WASHINGTON, January 13, 2013 — Shameless, House of Lies and Californication all have their season premieres tonight on Showtime. These are easily three of the most decadent shows on TV, which is likely the main reason they are relegated to pay cable. All three have a big name star to anchor them, but the wonderful ensemble casts are the real secret to their success.
The Oscar nominated William H. Macy is the alcohol and drug addled patriarch of the Gallagher family on Shameless, which chronicles the misadventures of six industrious miscreants and the chaos that passes for their day-to-day lives. Scheming and scamming is as natural to this clan as eating breakfast. But their humanity peeks through the fog of debauchery just fleetingly enough to make this show surprisingly likeable and hugely entertaining.
At the helm of House of Lies is multiple Oscar nominee Don Cheadle, who stars as the amoral Marty Kaan. This deliciously cynical show about management consulting confirms the lack of a moral compass in the high-stakes, cutthroat corporate culture in which it plays out. I find myself rooting for the demise of just about every character in this show, with the exception of Marty Kaan’s gender-confused son Roscoe (Donis Leonard, Jr.), who lights up the screen with his every appearance.
Launching its sixth season tonight, Californication is the longest running series of the three. David Duchovny plays Hank Moody, a famous writer who drinks, indulges in recreational drugs and beds as many women as possible. Aptly named, Californication is an endless parade of excess that became old a long time ago. For this reason, it’s my least favorite of the three. The plot line has changed very little during its first five seasons, and the show will need more than a dazzling array of top shelf guests to maintain viewer loyalties for another likely predictable season.
These programs are not for the faint at heart. All three are definitely for adults only, so either tuck the young ones in or start an investment fund today to pay for their future sessions on a psychoanalyst’s couch.
On other fronts, for reality show junkies, there are new episodes of Moonshiners, Here Comes Honey Boo Boo, Ax Men, and Bamazon.
Those in possession of presumably more refined sensibilities may wish to take up residence with the British upper classes by reconnecting with the latest season of wildly popular Downton Abbey on their local PBS station. Currently set in the 1920s, it’s like an update of the equally popular Upstairs, Downstairs, another British costume drama series that made the original 1970s Masterpiece Theater a cherished Sunday evening ritual in many American TV households.
PBS launched Downton Abbey’s third stanza just last week with a chaotic episode guest-starring Arlington, Virginia hometown girl Shirley MacLaine as the extended Crawley family’s wealthy, eccentric, American grandmamma. The Crawley family’s British grandmamma (Maggie Smith)
In the same show, Matthew and Mary finally got married (good news); while alas, paterfamilias Robert Crawley, Earl of Grantham, discovered he’ll likely lose the Abbey due to an investment scheme gone horribly wrong (very bad news indeed). And it’s not even 1929 yet!
Fans won’t want to miss tonight’s tastefully thrilling episode as we follow the continuing upstairs family plot line along with the dangerous situation of valet John Bates, currently imprisoned in London for a murder he swears he didn’t commit. The show airs on most East Coast PBS channels at 9 p.m. tonight through February 17.
To sum things up: tonight there’s something for everyone that makes this Sunday evening a great night for TV.
All times are EST:
ABC: Once Upon a Time: (New) Mr. Gold tries to use an unwilling test subject to see if his spell works; Belle runs into vengeful Capt. Hook; David and Mary Margaret look for a bigger house.
CBS: 60 Minutes: (New) Justice Sonia Sotomayor talks about her life and career leading up to her appointment to the U.S. Supreme Court, including the role affirmative action played.
FOX: The Simpsons: (New) Springfield Elementary must depend on Bartificial intelligence when it’s threatened with closure after doing poorly on standardized testing, and since Bart’s the only one who missed the exam, it’s up to him to raise the average grade to save the school.
NBC: Golden Globe Awards: (Live) The Hollywood Foreign Press Association stages its 70th annual gala, which recognizes achievement in 25 movie and TV categories. Highlights include a tribute to Jodie Foster, who receives the Cecil B. DeMille Award. Tina Fey and Amy Poehler host from the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills.
FOX: Bob’s Burgers: (New) The new health inspector proves to be a decent fellow, until he blackmails Bob into being allowed to perform his atrocious music at the restaurant, which drives away the customers.
ABC: Revenge: (New) Emily and Aiden execute their next attack at a fundraiser and wine auction; Victoria plans her next move; Jack, Declan and Amanda worry about the future.
CBS: The Good Wife: (New) When lawyer Elsbeth Tascioni (Carrie Preston) is arrested, putting a case she’s working on in jeopardy, Alicia, Will and Diane step up to aid the quirky litigator. Meanwhile, Peter is presented with conflicting pieces of advice from Eli and Jordan (T.R. Knight).
FOX: Family Guy: (New) Brian is riding high after his play proves to be a big hit in town, but he is soon trumped as a writer when Stewie pens a piece that winds up on Broadway, leading to problems between the two authors.
PBS: Downton Abbey: (New) In episode 2 of this award-winning series, the fate of the Abbey pivots on a letter from a dead man, while Edith and Sir Anthony face their possible future together. Meanwhile, Mrs. Hughes must deal with a grave personal health issue.
SHOWTIME: Shameless: (New) In the Season 3 premiere, Fiona adapts to living with Jimmy; Frank awakens in a strange place; and Lip gets sentenced to community service. Meanwhile, Jody and Sheila are losing sleep over Baby Hymie’s nocturnal restlessness.
FOX: American Dad: (New) Francine sets out to teach Roger a lesson in the importance of working hard, but the idea backfires. Meanwhile, Steve’s school project requires interviewing Stan about his past, and he’s soon sorry he asked.
ABC: Happy Endings: (New) When Alex gets everyone to play on her store-sponsored kickball team, Jane defects to a better team and Dave freezes whenever it’s his turn.
CBS: The Mentalist: (New) The CBI investigates a geologist’s murder, which Lisbon is convinced is the key to bringing down Tommy Volker, while Jane looks into the disappearance of a young boy.
SHOWTIME: House of Lies: (New) In the Season 2 premiere, the aftermath of the sexual-harassment scandal leaves Marty and his Pod adjusting to a new corporate culture at Galweather Stearn, where the interim CEO entrusts consummate closer Marty with sealing a big deal.
ABC: Don’t Trust the B–- in Apt 23: (New) When Chloe resists June’s efforts to become best friends, June starts hanging out with girls from her pilates class; James signs up to mentor a child.
SHOWTIME: Californication: (New) In the Season 6 premiere, still reeling from the murder attempt on his life, Hank accompanies Charlie to a meeting with a rock star who wants to mount a Broadway musical based on Hank’s “Crazy Little Thing Called Love.”
New episodes of
The Real Housewives of Miami at 8 p.m. on BRAVO
Moonshiners: Outlaw Cuts at 9 p.m. on DSC
Sugar Dome at 8 p.m. on Food Channel
Rachael vs. Guy: Celebrity Cook-Off at 9 p.m. on Food Channel
Ax Men at 9 p.m. on History Channel
Wicked Tuna at 9 p.m. on NGC
Here Comes Honey Boo Boo at 9 p.m. on TLC
Iron Chef America at 10 p.m. on Food Channel
Bamazon at 10 p.m. on History Channel
Pete Rose: Hits & Mrs. at 10 and 10:30 p.m. on TLC
For movie lovers:
Gone in 60 Seconds on AMC
Ransom on FLIX
Cloverfield on FMC
Iron Man 2 on FX
Random Hearts on REELZ
Anna and the King of Siam on TCM
The Bourne Ultimatum on TNT
Despicable Me on ABCFAM
The Silence of the Lambs on CINEMAX
The Debt on HBO
Big Miracle on HBO
Hall Pass on MOMAX
Meet Joe Black on SHO
Star Trek: Nemesis on Syfy
The War of the Roses at 10 p.m. on SUND
The Game at 10:05 p.m. on FLIX
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