Series Debut: The Atom, Captain Cold, Heat Wave and other superheroes previously seen on “Arrow” and “The Flash” team up in this sorta spin-off, along with The Heroine Formerly Known as Black Canary, White Canary and “time-traveling rogue” Rip Hunter (because what other career path are you gonna take with a name like that?). Sounds promising, and The CW has been hyping “Legends of Tomorrow” as a soufflé of “Guardians of the Galaxy” and “Doctor Who.” Too bad it’s arrived undercooked. Unseen supervillians include The Exposition Avenger (the setup-to-action ratio is tediously uneven) and Dr. ScreenTime (errybody’s fighting for their shot), who foil the two-part pilot from ever fully rising. But, the potential for another entertaining DC/CW series is there — remember, it’s “Legends of Tomorrow,” not “Today.”
Thursday, Jan. 21 (FX)
Series Debut: “We can’t all be florists or dishwashers. Some of us have to be artists.” So says Chip Baskets (Zach Galifianakis), whose definition of “artist” includes being a clown — in his case, the rodeo variety, since he’s flunked out of a prestigious French clown academy and been forced to return to uncultured ’Merica. “Baskets” is a co-creation of Galifianakis, Louis C.K. and writer/director John Krisel (“Portlandia,” “Man Seeking Woman”), so weirdness is guaranteed. But, even for the network that unleashed “Wilfred” and “Louie” upon the world, “Baskets” is bizarre (Chip’s mom is Louie Anderson in drag, for just one example). It’s also a bleak wallow in artistic failure and Western decline, which kind of deflates the “comedy.” Proceed with caution and the chemical mood-elevators of your choice.
Sunday, Jan. 24 (Fox)
Return: Mulder (David Duchovny) and Scully (Gillian Anderson) return, lured back into the conspiracy game by kinda-journalist Tad O’Malley (Joel McHale, playing a wired hybrid of so-crazy-they-must-be-right doom-slingers Glenn Beck and Infowars’ Alex Jones) to investigate a new alien governmental cover-up and generally be adorable together. Great news, but the biggest mystery here is why the hell is “The X-Files”’ comeback premiere airing at an undetermined time after something called “The NFC Championship”? What’s the government trying to hide?
Monday, Jan. 25 (Fox)
Series Debut: The Devil (Tom Ellis) retires as “Lucifer Morningstar” and opens a Los Angeles nightclub, which of course leads to him working with the LAPD to help solve homicides. Skeptical? “Lucifer” is based on a Vertigo comic book (as were the dearly-departed “Constantine,” the currently dead-alive “iZombie” and the upcoming “Preacher”) and involves writers and directors from “Californication,” “Sleepy Hollow” and “Underworld.” It’ll also receive plenty of free publicity from the Parents Television Council and other moral watchdog groups outraged over a fictional character based on a fictional character. They may be justified. Ellis’ Lucifer is charming, funny and intermittently compassionate, not to mention supernaturally persuasive over everyone but, mysteriously, his cop “partner” (Lauren German). At the risk of casting pull-quote bait, “Lucifer” is just damned fun (have at it, Fox). 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.