Happy New Year my friends. As we move into 2016, I’m feeling pretty grateful to write for a website alongside a collection of female writers whom I both like personally and totally respect and admire professionally. I’m also grateful to write for you guys—a community of readers who are thoughtful, collaborative, interesting, culturally-aware, fashion-loving feminists.
So as I scanned through the tidal wave of television that’s about to crash upon us this month, I saw an opportunity to give you guys a tiny token of my appreciation. I read all the descriptions, I watched all the trailers, I read (okay some of, I don’t have all day) the early reviews, and I broke it all down for you. And since I assume that were we to meet in real life we’d all be best friends, you can trust my assessments. Asterisks are for the show you shouldn’t miss! All times are in EST, sorry not that sorry West Coast.
F R I D A Y , J A N U A R Y 1
The Rap Game — 10:00 on Lifetime
Five child prodigy rappers compete in Jermaine Dupri’s eight-week boot camp for a record contract with So So Def Recordings.
Shock Trauma: The Edge of Life — 10:00 on Discovery Life
Because the medical professionals at the University of Maryland’s Shock Trauma Center didn’t have difficult enough jobs what with the brain trauma and stabbing wounds, now they have to deal with it all while being filmed for a reality show!
S U N D A Y , J A N U A R Y 3
Cooper Barrett’s Guide to Surviving Life — 8:30 on FOX
This positively groundbreaking show about white twenty-something males acting like assholes is essentially a TV version of The Hangover.
Bordertown — 9:30 on FOX
Seth MacFarlane’s new animated show about two neighbors—an American Border Patrol Agent and a hard-working Mexican immigrant—will make many, many, Donald Trump jokes.
M O N D A Y , J A N U A R Y 4
*Superstore — 8:00 on NBC
Although the pilot (and second episode) already aired, Superstore is a new sitcom that started out decently funny but I will continue to watch with high expectations, mostly because I’ve missed America Ferrara on TV so damn much.
Telenovela — 8:30 on ABC
Another show whose pilot was snuck onto the air in December, Telenovela is a comedy with surprisingly positive reviews in which Eva Longoria stars as—you guessed it—a telenovela star.
*Bachelor Live — 10:00 on ABC
Because two hours a week simply was not enough air time for Chris Harrison, he is now hosting a one-hour live after-show in which he, contestants, and celebrity Bachelor fans will dissect the show in no-doubt painstaking detail.
Diesel Brothers — 10:00 on Discovery
This reality show will be part of something that apparently exists called “Motor Mondays,” and will follow “Heavy D, Diesel Dave and their crew at Dieselsellerz” as they do whatever they do with the diesel, like maybe making trucks go really fast?
T U E S D A Y , J A N U A R Y 5
Killing Fields — 10:00 on Discovery
If you’ve been obsessing over “Making a Murderer,” you’ll want to watch as Tom Fontana and Barry Levinson investigate various “killing fields”—places where crimes have gone undetected due to geography—and attempt to solve old murders with new technology.
Pitch Slapped — 10:00 on Lifetime
Lifetime is calling this a “docu-series,” but let’s be honest: it’s a real-life Glee with a competition element a la The Sing-Off.
The Shannara Chronicles — 10:00 on MTV
I’m confused at why MTV is the network adapting this Terry Brooks’ epic fantasy series, which looks like a cross between Hunger Games and Game of Thrones.
10 Things — 10:30 on truTV
I am skeptical of any show that sets out to “take the listicle to a new level,” but excited about any show that features a female comic like Jamie Lee.
W E D N E S D A Y , J A N U A R Y 6
Blood Feuds — 10:00 on AHC
This is a docu-series about rivalries in history, from the gangs of New York to the Hatfields and the McCoys, which unfortunately does not include Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr.
Skin Tight — 10:00 on TLC
In yet another TLC show broadcasting surgical procedures to the entire country, 12 Americans who have lost massive amounts of weight undergo extensive surgeries to remove up to 50 pounds of excess skin.
T H U R S D A Y , J A N U A R Y 7
My Diet Is Better Than Yours — 9:00 on ABC
Unfortunately this is exactly what it sounds like: a reality show in which personal trainers compete to make their client lose more weight than the other trainers’ clients based on his or her particular diet and exercise plan.
Angel from Hell — 9:30 on CBS
Jane Lynch plays Maggie Lawson’s guardian angel…or potentially just a well-intentioned stalker.
Growing Up Hip Hop — 10:00 on WE
The children of hip hop legends like Rev Run, Sandra “Pepa” Denton, Run D.M.C., and Master P (whose son is Lil’ Romeo!) do the reality TV thing, try to make names for themselves, and potentially deal with some pretty dark shit.
Real Detective — 10:00 on ID
When you Google “Real Detective TV show,” everything that comes up is “True Detective” stuff so I give up.
Shades of Blue — 10:00 on NBC
Jennifer Lopez and Ray Liotta trade classic dramatic TV cop lines like “Who we think we are and who we turn out to be: are they ever the same?” and “One slip and we all go tumbling down.”
F R I D A Y , J A N U A R Y 8
Ex Isle — 10:00 on WE
Carmen Electra—yes, Carmen Electra—hosts as five couples head to a deserted island to be counseled by alleged relationship therapist named Dr. Ish Major to end their toxic on-again off-again relationships.
S U N D A Y , J A N U A R Y 1 0
Live To Tell — 10:00 on The History Channel
The History Channel continues to feed our country’s fascination with heroic battle stories from Special Ops Forces.
T U E S D A Y , J A N U A R Y 1 2
Shadowhunters — 9:00 on Freeform (ABC Family)
ABC Family confuses us all by changing names yet again, and also this show is an adaptation of Cassandra Clare’s Divergent-esque YA fantasy series, The Mortal Instruments.
W E D N E S D A Y , J A N U A R Y 1 3
Second Chance — 9:00 on FOX
A corrupt L.A. sheriff played by Philip Baker Hall (Seinfeld library cop Lieutenant Bookman) is killed, then resurrected by mad scientist billionaires as a younger man with superhuman strength, and yes it will be as bad as it sounds.
*Teachers — 11:00 on TV Land
Allison Brie executive produces and brilliant all-female improv group The Katydids star as elementary school teachers in this sitcom with a Summer Heights High feel that is guaranteed to be hilarious.
T H U R S D A Y , J A N U A R Y 1 4
Alaska Proof — 9:00 on The Animal Planet
Surprisingly, this is a reality show about the vodka specialist team behind the Alaska Distillery, and not about macho adventurers surviving in the Alaskan wilderness.
Colony — 10:00 on USA
Los Angeles occupied by intruders and a new world order and ominous music and sci fi stuff and child labor camps and Josh Holloway from Lost and maybe aliens?
*Idiotsitter — 10:30 on Comedy Central
The very funny Jillian Bell stars as a dysfunctional woman-child whose super-rich father hires a straight-laced young woman to babysit her in his mansion…and you can watch the first episode online already!
S A T U R D A Y , J A N U A R Y 1 6
It’s Not You It’s Men — 9:00 on OWN
Not what I was expecting but if Oprah’s in I’m in, this is a talk-show about modern love, sex, and relationships with Man-ology authors Tyrese and Rev Run.
S U N D A Y , J A N U A R Y 1 7
*Los Angeles Times’ The Envelope — 8:30 on Ovation
Honestly I didn’t even know Ovation was a channel, but this five-part group interview series with Lead Actress, Lead Actor, Supporting Actress, Supporting Actor, and Director nominees will be AMAZING.
The Real Housewives of Potomac —9:00 on Bravo
We will finally figure out the answer to the question that’s been on everyone’s minds (and Twitter feeds): #whereispotomac?
*Angie Tribeca — 9:00 on TBS
Steve Carell and his wife Nancy Carell spoof all these other stupid cop dramas with a slapstick comedy featuring Rashida Jones as an officer in L.A.’s Really Heinous Crimes Unit and guest stars Bill Murray, Lisa Kudrow, Adam Scott, David Koechner, Amy Smart, and James Franco.
Billions — 10:00 on Showtime
Paul Giamatti and Mad Men‘s Maggie Siff star in an intense Wall Street drama.
Evil Lives Here – 10:00 on ID
Yet another true-crime series, this one interviews families about what it was like to live with people who would become horrific murderers, because of course.
*Mercy Street — 10:00 on PBS
Ridley Scott produces PBS’s first American drama series in more than a decade, starring Josh Radnor, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, and AnnaSophia Robb as Civil War doctors and nurses.
T U E S D A Y , J A N U A R Y 1 9
Planet Primetime — 8:00 on Travel
This show travels the country exploring some of the weirdest and most popular television on the planet, from Brazil’s Miss Bum Bum competition to Israel’s political satire, and I’m weirdly very into the idea.
Team Ninja Warrior — 8:00 on Esquire
Your favorite American Ninja Warrior competitors return for head-to-head competitors that will likely be even more mind-boggling than the old ones.
Like A Boss — 9:00 on Oxygen
Thankfully this reality show is only produced, not hosted, by Nick Cannon, and follows several assistants to Atlanta’s most powerful businessmen and women.
Fit to Fat to Fit — 10:00 on A&E
10 fitness experts stop exercising and eat junk food for four months, increasing their body masses up to 40%, and then try to lose weight alongside their clients…ugh.
Just Jillian — 10:00 on E!
I am very unsure why we’ve given Jillian Michaels her own reality show about parenting.
W E D N E S D A Y , J A N U A R Y 2 0
Kocktails with Khloe — 10:00 on FYI
Again this is exactly what you think it is—Khloe Kardashian hosting a late-night talk show—on a network you’ve never heard of.
T H U R S D A Y , J A N U A R Y 2 1
DC’s Legends of Tomorrow — 8:00 on The CW
The CW continues their superhero dynasty with this spin-off of The Arrow and The Flash in which a ragtag group of young heroes who I’m pretty sure need to save the world.
Baskets — 10:00 on FX
Zach Galifinakis stars in this comedy—which he created with Louie C.K. and Portlandia‘s Jonathan Krisel—as a man who is pursuing his dream of becoming a clown, and based on the trailers I’m already over it.
London Spy — 10:00 on BBC America
This romantic drama is one of those mini-series you will hear about constantly during next awards season, but will never watch.
Recipe for Deception — 10:00 on Bravo
This is the worst kind of cooking competition show—the kind that is barely about cooking.
Dark Net — 11:00 on Showtime
I’m pretty sick of typing the word “docu-series” at the moment, but this one investigates such heartwarming topics as bio-hacking, cyber-kidnapping, digital warfare, online cults, pornography addiction, and the webcam sex trade.
F R I D A Y , J A N U A R Y 2 2
Mad Dogs — Streaming on Amazon
This action-adventure drama is about four frat bros who…yeah I’ll just stop there.
Truth and Power — 10:00 on Pivot
Yet another docu-series, this one is narrated by Maggie Gyllenhaal and tells stories of “ordinary people going to extraordinary lengths to expose corporate exploitation and infringement on civil liberties.”
S A T U R D A Y , J A N U A R Y 2 3
Beowulf — 10:00 on Esquire
Literally, this is a historical drama based on the Old English epic poem, Beowulf.
S U N D A Y , J A N U A R Y 2 4
Hollywood Medium — 10:00 on E!
20-year-old “medium” Tyler Henry can probably live with himself a bit more since he’s manipulating celebrities instead of regular people.
M O N D A Y , J A N U A R Y 2 5
Lucifer — 9:00 on FOX
Lucifer gets bored with hell and heads to Los Angeles as a smooth-talking Brit who opens a nightclub laden with strippers and uses his understanding of how horrible people are to punish criminals….I don’t even know.
The Magicians — 9:00 on SyFy
You have to hope that SyFy will do justice to Lev Grossman’s brilliant fantasy trilogy about a young man attending a magic college in New York.
*Recovery Road — 9:00 on Freeform
Based on the YA novel by Blake Nelson with a pilot written by the writer of Easy A, Jessica Sula stars as Maddie, a high-functioning drug addict who chooses to enter a rehab facility.
Stevie J & Joseline Go Hollywood — 9:00 on VH1
This Love and Hip Hop Atlanta spinoff follows…well you read the title.
T U E S D A Y , J A N U A R Y 2 6
Outsiders — 9:00 on WGN
Not a re-make of the novel you loved in middle school, this “Outsiders” is actually another creepy family drama that uses an Appalachian setting to lend extra creepiness.
T H U R S D A Y , J A N U A R Y 2 8
*You, Me, and the Apocalypse — 8:00 on NBC
The description “a British-American science fiction comedy-drama miniseries” is an absolute joke, but with Rob Lowe, Jenna Fisher, and Megan Mullally as a crazy white supremacist, it will probably be hilarious.
(Featured photo: Araya Diaz / Comedy Central)