Midseason is that time of year when television networks test the waters with new shows that weren't ready (or weren't good enough) for an autumn debut. Many of them were picked up specifically for a midseason launch, and if they pass this test, they could become a perennial staple on their respective networks. In the first installment of your TV Rage Midseason Guide, we covered nine freshman series premiering on the cable networks – and on The CW – so here in Part Two, we'll take a look at what the broadcast networks are offering this winter and spring. In addition to fresh mind-numbing reality fare such as CBS's The Job (February 8, 8:00 PM), NBC's Ready For Love (March 10, 8:00 PM), and ABC's Celebrity Diving (March 19, 8:00 PM), the big four have a variety of debuting scripted programming on the slate as well. Let's begin with NBC, as the Peacock network attempts to carry over its momentum from the fall season.
- Deception – Monday, January 7, 10:00 PM. Meagan Good (Californication) stars as Joanna Locasto, a detective who grew up as the daughter of the maid of a wealthy family. When the heiress who was once her closest friend is killed, Locasto must return to the house undercover to solve the murder. Best known for his portrayal of Jack Bristow on ABC's Alias, Victor Garber plays the patriarch of the family while Laz Alonso of Breakout Kings plays Joanna's boss. The first episode can currently be viewed on NBC.com, but from the look of the trailer, Deception is NBC's entry in the one-word-title female-skewing soapy drama genre, following the lead of Revenge and Scandal on ABC.
- 1600 Penn – Thursday, January 10, 9:30 PM. In NBC's attempt to crossbreed Modern Family with The West Wing, this dysfunctional family comedy sees the goofball oldest son of the President of the United States rejoining the First Family at the White House. It soon turns out that not only is he the family's most embarrassing political liability, but he is also the glue holding everyone together. A sneak preview of the series premiere aired on December 17, which our own Josh Raymond reviewed, giving us a good idea of what to expect. I wasn't impressed at all with the first episode, so I would argue that the so-called "sneak preview" strategy seemed to backfire for the network. The show will really have to pick up its game to attract me as a regular viewer, but there is some hope. As he did in Independence Day, Bill Pullman gives a gruff performance as the commander-in-chief, Dharma & Greg's Jenna Elfman is appropriately bubbly as his so-called trophy wife, and Josh Gad is a manic force of nature who carries the show. The pilot set up further complications for the characters, as the president's oldest daughter discovered she was pregnant and his youngest hinted that she might be a lesbian, but too much wackiness will hurt the show.
- Do No Harm – Thursday, January 31, 10:00 PM. This contemporary reimagining of the Jekyll and Hyde mythos follows Dr. Jason Cole ("J. Cole", get it?), a brilliant neurosurgeon with a dark secret: a dangerous alter ego named Ian that threatens to destroy the good doctor's personal and professional lives with his unpredictable behavior. Stephen Pasquale of Rescue Me assumes the dual role of Jason and Ian, topping a cast that includes Cosby Show matriarch Phylicia Rashad as his boss, Law & Order's Alana de la Garza as his colleague and romantic interest, and Parenthood's Mousa Kraish as the obligatory lab technician who helps him "hyde" (*groan*) his secret. Do No Harm borrows some elements from Christian Slater's canceled series My Own Worst Enemy, and the clips available online appear to be severely lacking in visual flair. Hopefully this isn't another case of a broadcast network taking a fantasy/sci-fi property and making it as mundane as possible. Without any of those trappings, isn't this just a guy suffering from bipolar or multiple personality disorder?
- Zero Hour – Thursday, February 14, 8:00 PM. Returning to television for his first starring role since his turn as Dr. Mark Greene on NBC's ER, Anthony Edwards plays Hank Galliston, the longtime editor of Modern Skeptic Magazine who finds himself wrapped up in one of the most compelling conspiracies in human history when his wife Laila (Jacinda Barrett of the USA Network's Suits) is abducted from her antique clock shop. The cast is also bolstered by Michael Nyqvist, who starred in the original Swedish version of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo as Michael Blomkvist, the role inherited by Daniel Craig in the American remake. Zero Hour is one of the midseason series that I'm most looking forward to, as Edwards has a relatable "everyman" vibe to him and the enigmatic concept has the potential to produce ABC's next Lost. In this case, let's hope the showrunners have some idea where they would like the story to go on the off-chance the network gives it enough time to catch on and become a hit.
- Red Widow – Sunday, March 3, 9:00 PM. From the screenwriter responsible for the Twilight film franchise comes this American adaptation of a Dutch series entitled Penoza, starring Silent Hill's Radha Mitchell as the widow of a murdered Russian gangster who is forced to navigate the criminal underworld in order to protect her family. Another ER alum, Goran Visnjic, appears as international drug lord Nicholae Schiller, while familiar faces Lee Tergesen (Oz) and Clifton Collins Jr. (Star Trek) are also part of the cast. The trailer looks appropriately gritty, but it doesn't really move me either way.
- How To Live With Your Parents (For The Rest Of Your Life) – Wednesday, April 3, 9:30 PM. Known for her sitcom roles on Roseanne and Scrubs, Sarah Chalke stars in this single-camera comedy about a recently divorced single mom named Polly who is forced to move back in with her parents due to the economic downturn. Elizabeth Perkins of Weeds plays Polly's vulgar and inappropriate mother Elaine, while Brad Garrett of Everybody Loves Raymond is Elaine's more laid-back second husband, cancer survivor Max. Not only does Polly have to deal with her non-traditional parental unit, but also a best friend whom she almost dated and an ex-husband who wants her back. Although the humor seems to be lacking in heart, the trailer contains some darkly funny moments and the show should be worth a look.
- Family Tools – Wednesday, May 1, 8:30 PM. Based on a British sitcom entitled White Van Man, this single-camera comedy follows a ne'er-do-well son who returns home to take over his father's beloved handyman business after he has a heart attack. Boasting a stellar cast including Kyle Bornheimer (Perfect Couples) as Jack Shea, JK Simmons (Oz, Spider-Man) as his stubborn dad Tony, and Leah Remini (King of Queens) as Tony's younger sister Terry, Family Tools is the only midseason comedy that has truly piqued my interest. I've never seen the original British series, but the concept presents a unique workplace setting and a humorous cast of characters. It is odd to think of Leah Remini as a younger sibling of the man who portrayed Vern Schillinger on Oz, though. I don't mind admitting I had a huge crush on her during her run on King of Queens.
- Golden Boy – Tuesday, February 26, 10:00 PM. It's CBS, so of course this is a cop drama. To give it a proper promotional push, Golden Boy will air in the timeslot normally inhabited by Vegas for two weeks (February 26 and March 5) before shifting to its regular night and time on Friday, March 8, at 9:00 PM. The series follows the meteoric rise of Walter William Clark Jr., the youngest police commissioner in New York City history, played by the relatively unknown Theo James. Borrowing a page from How I Met Your Mother, the story is told in flashback form as Walter is being interviewed about his career and reflects back on his ups and downs. In a strong supporting role, Chi McBride (Boston Public) portrays his first partner and mentor, while Kevin Alejandro (True Blood) is a department hotshot determined to take the new kid down a few pegs. Of all the midseason shows, this is the hardest to find any information on for some reason. There was a four-minute promo that was released in December, but it has apparently been scrubbed from the internet since that time. Regardless, Golden Boy should appeal to the network's core demographics and complement its new partner well, paired with Blue Bloods – another series about a New York police commissioner – to form a solid two-hour block of police drama on Friday nights.
- The Following – Monday, January 21, 9:00 PM. Saving the best for last, my most anticipated midseason series is The Following, a brutal and chilling thriller that appears better suited for HBO than FOX. In his first regular television role, Kevin Bacon stars as elite FBI profiler Ryan Hardy, who is pulled out of alcohol-fueled retirement in order to pursue an escaped serial killer whom he had originally captured. Fondly remembered for his turn as Marc Anthony in HBO's Rome, James Purefoy appears to steal the show in the role of Joe Carroll, the former literature professor turned infamous serial killer who has assembled a nationwide network of murderous disciples while in prison. As the leader of this cult, Carroll plans to finish what he started when he was captured years earlier and dreams of writing a novel with Hardy as his flawed protagonist. Adding to the prestige of this project, series creator Kevin Williamson – who also serves as writer and executive producer – was the mastermind behind the Scream film franchise. With its depictions of intense and shocking violence and mature subject matter, The Following represents a network attempt to emulate its premium cable brethren. If this show succeeds, the other networks could follow suit with more graphic fare and close the gap between broadcast and cable.
But wait, that's not all! Join us again later this week for the third part of our TV Rage Midseason Guide, as we take a look at some old favorites that are returning to the schedule. Will any of these new shows make your cut?
Just the hilarious subplot of the youngest daughter maybe coming out as a lesbian, which caught me off guard, made me LMFAO and which will surly irk neo-cons and bible-thumpers everywhere will be enough to get me to watch the second episode - after that, we'll see