Community (Thursday, Jan. 2, NBC), one-hour season premiere: No, series creator and once-deposed-but-now-returning showrunner Dan Harmon isn’t going to ignore Season 4, last year’s not-quite-right 13 Community episodes that NBC figured would work without him. They didn’t—but they also weren’t as terrible as everyone’s making them out to be in hindsight. (The Inspector Spacetime convention and the puppet episode, in particular, were worthy entries, so shut up.) In the Season 5 opener, declaratively titled “Repilot,” Harmon addresses the limbo season, the vaporization of Chevy Chase and the graduation of Jeff Winger (Joel McHale)—and then starts Community over from Square One. But does Season 4 still count toward Six Seasons and a Movie?
Killer Women (Tuesday, Jan. 7, ABC), series debut: Tricia Helfer isn’t one of the better actors to come out of Battlestar Galactica, which probably explains why she’s basically only played the occasional bitchy villainess in guest roles and Lifetime-movie moms since. Killer Women uses Helfer’s formidable presence well as Texas Ranger Molly Parker, a female cop in a dude-centric world with a profiler advantage: She knows why women kill. (Not to spoil pretty much every episode, but it’s usually more about “love” than “hate.”) Ranger Parker also has an estranged husband (Battlestar alum Michael Trucco) and a DEA agent lover on the side (Marc Blucas), so, you know, parallels and relatables. It could work—ABC has nothing to lose on Tuesdays, anyway (looking at you, Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.).
Intelligence (Tuesday, Jan. 7, CBS), series debut: Ever met anyone who watches Person of Interest? Of course you haven’t. It’s a crime-procedural involving vague terrorist threats, high-tech intrigue and a whole lotta gun-waving in dark alleys. Now, since CBS can afford to just toss out generic cop/spy shows with generic-er titles at will, here’s Intelligence … zzz … starring Lost’s Josh Holloway as a “high-tech intelligence operative enhanced with a super-computer microchip in his brain.” Would you believe he’s also a wildcard with little regard for protocol? Because of course that’s the guy to whom you hand the launch codes. Intelligence … zzz … sorry, keeps happening … is just Chuck with downgraded humor and upgraded Wi-Fi, so it’ll probably last undetected for several seasons.
Justified (Tuesday, Jan. 7, FX), season premiere: The ongoing story of Kentucky Marshal Raylan Givens (Timothy Olyphant), his criminal frenemy Boyd Crowder (Walton Goggins) and an ever-expanding cast of hilarious/dangerous Southern characters—season 5’s new blood includes Michael Rappaport, David Koechner and Alicia Witt, among other surprises—gets smarter and deeper every year; if you’re not immersed in the hillbilly-noir world of Justified, fix that. Now. For the rest of us: This season finds Raylan heading south to Florida to deal with the far-scarier kinfolk of Dewey Crowe, while Boyd travels north to Detroit with drug business and springing Ava (Joelle Carter) from prison weighing heavily on his spiky-haired mind. Justified’s first four seasons are on DVD, iTunes and various other platforms—get on it.
American Horror Story: Coven (Wednesday, Jan. 8, FX), return: The Only TV Column That Matters™ is not going to call it a “Winter Premiere.” When did this whole “Winter Finale/Winter Premiere” idiocy become a thing? The majority of these shows have simply taken two weeks off because, according to the network geniuses, nobody watches TV during Christmas. Anyway … American Horror Story: Coven is back tonight, featuring the long-awaited, sure-to-be-bizarre meeting of Stevie-Nicks-obsessed swamp witch Misty (Lily Rabe) and Stevie Nicks, herself. Now this is an event.
DVD ROUNDUP FOR JAN. 7!
A drug dealer and his girlfriend, on the run from a murderous loan shark, drive to Mississippi to make one last big-money deal—all the while videotaping it because, of course, they’re going to become reality TV stars. TLC already has the rights. (Anderson Digital)
Big Ass Spider!
An exterminator (Greg Grunberg) and a security guard (Lombardo Boyar) fight to save Los Angeles from, as you may have gathered from the title, a larger-than-usual arachnid from space. If you loved Sharknado, you’ll tolerate this. (Epic)
A woman (Emmanuelle Vaugier) fakes her own death and assumes a new identity to escape her abusive husband (Ivan Sergei), who easily tracks her down—so she’s not really all that Hidden Away, now is she? Consistency, people. (Vivendi)
House of Lies: Season 2
Marty (Don Cheadle), Jeannie (Kristen Bell) and the rest of the management consultants deal with a new CEO, a douchebag Matt Damon, a dildo mogul (Adam Brody) and a whole lotta sex and drugs. Way more fun than House of Cards. (Paramount/Showtime)
Thanks for Sharing
The feel-bad-then-slightly-less-bad tale of several addicts (including Mark Ruffalo, Gwyneth Paltrow, Tim Robbins, Josh Gad, Pink and Patrick Fugit) struggling to figure whether this is supposed to be a comedy or a drama. (Lionsgate)
More New DVD Releases (Jan. 7)
Archer: Season 4, Badges of Fury, Being Human: Season 3, Closed Circuit, Copper: Season 2, Duck Dynasty: Season 4, The Following: Season 1, Gone Dark, The Hunters, Inequality for All, Runner Runner, Tiger Eyes, Top of the Lake, We Are What We Are.