You, Me and the Apocalypse (Thursday, Jan. 28, NBC), series debut: A British/American production that may or may not be the prequel to The Last Man on Earth, You, Me and the Apocalypse is a 10-episode limited series that promises to conclude with the literal End of the World in May—if NBC’s patience lasts that long. The faces you’ll recognize in the far-flung international dramedy belong to Rob Lowe (as bad-boy Vatican priest Father Jude), Jenna Fischer (Rhonda, a mousey librarian wrongly imprisoned in New Mexico) and Megan Mullally (Leanne, Rhonda’s white-supremacist prison mate). Along with several other oddly intersecting characters in the United Kingdom and United States, they’re frantically coping with the fact that a comet will wipe out the planet in 34 days. YMA is fast-paced and (mostly) funny, but probably too smart/weird for primetime ’Merican TV—if you get hooked, you might have to watch The End on Hulu after NBC pulls the plug.
Zombie House Flipping (Saturday, Jan. 30, FYI), series debut: Misleading title alert! There are no undead walkers here; a “zombie house” is an abandoned and/or foreclosed dump that Florida flipper Justin Stamper and his renovation team attempt to rehab and resell—just like every other series on HGTV, DIY, TLC, Bravo, Spike, A&E and now FYI. As ubiquitous and repetitive as these shows are (“That was a load-bearing wall!” “We’re gonna have to wait a whole week for the granite tops to be delivered!” “There’s a hobo graveyard in the basement!” etc.), at least they’re preferable to the previous wave of house-hunting bores that clogged up cable. You know the ones: A heavily medicated real estate agent drags a delusional 20-something couple around generic Canadian neighborhoods while they prattle on about “We want to be downtown, and we’ll need four bathrooms, at least 12,000 square feet of space, a BPA-free nursery, and a separate office for Britnee’s Etsy business—oh, and our budget is $20,000.”
Lost Girl (Monday, Feb. 1, Syfy), midseason premiere: It’s the final half of Season 5, the last for Canadian import Lost Girl. (It’s already concluded up in the Great White North, so beware of spoilers out there, eh?) Ironically, the sexy supernatural soap about Sapphic succubus Bo (Anna Silk), her quippy sidekick, Kenzi (Ksenia Solo), and their myriad messy relationships/eternal battles fits in with Syfy’s new refocus on sci-fi more than ever—just as it’s been canceled by its Canuck production company. On the upside, Lost Girl now has an endpoint, and jumping into the twisty series—a viable successor to both Buffy the Vampire Slayer and The L Word if there ever was one—won’t seem as daunting. Do it.
American Crime Story (Tuesday, Feb. 2, FX), series debut: Whether you loved, loathed or merely tolerated the recently concluded American Horror Story: Hotel (the only clear winner was goth rock, but let’s not get into that right now), we can all agree on this: Ryan Murphy knows how to make a splashy grab for attention. His American Crime Story: The People v. O.J. Simpson takes on one of the most sensational and divisive cultural events in this country’s history, and packs in more star-power than all five seasons of American Horror Story combined. Get this: Cuba Gooding Jr. as O.J. Simpson, John Travolta as Robert Shapiro, Sarah Paulson as Marcia Clark, David Schwimmer as Robert Kardashian, Selma Blair as Kris Jenner, Courtney B. Vance as Johnnie Cochran, Nathan Lane as F. Lee Bailey, Evan Handler as Alan Dershowitz, Malcolm-Jamal Warner as Al Cowlings, Jordana Brewster as Denise Brown, Bruce Greenwood as Gil Garcetti, Rob Morrow as Barry Scheck—and that’s only half of the cast. As with the initial Murder House season of American Horror Story, American Crime Story is going to be hard-pressed going forward to top the most famed/defamed legal case ever—and one where all of the inherent drama, comedy and sleaze barely needs to be re-written, no less. Pity any non-Murphy true-crime dramatization that has to follow it, as well, like …
Madoff (Wednesday, Feb. 3, ABC), miniseries debut: Financial fail-whale Bernie Madoff (played here by Richard Dreyfus) may have impacted your life more directly, when he tanked the American economy in 2008, than what O.J. did in 1994, but … who cares?