Five Shows Premiering This Winter That You Need to See

Another new year, another bumper crop of slots on your DVR waiting to be filled with shows that haven't been canceled or started to smell funny after a few episodes. But where to look?

We figured we'd look everywhere, so below, please check out our best bets for the first part of 2015 (yes, we cheated slightly—that new Amazon show premiered last month, but it's on demand and it's really good). Of course, you'd be unwise to count out broadcast entirely—there's a new cop show from no less than Vince Gilligan, and we liked the pilot a lot. And iZombie (which, oddly, still doesn't have a premiere date) is one of the best shows we've seen all season.

But there's good stuff across the spectrum, and if you've sufficiently recovered after the Black Mirror Christmas special (yes, you can only get it on DirecTV, but just wait!), now's the time to dig in to the good stuff the networks have been saving for the dead of winter.

1

iZombie

The CW
TBD

Like iZombie protagonist Liv Moore (get it?), TV viewers hunger for brains. They're likely to find satisfaction of a more refined sort in the new hour-long dramedy on the CW, an extremely fun mash-up of lighthearted horror (think Shaun of the Dead), detective drama and buddy comedy. It stars Rose McIver in the lead as Liv and Malcolm Goodwin and Rahul Kohli as Clive and Ravi, respectively the suspicious cop and excited medical examiner. They discover that Liv's ingestion of, shall we say, the game meats available to her in the local morgue, results in visions of how and when the dead guy bit it. Metaphorically, of course.

2

Mozart in the Jungle

Amazon
Dec. 23 on demand

Amazon's Mozart in the Jungle has the capacity to be the next great show about New York: a sharp dramedy with a terrific cast about internal politics at the New York Philharmonic, based on the memoir of one of the Phil's premier oboists. Lola Kirke (you remember, the girl with the mole on her lip in Gone Girl—no, it's not real) plays our heroine. Gael Garcia Bernal plays the upstart mononymic conductor Rodrigo (a dead ringer for the Los Angeles Philharmonic's Gustavo Dudamel). And the orchestra's sultry cellist and ousted maestro are Saffron Burrows and Malcolm McDowell. It's a little bit of a guilty pleasure, but the script, by Roman Coppola, Jason Schwartzman and New York theater wunderkind Alex Timbers, is as crisp and well constructed as a Bach invention.

3

Battle Creek

CBS
March 1 at 10 p.m.

Yeah, it's another cop show. It's also a really funny cop show, with perfect chemistry between leads Josh Duhamel and Dean Winters, who play by-the-books out-of-towner Milton Chamberlain and slovenly local Russ Agnew, respectively, in the depressed Michigan township of the title. The pilot script and the "created by" credit belong to Breaking Bad maestro Vince Gilligan. Gilligan has said publicly that he'll be devoting most of his time to AMC's Better Call Saul. But the clever writing is only half the appeal here—Winters and Duhamel are terrific together, and the show's Lethal Weapon-but-broke vibe is both upbeat and, unfortunately, timely.

4

Fresh off the Boat

ABC
Feb. 4 at 8 p.m.

ABC continues to offer sitcoms with people of color in the spotlight, and Fresh Off the Boat is a particularly charming one. If it's not quite as sharp as Black-ish, it's just as well observed, and its leads have plenty going for them. The show's ancestry is going to be readily apparent to anybody who grew up in the 1980s, but that's a good thing: Think The Wonder Years, but in 1990s Orlando. The show focuses on the life of young Eddie Huang, now a big-deal New York restaurateur whose eatery Baohaus (if you laughed, pat yourself on the back) earned worshipful reviews and got Huang such a devoted following that...well, here's a sitcom devoted to his life on ABC. The pilot is a great deal of fun, thanks in large part to Constance Wu and Randall Park as Eddie's anxious parents.

5

Togetherness

HBO
Jan. 11 at 9:30 p.m.

Who will save marriage from itself? The Duplass brothers have created quite a few great, off-kilter indie films in the last few years—Baghead and The Puffy Chair are our favorites—and, as is its current MO, HBO has taken note and signed the pair to a new TV series starring Mark Duplass (the smarmy protagonist on The League); the reliably excellent Amanda Peet; Two and a Half Men's Melanie Lynskey; and Steve Zissis, who has appeared in shows like Parks and Recreation. Granted, there's a lot in the TV world about Los Angeles life and its difficulties these days, but the Duplasses are nothing if not unexpected, and their take is a remarkably fresh one.