Whether you spent the final, frigid days of 2017 bingeing Netflix’s Black Mirror and The Crown, blissing out with the Hallmark Channel, or in front of a roaring fire playing board games with your family, you may have noticed by now that TV’s holiday season is officially over.
Not only has much of your regularly scheduled programming returned, but January, that month of new beginnings, brings us the series or season premieres of more than two dozen scripted shows.
Unless your New Year’s resolutions included never leaving the couch, you’re going to need to pace yourself. Here are 10 shows to get you started:
The Chi (10 p.m. Sundays, Showtime). Lena Waithe, who last fall became the first African American woman to win an Emmy for comedy writing for Master of None, goes back to her Chicago hometown in a new drama that wrapped its way around my heart and periodically just squeezed. Jason Mitchell stars as Brandon, an aspiring chef whose complicated family life, and events beyond his control, threaten to derail his dreams. But then everyone has dreams in The Chi, from the young single father Emmet (Jacob Latimore) whose mother, Jada (Yolonda Ross), is determined he learn to be a parent, to the police detective (Armando Riesco) who’s trying to do right by people who have no reason to trust him. There are hints of the influence of The Wire beyond the casting of Sonja Sohn in a recurring role as Brandon’s mother, but The Chi, premiering this weekend, is a bit less about systemic problems while still putting faces to its city’s grim statistics.
The X-Files (8 p.m. Wednesdays, Fox). It’s back (again), and, yes, Wednesday’s premiere — can this really be Season 11? — was pretty awful, a heavy-handed extension of the show’s mythology that’s not nearly as watchable as subsequent episodes. Just as it did in the 2016 reboot, the show gets better, and even reminds me why I loved it so long ago. Philadelphia’s Kevin Hooks directs his first X-Files episode, Jan. 17’s “Plus One,” if you’re looking for a reason to try again. Though if this season is, as Gillian Anderson insists, her absolutely last outing as Dana Scully, that alone makes it worth a look.
9-1-1 (9 p.m. Wednesdays, Fox). I’ve seen only this week’s premiere, but this show about first responders certainly got my attention, not just with the caliber of its cast, which includes Angela Bassett, Connie Britton, Peter Krause, Aisha Hinds, and Rockmond Dunbar, but with at least one story line I’d never have thought possible. (I won’t spoil it for you, but if you’ve seen it, I think you know what I’m talking about.) Creators Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk (American Horror Story, American Crime Story) may not be known for procedurals like this one, but they do know how to bring the drama. Adrenaline junkies, take note.
Grown-ish (8 p.m. Wednesdays, Freeform) Yara Shahidi, who plays Zoey Johnson on ABC’s Black-ish, deferred her freshman year at Harvard so Zoey could head to college first in this spin-off that premiered on Wednesday on the network’s cable sibling, Freeform. If the concept reminds you of the Cosby Show offspring A Different World, well, the students on that show would be sending their own kids off to college by now. And the experience may have changed a bit. Don’t watch Black-ish? This one can stand on its own.
Philip K. Dick’s Electric Dreams (Jan. 12, Amazon). Fans of Black Mirror should enjoy this 10-episode anthology series, based on the short stories of the late science-fiction writer Philip K. Dick, whose work also inspired Amazon’s The Man in the High Castle. Fans of two-day shipping may find the second episode, “Autofac,” particularly interesting. It’s about a massive factory that continues to produce — and deliver by drone — consumer goods long after most of the world’s consumers have been wiped out.
Victoria on Masterpiece (9 p.m. Jan. 14, WHYY12). Just as the second season of the Queen Elizabeth II drama The Crown has been a tad Philip-centric, the return of Jenna Coleman as the young Victoria brings us even more of Albert (Tom Hughes), a wonky princeling whose admiration for mathematician and computing pioneer Ada Lovelace (Emerald Fennell) is portrayed as a sore point with his sometimes peevish queen. I still think Victoria is trying a little too hard to woo the Downton Abbey audience with its Upstairs, Downstairs-style storytelling, and even a tiny bit of fact-checking will show the liberties creator Daisy Goodwin takes with some historical characters. But Coleman remains irresistible.
Black Lightning (9 p.m. Jan. 16, CW). I thought I might be superheroed out, but this DC Comics adaptation by Mara Brock Akil (Girlfriends, Being Mary Jane) and Salim Akil woke up my inner geek from the very first episode. Cress Williams (Code Black, Hart of Dixie) stars as high school principal Jefferson Pierce, who’d hung up his electrifying suit to practice a different kind of heroism only to find that his very special skills might be needed more than ever.
The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story (10 p.m. Jan. 17, FX). The second installment of the American Crime Story anthology begins with the 1997 killing of fashion designer Gianni Versace (Edgar Ramirez) at the gates of his Miami Beach mansion before taking us back through the ever more horrifying stories of spree killer Andrew Cunanan (Darren Criss, Glee) and his other, lesser-known victims. If your TV is usually set to Investigation Discovery, this one’s for you. Based on Maureen Orth’s book Vulgar Favors, it’s well-acted and stylishly filmed. Nevertheless, it’s more typical true-crime storytelling than The People vs. O.J. Simpson, which proved to be one of the most important shows of 2016 by showing us how a divisive verdict came to be. Versace, too, wants to be about more than Cunanan’s crimes, suggesting, for instance, that homophobia might have slowed the search for the killer, leading to the designer’s death, and that an overindulgent childhood helped make Cunanan a monster. It could just as easily be seen, though, as the story of five people who simply had the misfortune to cross paths with a psychopath.
The Resident (10 p.m. Jan. 21, moving to 9 p.m. Mondays on Jan. 22). This is the doctor show for people who are always looking for excuses to avoid doctors: It focuses in part on medical errors. Matt Czuchry (The Good Wife), Emily VanCamp (Revenge), Manish Dayal (Halt and Catch Fire), and Bruce Greenwood (The People vs. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story) star in a medical drama that makes House look downright sunny.
The Alienist (9 p.m. Jan. 22, TNT). Caleb Carr’s best seller about murder and abnormal psychology in the Gilded Age becomes a TV thriller starring Daniel Bruhl, Luke Evans, and Dakota Fanning (with Brian Geraghty as New York police commissioner Theodore Roosevelt).
Also noteworthy: New episodes of Netflix’s Grace and Frankie (Jan. 19) and One Day at a Time (Jan. 26). And that’s just January. For a fuller view of midseason TV, look for our spring preview, available Feb. 9 in the Daily News and Feb. 11 in the Inquirer.