30 Rock, most anticipated shows returning this winter.

30 Rock, most anticipated shows returning this winter.

TV Networks are a funny business. Each network creates shows for us to watch in the fall. And to make room for these shows, they postpone other successful shows for months at a time. And then, when no one watches those new shows, they immediately cancel them. After spending a few million dollars getting them off the ground, they give them one or two tries to catch our interest, and then gut them like a fish.

So now that January is fast approaching, that means a fresh slate of recycled shows that may or may not be cancelled in a matter of weeks or even days. Here are five returning shows that I will be watching, mostly because they are high quality, but also because I refuse to go outside and actually interact with people between the months of January and April.

30 Rock

This show is one of my personal favorites, as you’ll really find nothing funnier than the writing of Tina Fey, the pomposity of Alec Baldwin playing his best role ever, and Tracy Morgan’s character that couldn’t be any closer to how I imagine him in real life. This show is consistently funny.


Timothy Olyphant has always been searching for a character that he can call his own. He’s only been in about 44 movies during his career, and can you name any of them? Yeah, me either. But in Justified, Olyphant plays Raylan Givens, a U.S. Marshal that delivers his own brand of justice with some super scary criminals in the backwoods of Kentucky. I would totally hang out with Raylan Givens as long as he’s not pointing his gun at me.

American Idol

For some reason I STILL love this show. There’s just something about discovering talented people that you’ve never heard of before, and seeing an unknown person suddenly emerge with a voice of an angel. And there’s Steven Tyler who makes some of the best commentary ever. This is one show I actually make a point of watching each week. Even when it’s on three times a week.

The Voice

Yes, this is another singing show. I’ve identified my weakness. But I watch this show not so much for the singers that are trying out, but for the witty and catty repartee between the judges Adam Levin, Cee Loo Green, Blake Shelton and Christina Aguilera. I could care less about any of these people in real life, especially the increasingly bloated Aguilera, but you get them all on a stage together and it’s kind of like watching friends that love and hate each other at the same time. I really can’t get enough of it. It’s just like high school.

Mad Men

Not only is this one of the best shows on television, but it’s also been off the air for freaking ever. I feel like I know all of the people at Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce, and I’m dying to know just what is going to happen next. Don Draper was doing some stuff at the end of the last season that was just crazy, and I kind of miss the ice queen wife/mother of January Jones. Given the contract dispute between AMC and the creator of the show, Matthew Weiner, there was some doubt as to whether there would even be a fifth season, but it’s officially scheduled for March of 2012 and it can’t come soon enough.

No matter the show, I need my winter replacement shows. What else am I supposed to do? Go out in this cold weather? Let’s not be ridiculous.

Sarah is a regular TV and movie writer at Celebutaunt and can be found on Twitter at @sarahquesera.