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Culture » True TV


Colony fights the future, Angie Tribeca mines the past and Billions is rich.



Thursday, Jan. 14 (USA)

Series Debut: Throw yet another quality log on the There's Too Much TV fire—and from USA, of all places (one season of Mr. Robot doesn't make 'em a prestige network just yet). Set in a dystopian near-future. Wait, come back! Colony stars Josh Holloway (Lost) as c (for the strong-armed safety of his family) and remaining with his fellow facial-hair enthusiasts in The Resistance (because there's always a resistance). The setup is naggingly familiar (not just in futuristic sci-fi, but also the recent Nazi-retro Man in the High Castle), but Holloway and co-star Sarah Wayne Callies (The Walking Dead) sell it convincingly, and the impressive F/X suggest that NBC Universal didn't blow all of its money on Syfy's The Expanse, or on the hairspray budget of NBC's Telenovela.


Thursday, Jan. 14 (Comedy Central)

Series Debut: An unemployed Ivy Leaguer (Charlotte Newhouse) breaks down and takes a babysitting job—but the "baby" turns out to be an adult wild-child heiress (Jillian Bell) under house arrest in her parents' (Stephen Root and Jennifer Elise Cox) mansion. It only sounds like a super-niche web series because it was: Bell and Newhouse originally created Idiotsitter for Comedy Central's digital CC: Studios in 2014. It doesn't arrive as fully realized as fellow web expat Broad City once did, but Idiotsitter is probably the best comedic companion that the equally juvenile Workaholics (which drops Season 6 right before it) has ever had.


Angie Tribeca
Sunday, Jan. 17 (TBS)

Series Debut: Despite a confusing rollout plan (a 10-episode Season 1 marathon that premieres tonight, then repeats for 20 hours, followed by Season 2, premiering Jan. 25), not to mention confusing-er commercials that portray the comedy as a dead-serious crime procedural, Angie Tribeca is the original series that finally delivers on TBS' ancient "Very Funny" promise (OK, new series—Conan and American Dad were technically hand-me-downs). Unlike relatively realistic cop comedies Brooklyn Nine-Nine and CSI: Cyber, Angie Tribeca (starring Parks & Recreation's Rashida Jones as the titular detective) embraces the full-tilt farce of '80s classics like The Naked Gun and Sledge Hammer!, where nothing's ever too silly (she works for the Really Heinous Crimes Unit, and her partner is named Jay Geils, another sly '80s reference). Another Angie Tribeca victory for comedy: TBS' marathon will displace more than a few Big Bang Theory reruns.


Sunday, Jan. 17 (Showtime)

Series Debut: Headliners Damian Lewis (as charismatic and arrogant hedge fund billionaire Bobby "Axe" Axelrod) and Paul Giamatti (as principled and troubled U.S. Attorney Chuck Rhoades) churn plenty of bluster and testosterone Acting! As! Hard! as they can against each other, but they're not Billions' most interesting players. Maggie Siff, who's held her own alongside alpha males before in Sons of Anarchy and Mad Men, plays Chuck's wife, Wendy, a psychiatrist-turned-performance-coach who helped Bobby build his empire and has an invisible, spooky command over everyone around her, could lead this series on her own. Likewise, Malin Akerman, as Bobby's wife, Lara, turns in a surprising performance that flips from sweet to Satan Incarnate with the bat of an eye. The heart of Billions is the righteous, macho clash between the men, and how their dichotomous personalities (Bobby may not actually be a bad guy, while Chuck sometimes comes off like a supervillain with kinky sex habits) fuel the fire, but keep an eye on the women.


Just Jillian
Tuesday, Jan. 19 (E!)

Series Debut: There was absolutely no need or demand for a reality series centered around fitness magnate Jillian Michaels, her partner and their kids, but that's the genre E! is doubling-down on in 2016: inconsequential fluff posing as important stuff. They're lesbians! They're parents! They're as spontaneously wacky as the next tightly scripted family with a TV crew! Who cares? Do we really need another one of these shows? While Just Jillian is blissfully free of Kardashians, and certainly less dangerous to the health of TV 'Merica than The Biggest Loser, it's just as empty and useless as the other lesbian E! series that precedes it, Total Divas. Wait ... the Divas aren't lesbians? Then what's the point of that show? I'm so lost without The Soup ...

Listen to Bill on Mondays at 8 a.m. on X96 Radio From Hell; weekly on the TV Tan podcast via iTunes and Stitcher.