Typically, the mid-season premiere is the kiss of death for a show with lousy ratings (even if it does have a cult-like following), but the early part of the new year is also a great time to check out a few new potential hits. Here’s our guide to some of the networks’ latest attempts at success.
The scoop: This eight-part miniseries lets the CIA tell the story of the end of the Cold War, based on the book “Circle of Treason: A CIA Account of Traitor Aldrich Ames and the Men He Betrayed” by Sandy Grimes and Jeanne Vertefeuile. Expect intrigue, double-dealing and treason in this fact-based adventure.
The stars: Paul Rhys (Borgia), Jodie Whittaker (Venus), Julian Ovenden (Downton Abbey)
Premiered: 10 p.m. Jan. 2
Watch if you like: The Americans, creative nonfiction
The scoop: Walker wasn’t the only Texas Ranger. Meet Molly, a fierce member of the squad dedicated to serving justice. Join her as she rises to the challenges of both her personal and professional lives.
The stars: Tricia Helfer (Battlestar Galactica), Marc Blucas (Buffy the Vampire Slayer), Alex Fernandez (Without a Trace)
Premieres: 10 p.m. Jan. 7
Watch if you like: Walker, Texas Ranger; strong female leads
The scoop: There’s always a lot going on in Chicago, and someone has to be on top of it. This spinoff of Chicago Fire has beat cops and intelligence agents working against those breaking the law — and sometimes breaking the rules along the way.
The stars: Jason Beghe (Melrose Place), Sophia Bush (One Tree Hill), Patrick John Flueger (The 4400)
Premieres: 10 p.m. Jan. 8
Watch if you like: Chicago Fire, questionable ethics
The scoop: Three brothers are stationed together to oversee a military outpost. The oldest is the platoon sergeant, tripping his way through keeping the post — and his brothers — in tip-top shape.
The stars: Geoff Slults (The Finder), Chris Lowell (Veronica Mars), Angelique Cabral (Friends with Benefits)
Premieres: 9:30 p.m. Jan. 10
Watch if you like: Brothers, family-themed hijinks
The scoop: Join Keegan on his misadventures in law (both upholding it in the courtroom and breaking it on the streets) and family. The show is based on an Australian nominee for Best Television Drama series, so it has quite a reputation to live up to.
The stars: Greg Kinnear (As Good as it Gets), Miranda Otto (What Lies Beneath), John Ortiz (Silver Linings Playbook)
Premieres: January 2014
Watch if you like: House, heavy character development
The scoop: Seth Meyers, who is probably best known for his snarky look at the news on Saturday Night Live, is moving on and taking over Jimmy Fallon’s spot on Late Night. The show may have less of a focus on news (think celebrity interviews and entertainment previews), but I think we should be able to expect this Emmy-winning writer’s classic wit no matter what he’s doing.
The stars: Seth Meyers (Saturday Night Live)
Premieres: Early 2014
Watch if you like: Weekend Update on SNL, sarcasm
The scoop: A group of friends spend one night in a bar trying to get their recently dumped buddy back in the saddle, if you will. Yes, you read that right. The entire season spans one night.
The stars: Adam Campbell (Epic Movie), Alexis Carra (Incredible Girl), Craig Frank (A Good Knight’s Quest)
Premieres: 9:30 p.m. Feb. 26
Watch if you like: The Hangover franchise, easy humor
The scoop: The world’s first human supercomputer protects the United States with his heart, head and intel. If nothing else, I hope we get a few interesting nicknames out of the man who gave us Sawyer.
The stars: Josh Holloway (Lost), Marg Helgenberger (CSI), Meghan Ory (Once Upon a Time)
Premieres: 9 p.m. Jan. 7
Watch if you like: Limitless with Bradley Cooper, sci-fi thrillers