Thursday, Jan. 14 (USA)
Series Debut: Set in a dystopian near-future, “Colony” stars Josh Holloway (“Lost”) as a hunky ex-FBI agent torn between aiding mysterious alien overlords’ Earth minions in keeping a lid on Los Angeles (for the strong-armed safety of his family) and remaining with his fellow facial-hair enthusiasts in The Resistance. The setup is naggingly familiar (not just in futuristic sci-fi, but also the recent Nazi-retro “Man in the High Castle”), but Holloway and co-star Sarah Wayne Callies (“The Walking Dead”) sell it convincingly, and the impressive F/X suggest that NBC Universal didn’t blow all of its money on Syfy’s “The Expanse,” or on the hairspray budget of NBC’s “Telenovela.”
Sunday, Jan. 17 (TBS)
Series Debut: Despite a confusing rollout plan (a 10-episode Season 1 marathon that premieres Jan. 17 then repeats for 15 hours, followed by Season 2, premiering Jan. 25), not to mention confusing commercials that portray the comedy as a dead-serious crime procedural, “Angie Tribeca” is the original series that finally delivers on TBS’ ancient “Very Funny” promise. Unlike relatively realistic cop comedies “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” and “CSI: Cyber,” Angie Tribeca (starring “Parks & Recreation’s” Rashida Jones as the titular detective) embraces the full-tilt farce of classics like “The Naked Gun” and “Sledge Hammer,” where nothing’s ever too silly (she works for the Really Heinous Crimes Unit, and her partner is named Jay Geils).
Sunday, Jan. 17 (Showtime)
Series Debut: Headliners Damien Lewis (as charismatic and arrogant hedge-fund billionaire Bobby Axe Axelrod) and Paul Giamatti (as principled and troubled U.S. Attorney Chuck Rhoades) churn plenty of bluster and testosterone acting as hard as they can against each other, but they’re not “Billions’” most interesting players. Maggie Siff, who’s held her own alongside alpha males before in “Sons of Anarchy” and “Mad Men,” plays Chuck’s wife Wendy, a psychiatrist-turned-performance-coach who helped Bobby build his empire and has an invisible, spooky command over everyone around her, could lead this series on her own. Likewise, Malin Ackerman, as Bobby’s wife Lara, turns in a surprising performance that flips from sweet to Satan Incarnate with the bat of an eye. The heart of “Billions” is the righteous, macho clash between the men and how their dichotomous personalities fuel the fire, but keep an eye on the women.
Tuesday, Jan. 19 (E!)
Series Debut: There was absolutely no need or demand for a reality series centered on fitness magnate Jillian Michaels, her partner and their kids, but that’s the genre E! is doubling-down on in 2016: inconsequential fluff posing as important stuff. They’re lesbians! They’re parents! They’re as spontaneously wacky as the next tightly-scripted family with a TV crew! Who cares? Do we really need another one of these? While Just Jillian is blissfully free of Kardashians, it’s just as empty and useless as “Total Divas.” CV
Bill Frost writes about television for Salt Lake City Weekly, talks about it on the TV Tan Podcast, and tweets about it at @Bill_Frost.