambling problem and a romance with a call girl in this snappy legal drama. Based on an award-winning Australian series, "Rake" feels different, and blessedly so: Keegan is a true scuzzball (albeit an appealing one, thanks to Kinnear), but the smartly constructed courtroom battles let him redeem himself by showing what a great litigator he is. We wouldn't let Keegan borrow our car, but we will let him into our living room once a week.
3. "About a Boy" (NBC, premiere date TBD)
This pleasantly laid-back adaptation of the 2000 Hugh Grant movie has two big things going for it: It stars David Walton, who thoroughly charmed us in the gone-too-soon "Bent," and it's created by Jason Katims, who's earned a lifetime pass from us after "Friday Night Lights" and "Parenthood."
Walton plays a single-dude slacker who gets a crash course in maturity when a yoga-loving single mom (Minnie Driver) moves in next door with her 11-year-old son. The only downside here: NBC hasn't set a premiere date yet, and we fear "Boy" will be condemned to one of those late-spring death slots that doomed "Bent" to an early grave. Give this one a chance to find an audience, NBC; it's not like you've got a rock-solid roster of comedies to fall back on.
4. "Enlisted" (Fox, premieres Jan. 10)
Normally, when a new series gets shunted off to Friday nights in January, the network is trying to hide it out of embarrassment. But this military comedy from "Cougar Town" writer Kevin Biegel is surprisingly sharp, and deserves a better fate. "The Finder's" Geoff Stults stars as an Army hero whose wartime blunder gets him assigned to Rear D, a Bad News Bears unit of misfit soldiers, along with his two hapless brothers (Chris Lowell and Parker Young). If it sounds like a TV version of "Stripes"… well, that's not a bad thing, right?
5. "Looking" (HBO, premieres Jan. 19)
What "Sex and the City" did for single gals in New York City (and "Girls" did for slightly younger single gals in New York City), HBO's new comedy "Looking" does for single gay men in San Francisco. "Glee's" Jonathan Groff stars as a video-game designer trying to bounce back after a bad breakup in this sexually frank portrait of today's gay dating scene. The graphic content might be too much for some (fair warning: the pilot opens with a random sex act in a public park), but the emotional truths found here are intriguing, and make it a worthy companion piece to those HBO predecessors.