The beginning of January is typically the time when optimistic people full of renewed energies from the holidays embark on a set of New Year’s resolutions, usually involving joining a gym, beginning a new diet, or maybe even cutting down on all that drinking and smoking you’ve been engaged in. The realists among us, however, know that the winter months are best served by bundling up on the couch, possibly pulling out something to smoke and/or drink, and committing to some new television shows. 2016 features even more winter premieres than last year, and The A.V. Club is here to help you figure out which series will make for the best “commit to watch” resolutions. Consider this your guide for what you’ll actually achieve in the coming months, and feel free to experience some pangs of superiority over those poor folks who decided running a marathon would be their New Year’s goal. (Note: All times listed are Eastern.)
Cooper Barrett’s Guide To Surviving Life (Fox, Sundays, debuts January 3 at 8:30 p.m.)
2016 resolution: “Don’t be as stupid as a millennial.”
How will it help you achieve your resolution? Cooper Barrett (Kingsman’s Jack Cutmore-Scott) is entrenched in that period between college and full-on adulthood. He lives with his two screw-up buddies (Charlie Saxton and James Earl), he hates his job, and he pines for the sassy physical therapist next door (Meaghan Rath). Cooper makes near-constant mistakes, like any 26-year-old. The conceit of the show is that Cooper leads the audience through his foibles and wacky, sitcom-ready misadventures so we can avoid his mishaps. But why would Cooper want to be an adult when his older brother (Justin Bartha) hangs around to tell him much of a drag growing up actually is?
What resolutions might it lead to in 2017? “Maybe look into Craigslist roommates.” “Hang out less with siblings.” “Finish those law school applications.” [Molly Eichel]
Bordertown (Fox, Sundays, debuts January 3 at 9:30 p.m.)
2016 resolution: “Try not to rush to judgment.”
How will it help you achieve your resolution? Fox’s newest animated series purports to tackle hot-button issues like immigration and nativism as navigated by two very different families: The backwater Buckwalds and the hard-working Gonzaleses. Yes, it’s from Mark Hentemann and Seth MacFarlane, who aren’t exactly well known for nuance, but Bordertown’s writers include political cartoonist Lalo Alcaraz, who’s been slyly satirizing for years. So maybe there will be some incisive commentary sandwiched between the cutaway gags.
What resolutions might it lead to in 2017? “Keep an open mind about Seth MacFarlane-produced animated shows.” “Maybe rethink that last resolution.” [Danette Chavez]
The Shannara Chronicles (MTV, Tuesdays, debuts January 5 at 10 p.m.)
2016 resolution: “Be more adventurous, even in the face of dangerous obstacles.”
How will it help you achieve your resolution? MTV’s boldest and most ambitious new series is an epic fantasy tale of heroism and friendship. As executive producer Jon Favreau says, “the stakes couldn’t be higher in this world.” Shannara looks to open up a world never-before-seen on MTV or in this genre… at this scope.
What resolutions might it lead to in 2017? “Be on the lookout for gnomes, trolls, and rovers”; “Spend less money at the movie theater.” [LaToya Ferguson]
Angel From Hell (CBS, Thursdays, debuts January 7 at 9:30 p.m.)
2016 resolution: “Hey, live a little.”
How will it help you achieve your resolution? Amy (Jane Lynch) tells tightly wound dermatologist Allison (Maggie Lawson) that she’s her guardian angel. Although that premise sounds awful, leave it to Lynch to elevate this kooky setup by sheer force of personality, playing a crass, offbeat hero instead of the villain she was in Glee. Just the scene when she flirts with Allison’s brother (Kyle Bornheimer) is a hoot: “You’re a project, aren’t cha?” “Get your tool set ready.”
What resolutions might it lead to in 2017? All of angel Amy’s advice sounds spot-on, actually: “Get off the phone”; “Have a weekday margarita”; “Have some fun!”; “Let some random guy take you to O-town.” (Well, maybe not that last one.) [Gwen Ihnat]
Shades Of Blue (NBC, Thursdays, debuts January 7 at 10 p.m.)
2016 resolution: “Move to a city with hotter cops.”
How will it help you achieve your resolution? J.Lo plays a cop once more! Alas, it’s not Karen Sisco, but Harlee Santos, a Brooklyn detective whose lieutenant (Ray Liotta), often encourages his squad to work outside the law. When single mom Santos is caught in the act by the FBI, she’s forced to turn informant against the squad she calls family in order to protect herself and her daughter. Liotta’s not the only faux-mob vet in the mix. Drea De Matteo returns to TV after The Sopranos and Sons Of Anarchy as—what else?—a tough-as-nails cop who can hold her own with the boys. The 13-episode series comes from From Paris With Love’s Adi Hasak, so don’t be on the lookout for much subtlety or character complexity.
What resolutions might it lead to in 2017? “Stop being a corrupt cop.” [Molly Eichel]
Shadowhunters (Freeform, Tuesdays, debuts January 12 at 9 p.m.)
2016 resolution: “Soldier on in the face of rejection.”
How will it help you achieve your resolution? Most television networks would interpret a failed movie adaptation of a hit YA series as a sign of audience disinterest. But Freeform (formerly ABC Family) thinks it can turn Cassandra Clare’s The Mortal Instruments books into a hit series, even though the 2013 film only recouped half its budget. Katherine McNamara assumes the role of Clary Fray, a teenage half-angel who hunts demons whenever she’s not busy crushing on boys. Despite the franchise’s troubled history, Shadowhunters is a perfect fit for Freeform’s audience, and the producers say they’ll be able to flesh out this angelic world more faithfully in a series than in the film.
What resolutions might it lead to in 2017? “Mate with an angel so your kids will have magical powers”; “Rework your terrible screenplay into a terrible TV pilot”; “Tweet ‘Seriously though, Freeform?!’” [Joshua Alston]
Second Chance (Fox, Wednesdays, debuts January 13 at 9 p.m.)
2016 resolution: “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.”
How will it help you achieve your resolution? Fox refuses to give up on finding the right name for this show about a disgraced lawman brought back to life in a young man’s body (Rob Kazinsky): First it was The Frankenstein Code, then it was Lookinglass, and now it’s Second Chance. A cut episode order may indicate the network doesn’t think this third title will save it either; however, if the creative team decides to lean into just how daffy their take on this premise is, Second Chance could provide some Do No Harm levels of unintentional comedy.
What resolutions might it lead to in 2017? “Don’t let death slow you down,” “It’s never too late to stop being a bastard,” “Borrowing from classic literature works, except when it doesn’t.” [Les Chappell]
Teachers (TV Land, Wednesdays, debuts January 13 at 11 p.m.)
2016 resolution: “Find out what the kids are up to at school.”
How will it help you achieve your resolution?: Based on a webseries of the same name—created by the Los Angeles improv troupe The Katydids—this Alison Brie-produced single-camera sitcom follows a group of elementary school teachers as they deal with grumpy parents, precocious kids, prickly colleagues, and an educational system that keeps changing every semester. It’s all part of TV Land’s ongoing rebrand as the channel for people who enjoy feeling depressed about their life-choices.
What resolutions might it lead to in 2017?: “Join the PTA”; “Run for the Board Of Education”; “Consider home-schooling.” [Noel Murray]
Colony (USA, Thursdays, debuts January 14 at 10 p.m.)
2016 resolution: “Do whatever it takes to protect your family, except evil stuff.”
How will it help you achieve your resolution? If you happen to be living under a repressive occupying force, and need a moral compass, it looks like Josh Holloway (Lost) might be your guy. As husband to Sarah Wayne Callies (The Walking Dead) and father to a missing child, Holloway’s desperate auto mechanic will do whatever it takes to reunite his family—even if it means risking the wrath of a despotic government in near-future Los Angeles.
What resolutions might it lead to in 2017? “Side with the resistance when the alternative is an oppressive regime”; “When in doubt, don’t trust House’s Peter Jacobsen.” [Alex McCown]
Idiotsitter (Comedy Central, Thursdays, debuts January 14 at 10:30 p.m.)
2016 resolution: “On second thought, maybe don’t get your shit together.”
How will it help you achieve your resolution? By presenting the example of out-of-control heiress Gene (Jillian Bell), who earns a nifty piece of ankle jewelry after a particularly intense spell of partying, substance-abusing, and pony-stealing. She finds an unlikely companion (and potential BFF) in cash-strapped do-gooder Billie (Charlotte Newhouse), who’s duped into supervising Gene’s house arrest when she responds to a job listing she presumes is for a babysitting gig. She presumes… incorrectly, embarking on a series of housebound misadventures that will pair excellently with lead-in Workaholics, where Bell made her bones as the guys’ comically intense co-worker, Jillian Belk.
What resolutions might it lead to in 2017? “Invest in more vanity T-shirts and gaudy sunglasses”; “Be more discerning with your job applications”; “Start an online gaming rivalry with Andrew W.K.” [Erik Adams]
Billions (Showtime, Sundays, debuts January 17 at 10 p.m.)
2016 resolution: “Try to make sense of our messed-up global economy.”
How will it help you achieve your resolution? If the movie The Big Short whets your appetite for more tales of colossally destructive fiscal malfeasance, Showtime has you covered with this tony new series, starring Damian Lewis as a cocky money-manager and Paul Giamatti as the overmatched government attorney trying to bring him down. The Rounders/Girlfriend Experience team of Brian Koppelman and David Levien co-created the gripping, well-cast drama, working with Too Big To Fail author Andrew Rose Sorkin.
What resolutions might it lead to in 2017? “Renew Showtime subscription”; “Give Paul Giamatti a hug”; “Put all your savings into a glass jar and bury it in the backyard.” [Noel Murray]
Mercy Street (PBS, Sundays, debuts January 17 at 10 p.m.)
2016 resolution: “Cure your anglophilia and become more patriotic.”
How will it help you achieve your resolution? PBS is hoping to fill the void soon to be left by the outgoing Downton Abbey with Mercy Street, a homegrown period piece that shows an epic historical drama doesn’t need elegant British accents. The Civil War-era drama follows a pair of volunteer nurses working on opposite sides of the battle, with Mary Phinney (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) supporting the northern abolitionists and Emma Green (Hannah James) patching up wounded Confederates. Ridley Scott is producing the series, which is the first American series to air on PBS in more than a decade.
What resolutions might it lead to in 2017? “Bone up on Ken Burns documentaries”; “Dabble in the reenactment scene”; “Patch things up with your no-good Yankee brother.” [Joshua Alston]
Angie Tribeca (TBS, Mondays, premiers in a 25-hour marathon January 17; regular timeslot begins January 25 at 9 p.m.)
2016 resolution: “Turn that frown upside-down, and turn that flat circle into a smiley-face.”
How will it help you achieve your resolution? Created by Nancy and Steve Carell, starring Rashida Jones as a detective from the esteemed RHCU (Really Heinous Crimes Unit), Angie Tribeca sounds like a bang-up satire of grim police procedurals. Its premiere as a 25-hour marathon could have been a harbinger of doom, but TBS has already signed a second season. With guest stars like Bill Murray, Lisa Kudrow, Keegan-Michael Key, and Adam Scott joining Jones and regular cast members Deon Cole and Hayes MacArthur, their confidence seems well placed.
What resolutions might it lead to in 2017? “Stop disrupting True Detective viewing parties with your incessant snickering.” [Emily L. Stephens]
DC’s Legends Of Tomorrow (CW, Thursdays, debuts January 21 at 8 p.m.)
2016 resolution: “Keep all your best parts in one place.”
How will it help you achieve your resolution? It’s a superstar tag team of The Flash and Arrow supporting players, uniting such characters as Atom (Brandon Routh), Firestorm (Victor Garber), Captain Cold (Wentworth Miller), and White Canary (Caity Lotz) in a fight against an immortal warlord. While it’s the the most outwardly comic-book-esque of the CW’s DC Universe properties so far with its emphasis on superhero teams and time travel, it’s collected a lot of fan favorites, many of whom have never interacted before. The potential in those unexplored combinations, and some excitingly constructed trailers, might mean the network is looking at a success hat trick.
What resolutions might it lead to in 2017? “Look into time travel to solve all your problems”; “Tread lightly where giant robots are concerned”; “Trust people with badass names like Rip Hunter.” [Les Chappell]
Baskets (FX, Thursdays, debuts January 21 at 10 p.m.)
2016 resolution: “Go back to (clown) school.”
How will it help you achieve your resolution? Chip Baskets (Zach Galifianakis) arrives as a marriage between Galifianakis’ usual antics and co-creator Louis CK’s signature sadness and sense of futility. After hitting a snag in his dream of becoming a French clown, he moves back to his native town of Bakersfield, California, sporting a man bun and healthy disdain for the necessary yet lower art form of a rodeo clown. It’s a hell of place and occupation to inhabit at a crossroads in life.
What resolutions might it lead to in 2017? “Confirm whether or not Bakersfield is a real town”; “Learn how to make non-phallic balloon animals”; “Find a new way to repress that crippling fear of clowns.” [Victor Beigelman]
The X-Files (Fox, Mondays, Sunday, debuts January 24 at 10 p.m.)
2016 resolution: “Trust no one… again.”
How will it help you achieve your resolution? Although 2012 is long gone, and the aliens have yet to colonize the world, Special Agent Fox Mulder (David Duchovny) insists upon further government conspiracies. “They police us. They spy on us. Tell us that makes us safer. We’ve never been in more danger,” he warns FBI Assistant Director Walter Skinner (Mitch Pileggi). Skinner’s response? “Then do something about it, Mulder.” That’s just what ol’ Spooky and Special Agent Dana Scully (Gillian Anderson) will do over six episodes designed by Chris Carter and his brain trust of veteran writers.
What resolutions might it lead to in 2017? “Avoid reading r/nosleep before bed”; “Stop buying packs of Morley”; “Remove sunflower seeds from jacket pocket prior to laundry day”; “Try to solve where the last nine minutes went.” [Michael Roffman]
Lucifer (Fox, Mondays, debuts January 25 at 9 p.m.)
2016 resolution: “Walk away from a situation that’s no longer working for you.”
How will it help you achieve your resolution? This loose adaptation of a Neil Gaiman comic sees Lucifer Morningstar (Tom Ellis) abdicate the throne of Hell because he’s bored and unfulfilled—yes, it seems it might actually be better to serve in Heaven (or on Earth, in this case). After divine and mortal justice fail someone close to him, Lucifer decides to use his evil powers for good by helping the LAPD investigate crimes.
What resolutions might it lead to in 2017? “Give up on Rosewood, which features a similar ‘brilliant person who deigns to work with local law enforcement despite not needing the money’ storyline”; “Figure out if there’s some way to get Harold Perrineau on this show.” [Danette Chavez]
The Magicians (Syfy, Mondays, debuts January 25 at 9 p.m.)
2016 resolution: “When something you want happens, let nothing, including ill omens, betrayal of loved ones, or moral concerns stand in your way.”
How will it help you achieve your resolution? The long-awaited adaptation of Lev Grossman’s series of books about manchild magician Quentin Coldwater (played by newcomer Jason Ralph) finally hits Syfy. Quentin gets to live out his dream of magic and his favorite childhood book series being real, and is just as selfish and awestruck as you would be about it. Ralph is well cast, and the show’s effects and setting are nicely done. It’s fantasy for anyone who can’t quite make themselves grow up.
What resolutions might it lead to in 2017? “Treat your friends better”; “Spend a bit more time reflecting on what’s happening around you instead of assuming someone else will fix things.” [Lisa Weidenfeld]
Outsiders (WGN America, Tuesdays, debuts January 26 at 9 p.m.)
2016 resolution: “Unplug more often.”
How will it help you achieve your resolution? The main characters of the series, the aptly named Farrell clan, have lived off the grid since before there was a grid. Under the guidance of grizzled patriarch Big Foster (David Morse, essentially extending his term as True Detective’s “dharma daddy”), the Farrells keep to themselves in their Appalachian stronghold while maintaining a tense peace with the electronics-having, running-water-using people below. But when skeezy corporate elements butt in, that arrangement is threatened and questions are raised—questions like “Can anyone truly own a piece of the Earth?,” “How long until the town sheriff/local expert in all things Farrell is revealed to be a Farrell himself?,” and “You say Paul Giamatti produced this (alongside Peter Tolan and creator Peter Mattei)?”
What resolutions might it lead to in 2017? “Denounce personal hygiene”; “Learn how to ride an all-terrain vehicle”; “Manage your anger so you don’t punch a wall when that sheriff turns out to be a renegade member of the hill-people family (He’s totally a member of the hill-people family, right?)” [Erik Adams]
American Crime Story: The People Vs. O.J. Simpson (FX, Tuesdays, debuts February 2 at 10 p.m.)
2016 resolution: “Stay hip to current events.”
How will it help you achieve your resolution? Now that Ryan Murphy has invented and conquered the anthology and the horror-comedy, he’s poised to do the same with true crime. Consider American Crime Story your weekly history lesson, where you can learn fun facts and conversation starters like how “nobody gets killed in Brentwood.”
What resolutions might it lead to in 2017? “Gossip less”; “Talk more about race relations”; “Gossip more.” [LaToya Ferguson]
Animals (HBO, Fridays, debuts February 5 at 11:30 p.m.)
2016 resolution: “Finally get past that Fantastic Mr. Fox obsession with… more literately eccentric talking animals?”
How will it help you achieve your resolution? Indie film stalwarts the Duplass brothers continue their quirky colonization of HBO, producing this animated series about the talky existential crises of New York City’s most downtrodden citizens. Voicing the likes of bedbugs, pigeons, rats, and the like are a truly impressive infestation of comedy types: Jason Mantzoukas, Eric André, Nick Kroll, Lauren Lapkus, Scott Aukerman, Justin Roiland, Neil Casey, Nathan Fielder, Adam Scott, Zach Woods, Paul Scheer, Katie Aselton, the Duplasses, and series creators Mike Luciano and Phil Matarese.
What resolutions might it lead to in 2017? “Thinking twice before squishing that cockroach”; “Feeling sort of bad after squishing that cockroach.” [Dennis Perkins]
Full Frontal (TBS, Sundays, debuts February 8, time TBD)
2016 resolution: “Fill that Colbert/Stewart gap with giant, swinging lady balls.”
How will it help you achieve your resolution? Former Daily Show correspondent and provocateur Samantha Bee gets her own platform (with a desk and everything) to continue the assault on Bullshit Mountain and smash her way into the late night boys’ club (possibly with her mighty hooves and laser eyes). Bee’s fearlessness in chasing down hypocrites, prevaricators, and the unwarily awful promises to piss off all the right people.
What resolutions might it lead to in 2017? “Fear-based decency”; “Giving more late-night opportunities for women (TV executives only).” [Dennis Perkins]
Vinyl (HBO, Sundays, debuts February 14 at 9 p.m.)
2016 resolution: “Embrace authenticity and passion, even when it’s messy.”
How will it help you achieve your resolution? “It’s fast, it’s dirty, it smashes you over the head!” That’s Richie Finestra (Bobby Cannavale) yelling about rock ’n’ roll, but it’s also the promise of Vinyl, from Terence Winter and Martin Scorsese. This looks like a period piece done right: not as an aloof catalog of references (looking at you, Wicked City) or a stiff museum showcase, but as a sweaty, smart, passionate story immersed in its time.
What resolutions might it lead to in 2017? “”Look into anger management classes”; “Stop buying Stooges bootlegs”; “Stop smashing people over the head with Stooges bootlegs.” [Emily L. Stephens]
11/22/63 (Hulu, Mondays, debuts February 15)
2016 resolution: “Relive the past until you get it right.”
How will it help you achieve your resolution? Stephen King’s 2011 novel about a time-traveling English teacher who visits the past to try and stop JFK’s assassination is practically a how-to book when it comes to immersing yourself in times gone by. While the story hook makes for a good premise, the novel’s biggest selling point was its thoroughly released, and surprisingly inviting, world. The miniseries, produced by J.J. Abrams and starring James Franco, should have ample time to explore that world in its eight episodes, as well as make the most of King’s ample research into Lee Harvey Oswald’s history. Most King TV adaptations suffer from over-length, but the novel has enough room to expand that it could make a good fit for binge-watching.
What resolutions might it lead to in 2017? “Sometimes dead is better”; “Only a time traveler can wear a fedora”; “It’s tough for people in two different time zones to make a relationship work.” [Zack Handlen]
The Real O’Neals (ABC, Wednesdays, debuts March 2 at 8:30 p.m.)
2016 resolution: “Support a gay coming-of-age story on network TV”
How will it help you achieve your resolution? Based on a concept from sex expert and A.V. Club contributor Dan Savage, this sitcom explores the tangled lives and lies of the Chicagoan, very Catholic O’Neal family, thrown into chaos when the family’s 14-year-old son (newcomer Noah Galvin) reveals he’s gay. With parental work from always-interesting Martha Plimpton and Jay R. Ferguson (Mad Men’s Stan), this promises—based on Savage’s uncompromising sensibilities and the predictable protests from exactly the groups you’d expect—to be an antidote to Modern Family’s never-ending mission to present apparently celibate gay characters.
What resolutions might it lead to in 2017? “Read Savage Love”; “Ensure Martha Plimpton is always on your TV.” [Dennis Perkins]
The Family (ABC, special preview on Thursday, March 3, 9 p.m.; moves to Sundays on March 6)
2016 resolution: “Call Mom more often.”
How will it help you achieve your resolution? Whatever tensions exist between you and mom, they’ll seem pretty tame compared to the family secrets that are unearthed when Adam Warren (Liam James) re-emerges after a decade-plus disappearance. Adam’s homecoming couldn’t come at a more inconvenient time, as his mother, Mayor Claire Warren (Joan Allen) is just about to announce a gubernatorial bid. Or maybe it’s too convenient: Claire’s a notorious political operator, and her reunion with Adam raises suspicions from her burnout older son (Zach Gilford), her cheating husband (Rupert Graves), a local reporter (Floriana Lima), and the man falsely accused of Adam’s murder (Andrew McCarthy). (Does it surprise you to learn that The Family was created by Scandal vet Jenna Bans?)
What resolutions might it lead to in 2017? “Seriously: Call Mom, get all the dirt out in the open”; “Always check for cameras”; “Once you’ve checked for cameras, then check the credentials of all medical professionals you’re dealing with.” [Erik Adams]
Of Kings And Prophets (ABC, Tuesdays, debuts March 8 at 10 p.m.)
2016 resolution: “Get back in touch with your faith.”
How will it help you achieve your resolution? A TV show’s as good as actual religious texts, right? After being driven from ABC’s fall lineup to wander the desert for 40 years (so to speak), this telling of the Books Of Samuel finally arrives in the not-so-promised land that chewed up and spat out Wicked City last fall. Of Kings And Prophets was picked up in the spring of 2015, shortly after Narcos’ Chris Brancato came aboard to rework the pilot, which was recast and reshot, all while the network reportedly reduced the show’s episode order from 13 to 10. With that kind of behind-the-scenes drama and a death-sentence of a time slot, maybe the best you can hope for from Of Kings And Prophets is that it’s so boring, it actually drives you to crack open the ol’ Bible.
What resolutions might it lead to in 2017? “Track down the pilot that made Fox cancel Hieroglyph”; “Read up on that totally badass Witch Of Endor”; “Pray for ABC’s Tuesdays-at-10 slot.” [Erik Adams]
Underground (WGN, Wednesdays, debuts March 9, time TBD)
2016 resolution: “Give me liberty or give me death.”
How will it help you achieve your resolution? WGN’s new underground railroad drama comes to us courtesy of exec producer John Legend, but the music isn’t even the most compelling part. This history is inherently compelling stuff, and the trailers they’ve crafted thus far make the series look like it’s going to be intense, to say the least. Leverage’s Aldis Hodge stars as Noah, a blacksmith who heads up a group of six other slaves who make a break from their plantation. “Harrowing” might be too tame a word for this kind of material.
What resolutions might it lead to in 2017? “Give John Legend the chance to produce more TV shows.” [Alex McCown]
The Catch (ABC, Thursdays, debuts March 24 at 10 p.m.)
2016 resolution: “Steer clear of anyone as rakishly handsome as Peter Krause.”
How will it help you achieve your resolution: Surely no one thought ABC’s reigning drama queen Shonda Rhimes would loosen her grip on Thursdays after How To Get Away With Murder wraps its second season in March? The Catch will step into Murder’s vacant time slot, advancing the Shondaland brand with a romantic thriller in which love is the ultimate blindspot. Mireille Enos stars as Alice Vaughan, a Los Angeles-based private investigator who thinks she can’t be duped until her con-man fiancé (Krause) flees with her multi-million dollar nest egg. With Rhimes producing, there are sure to be twists as Alice tries to track him down.
What resolutions might it lead to in 2017? “Spring for an annual membership to a background check site”; “Love the one you’re with, since the one you love could be a con man”; “Stop making plans on Thursday nights.” [Joshua Alston]
The Path (Hulu, Wednesdays, debuts March 30)
2016 resolution: “Develop your faith, or maybe develop your own faith.”
How will it help you achieve your resolution? Aaron Paul returns to series television in The Path, a drama about a controversial religious movement and its effect on the relationships of its faithful. Paul plays Eddie Cleary, a follower whose relationship with his wife (Michelle Monaghan) suffers due to their involvement in the group. The plot details have been closely guarded, which is thematically appropriate. But it’s basically a sure bet: Jason Katims (Friday Night Lights, Parenthood) is running the show, which features a stellar cast including Hugh Dancy and Kathleen Turner.
What resolutions might it lead to in 2017? “Rewatch The Master”; “Freshen up the wardrobe with some ceremonial robes”; “Read some Richard Dawkins.” [Joshua Alston]
2016 resolution: “Don’t get sick.”
How will it help you achieve your resolution? Nothing’s more motivational when it comes to taking steps to prevent infection than watching a bunch of other people get sick and die. The CW’s hour-long drama about a highly contagious outbreak of a mystery illness, and its devastating effects on the city of Atlanta, comes courtesy of exec producer Julie Plec (The Vampire Diaries) and looks guaranteed to make you stock up on Purell.
What resolutions might it lead to in 2017? “Always wash your hands before touching any food”; “Always wash your hands after touching anybody”; “Better yet, just wash your hands constantly and don’t ever touch anything.” [Alex McCown]
2016 resolution: “Keep working on your family, even though you thought your child-rearing days were over.”
How will it help you achieve your resolution? Mike and Martina (Patrick Warburton and Carrie Preston) are finally getting used to their empty-nest lifestyle. Then their nest immediately fills up again when both of their girls move back home. Look for some wacky role reversal as the parents try to sneak in the pot-smoking and sex while their deadbeat kids invade their house. This looks like pretty standard multi-cam family sitcom stuff, although Preston and Warburton try to bring it, as always.
What resolutions might it lead to in 2017? “Raise independent children”; “Never have children”; “Change the locks”; “Come up with a more inspired sitcom plot.” [Gwen Ihnat]
Game Of Silence (NBC)
2016 resolution: “Try to escape the past that has haunted your whole life thus far.”
How will it help you achieve your resolution? After a tragic accident brought on by tween hijinks in 1988, four boys get sent to juvie. Years later, one is now a successful lawyer, but surprise, the other three are still in trouble, and need his help. Of course, there’s a lost love thrown in to make the whole scheme all the more enticing, as well as some possible prison conspiracy. Props for the late ’80s soundtrack.
What resolutions might it lead to in 2017? “Stay grounded in denial”; “Ditch your deadbeat friends”; “Memories are for suckers” ; “Listen to INXS more often.” [Gwen Ihnat]
2016 resolution: “Stop asking questions like, ‘Did you know that women can be doctors?’”
How will it help you achieve your resolution? Pushed to midseason to accommodate star Melissa George’s pregnancy, Heartbreaker is based on the accomplishments of Dr. Kathy Magliato, who if the trailers of this show are to be believed, is kind of an unpleasant person. George plays Dr. Alex Panttiere, one of the few female heart transplant surgeons. Heartbreaker takes the incredible stance that Dr. Alex can be a woman and a doctor, at the same time. As she tells a group of man-doctors (there has to be a distinction, because there are now lady-doctors, like our hero), “I like long walks on the beach, hot bubble baths, and the sound of cracking a patient’s chest open like a lobster.” Women, right? Of course, there are love interests to navigate who simply don’t understand how this woman could in fact be both a woman and a doctor. At the same time.
What resolutions might it lead to in 2017? “Fight the patriarchy”; “Learn how to transplant a heart so that you too can become a gorgeous brilliant surgeon”; “Make more medical puns.” [Molly Eichel]
Rush Hour (CBS)
2016 resolution: “Start learning a second language so you can bond with a co-worker from another country.”
How will it help you achieve your resolution? Like its namesake film series, Rush Hour embodies the buddy cop genre to a T, drawing its humor not just from its leads’ differences in personality, but their cultures as well. Think of it as Red Heat with a Chinese and an American instead of a Russian and an American. The CBS dramedy looks like a downplayed version of the movies, so expect the same motor-mouthed bickering and martial-arts sequences that alternate between clumsy and slick.
What resolutions might it lead to in 2017? “Learn kung fu”; “Learn wing chun”; “Learn whatever else Jackie Chan (and his small-screen counterpart Jon Foo) are good at.” [Dan Caffrey]
Uncle Buck (ABC)
2106 resolution: “Visit your family more, even though you’re a slob and they live far away.”
How will it help you achieve your resolution? By reminding the audience that sometimes the most uncouth extended family members are the best, as evidenced by the 1989 John Hughes comedy that inspired this new sitcom. It’s too early to tell if Mike Epps will fit comfortably into John Candy’s weathered fedora as the vulgar, hard-drinking, cigar-chomping title character (not a single stogie appears in the trailer), but his straighter face and gruffer nature looks like it might be refreshing.
What resolutions might it lead to in 2017? “Stop smoking cigars in the car”; “Stop smoking cigars around your niece”; “Stop smoking cigars in general.” [Dan Caffrey]
You, Me, And The Apocalypse (NBC)
2016 resolution: “Feel better about our impending doom.”
How will it help you achieve your resolution: This 10-hour miniseries is a co-production of British Sky Broadcasting and NBC Universal, and just finished airing in the U.K., where it drew decent reviews and a middling audience. Set in a bunker in Slough, at the moment when a life-destroying comet is set to hit the Earth, the dramedy jumps back regularly to show how the huddled wannabe-survivors spent the month leading up to the end of the world—mostly entangled in a cyberterrorist conspiracy. Rob Lowe, Jenna Fischer, Megan Mullally, and Diana Rigg help fill out the throng.
What resolutions might it lead to in 2017? “Rewatch Shaun Of The Dead.” “Rewatch The Office.” “Reread The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy.” [Noel Murray]