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posted: 1/11/2013 6:00 AM

Murder mysteries and dark dramas abound on midseason TV

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  • Detective Joanna Padget Locasto (Meagan Good) uncovers dark secrets as she investigates the death of a wealthy socialite in NBC's "Deception."

      Detective Joanna Padget Locasto (Meagan Good) uncovers dark secrets as she investigates the death of a wealthy socialite in NBC's "Deception."

  • AnnaSophia Robb steps into Carrie Bradshaw's stylish shoes in The CW's "The Carrie Diaries," a prequel to "Sex and the City."

      AnnaSophia Robb steps into Carrie Bradshaw's stylish shoes in The CW's "The Carrie Diaries," a prequel to "Sex and the City."

  • TLC's "Pete Rose: Hits & Mrs." chronicles the life of the disgraced former baseball star and his fiancee, Kiana Kim.

      TLC's "Pete Rose: Hits & Mrs." chronicles the life of the disgraced former baseball star and his fiancee, Kiana Kim.

  • Former FBI agent Ryan Hardy (Kevin Bacon) must help track down a serial killer who has escaped from prison in Fox's new drama "The Following."

      Former FBI agent Ryan Hardy (Kevin Bacon) must help track down a serial killer who has escaped from prison in Fox's new drama "The Following."

  • An edgy Australian comic (Jim Jefferies) attempts to clean up his life in FX's "Legit."

      An edgy Australian comic (Jim Jefferies) attempts to clean up his life in FX's "Legit."

  • Elizabeth Jennings (Keri Russell) spies for the Russians while living as a suburban mom in FX's 1980s-set "The Americans."

      Elizabeth Jennings (Keri Russell) spies for the Russians while living as a suburban mom in FX's 1980s-set "The Americans."

  • A debunker (Anthony Edwards) is shaken by the mysterious disappearance of his wife in ABC's upcoming "Zero Hour."

      A debunker (Anthony Edwards) is shaken by the mysterious disappearance of his wife in ABC's upcoming "Zero Hour."

  • "Cyndi Lauper: Still So Unusual" follows the singer's personal and professional life. Also appearing will be her husband, David Thornton.

      "Cyndi Lauper: Still So Unusual" follows the singer's personal and professional life. Also appearing will be her husband, David Thornton.

  • Marta Walraven (Radha Mitchell) can't escape her family's ties to the Russian mob in ABC's upcoming drama "Red Widow."

      Marta Walraven (Radha Mitchell) can't escape her family's ties to the Russian mob in ABC's upcoming drama "Red Widow."

  • Video: "The Following" trailer

  • Video: "Zero Hour" trailer

  • Video: "Deception" preview

 
The Washington Post

At this point in the TV season, deciding which shows to watch is all about logistics.

The DVR may be empty now, but with a slew of January and February premieres, that space will soon be at a premium.

So even if your interest is piqued by "Deception," an enigmatic, serialized drama that premiered Monday night on NBC, the most important question becomes: Is it worth it?

It's a question viewers will have to seriously consider before delving into upcoming offerings from the broadcast networks. A host of dark, mysterious dramas are set to make midseason debuts: Fox's Kevin-Bacon-catching-a-serial-killer series "The Following," NBC's Jekyll-and-Hyde-esque "Do No Harm," ABC's conspiracy thriller "Zero Hour" and organized crime show "Red Widow." Even CW gets in on the act with "Cult," about the dire consequences when fans get too obsessed with a creepy TV series.

The new broadcast options aren't all dark -- NBC is testing its luck with White House sitcom "1600 Penn," and reality shows are plentiful, especially on cable.

But while networks are forever hoping for a hit and acting quicker than ever to cut bait on a flop, is committing time to a complicated show such as "Deception" a smart investment?

That's up to viewers, of course. But here's a look at the dramas, comedies and reality shows heading to TV in the next couple of months:

Debuted this week

"Deception" (NBC, 9 p.m. Monday): This drama is basically "Revenge"-lite, as a police officer goes undercover working for a wealthy-but-shady family when their daughter, a socialite and party girl, is found dead.

"Vanderpump Rules" (Bravo, 8 p.m. Monday): "Real Housewives of Beverly Hills" star Lisa Vanderpump lands a spinoff, as she orders staff around at her West Hollywood restaurant.

"The Joe Schmo Show" (Spike, 9 p.m. Tuesday): Coming back after a long hiatus -- the series debuted in September 2003 -- this reality show features one guy who thinks he's on a new reality show but is surrounded by actors in on the joke.

"Stars in Danger: The High Dive" (Fox, 7 p.m. Wednesday): Is diving with the stars the new dancing? Fox hopes so. Eight celebs compete in a competition and are mentored by veteran diving coaches.

"Washington Heights" (MTV, 9 p.m. Monday): And in the same vein, is Washington Heights the new Seaside Heights? MTV hopes so. The new post-"Jersey Shore" docu-series follows nine friends in the New York neighborhood.

"1600 Penn" (NBC, 8:30 p.m. Thursday): This comedy, starring Bill Pullman as the president and Jenna Elfman as the first lady, shows what happens when a kooky family inherits the most famous house in the country.

Debuting Friday, Jan. 11

"Banshee" (Cinemax, 9 p.m.): An ex-con steals the identity of a Pennsylvania sheriff and continues his criminal ways as he is chased by gangsters he ripped off.

Sunday, Jan. 12

"Staten Island Law" (OWN, 8 p.m.): Elura and Michele, best friends from Staten Island, run a mediation business together.

"Cyndi Lauper: Still So Unusual" (WE TV, 8 p.m.) The pop singer gets a show that follows her at work and home.

Monday, Jan. 14

"The Carrie Diaries" (CW, 7 p.m.): This "Sex and the City" prequel tries to take the place of the recently departed "Gossip Girl" as it tracks 16-year-old Carrie Bradshaw's adventures in New York.

"Continuum" (Syfy, 7 p.m.): Rachel Nichols stars as a cop from the future in this drama, as a group of terrorists escape execution in 2077 by time traveling, and she must race to stop them.

"Pete Rose: Hits & Mrs." (TLC, 9 p.m.): Serious contender for best reality show title of 2013, this docu-series chronicles the life of the disgraced former baseball star and his new fiancee.

Tuesday, Jan. 15

"Second Generation Wayans" (BET, 9:30 p.m.): Damien Dante Wayans and Craig Wayans try to live up to the expectations set by their famous relatives in this scripted comedy.

Thursday, Jan. 17

"King of Nerds" (TBS, 9 p.m.): This competition series tries to find the biggest and best nerd of all, and will award them $100,000 for their efforts.

"Legit" (FX, 9:30 p.m.): A potty-mouthed comedian from Australia tries to make it as a star in Los Angeles.

Saturday, Jan. 19

"Ripper Street" (BBC America, 8 p.m.): A police officer who can't get over the fact that he never caught the most notorious killer in London becomes in charge of investigating the most dangerous part of the city.

Sunday, Jan. 20

"Chasing the Saturdays" (E!, 9 p.m.): This docu-series follows a British pop group ready to invade America with catchy tunes.

Monday, Jan. 21

"The Following" (Fox, 8 p.m.): Fox has high hopes for this drama, in which Kevin Bacon stars as an ex-FBI agent who's forced out of retirement when he needs to find a terrifying serial killer who can't be caught.

Tuesday, Jan. 22

"The Taste" (ABC, 7 p.m.): This cooking competition features celebrity chefs Anthony Bourdain, Nigella Lawson, Ludo Lefebvre and Brian Malarkey.

"Wild Things With Dominic Monaghan" (BBC, 9 p.m.): What's Dominic Monaghan of "Lost" up to these days? Just hosting a travel adventure series.

Wednesday, Jan. 23

"Big Rich Atlanta" (Style, 7 p.m.): A spinoff of "Big Rich Texas" focuses on the social scene in metropolitan Georgia.

"Kimora: House of Fab" (Style, 8 p.m.): The life of Kimora Lee Simmons is chronicled as she runs her fashion business.

Monday, Jan. 28

"Built" (Style, 8 p.m.): Sometimes high-fashion male models have to multitask -- these men also work as home-repair contractors in a Manhattan company staffed only with construction workers who are also models.

Tuesday, Jan. 29

"Nikki & Sara Live" (MTV, 10 p.m.): Comedians Nikki Glaser and Sara Schaefer host the weekly half-hour comedy show from Times Square in front of a live studio audience.

Wednesday, Jan. 30

"The Americans" (FX, 9 p.m.): Keri Russell and Matthew Rhys star as two KGB spies in Washington in the 1980s who pose as a regular married couple.

Thursday, Jan. 31

"Do No Harm" (NBC, 9 p.m.): This drama centers on a highly respected neurosurgeon who has a Jekyll-and-Hyde personality thing going on.

Friday, Feb. 1

"Belle's" (TV One, 9 p.m.): The owner of a family-run soul food restaurant, a widower named William "Big Bill" Cooper, deals with juggling his business and his demanding family.

Monday, Feb. 4

"Monday Mornings" (TNT, 9 p.m.): David E. Kelley's latest show, based on Sanjay Gupta's book, follows the medical staff at a hospital in Portland, Ore.

Friday, Feb. 8

"The Job" (CBS, 7 p.m.): Produced by "Survivor's" Mark Burnett, this series gives competitors a chance to win jobs at some of the most prestigious companies in the country.

"The Jenny McCarthy Show" (VH1, 9:30 p.m.): McCarthy chats about pop culture in a new weekly talk show.

Thursday, Feb. 14

"Zero Hour" (ABC, 7 p.m.): Anthony Edwards stars as the editor of Modern Skeptic Magazine, which is devoted to debunking conspiracies. He's forced to rethink everything he knows when his wife is mysteriously abducted from her antique clock store.

"Freakshow" (AMC, 8:30 p.m.): The reality show follows former music producer Todd Ray as he and his family run a museum on the Venice Beach, Calif., boardwalk that exhibits strange creatures and oddities.

"Immortalized" (AMC, 9 p.m.): Well, it's obviously time for a taxidermy reality show, as this series features people competing against each other in "one of the world's oldest art forms."

Tuesday, Feb. 19

"Cult" (CW, 8 p.m.): An investigative journalist explores a disturbing world when strange things start happening to rabid fans of a creepy TV show (including his younger brother).

Tuesday, Feb. 26

"Golden Boy" (CBS, 9 p.m.): Another police drama on CBS follows the youngest police commissioner in New York. It will eventually move to Friday nights.

"Robot Combat League" (Syfy, 9 p.m.): Who said gladiator combat had to end? This competition show features battles between eight-foot-tall robots controlled by people known as "robo-jockeys."

"Armed & Ready" (Travel, 9 p.m.): Docu-series follows Kevin Michael Connolly, an author and photographer who was born without legs, as he travels around the world.

Wednesday, Feb. 27

"Boston's Finest" (TNT, 8 p.m.): Donnie Wahlberg executive-produced this docu-series that follows the Boston police.

"Stranded" (Syfy, 8 p.m.): To see people being terrified through paranormal and psychological experiments, watch this reality show.

Sunday, March 3

"The Bible" (History, 7 p.m.): A self-explanatory series uses live action and CGI to tell Bible stories.

"Red Widow" (ABC, 9 p.m.): A stay-at-home mom of three has to figure out what to do when her husband is murdered and she learns he had a significant debt to the mafia. Now she's in charge of paying it back.

"Vikings" (History, 9 p.m.): This series tells stories of the lives and adventures of the famed warriors.

Tuesday, March 19

"Celebrity Diving" (ABC, 7 p.m.): Another reality diving competition hits the airwaves, with Olympic divers Greg Louganis and David Boudia as judges.

Sunday, March 31

"Ready for Love" (NBC, 7 p.m.): Eva Longoria helps out three attractive guys who just can't seem to find the right person, by hiring matchmakers to help them find soul mates.

"Mr. Selfridge" (PBS, 8 p.m.): A drama about Harry Gordon Selfridge, the man who revolutionized shopping with his famous London department store. Starring Jeremy Piven.

Wednesday, April 3

"How to Live With Your Parents (For the Rest of Your Life)" (ABC, 8:30 p.m.): Sarah Chalke stars as a recently divorced single mom who is forced to move back home with her eccentric parents, played by Elizabeth Perkins and Brad Garrett, in this comedy.

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