Television Promises to Suck Significantly Less Than the Movies This January

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Photo: Clockwise from top left: Courtesy of ABC, Fox, HBO, FX

Aside from the surefire pants-shitting spectacle that will be My Bloody Valentine 3-D, the next few weeks promise to be awfully barren at the multiplex. Hollywood has long since ceded the month of January to the NFL, preferring to focus its marketing muscle on promoting prestige films making a run at Oscar glory rather than throwing good money after shoddy product they have little confidence in. However, over on the small screen, January is fast becoming the new September when it comes to launching new shows. Over the course of the next 25 days that make up the month of January, no less than 29 new shows will either be taking their maiden voyage on the airwaves or debuting a fresh season's worth of episodes. With that in mind, here are some of the story lines that will play out over the next few weeks.

Your DVR Will Explode on Sunday Nights: Ever since The Sopranos debuted on a Sunday night back in January 1999, that night has been the province of subscription-based cable television networks. This January is no exception, which will see the return of HBO faves Big Love and Flight of the Conchords as they take on Showtime staples The L-Word, Secret Diary of a Call Girl, and (the already streaming) Diablo Cody–penned newbie The United States of Tara. Combine that with other Sunday staples like 60 Minutes (gotta love Andy Rooney's eyebrows, right?), The Simpsons, and VH1's exorbitantly trashy duo of Rock of Love Bus and Confessions of a Teen Idol and you've got yourself plenty of reasons to go out and buy a second DVR.

Your DVR Will Explode on Sunday Nights: Ever since The Sopranos debuted on a Sunday night back in January 1999, that night has been the province of subscription-based cable television networks. This January is no exception, which will see the return of HBO faves Big Love and Flight of the Conchords as they take on Showtime staples The L-Word, Secret Diary of a Call Girl, and (the already streaming) Diablo Cody–penned newbie The United States of Tara. Combine that with other Sunday staples like 60 Minutes (gotta love Andy Rooney's eyebrows, right?), The Simpsons, and VH1's exorbitantly trashy duo of Rock of Love Bus and Confessions of a Teen Idol and you've got yourself plenty of reasons to go out and buy a second DVR.

Basic Cable Increases Its Stranglehold on Your Free Time: After an incredibly strong showing at the 2008 Emmys which included an across-the-board sweep in the dramatic awards competition (Show, Actor, Actress), basic cable will once again be the place to be when you don't want to watch two hours of Ann Curry followed by two hours of Donald Trump. F/X is excited about the second-season prospects of law-firm revenge-fest Damages (starring 2008 Best Dramatic Actress winner Glenn Close), as well as the return of the perpetually horny plastic surgeons of Nip/Tuck. Advertising fetishists who are eagerly awaiting the return of Mad Men will be temporarily satiated by the TNT drama Trust Me, and the indestructible Patrick Swayze will be anchoring A&E's edgy FBI drama The Beast. And yes, we know, Battlestar Galactica will air its final ten episodes beginning on January 16. We can't be the only ones who have kinda lost interest in that one, can we?

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