It's winter, and it's cold. The holidays have come and gone, leaving us with months of frosty bleakness before sunshine can be expected to return. Until then, many Americans will turn to the warm glow of a television to pass the time watching their favorite shows. This year, however, one big thing is standing in their way: the Writers' Strike.
While the writers continue to fight the good fight, TV networks have scrambled to produce new shows to fill the time slots once occupied by McDreamy and the women of “Desperate Housewives.”
But how do you recognize the shows worth watching from the ones that would have been better left as dead air? Here's a handy guide to help you navigate the scary new world of television without writers.
Premieres Jan. 31 at 10 p.m. on ABC
Watch it if you liked: “Joan of Arcadia”
Vivid hallucinations have successful San Francisco attorney Eli Stone convinced that he needs to become a better person. Trouble is, Eli can't tell if his visions are heaven-sent or symptoms of a brain aneurysm like the one that killed his father. Eli's hallucinations cause him to abandon his cutthroat approach to law and start up his own firm to represent the common man instead of evil corporations. But will Eli's newfound moral code bring him true happiness or destroy the life he's worked so hard to achieve?
Premieres Feb. 7 at 10 p.m. on NBC
Watch it if you like: “Sex and the City,” “Desperate Housewives”
Like “Sex and the City,” “Lipstick Jungle” is based on a novel by bestselling author Candace Bushnell. The show follows the lives of three successful women in Manhattan (a magazine editor, a fashion designer and a movie mogul) as they try to balance their demanding careers with dating a billionaire, pursuing a much younger man and dealing with the other dramatic twists and turns in life.
“The Baby Borrowers”
Premieres Feb. 18 at 8 p.m. on NBC
Watch it if you like: “Super Nanny,” “The Simple Life”
Based on a hit British reality show, five teenage couples will fast-track to adulthood for three weeks. Each couple will have to deal with keeping up a house, getting jobs and acting as parents (first they'll take care of babies, then preteens, teenagers, and finally senior citizens). The dramatic and emotional experience will cause the couples to re-evaluate their readiness for marriage and children. While “The Baby Borrowers” probably won't be winning any awards for quality television, watching the teen couples struggle with the realities of adulthood might just be an eye-opening—and entertaining—experience for viewers.
Premieres Feb. 22 at 9 p.m. on Fox
Watch it if you like: “Heroes,” “Law & Order: SVU”
Back in 1642, a Dutch soldier named John Amsterdam saved the life of a Native American girl during a massacre of her tribe. In return, the girl gave John a gift of immortality—he would not age until he found his one true love and became “whole.” Three centuries later, John has gone through countless adventures and friends, but he's never found his soul mate. Now working as a homicide detective, John must work to find killers on the streets of New York while still searching for his true love.
“The Return of Jezebel James”
Premieres March 7 at 8:30 p.m. on Fox
Watch it if you like: “Gilmore Girls”
Sarah Tompkins is a book editor who is unable to have a baby. Desperate, she turns to her younger sister for help, though they haven't spoken in years. Created by Amy Sherman-Palladino, the woman responsible for the fast-paced wit of “Gilmore Girls,” “The Return of Jezebel James” promises similarly hilarious and relatable dialogue and situations.