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Fall’s failures are replaced with new shows

Published: Thursday, Jan. 10, 2013 1:15 a.m. CDT
This undated publicity photo released by FOX shows Kevin Bacon (front right) as former FBI agent Ryan Hardy, who is called out of retirement to track down a serial killer in the new psychological thriller "The Following," premiering at 8 p.m. Jan. 21.

It’s time for TV networks to make a course correction.

It was only a few months ago that we were given a new fall lineup of shows: bright, shiny and full of potential. Now we can see that very little of it thoroughly captivated viewers – and a sizable chunk of it is already piled on the trash heap of cancellation.

But we’re optimists.

We believe the networks can get it right and create programming that’s worth watching. In fact, we keep hoping they’ll come up with shows that are downright irresistible. The new winter/ midseason slate has plenty of misfires – those are inevitable – but there also are some truly promising ones that caught our eye.

Here’s our rundown of the most interesting new series that TV has to offer in the months to come.

“The Following”: This bloody action thriller, starring Kevin Bacon as a former FBI agent, opens with a notorious serial killer escaping from prison so he can tend to some unfinished business: a former victim who survived. But it soon becomes apparent that Joe Carroll (the charismatic bad guy, played by James Purefoy) isn’t the only threat out there. Seems that he has an entire network, or cult, of followers ready to begin killing sprees. Ryan Hardy, Bacon’s character, the broken-down agent who originally captured Carroll, is brought out of the alcoholic funk of retirement to work the case. Premieres 8 p.m. Jan. 21 on Fox.

“1600 Penn”: Meet the Gilchrists. They’re a typical sitcom family – except for the fact that Dad (Bill Pullman) is the president of the United States and their home is the White House. Try to imagine a life in which every family issue, large or small, often deeply personal and quite embarrassing, routinely gets covered on the evening news. Making matters worse is that the president’s ne’er-do-well son Skip (Josh Gad) is a lightning rod for chaos. With Skip in the White House, the president, the first lady (Jenna Elfman) and the Secret Service are constantly putting out fires, sometimes literally. Premieres 8:30 p.m. Thursday on NBC.

“Zero Hour”: This globe-trotting, time-shifting action-conspiracy series starring Anthony Edwards involves an antique clock, a kidnapped wife, a mysterious map, genetic experiments conducted by Nazi scientists, a dozen modern-day Disciples and a cliffhanger at the end of every episode. Hank Galliston (Edwards), publisher of Modern Skeptic Magazine, gets mixed up in this madness after his wife is abducted. While racing the clock to save her, he learns that letting the map fall into the wrong hands could have cataclysmic consequences. And you thought you were having a pressure-filled day. Premieres 7 p.m. Feb. 14 on ABC.

“The Carrie Diaries”: Remember Carrie Bradshaw? She was the romance-challenged, Manolo Blahniks-obsessed Manhattanite who guided viewers through six seasons of New York sexcapades and female bonding on HBO’s “Sex and the City.” Now the CW has wound back the clock to 1984, when Carrie (played by AnnaSophia Robb, a 19-year-old actress who you can sort of see maturing into Sarah Jessica Parker) was a naive 16-year-old from Connecticut, overcoming the death of her mother and getting her first taste of fashion and romance in the big city. As Carrie puts it, the first man in her life is Manhattan. Premieres 7 p.m. Jan. 14 on the CW.

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