New shows and returning favorites try to revive fall flops

It is a new year, full of promises for a future of goals, opportunities and … new midseason television shows.

That’s right, with the arrival of the new year comes a whole crop of new shows to replace the fall season duds as well as a few returning favorites that were delayed in September. And now, for your reading, and soon viewing pleasure, enjoy this rundown of what to expect in the coming months.

Heading off a slew of supernatural dramas is “Medium,” which premiered on NBC Jan. 3. The show, staring Patricia Arquette, is based on the real life of psychic Allison DuBois, who can communicate with the dead and uses this ability to solve crimes. Although I have not seen any episodes of this supernatural “Sixth Sense” drama, it supposedly presents a nice mix of humor and scare to please all sorts of viewers. Probably the most interesting aspect of this show, in my opinion anyway, is that it is based on a real person. With its background in non-fiction, it promises to present a very interesting and even unbelievable look at the life of a real law student from Emmy Award-winning producer, creator and director Glenn Gordon Caron.

And now, what better place to bring the spawn of the Devil than Point Pleasant? Yes, our very own state now has a shore destined to be a pivotal spot in a future battle between good and evil. “Point Pleasant,” which debuted Jan. 19 on FOX, is the story of Christina Nickson (Elisabeth Harnois), the daughter of a mortal mother and the Devil. The show begins with her stranded and seemingly dead in the ocean when she is rescued by Jesse Parker (Sam Page) and ends up taking refuge in the small New Jersey town. However, her heightened emotions supposedly cause bad things to happen to people.

The show was created by John J. McLaughlin and Marti Noxon, who is also executive producer and served as executive producer on “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” and “Angel.” With Noxon’s background, the show should promise a mix of the supernatural as well as teenage and adult issues. Unfortunately, the premiere, which contained a good deal of the supernatural, possessed a few too many dating dramas to separate it from other TV shows. Its premise could make for interesting viewing, so I suppose this is one of those shows we will have to watch to see improve.

No new show takes irony to another level quite like “Numb3rs,” which premiered on CBS Jan. 23. The drama, with its backwards “E” in the title conveniently being a “3,” is about an FBI agent who solves crimes with the help of his math-whiz brother. The show stars Rob Morrow (“Northern Exposure”) as the agent and David Krumholtz as his mathematical genius of a brother. The show also brings Judd Hirsch of “Taxi” back to the small screen as the father of the agent and math genius. In the show’s first episode, Krumholtz’s character Charlie uses math to find a killer’s origin and, in turn, track him. I have not seen an episode of this show either, but all I have to say is it’s good to know that the geometry class I complained about so much in high school might actually come in handy if I ever decide to pursue a law career.

Also in the drama category is “Jonny Zero,” which premiered on FOX Jan. 14. The show stars Franky G. as Jonny, an ex-con trying to turn his life around by working to solve crimes. Meanwhile, Jonny is confronted with the forces that corrupted him in the first place. Again, I have not seen the show (man, what TV have I been watching?), but despite it airing on Friday nights, normally a curse for television shows appearing on this first night of the weekend, pilot ratings for its first episode are better than most of FOX’s Friday night viewing.

In addition to the midseason’s new dramas, is the newest comedy to hit the airwaves, “Committed,” which premiered Jan. 4 on NBC. The show stars Josh Cooke as Nate, a brilliant yet phobia-full record store worker who falls for Marni, played by Emmy Award winner Jennifer Finnigan, who has just moved into a New York City apartment. And of course, what comedy is complete without the dying clown (Tom Poston) living in Marni’s closet as part of inheriting the apartment. The comedy, which also stars Darius McCrary, Eddie from “Family Matters,” and Tammy Lynn Michaels of “Popular,” is from the creators of “Roseanne,” “Murphy Brown” and “Ellen,” so perhaps the clown will be explained.

I saw the first few minutes of this sitcom and it looked like it could be funny, although I’m slightly bothered by the idea of a clown substituting for the monster-in-the-closet myth. I think it is appropriate to share the comments from an article on the Web site about this quirky comedy: “Girl moves into New York City apartment, finds Tom Poston living in the closet. Girl lets Tom Poston stay in closet. NBC executive in charge of comedy is demoted to mailroom.” Kind of sums up the comedy genre in a nutshell, huh?

If this crop of new shows has you throwing the remote at the wall, here are a few of the returning fan favorites whose premieres were delayed until this midseason.

The first is the critically acclaimed “Alias,” which premiered Jan. 5. The show, which moved to its new timeslot on Wednesday nights after creator J.J. Abrams’ newest masterpiece “Lost,” continues the story of the stylish spy Sydney Bristow, played by Emmy Award winner Jennifer Garner. According to Abrams in an article in The Detroit News, the show will alter its formula for success in the new season with a premiere that those who have not been religious watchers of the program will understand. The new season will focus a great deal on the family dynamic of the superspy and promises to be a continuation of the usual thrill ride.

Also premiering is “24,” whose season began Jan. 9 on FOX. This season, Jack Bauer (Kiefer Sutherland) has a new job and love interest. The show, which looks at 24 hours in the life of an agent struggling to prevent acts of terrorism, begins again with a bang, and I’m not talking about a gun. “24” has a special formula that I for one have never heard of in a TV show – the entire season takes place in 24 hours. The fourth season begins as Jack investigates a train explosion that he believes is a precursor for things to come. With his new boss, Secretary of Defense James Heller (William Devane), and love, Heller’s married daughter Audrey Raines (Kim Raver), Jack must finish his investigation and save the day. And who said not much can be accomplished in 24 hours?

Of course, we can’t discuss television without at least a quick mention of reality programming, which has still taken over every channel. With the beginning of the new year comes the newest edition of “American Idol,” the search for the next pop star. The show, which premiered Jan. 18, began its auditions with the usual humiliation and bad singing. At this point, the show continues to prove the theory that people do not know what good singing is nor how to judge their own singing ability. “American Idol” has undergone a few changes, including raising the age limit to 28 and bringing in celebrity judges for the auditions. I watched the opening episodes and was thrilled to see the return of the hilariously funny contestants who think they’re the best singers on the planet despite brutally honest opinions from Simon Cowell, the continual “dawg” comments of Randy Jackson, the sweet praise of Paula Abdul and the running, yet often useless, commentary from host Ryan Seacrest.

Well, there you have it, a brief rundown of the newest shows and premieres of the midseason. So, as we jump headfirst into the spring semester, take time out of that busy schedule and try to enjoy a little of TV’s newest offerings.