Without including all of the shows that premiered in the spring and summer, it’s still safe to say that 2014 was a really exciting time to be a TV addict. We loved and lost (due to cancelation or just general lack of interest) quite a few good/”good” shows: Gotham, Gracepoint, Utopia, Red Band Society, Marry Me, A to Z, Manhattan Love Story and Selfie. Networks offered everything from comedies with quasi-incestuous undertones (Happyland) to He Said, She Said-style dramas that ensure Pacey Witter and Jimmy McNulty fans continue to get their weekly fix (The Affair.) Suffice it to say, all that variety throughout the year made the usual lull during midseason and summer breaks pretty much nonexistent.
This new year will bring a spin-off of TV royalty (Better Call Saul) a new offering by FX’s slightly cooler younger brother FXX (Man Seeking Woman), and a show for anyone that saw Starz’s Power and yearned for a similar drug-dealer turned mogul premise minus any nudity with higher profile actors (Empire). HBO, which has become increasingly all about the half-hour series, gives the Duplass’ a chance to show off their dry, mumblecore aesthetic (Togetherness) while ABC tries its hand at yet another potentially offensive/possibly mediocre culturally-themed show (Fresh Off the Boat). We’ll have the Colbert Report-sized hole in our hearts filled (The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore), watch Dwight Schrute’s transform into crime-solving House (Backstrom), and maybe not only watch but enjoy seeing what Victoria Justice can do without Nickelodeon’s PG-13 shackles (Eye Candy).
All of these new and shiny toys make us no less excited for the return of others. Jane the Virgin and How To Get Away With Murder, two shows that are at opposite ends of the colorful comedy to dark-ish drama spectrum, couldn’t be more alike in how great their first seasons are so far. Both work checking out when they return from midseason break. Broad City, smartly paired with Workaholics, is also back (Call it conceit or just a savvy money-saving technique, but Comedy Central really doesn’t make a big hoopla about advertising its shows.)
Remember that mention of variety a few paragraphs back? We haven’t even discussed all of the other shows that have already passed their sophomore mark. The Good Wife, Scandal, Once Upon a Time, Mindy Project, Cougar Town, Parenthood and It’s Always Sunny are just a few more returning shows on a ridiculously long and hard to keep up with list that we watch with true TV junkie dedication.
Need to know what’s coming back and when? Check out this handy-dandy calendar, lovingly put together by the always-helpful folks at TVLine.