Parks and Recreation
Premieres: Tuesday, Jan. 13 at 8 p.m., NBC
Stars: Amy Poehler, Chris Pratt, Adam Scott
What to expect: The final season of the NBC comedy picks up where season 6 left off—a time-jump to the year 2017. Prepare to play catch-up, as a lot of stuff can—and did—happen to the Pawnee gang over a three-year period.
Executive producer Michael Schur says: ”The first episode of the year is almost like a pilot. People have to explain what is happening to them and what job they have.” —Dan Snierson
Better Call Saul
Premieres: Sunday, Feb. 8 at 10 p.m., AMC
Stars: Bob Odenkirk, Jonathan Banks, Michael McKean
What to expect: This Breaking Bad spinoff whisks you back to the year 2002, when the underhanded lawyer Saul Goodman (Bob Odenkirk) had yet to team up with meth lord Walter White and went by the name Jimmy McGill.
Co-creator Peter Gould says: ”The tone zigzags in surprising ways. There are episodes that are as dark as night, but also episodes that have me laughing every time I see them—and I’ve seen them a lot.” —Dan Snierson
Premieres: Wednesday, Jan. 28 at 10 p.m., FX
Stars: Keri Russell, Matthew Rhys, Noah Emmerich
What to expect: With the Cold War ramping up, Philip and Elizabeth will be at odds when faced with the possibility of their daughter Paige becoming a spy for the Second Generation Illegals program. Stan, meanwhile, will have a renewed interest in uncovering the identities of Russian spies after nearly betraying his country for Nina, who has been sent back to Moscow to face charges of treason.
Executive producer Joe Weisberg says: ”There’s been a struggle with that question that came up at the end of season 2, which is: What should we do [about Paige]? And they’re not in accord.”—Natalie Abrams
Premieres: Sunday, Jan. 11 at 9 p.m., Showtime
Stars: William H. Macy, Emmy Rossum
What to expect: Season five brings the Gallagher clan back into the summer, with Frank (Macy) diving into a homemade brewing enterprise, Fiona (Rossum) juggling way too many suitors, and Lip (Jeremy Allen White) facing a battle of loyalty between home and college.
Macy says: ”He’s sober now! It’s as if, after five years, I get to play a brand new character. He’s calculated how much alcohol he can drink before his liver would be overtaxed, and a couple of times this season he does get wasted. I’ve talked about it with all the writers and we agreed that we’ll stick to the truth of a liver transplant, so when I misbehave, I pay the price.” —Marc Snetiker
Premieres: Sunday, Jan. 11 at 10 p.m., HBO
Stars: Jonathan Groff, Frankie J. Alvarez, Murray Bartlett
What to expect: HBO’s dramedy about three gay friends living and dating in modern-day San Francisco returns for a second season that finds Patrick (Groff) attempting to juggle an affair with boss Kevin (Russell Tovey) and a platonic (or is it?) connection with ex Richie (Raul Castillo).
Groff says: ”Kevin and Patrick are still sort of engaged in this affair/relationship and Richie comes back into Patrick’s life. Patrick really wants to create a friendship with Richie. The cool thing about the show hopefully is it explores the complexity of relationships and friendships and the gray area of all of that.” —Tim Stack
Premieres: Wednesday, Jan. 7 at 9 p.m., Fox
Stars: Terrence Howard, Taraji P. Henson, Jussie Smollett
What to expect: This soap, created by Lee Daniels (The Butler) and Danny Strong (Game Change) and featuring original songs by Timbaland, features Howard as Lucious Lyon, the ailing head of a music empire, who must choose one of his three sons to take over his throne. Meanwhile, his ex-wife, Cookie (Henson), gets out of prison and returns to claim half the company.
Strong says: ”It’s extremely ambitious, but that’s what got Lee and I excited. We’re not gonna do a cop show. For both of us, the music was the most exciting part because we would be doing a pseudo-musical every week that didn’t feel like a musical. All the performances are completely organic to the world.” —Tim Stack
Marvel's Agent Carter
Premieres: Tuesday, Jan. 6 at 8 p.m., ABC
Stars: Hayley Atwell, James D’Arcy, Chad Michael Murray
What to expect: A year after Captain America seemingly perished, Peggy Carter attempts to clear Howard Stark’s name after his inventions fall into the wrong hands, all while facing the rampant sexism of the ’40s after the men have come home from war.
Atwell says: ”She has breaking points, and I think those breaking points are fundamental for the audience to care about her, because she becomes instantly relatable. You realize that she’s still grieving Steve and she still thinks that he’s the love of her life. She also believes he was the greatest man she ever knew. How could she possibly aspire to be as good as him?” —Natalie Abrams
Premieres: Wednesday, Jan. 14 at 10:30 p.m., Comedy Central
Stars: Abbi Jacobson, Ilana Glazer
What to expect: Not much has changed when it comes to Abbi and Ilana’s second season of millennial bumbling around New York City. This year, expect to meet Ilana’s doppelganger parents and a slew of buzzy guest stars including Seth Rogen, Kelly Ripa, and Amy Ryan.
Glazer says: ”We like to be in the muck. Nothing has changed in season two as much as things have expanded or gone deeper. This idea of (the characters) getting stuck in situations, that sense of ‘F–k!’ you get from each episode, has grown.” —Marc Snetiker
Premieres: Tuesday, March 31 at 10 p.m., TV Land
Stars: Sutton Foster, Hilary Duff, Debi Mazar, Miriam Shor
What to expect: Based on the popular novel by Pamela Redmond Satran, Younger stars Broadway vet Sutton Foster as Liza, a 40-year-old, recently single mom who can’t find a publishing job—even as a lowly, entry-level assistant—until her best friend Maggie (Mazar) convinces her to undergo a makeover that helps her pass for 26.
Costume designer Patricia Field says: ”The point is to sell, via her wardrobe, that she’s getting over something in this masquerade of a younger girl.”—Nina Terrero
Premieres: Sunday, March 15 at 10 p.m., E!
Stars: Elizabeth Hurley, William Moseley, Joan Collins
What to expect: This sudsy send-up—E!’s first scripted series—follows the intrigues of a fictional modern monarchy in the wake of a family tragedy. But death is only the beginning of the drama as Queen Helena (Hurley) and King Simon’s (Vincent Regan) wild-child daughter Princess Eleanor (Alexandra Park) can’t seem to keep herself (or her crotch) out of the tabloids and playboy son Prince Liam (Moseley) is secretly dating a member of the help. Scandal!
Hurley says: ”I’m sure most Americans would adore to have their own royal family, so how amazing for America to now have their very own substitute E! version of one. You get the glamour, the pomp, and the scandal without having to cough up for a Civil List [the monarchy’s expenses]. Win-win all around.” —Amy Wilkinson
Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
Premieres: March, Netflix
Stars: Ellie Kemper, Tituss Burgess, Sara Chase
What to expect: Still missing 30 Rock? Quit your blerging—Rock creator Tina Fey and showrunner Robert Carlock have teamed up again for a new series about a naive 30-something (Kemper) who moves to the Big Apple after escaping the cult she belonged to for 15 years.
Fey says: ”The show, like 30 Rock, has a very genuinely funny ensemble. It’s not just Ellie; it’s Tituss Burgess, who people might remember as D’Fwan from 30 Rock. And Carol Kane, who’s wonderful and hilarious, and Jane Krakowski, and a few actors that will be new to you guys. It’s a very funny ensemble. It does have hard jokes in it, while maintaining this human core of her experience.” —Hillary Busis
Fresh Off the Boat
Premieres: Wednesday, Feb. 4, at 8:30 p.m., ABC
Stars: Hudson Yang, Constance Wu, Randall Park
What to expect: ABC’s newest quirky family sitcom follows the Huang clan as they move from D.C.’s Chinatown to the lily-white suburbs of Orlando, Fla. As the title (an epithet for recent immigrants) implies, Fresh isn’t afraid to court controversy—without making its characters into targets.
Creator Nahnatchka Khan says: ”I feel like we’ve seen the Asian community being the butt of the joke, the nerdy friend at work or whatever—the roles that the Asian community’s sort of been relegated to up to this point, certainly in network TV comedy. It was important (for us) to tell real stories featuring real characters who are also funny, but not for the reasons that you have seen before.” —Hillary Busis
Premieres: Monday, Jan. 16 at 9 p.m., Syfy
Stars: Aaron Stanford, Amanda Schull
What to expect: You know the drill: Man goes back in time to change a really bad future. Based on the 1995 movie.
Showrunner Natalie Chaidez says: ”Compared to the film, we really lean into that even more the idea that time travel is not an exact science. So the audience is discovering the rules of time travel along with our heroes.” —James Hibberd
Premiered: Sunday, Jan. 4 at 9 p.m., PBS
Stars: Hugh Bonneville, Elizabeth McGovern, Michelle Dockery
What to Expect: Now in its fifth season, the Masterpiece period drama will address changing times (consider a newly elected Labour government, for one), once again juxtaposing old and new. It will also enlist a slew of new talent. Count Richard E. Grant, Anna Chancellor, and Rade Sherbedgia among the show’s new faces.
Julian Fellowes says: ”I think it’s a good show. It’s a good series, actually. The actors are really good, and I think it turned out very well.” —C. Molly Smith
Premiered: Sunday, Jan. 4 at 8 p.m., ABC
Stars: Joshua Sasse, Timothy Omundson
What to expect: The network’s foray into Smash territory is a medieval musical comedy destined for fans of Monty Python humor and Broadway-caliber songs (composed by a true master, Disney legend Alan Menken).
Menken says: ”The score is very eclectic. We have rock songs, we have traditional theatre songs, we have dance numbers, sea shanties, Fiddler on the Roof-type numbers…it’s all homage.” —Marc Snetiker