With all the terrible weather it already feels like you’re hibernating, so why not check out midseason’s new and returning shows to watch when you’re inside.
Matthew Perry and Matt LeBlanc make their return to TV comedy with Perry serving as the self-involved manager of a sports arena in “Mr. Sunshine” and LeBlanc playing a heightened version of himself in the Hollywood-skewering “Episodes.” But neither, they realize, can escape the “Friends” phenomenon.
“I don’t think people want to see a character that’s night-and-day different than Chandler, but we want to try to do some different things,” says Perry, who also had a hand in creating his new series. “So you want to take advantage of that something that worked before, but you also want to show something new.”
In “Episodes,” LeBlanc is embracing the past. “My only reservation was playing myself,” he says. “I didn’t really understand what they meant by that, and they assured me it was not a documentary. And once I got my head around that, it started to become really fun to push the envelope and poke fun.”
“Mr. Sunshine” premieres Feb. 9 at 9:31 p.m. on ABC and “Episodes” airs Sundays at 9:30 p.m. on Showtime.
“I was really happy and proud to be on a show that represented teenage life to the full extent,” Ron Mustafaa, star of the drama “Skins,” told TV critics. Since its debut, the show has lost numerous advertisers due to its portrayal of teen antics. “We think the real controversy here should be for TV geeks fretting over how much of a copy the show’s first couple episodes have been to the original British version,” creator Bryan Elsley wrote on a Huffington Post blog.
“Skins” airs Mondays at 10 p.m. on MTV.
“The Chicago Code”
A police superintendent (Jennifer Beals) and her former partner (Jason Clarke) fight on the streets and up through the corridors of power to bring down Chicago corruption. “I like the idea of approaching crime from the top,” says series creator Shawn Ryan (“The Shield”). “And I liked the idea of approaching it from the perspective of a female character. There would obviously be some resistance to a female superintendent being the boss. I liked the friction of that.”
“The Chicago Code” premieres Feb. 7 at 9 p.m. on Fox.
“Our America with Lisa Ling”
Lisa Ling travels the country investigating “outsider” culture in America, from sex offenders to drug addicts. “We set out to try and understand or explore what it really means to be an American. And I really feel like this has been the culmination of everything I’ve ever learned as a journalist,” she says. “It’s ironic that all of these stories are here in America, in our own backyards. Because I can’t tell you how many times throughout the course of shooting this series that I felt like I was in a foreign place.”
Premieres Feb. 16 at 10 p.m. on OWN
Ben (Jason Biggs) loves Kate (Sarah Chalke), but their best friends Connie (Judy Greer) and Larry (Tyler Labine) can’t stand each other. And while Chalke, Greer and Labine are sitcom vets, tackling romantic comedy on the small screen is new territory for Biggs.
“I love the idea of coming in every week and seeing what our characters are up to as opposed to a film, which is a bit more finite of an experience,” says Biggs, who admits he had been looking to do a sitcom for some time. “We’re shooting ours as a hybrid [multi- and single-camera] show,” he adds, “but it’s still requiring a certain cadence, a very specific kind of comedy rhythm that I think all four of us are not necessarily used to, but that we’re all kind of having fun learning.”
“Mad Love” premieres Feb. 14 at 8:30 p.m. on CBS.
Hot Harvest Festival
“Parks and Recreation”
By setting up an ultimatum this season — Leslie’s (Amy Poehler) Harvest Festival has to be a success or the Pawnee parks department will be eliminated — the comedy has become must-see for reasons other than its superb, subtle humor. “Leslie’s realizing her big dream of building a park is so much harder than she thought it was,” Poehler says. “And so we started Season 3 kind of in triage mode, with everyone trying to save their jobs.”
“Parks and Recreation” airs Thursdays at 9:30 p.m. on NBC.
Can U.S. Marshal Raylan Givens (Timothy Olyphant) do his job without shooting someone? That would be a mighty feat in this Old Western-style crime drama, especially in Season 2, according to creator Graham Yost. “[I was told about] a great chapter in ‘Outliers’ by Malcolm Gladwell, ‘Harlan County,’ and it deals with feud culture,” he explains. “So we thought a feud would be a really good thing [for the show]. And so Margo Martindale plays Mags Bennett, and she’s the matriarch of a criminal clan down in Harlan, and there’s bad history between her family and Raylan’s family. And so we thought, let that be the spine of this season.”
“Justified” premieres Feb. 9 at 10 p.m. on FX.
William H. Macy plays the drunken, free-loading patriarch of a gazillion (OK, six) kids who are essentially raised by the eldest sister (Emmy Rossum) and somehow remain a loving, functional family. “I’ve got the role of the century here,” Macy exclaims. “I am having so much fun. I love every part of it. I’ve got the most outrageous things to do, great writing, outrageous stories. They’re true. They’re all true stories to the human condition. There’s love at the bottom of every episode. But they’re so outrageous. It stops us on the set every once in a while. We just think, ‘That is shameless.’”
“Shameless” airs Sundays at 10 p.m. on Showtime.