December—and 2013, really—is pretty much D-U-N done. Here’s what The Only TV Column That Matters™ recommends you look forward to in January 2014:
Community (NBC; Thursday, Jan. 2), season 5 premiere: The Greendale gang returns to save NBC Thursdays. And while we’re being overly optimistic: Six seasons and a movie!
Sex Sent Me to the E.R. (Discovery Fit and Health; Friday, Jan. 3), series debut: Fine. You win, Discovery. Repeats will air on TLC, too.
Killer Women (ABC; Tuesday, Jan 7), series debut: Tricia Helfer stars as a tall ’n’ troubled Texas Ranger who has a “sixth sense” about why the ladies sometimes murder. It usually involves a man. Or Zappos.
Intelligence (CBS; Tuesday, Jan. 7), series debut: Lost’s Josh Holloway is a hunky/stubbly U.S. intelligence operative with a Wi-Fi chip in his brain that allows him to hack online data. Insert virus joke here.
Justified (FX; Tuesday, Jan. 7), season 5 premiere: Marshal Raylan goes up against a new crime family from the Florida swamps, while Boyd gets in deeper with the Detroit mob. Whatever happened to Local First?
Cougar Town (TBS; Tuesday, Jan. 7), season 5 premiere: They’re back. They’re drunk. They’re still pretty damned funny.
American Horror Story: Coven (FX; Wednesday, Jan. 8), winter premiere: An unexpected visit from Stevie Nicks flusters obsessed witch-fan Misty. Aren’t all visits from Stevie Nicks unexpected?
Parks and Recreation (NBC; Thursday, Jan. 9), winter premiere/100th episode: That dozen-viewer bump from Community should get P&R right back on track.
The Spoils of Babylon (IFC; Thursday, Jan. 9), miniseries debut: Kristen Wiig, Will Ferrell, Jessica Alba, Val Kilmer, Tobey Maguire, Haley Joel Osment, Tim Robbins, Michael Sheen and others star in this epic, sweeping comedy of sweeping epic-ness.
Helix (Syfy; Friday, Jan. 10), series debut: The new sci-fi drama from Ronald D. Moore (Battlestar Galactica) is about a disease outbreak that could wipe out mankind—and the deeper conspiracy behind it, because the mankind-wiping-out disease wasn’t enough.
Banshee (Cinemax; Friday, Jan. 10), season 2 premiere: The weirdest series on premium cable (sorry, True Blood) returns with more violence, sex, Amish politics and Ukrainian mob intrigue than ever. See? Weird.
Shameless, House of Lies, Episodes (Showtime; Sunday, Jan. 12), season premieres: The Gallagher clan, the Kaan consultants and Matt LeBlanc are back for Seasons 4, 3 and 3, respectively. Pity the Home Box Office shows that have to go up against this killer lineup.
True Detective (HBO; Sunday, Jan. 12), series debut: OK, well-played, HBO: Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson star as Louisiana detectives who run up against one another over the course of a 17-year murder investigation. It’s followed by the one-hour Season 3 premiere of Girls—game on, Showtime.
Bitten (Syfy; Monday, Jan. 13), series debut: A ridiculously hot werewolf (ridiculously hot Laura Vandervoort) struggles to choose between her new big-city Earth life and her dumb ol’ ancestral world; it follows the season premieres of the equally-conflicted Lost Girl and Being Human.
Archer (FX; Monday, Jan. 13), season 5 premiere: New night, same … Danger Zone!
Chozen (FX; Monday, Jan. 13), series debut: An animated comedy about an ex-con gay white rapper, produced by the Eastbound and Down team. Need I even go on?
The Following (Fox; Sunday, Jan. 19), season 2 premiere: Bereaved Hardy (Kevin Bacon) is on the mend—but will he continue his hunt for presumed-dead serial killer Carroll (James Purefoy)? Well, it’s either that, or 15 episodes of AA meetings.
Wahlburgers (A&E; Wednesday, Jan. 22), series debut: Mark and Donnie Wahlberg help out with their brother Paul’s hamburger joint back home in Boston. This already sounds better than an Entourage movie.
DVD ROUNDUP FOR DEC. 24!
Adventures in the Sin Bin
A shy teen virgin (Michael Seater) lends out his van, the “Sin Bin,” to his pals for sex, all the while dreaming of being with Suzie (Emily Meade). Meanwhile, the director dreams of being Wes Anderson, and Jeff Garlin just hangs out. (Phase 4; released on Dec. 27)
Insidious: Chapter 2
The Lamberts (Rose Byrne and Patrick Wilson) are still haunted by evil spirits, as well as a film studio bent on making at least another billion bucks. Not to be confused with The Conjuring, the director’s other identical 2013 movie. (Sony)
A Havana teen must choose between helping his wrongly accused friend escape the country and reach Miami, more than 90 miles away across the ocean, and staying to protect his sister. This one was definitely filmed in Instagram. (MPI)
More New DVD Releases (Dec. 24)
The Berlin File, Caesar Must Die, Frontline: Hunting the Nightmare Bacteria, Humanity Has Declined: The Complete Collection, More Than Honey, WWE Survivor Series 2013.