It may be getting cold outside where you are, but It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia. The sitcom returns for its 10th season (and it’s already been renewed for Seasons 11 and 12!) on FXX Jan. 15, and that’s not the only one reason why you’ll want to stay inside and warm yourself in front of the tube — or YouTube, as the case may be — this winter. Here are 10 more can’t-miss shows rolling out over the next few months.
ASCENSION (Dec. 15-17; Syfy)
Imagine a cross between Mad Men and Interstellar (Mad Spacemen?) and you’ll get an idea of the concept behind this three-night miniseries, which could expand into a weekly series. The Bridge’s Brian Van Holt stars as the captain of a spaceship secretly launched in 1963 by JFK on a 100-year mission to populate another planet. The situation starts to go awry after a murder occurs 51 years into the trip, when the astronauts approach the point of no return. As the captain’s sexually manipulative wife — and the craft’s chief stewardess — Tricia Helfer, aka Battlestar Galactica’s Number Six, proves she’s still a 10.
MARVEL’S AGENT CARTER (Jan. 6; ABC)
British beauty Hayley Atwell, minus all that old-age makeup she had to wear in Captain America: The Winter Soldier, reprises her big-screen role as Agent Peggy Carter in this 1946-set action drama that will air for eight weeks during Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D’s hiatus. After apparently losing the love of her life, Steve Rogers, Carter embarks on solo spy missions for the Strategic Scientific Reserve as well as Iron Man’s dad, Howard Stark (Dominic Cooper). James D’Arcy (as the young butler Jarvis), Chad Michael Murray, and the always-amazing Shea Whigham (Boardwalk Empire, The Wolf of Wall Street) co-star.
EMPIRE (Jan. 7; Fox)
Freed from the restrictions of their previous roles on the procedurals Law & Order: LA and Person of Interest, Oscar nominees Terrence Howard and Taraji P. Henson thrillingly let loose in this hip-hop melodrama. Howard takes no prisoners as Lucious Lyon, a terminally ill rap mogul who pits his three sons against one another in a battle to determine his successor. His Hustle & Flow co-star Henson swipes scenes as his ex-wife, Cookie, who’s freshly paroled from prison and hungry for her piece of his multimillion-dollar pie. Watch for Gabourey Sidibe (whose Precious director, Lee Daniels, shot the pilot), Courtney Love, and Naomi Campbell.
BABYLON (Jan. 8; Sundance)
Hot Fuzz meets The Office in this six-part docu-comedy from Slumdog Millionaire director Danny Boyle about an American PR consultant (Another Earth’s Brit Marling) brought in to manage the London police department’s image in the midst of a crime wave. The Hobbit’s James Nesbitt portrays the Chief Constable in this cutting satire co-written by Sam Bain and Jesse Armstrong, the twisted minds behind the UK’s longtime cult fave Peep Show.
THE FALL (Jan. 16; Netflix)
Gillian Anderson returns for a second six-episode season as Detective Superintendent Stella Gibson, a promiscuous London cop who travels to Belfast on the trail of a serial psycho (Jamie Dornan, who’ll soon be seen as a different kind of ladykiller in Fifty Shades of Grey). The stellar cast also includes Archie Panjabi, moonlighting from The Good Wife as a pathology professor who assists in the investigation. Another Netflix fave, House of Cards, returns for a third season on Feb. 27.
THE NIGHTLY SHOW WITH LARRY WILMORE (Jan. 19; Comedy Central)
As the next great late-night shakeup begins, senior Daily Show correspondent Wilmore takes over the time slot vacated by Stephen Colbert, who’ll succeed David Letterman on CBS’ Late Show… whenever Dave feels like it, apparently. Meanwhile, James Corden replaces another Brit-wit, Craig Ferguson, on CBS’ The Late Late Show *in March. Wilmore will bring some much-needed diversity to the late-night landscape, even if he did have to surrender his original title, *Minority Report, to Steven Spielberg’s attorneys.
JUSTIFIED (Jan. 20; FX)
The sixth and final season of the Elmore Leonard-inspired crime drama promises one last showdown between U.S. Deputy Marshal Raylan Givens (Timothy Olyphant) and his lifelong frenemy Boyd Crowder (Walton Goggins). It also promises guest appearances by a couple of Western veterans: Sam Elliott as a Kentucky mobster who returns home from weed-dealing in Colorado to win back his old flame, Katherine Hale (Mary Steenburgen), and Deadwood’s Garret Dillahunt as a former special-ops soldier who crosses over to the wrong side of the law and crosses Raylan in the process. And that rarely ends well for ne’er-do-wells.
THE AMERICANS (Jan. 28; FX)
The Cold War drama heats up for Season 3 as KGB agents Elizabeth (Keri Russell) and Phillip Jennings (Matthew Rhys) are tasked by their Soviet masters with turning teenage daughter Paige (Holly Taylor) into a spy. Meanwhile, Frank Langella — a Cold War veteran himself from his turn as Tricky Dick in Frost/Nixon — joins the cast as the Jennings’ new handler, replacing Margo Martindale’s Claudia, aka Granny. Although with Martindale’s sitcom The Millers having been canceled by CBS, maybe we haven’t seen the last of Granny?
BETTER CALL SAUL (Feb. 8 and 9; AMC)
How confident is AMC that this Breaking Bad prequel is gonna be good? They’re premiering it over two nights in a row and have already ordered a second season. Bob Odenkirk revives his role as New Mexico’s sleaziest lawyer, Saul Goodman, with Jonathan Banks back from the dead as his muscle, Mike Ehermentraut, and Spinal Tap’s Michael McKean joining the cast as Saul’s brother, Chuck McGill. There’s no word yet if Walter White will be making any appearances, but Bryan Cranston will direct an episode, as will Bad alum Michelle MacLaren, who’s just been tapped to helm the Wonder Woman movie.
LAST MAN ON EARTH (March 1; Fox)
The last time somebody stumbled out of an RV in his underwear, the result was Breaking Bad. This time, it’s SNL and Nebraska alum Will Forte going pantsless as the planet’s lone male survivor in this outlandish comedy. Sounds like a tough premise to sustain as a weekly series, but if creators Phil Lord and Chris Miller could strike comedy gold with movies based on 21 Jump Street and LEGOs, they could be capable of building this show into another hit.
Currently Senior Articles Editor for Closer Weekly, Bruce Fretts wrote TV Guide Magazine‘s wildly popular “Cheers & Jeers” column for 10 years. His work has also been published in the New York Times, Vulture.com, Fast Company, New York Daily News, Digital Spy, DuJour Magazine, the Sundance Channel’s website and RogerEbert.com. You can follow him on Twitter @brucefretts.