A new semester means less time for sitting back, relaxing and watching a week’s worth of backlogged shows. With current shows starting back up and new shows sneaking in under major shows’ mid-season break, we sorted through the good and the bad to recommend what you should stop watching, keep watching and start watching.
American Idol (FOX, Wednesdays and Thursdays at 7 p.m.)
Here we go again. With so many judges having abandoned the show over its past 11 seasons, audiences seem to have been given the last-minute choices for “American Idol” in season 12. Nicki Minaj and Mariah Carey can’t stop bickering for two minutes to take contestants seriously, and Keith Urban and Randy Jackson are just pushed aside and boring. Here are just a few other signs of the show’s demise: Simon Cowell having fled “Idol” to bring “The X Factor” to America, mainstream music followers haven’t cared about who wins since Jordin Sparks and the most popular YouTube clips from talent shows have consistently been from “Britain’s Got Talent.” There just isn’t any reason to keep watching “Idol” in its current format.
Glee (FOX, Thursdays at 8 p.m.)
While FOX’s “Glee” started out as something unique in a genre dominated by stupid kids singing horrible renditions of pop songs reminiscent of the Kidz Bop CD series, the show has finally hit the point of no return. It would honestly take a miracle to make the show interesting again. The original characters act like the pathetic high school graduates that can’t leave their hometown, yet stay relevant enough to overshadow newcomers that have some potential. Relationships have been off-and-on for the past half season and have become mind-numbingly stale. “Glee” is not worth the time or effort of bearing with the songs that now sound odd with the original cast divided into multiple story arcs. “Glee” was a fragile concept to begin with, and it hasn’t been handled with care.
Girls (HBO, Sundays at 8 p.m.)
Lena Dunham’s surprise hit won two Golden Globes this year that it very much deserves for its first season. After Hannah and the gang broke up a bit in the “Girls” season one finale, it’s time to reunite the cast and continue their hijinks in Brooklyn and Manhattan. “Girls” has often been referred to as the realistic version of “Sex and the City,” but the show’s completely different feel and focus puts it in a genre on the opposite side of the spectrum.
The story of “Girls” is about post-college life for women finding their place in the world, and it’s a scary look into the future for some of us. The Badger Herald staff is somewhat divided on whether “Girls” is a good representation of our generation, but it’s still a damn good show. No matter what happens in Season Two, it’s safe to say we’ll see more shots of Lena Dunham’s boobs and raunchy, awkward sex. With new faces like Donald Glover joining the cast, “Girls” is going to keep mesmerizing audiences with its charm, raw nature and brilliant writing.
American Horror Story: Asylum (FX, Wednesdays at 9 p.m.)
The first season of “American Horror Story” ended with a very complete tone. Everything was fine, the house would remain in the hands of the ghosts and the main family would live on together forever. Boring, but kind of satisfying. Thankfully, the producers decided to scrap everything and start over for the second season while retaining the same cast, and, holy shit, has it been a wild ride.
“American Horror Story: Asylum” includes a Nazi doctor, an undercover journalist, a crazed killer, a possessed nun and a broken woman seeking redemption for past transgressions all thrown together in an insane asylum in the ‘60s. That’s an awesome premise right there, but how everyone interacts has kept the show from getting too far out of focus. The promise of one helluva finale has fans of the show glued to their seats.
Do No Harm (NBC, Thursdays at 9 p.m. starting Jan. 31)
It seems as if U.S.-based TV production companies have continued with the streak of recreating more British shows. Short-lived BBC series “Jekyll” recreated the story of Jekyll and Hyde back in 2006. Now that CBS has its spinoff of “Sherlock” and “Elementary,” it was only a matter of time before more shows from across the pond headed our way. Thankfully, “Do No Harm” is a fast-paced, multilayered drama that doesn’t like lingering on the usual bullshit that most shows set in hospitals have. The pilot episode, available now on NBC’s website, is impressive in just how much it sets up the series for later. Sexy hunk Steven Pasquale plays both parts of Dr. Jason Cole with style and ease. There’s more to come in this series, and you should be excited.
Deception (NBC, Mondays at 9 p.m.)
With ABC’s “Revenge’s” popularity as a powerful family drama, it only makes sense that NBC get in on some of the same kind of action. In their new show “Deception,” a pharmaceutical giant CEO’s daughter is found dead in a hotel. Her best friend, cop Joanna Locasto (Megan Good, TV’s “Califonication”), is pushed to go undercover to determine if foul play had a part in the socialite’s death.
“Deception” stands out from the throngs of similar storylines. For one, its script actually sounds fluid and real with dialogue that won’t bore audiences to sleep. Second, it has some solid recognizable characters, including Victor Garber (“Argo”) and Tate Donovan (“Argo”). Third, its plot is actually interesting with plenty of twists and turns. Catch up on the first two episodes on Hulu.