2009 mid-season tv

by kellie abrahamson
It’s a new year and that means new TV. The networks have parted ways with many of their lackluster and ratings-challenged shows and are calling out the mid-season replacements to take up the slack. Surefire winners like Lost and American Idol are returning along with some new kids hoping to get you talking around the water cooler. Here’s a look at what you can expect.

      The Alphabet Net hurt me with their recent announcement that Dirty Sexy Money, Eli Stone and, horror of horrors, Pushing Daisies are on the chopping block. While I mourn these fine shows (ok, just Daisies), I can’t help but look forward to a few of the new offerings they have coming up.
New shows begin on January 5th with the reality series True Beauty, a show about super-shallow people who don’t know that this beauty pageant is all about being pretty on the inside. Then on January 6th Homeland Security USA premieres. This reality show gives the American public a look at the various government agencies that protect our borders.
March and April are better months for TV fans since that’s when new scripted series’ will hit airwaves. Castle (March 9) stars Nathan Fillion as a mystery novelist whose books inspire a real life serial killer. Rob Thomas’ failed show Cupid gets a second chance at love on March 24th. The critically-acclaimed rom-com failed to capture audience hearts back in 1998 and was yanked after 14 episodes. This time around ABC hopes to woo us with Bobby Cannavale as Trevor Hale, a man who believes himself to be mythical god of love Cupid and Sarah Paulson as his psychiatrist. Questionable concept? Yes. Good show? If the original is any indication, probably. Finally, Amber Tamblyn stars in The Unusuals (April 8th), a quirky cop dramedy set in the NYPD homicide division.
Returning shows include yet another round of The Bachelor (January 5), the hotly anticipated 5th season of Lost (January 21) and Dancing with the Stars (March 9).
      I can’t be mad at CBS for cancelling the pretty horrible “comedy” The Ex List after four episodes. I would have helped them pull the plug myself after two! So, what will they put in its place? A new reality show from Ashton Kutcher called Game Show in My Head gets thrown in the mix on January 3. The hidden camera series will feature normal people doing extraordinary things for cold hard cash. Then on April 9th murder mystery mini Harper’s Island premieres. The 13-episode “event” centers on a wedding party who gets picked off one by one by a serial killer. Everyone is a suspect and only a few will survive to find out whodunit. Reality TV shows Million Dollar Password (December 18), Survivor (February 12) and The Amazing Race (February 15) will all be retuning as well as cop drama Flashpoint (January 9).
      The C-Dub took a gamble on Sundays with shows 4Real, In Harm’s Way, Easy Money and Valentine. I guess they lost since none of them lasted more than a handful of episodes. While I’m disappointed more people didn’t tune in to watch Easy Money, which was pretty great, I can’t say I’m surprised by this turn of events. Let’s hope their new reality/horror series 13: Fear is Real (January 7) will fare better. The show forces thirteen people to face their worst fears in order to win $66,666. Fitting.
The boys of the CW are back with new episodes of Smallville (January 15), Supernatural (January 15) and Reaper (March 17). Also returning are the beautiful and the vapid chicks of America’s Next Top Model (March 4).
      Fox won the biggest loser award this year with their turkey Do Not Disturb, a sitcom so bad it lasted all of three horrendous episodes. King of the Hill drank its last beer in the alley this year as well. Hoping to fare better than Do Not Disturb are Lie to Me (January 21) and Dollhouse (February 13), two new dramas that are already better off since they’ve been getting a lot of positive buzz. Lie to Me is about a group of human lie detectors who use real-life scientific discoveries to help law enforcement nail bad guys. The series stars Tim Roth, David Boreanaz and Emily Deschanel. Joss Whedon is returning to the small screen with his offering Dollhouse, an action-packed new show starring Eliza Dushku. She plays a woman who has had her personality wiped clean by a secret organization and is used to do various legal and illegal jobs for the highest bidder… That is until she becomes self-aware.
Returning the airwaves are, at long last, 24 (January 11 & 12), American Idol (January 13), Kitchen Nightmares (January 15) and Hell’s Kitchen (January 29).
     Lipstick Jungle, My Own Worst Enemy and ER are all signing off so that leaves plenty of room for something good. Too bad NBC has decided to fill up all that time with questionable new reality shows. First up is Momma’s Boys (December 16) another dating show except this time contestants have to get past Mom to get to the guy. Next is Superstars of Dance (January 4), yet another dance competition. Finally there’s Howie Do It (January 9), a hidden camera show that has Howie Mandel (yeah, there’s not enough of him on NBC already) punking unsuspecting people with his jackassery. The only beacon of hope coming from the Peacock is Kings (March 19), a drama about a modern day monarchy. The story mirrors the tale of David and Goliath and actually looks pretty decent.
New episodes of Scrubs (January 6), Medium (February 2) and The Apprentice (March 1) are also in our future and while I could definitely do without Donald Trump, more JD and the Sacred Heart gang almost make up for it.
what’s new on cable
     Here’s a look at what you can expect to find on all those channels you actually pay for:
Returning: Nip/Tuck (January 6), Damages (January 7), Rescue Me (March 10)
New: East Bound & Down (February 15)
Returning: Big Love (January 18), Flight of the Conchords (January 18)
New: The United States of Tara (January 18)
Returning: The L Word (January 18), Secret Diary of a Call Girl (January 18)
Returning: Monk (January 9), Psych (January 9), Burn Notice (January 22)
ABC Family
Returning: The Secret Life of the American Teenager (January 5), Kyle XY (January 12), Greek (March 23)
New: Leverage (December 7), Trust Me (January 26)
Returning: The Closer (January 26)

New: RelicQuest (January 21)
Returning: Battlestar Galactica (January 16)