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Winter TV preview: 'True Detective,' the return of 'Vikings,' 'Justified' and more

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Posted: Thursday, January 9, 2014 9:00 am

This time last year, some of the best TV of 2013 was about to premiere.

FX’s “The Americans.” Sundance Channel’s “Top of the Lake.” NBC’s Hannibal.” History Channel’s “Vikings.” BBC America’s “Orphan Black.”

All of the above (minus “Top of the Lake,” which was a one-and-done miniseries) return during the winter and spring of 2014 alongside a slew of new contenders hoping to capture similar glory.

Some, like HBO’s “True Detective” — with its premium cable pedigree, stars Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson and a crime-thriller premise about two detectives searching for a serial killer — have hit written all over them.

Others — like “Mind Games,” the umpteenth time a network has tried to launch a vehicle starring Christian Slater — do not.

Here’s a round-up of what premieres when; remember that dates and times are always subject to change. And check back in to The Burg for reviews of many of these, and more, during the next few months.

Already premiered

– “The Assets” (10 p.m. Thursdays, ABC): A miniseries tracing the real-life story of a mole within the CIA.

– “Intelligence” (premiered Tuesday and moves to regular time slot at 10 p.m. Monday, Jan. 13): “Lost” star Josh Holloway is an intelligence agent whose brain is implanted with a super-computer microchip that directly connects him to the global information grid, with complete access to the Internet, WiFi, telephone and satellite data. Marg Helgenberger (“CSI”) is his boss at a cyber security agency, and Meghan Ory (“Once Upon A Time’s” Red) his secret service agent bodyguard.

– “Killer Women” (10 p.m. Tuesdays, ABC): “Battlestar Galactica” vet Tricia Helfer stars as a female Texas Ranger.

– “Being Mary Jane” (10 p.m. Tuesdays, BET): Gabrielle Union stars as a news anchor juggling her work and home life.

Returning shows: “Downton Abbey” (9 p.m. Sundays, PBS), “The Bachelor” (8 p.m. Mondays, ABC), “Justified” (10 p.m. Tuesdays, FX), “Cougar Town” (10 p.m. Tuesdays, TBS) and “Community” (8 p.m. Thursdays, NBC)

Wednesday, Jan. 8

– “Chicago PD” (10 p.m., NBC): “Law & Order” patriarch Dick Wolf spins off his “Chicago Fire” with a new police drama about an elite unit “combating the city’s most heinous offenses — organized crime, drug trafficking, high-profile murders and beyond.” Jason Beghe stars as Det. Sgt. Hank Voight, a character introduced on “Fire,” along with Jon Seda (“The Pacific”), Sophia Bush (“One Tree Hill”) and Elias Koteas (last seen as a bad guy on “The Killing”).

Thursday, Jan. 9

– “The Spoils of Babylon” (10 p.m., IFC): Produced by the humor site Funny or Die, this comedy is a parody of epic TV miniseries, starring the likes of Will Ferrell, Tobey Maguire, Kristen Wiig, Michael Sheen, Haley Joel Osment, Jessica Alba, Val Kilmer, Tim Robbins, Molly Shannon and David Spade.

Friday, Jan. 10

– “Enlisted” (9:30 p.m., Fox): Based on its laugh-out-loud previews, the single camera comedy, about three brothers on a small Florida Army base, looks to be one of the funniest new comedies of the year. The brothers are played by Geoff Stults (Fox’s short-lived “Bones” spin-off “The Finder”), Chris Lowell (“Veronica Mars,” “Private Practice”) and Parker Young (“Suburgatory”), while Keith David (“Platoon”) also appears as their gruff superior officer.

– “Helix” (10 p.m., Syfy): A team of scientists from the Centers for Disease Control travels to an Arctic research facility to investigate a possible outbreak. Stars Billy Campbell (“The Killing”).

Sunday, Jan. 12

– The 71st Annual Golden Globe Awards (8 p.m., NBC): Amy Poehler and Tina Fey return to host.

– True Detective (9 p.m., HBO): Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson are a pair of Louisiana detectives whose 1995 case is reopened when a similar murder occurs in 2012.

Returning shows: “Shameless” (9 p.m., Showtime), “Girls” (10 p.m., HBO), “House of Lies” and “Episodes” (10-11 p.m., Showtime)

Monday, Jan. 13

– “Bitten” (10 p.m., Syfy): The world’s only female werewolf (Laura Vandervoort, “Smallville,” “V”) abandons her pack for a new city, where she tries to hide her true nature from a new boyfriend.

– “Chozen” (10:30 p.m., FX): Follows the life and times of a white, gay rapper (voiced by “Saturday Night Live’s” Bobby Moynihan) just out of prison.

Returning shows: “Being Human” (9 p.m., Syfy) and “Archer” (10 p.m., FX)

Wednesday, Jan. 15

– “American Idol” (8 p.m., Fox): Season 13 begins with yet another revamped hosting panel. Keith Urban returns alongside Jennifer Lopez and newbie Harry Connick, Jr.  

– “Crazy Hearts: Nashville” (11 p.m., A&E, before moving to regular timeslot at 10 p.m. Jan. 16): A reality series following a group of musicians trying to hit it big in Music City.

Returning shows: “Suburgatory” (8:30 p.m., ABC)

Saturday, Jan. 18

– “Flowers in the Attic” (8 p.m., Lifetime): The tortured tale, about a woman who locks her children in the attic of her mother’s house, is remade, starring Heather Graham, Ellen Burstyn and “Mad Men” star Kiernan Shipka.

Sunday, Jan. 19

– “Looking” (10:30 p.m., HBO): This dramedy follows three gay men living in San Francisco.

Returning shows: “The Following” (9 p.m., before moving to its regular time slot at 9 p.m. on Monday, Jan. 27), and “Sherlock” (10 p.m., PBS)

Monday, Jan. 20

– “Klondike” (9 p.m., Discovery Channel): “Game of Thrones’” Richard Madden stars as an adventurer during the gold rush. It’s Discovery’s first scripted miniseries, based on the book “Gold Diggers: Striking It Rich in the Klondike.”

Wednesday, Jan. 22

– “Wahlburgers” (10:30 p.m., A&E): The reality show follows Mark and Donnie Wahlberg, and their non-acting brother Paul, as they open a burger joint in their native Boston.

Thursday, Jan. 23

– “Rake” (9 p.m., Fox): Just think of it as “House” in a courtroom. Greg Kinnear stars as the titular “rake,” a brilliant but self-destructive criminal defense attorney.

Saturday, Jan. 25

– “Black Sails” (9 p.m., Starz): In 1715, feared pirate Capt. Flint (Toby Stephens) teams up with the daughter (Hannah New) of a crime kingpin to search for treasure after the British Navy comes after him.

– “Lizzie Borden Took An Ax” (8 p.m., Lifetime): Christina Ricci stars as a woman accused of killing her parents in the 1800s in this made-for-TV movie.

Sunday, Jan. 26

The 56th Annual Grammy Awards, with host LL Cool J, airs at 8 p.m. on CBS.

Saturday, Feb. 1

– “Oscar” (8 p.m., TCM): A documentary about the history of the Academy Awards.  

Sunday, Feb. 2

– Super Bowl LXVIII airs on Fox, featuring a halftime show by Bruno Mars.

Thursday, Feb. 6

– Jay Leno signs off “The Tonight Show” (again), to be followed by Jimmy Fallon’s debut as his successor on Feb. 17; “Saturday Night Live” writer/star Seth Meyers will take over for Fallon on “Late Night" on Feb. 24.

Friday, Feb. 7

– The XXII Olympics kick off from Sochi, Russia and run through Feb. 23 on NBC.

Sunday, Feb. 9

– “The Night That Changed America: A Grammy Salute to the Beatles” (8 p.m., CBS): A concert marking the 50th anniversary of the Fab Four’s appearance on “The Ed Sullivan Show.”

Friday, Feb. 14

– The second season of “House of Cards” debuts on Netflix.

Monday, Feb. 17

– “Star Crossed” (8 p.m., The CW): Aliens are integrated into a human high school 10 years after their spaceship crash landed in a small town. “Friday Night Lights” actress Aimee Teegarden (Julie Taylor, y’all) stars as Emery, who falls for one of them (Matt Lanter, “90210”).

Wednesday, Feb. 26

– “Mixology” (9:30 p.m., ABC): A comedy following 10 people looking for love — or, as the network explains, “sex. But mostly love. Okay fine, sex.” — over the course of one night in a bar.

Returning shows: “The Americans” (10 p.m., FX)

Thursday, Feb. 27

– “Vikings” returns to the History Channel at 10 p.m.

Friday, Feb. 28

– “Hannibal” returns to NBC for a second season at 10 p.m.

Sunday, March 2

– The 86th Annual Academy Awards air at 8 p.m. on ABC.

Monday, March 3

– “Bates Motel” resumes its second season at 10 p.m. on A&E.

Thursday, March 6

– “Sirens” (10 p.m., USA): This comedy, produced by Denis Leary, is about three Chicago EMTs.

Sunday, March 9

– “Resurrection” (9 p.m., ABC): The deceased loved ones of people in the town of Arcadia, Missouri, suddenly start reappearing in this drama starring Omar Epps (“House”), Kurtwood Smith (“That ‘70s Show”), Frances Fisher (“Titanic”) , Matt Craven (“NCIS,” “A Few Good Men”) and Samaire Armstrong (“The O.C.”).

Tuesday, March 11

– “Mind Games” (10 p.m., ABC): Christian Slater — who has spent the past five or six years starring in short-lived series like “My Own Worst Enemy,” “The Forgotten” and “Breaking In” — and Steve Zahn are brothers who use “a little bit of science, a dash of con-artistry, plus a smattering of Jedi mind tricks” to help clients fix their problems.

Wednesday, March 19

– “The 100” (9 p.m., The CW): Set in a future where the survivors of a nuclear war are living on a spaceship, the series follows a group of 100 juvenile delinquents sent back to Earth to see if it can be re-colonized.

Monday, March 31

– “Friends With Better Lives” (9 p.m., CBS before moving to regular time slot at 8:30 p.m. April 7): A romantic comedy about six friends in different stages of their lives. Stars James Van Der Beek, Kevin Connolly (“Entourage”), Brooklyn Decker (“Just Go With It”) and Majandra Delfino (“Roswell”).

Saturday, April 19

– “Orphan Black” returns to BBC America at 9 p.m.

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