Wraps are taken off channels’ second-season TV presents

Jan. 10, 2012 |(0) Comments

Ah, vacation. Sleeping late, stuffing my face and watching TV, which also is what I do when I’m not on vacation.

On Christmas Eve, the family watched our traditional true-crime TV movie – this time, "Untouchable," about Illinois murder suspect Drew Peterson, which airs on Lifetime Jan. 21. Rob Lowe plays Peterson with a Marge Gunderson accent and an arrogant demeanor, and Kaley Cuoco plays his still-missing third wife. the result is easy-to-swallow but hard-to-stomach junk food.

Since then, the missus and I powered through the brutal second season of HBO’s "Boardwalk Empire" – she with her fingers covering her eyes – that were clogging the DVR; and streamed the first season of "Downton Abbey," the acclaimed PBS "Upstairs Downstairs"-type tale via Netflix.

Although they occupy alternate narrative universes, the characters in each are prisoners of events and environments that control their lives. the first season of "Boardwalk" is now available on DVD. Sunday’s second-season premiere of "Downton" – in which the lives of the characters were turned upside down by World War I – was a disappointment, perhaps because one hour’s worth of story was stretched into a two-hour episode. You can watch it at www.PBS.org/video.

Now, just as I’ve watched almost everything on my DVR, the networks and cable channels begin their second seasons.

Here’s a list of what to expect, with new shows in italics.

Wednesday:"Are You there, Chelsea?" in the vein of and companion to "Whitney," based on Chelsea Handler’s books, 7:30 p.m., NBC; "One Tree Hill," entering its ninth and final season, 7 p.m., CW.

Thursday:"Rob," with Rob Schneider as a man who marries into a Mexican-American family, 7:30 p.m., CBS; "30 Rock" returns, 7 p.m., and "Up all Night," in a new time slot, 7:30 p.m., NBC; "Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory," updated documentary about accused but vindicated child murders, 8 p.m., HBO; "the Finder," "Bones" spinoff, 8 p.m., Fox; Critics choice Movie Awards, VH1, 7 p.m. (cross your fingers for Andy Serkis for supporting actor as Cesar in "Rise of the Planet of the Apes").

Sunday: Third-season premiere of "Undercover Boss," 7 p.m., CBS; "Napoleon Dynamite," animated version of cult comic film featuring voices of original cast, 7:30 p.m., Fox; Golden Globes, 7 p.m., NBC.

Monday:"Alcatraz," series about prisoners who disappeared 50 years ago, has elements of "Lost" and "Fringe," 7 p.m., Fox.

Tuesday: two great shows return on the same night – "Justified," about a Kentucky marshal, starts its third season at 9 p.m. on FX; and "Southland," about L.A. cops, has its fourth-season premiere, also at 9 p.m., on TNT; also, "White Collar," 9 p.m., USA.

Jan. 18: "American Idol," 7 p.m., Fox, "Royal Pains," 9 p.m., USA.

Jan. 20: "Shark Tank, 7 p.m., ABC.

Jan. 25: what we call coincidence "Touch" calls predestination. Sneak preview of compelling series with Kiefer Sutherland as the widower of a woman who died on Sept. 11, raising an autistic son who sees connections between random events, 8 p.m., Fox.

Jan. 27: "Spartacus: Vengeance," lascivious costume drama returns from two-year hiatus after death of its star, Andy Whitfield, 9 p.m., Starz.

Jan. 29:"Luck," convoluted crime drama set in world of horse racing from "Deadwood" creator David Milch, with Dustin Hoffman, 10 p. m., HBO.

Feb. 3: "who do you Think you Are?" 7 p.m., NBC.

Feb. 5: "the Voice," after the Super Bowl, NBC.

Feb. 6:"Smash," musical drama about the production of a Broadway musical, 9 p.m., NBC.

Feb. 7:"the River," documentary-style tale about a man who goes missing in the Amazon, co-produced by "Paranormal Activity" creator Oren Peli, 8 p.m., ABC.

Feb. 12: "the Walking Dead," third season of zombie series, 8 p.m., AMC; "Celebrity Apprentice," 8 p.m., NBC.

Feb. 19: "the Amazing Race," returns for its 20th season – the identity of the contestants has not yet been revealed but a Wisconsin couple is rumored among them, 7 p.m., CBS; "Eastbound and Down," profane baseball comedy, 11 p.m., HBO.

March 4:"GCB," about grown-up mean girls, 9 p.m., ABC.

March 6: "Breaking in," with new cast member Megan Mullally, 7:30 p.m., Fox.

March 11: "Bob’s Burgers," 7:30 p.m., Fox.

March 15:"Missing," Ashley Judd as a woman whose son disappears while studying abroad, a decade after her CIA husband was murdered, 7 p.m., ABC.

March 19: "Dancing with the Stars," 7 p.m., ABC.

March 25: Fifth-season premiere of "Mad Men" – I’ll drink to that, 8 p.m., AMC.

Do not adjust your set. WDJT-TV (Channel 58) did in fact switch to HD Sunday. no one would confirm whether technical difficulties during CBS programming earlier that day were related to the transition.

NBC has announced that it will offer 3-D coverage of the 2012 Summer Olympics in London.

Back to the drawing board – Sunday’s sneak preview on NBC of "the Firm," based on the John Grisham book, earned a 1.4 rating among adults 18 to 49, and just 6.3 million total viewers. in the same time slot last year, "the Cape" earned a 2.6 rating.

The new Showtime Anytime app for mobile devices allows unlimited access to the pay cable channel programs for subscribers, just like HBO go. but for Showtime.

Tony Blankley, the Republican strategist and commentator who died this week at 63, was a child actor and appeared in episodes of "Lassie," "Highway Patrol" and in the 1956 Humphrey Bogart film "the Harder They Fall."

If Fox does not renew "House," the show could move to NBC, whose production company produces it, a Fox executive said this week.

Email: ddudek@journalsentinel.com

Wraps are taken off channels’ second-season TV presents

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