This week we’ve got more returns and premieres, as well as the official beginning of awards season.
Most of the good stuff is near the end of the week, but there’s one must-watch tonight, and that’s the San Francisco episode of Anthony Bourdain’s newest series, “The Layover” at 9 P.M. on the Travel Channel. Bourdain sightings were running amok when he was shooting this back in August, so if you were following any of that, you probably already know where he went. If you weren’t, here’s one spoiler:
On Wednesday, January 11th, “Whitney” moves to its new night and time, 8 P.M. on NBC, and the only good thing that can be said about that is at least it’s no longer mucking up Thursday’s comedy schedule anymore. It’s followed by the premiere of “Are You There, Chelsea?” at 8:30 P.M., a new sitcom about and starring Chelsea Handler, except Chelsea Handler isn’t being played by Chelsea Handler, she’s being played by Laura Prepon. Chelsea Handler will instead be playing her own sister, Sloane.
In other words, WTF?
Thursday, January 12th is jam-packed. First, NBC’s comedy line-up is back, for the most part. “Community,” sadly, is gone, for now, but “30 Rock” returns, finally, at 8 P.M., followed by “Parks & Recreation,” at 8:30 P.M. “The Office,” at 9 P.M., and “Up All Night,” on its new night and time, at 9:30 P.M.
That’s followed on NBC at 10 P.M. by “The Firm,” which is not, unfortunately, a drama about life inside the porn industry, but is, instead, yet another legal drama, this time based on the book by John Grisham, and 1993 film starring Tom Cruise. Josh Lucas stars.
Also on Thursday is the premiere of Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory, Joe Berlinger and Bruce Sinofsky’s third documentary about the West Memphis Three: Damien Echols, Jason Baldwin and Jessie Misskelley. Only this this time the story’s got a happy ending. Sort of. Watch it at 9 P.M. on HBO.
There seems to be no end of British dramas about the supernatural, and this Saturday, January 14th, finds another one gracing our shores. “The Fades,” about teenagers who can see the dead, and must stop the approaching apocalypse, premieres at 6 P.M. and 9:15 P.M. on BBC America.
On Sunday, January 15th, “Napoleon Dynamite” is being turned into a cartoon, which seems a little redundant, but there you have it. Watch its premiere at 8:30 P.M. on Fox, with another episode airing at 9:30 P.M.
Since it’s awards season, I like to imagine that Hollywood is just one perpetual drunken party from mid-January until the end of February, when it all climaxes with the Oscars. This week’s debauch is the “69th Annual Golden Globe Awards,” which will, once again, be hosted by Ricky Gervais, although at this point I think the only shocking thing he could do is host it without telling a single joke or celebrity-slicing jab. The pregame show stars on NBC at 4 P.M. and the awards, and liquor, start flowing at 5 P.M.