The television industry still likes to pretend viewers care about pilot season in the fall, but there's no better way to see how things are rapidly changing than to look at the winter TV landscape, dotted with limited series, eagerly anticipated premieres on streaming websites, and fewer and fewer blockbuster network shows.
It's a vast world of original programming, so I’ve tried to cut the list of new and returning shows into something vaguely manageable, assorted by date.
Sundays on ABC
Premieres January 4
ABC executive Paul Lee has an eye for good television and smart producers (see: Shonda Rhimes), but he also has a penchant for campier projects, like 2012's spectacular flop Work It and now Galavant, a meta medieval musical about a dashing hero (Joshua Sasse) trying to free the love of his life from the clutches of a dastardly, villainous king (Timothy Omundson). There's music by Alan Menken and Glenn Slater, and the show’s certainly different, but it's hard to tell who Galavant is really for. May it live forever as a pop-culture curio.
Marvel's Agent Carter
Tuesdays on ABC
Premieres January 6
Marvel's domination of the airwaves continues with this prequel spinoff of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., focusing on Captain America's Second World War companion Peggy Carter (Haley Atwell) as she battles evil in the late '40s alongside Tony Stark's dad Howard (Dominic Cooper) and butler Edwin Jarvis (James D'Arcy). Period style abounds, along with female-centered heroics, which Marvel could certainly use more of. One imagines Agent Carter will plant many seeds for the latter half of S.H.I.E.L.D.'s second season, which will resume after this eight-episode limited series.