Thursday, March 1 (NBC)
Series Debut: TV critics are all a-flutter in their Dockers over NBC’s weepy new fantasy/crime drama Awake, about a police detective (Jason Isaacs) who, after a car accident, awakens alternately in a life where either his wife or son survived the wreck, and he can’t distinguish which—if either—is a dream. Naturally, this is the kind of mentally stable cop the police department wants back out on the street carrying a gun. For those playing along at home, the alive-wife “reality” is tinted red, while the not-dead son resides in the green-tint zone. Sound like too much damned work just to follow another ponderous cop show? I’ll be over here in the blue reality, where Prime Suspect hasn’t been canceled.
Sunday, March 4 (ABC)
Series Debut: It was originally titled Good Christian Bitches—but, since this is ’Merica and everything has to be sanitized down to a third-grade level, it became Good Christian Belles. Then simply GCB, presumably to avoid offending Christians … or, belles? GCB (yep, feels stupid already) is supposed to be ABC’s new Desperate Housewives, just more Dallas-centric and campy, not to mention talent-rich: Leslie Bibb, Kristin Chenoweth, Annie Potts, David James Elliott and several familiar comic actors star; it’s written by Robert Harling (Steel Magnolias) and produced by Darren Star (Sex and the City). Unfortunately, the pilot ep Tries! So! Hard! to drive home its middle-age Mean Girls “edge” that it overshoots the gossipy suburban silliness that the half-hour-shorter Suburgatory gets so right. But, at least GCB is funnier than Pan Am … which is a comedy, right?
Sunday, March 4 (Lifetime)
Season Premiere: Unlike those Bitch-Belles, Lifetime’s Army Wives are deadly serious—have been for five(!) seasons. What began as a fairly honest, salt-of-the-earth (albeit ridiculously good-looking) portrayal of military wives bonding on base has gradually become an over-the-top PSA for, but not limited to, post-traumatic stress disorder, infidelity, deployment fatalities, money woes, pregnancy complications, dead kids (if you’re a child actor on this series, always have your résumé ready) and more. But now, at the outset of Season 6, they face their greatest challenge yet: Fort Marshall is being shut down! Will the group be torn apart, forced to move away and find new ridiculously good-looking wives to gaze past pensively? Tune in!
Sunday, March 4 (A&E)
Season Premiere: Remember when A&E was launched as a highbrow, commercial answer to PBS? Yeah, me neither. These days, the cable net is home to Gene Simmons, Dog the Bounty Hunter, Billy the Exterminator and several dozen indistinguishable reality shows about deranged hoarders, storage-unit spelunkers and ghost-hunting frauds. Oh, and a couple of surprisingly good crime dramas: The Glades, and 2011’s below-the-radar debut Breakout Kings, about a Mod Squad-y trio of jailbirds recruited by U.S. Marshals to help bring down bad guys on the outside (Hall Pass Kings just didn’t have the same ring to it). The bright spot of an otherwise uneven Season 1 was Jimmi Simpson’s (It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia) smart-ass Harvard-grad con Lloyd; this year, it looks like his partners (Malcolm Goodwin and Serinda Swan) are stepping up their respective games—so hold off on Season 18 of Family Jewels, A&E.
Tuesday, March 6 (Fox)
Season Premiere: One more time: Fox canceled security-firm comedy Breaking In after one season in May 2011, then un-canceled it three months later and scheduled a second season for 2012—which brings us to right here. Christian Slater is still funny, the Reaper kid is still awkward, they’ve added Megan Mullally and now it’s on after New Girl. Just watch it, already.