Sure, Sunday tends to be overcrowded with high-end TV like “Downton Abbey,” the returning “Girls,” “House of Lies” and “Shameless” and the premiering “True Detective,” but what to watch the rest of the time? Every Monday, we bring you five noteworthy highlights from the other six days of the week.
“Being Mary Jane”: Series Premiere
Tuesday, January 7th at 10pm on BET
Gabrielle Union plays the title character in BET’s first hour-long drama “Being Mary Jane” — a cable news anchor with a complicated personal life and a family who aren’t always supportive of her ambitions. The series is created by Mara Brock Akil (“Girlfriends,” “The Game”), who’s executive producing alongside her husband Salim Akil (“Jumping the Broom,” “Sparkle”), who directed the pilot which aired as a stand-alone movie on the network in July of last year.
“Justified”: Season Premiere
Tuesday, January 7th at 10pm on FX
Graham Yost’s Kentucky noir returns to FX for a fifth season this week, with Timothy Olyphant back in the hat and the role of Deputy U.S. Marshal Raylan Givens, a character created by the late Elmore Leonard. The gator-farming Crowe family looks to be this season’s big bad, with Michael Rapaport joining the cast as Dale Crowe, Jr.
IFC and studio Funny or Die have assembled a bevy of stars for this miniseries spoof of… miniseries. Based on the novel by fictional author Eric Jonrosh (played in introductions to each episode by executive producer Will Ferrell), “The Spoils of Babylon” is a deadpan parody of ’70s and ’80s event television like “The Thorn Birds” and “Shogun.” Tobey Maguire and Kristen Wiig play doomed lovers, and are joined by Jessica Alba, Val Kilmer, Tim Robbins and many others in a project written and directed by Matt Piedmont and Andrew Steele, the team behind “Casa de mi Padre.”
Cinemax’s pulpy action series about an ex-con who passes himself off as the sheriff of a small town returns for a second season that shows no signs of slowing down. Antony Starr, Ivana Milicevic, Trieste Kelly Dunn and Ulrich Thomsen are among the stars — check out our interview with showrunner Greg Yaitanes here.
In what’s looking like Syfy’s most promising original series in ages, “Helix” presents a premise vaguely reminiscent of “The Thing” — a team of Centers for Disease Control scientists head to a biotech facility in the Arctic to investigate a possible disease outbreak that has more to it than first meets the eye. Billy Campbell and Hiroyuki Sanada co-star in a drama that’s executive produced by Ronald D. Moore, the creative force behind what’s still Syfy’s signature series, “Battlestar Galactica.”
Also worth a look: Courteney Cox comedy “Cougar Town” continues its successful second life on TBS by kicking off its fifth season on Tuesday, January 7th at 10pm; the white witch herself, Stevie Nicks, guest stars on this week’s “American Horror Story: Coven” on FX on Wednesday, January 8th at 10pm; Fox’s not-half-bad military sitcom “Enlisted” premieres on Friday, January 10th at 9:30pm; “Milius,” Joey Figueroa and Zak Knutson’s doc about outsized Hollywood figure John Milius, airs on Epix on Saturday, January 11th at 8pm.