Thank goodness, February TV isn’t as heavy as January!
Let’s bitch it out…
February is upon us, which means a new batch of returning and debuting television. Thankfully it’s not as jam packed as January, so we can breathe easy and enjoy ourselves a bit.
As usual, let’s begin with the Top Picks for the month: New, Returning and Wild Card (the show that could fall into either category, but could flame out just as easily). As a reminder, the list only contains scripted series. I’ll be watching shows marked with an asterix (*).
Top Pick: New
Legion S1* (Feb 8 – FX): Noah Hawley hasn’t let us down yet, so there’s plenty of reason to be excited about his take on the superhero genre. Featuring an all star cast (led by Dan Stevens and loaded with plenty of Fargo favourites), Legion allegedly has an incredibly distinct visual style and elliptical narrative structure that doesn’t make for easy viewing, but will be unlike anything else on TV.
- Runners up: Will the cannibal twist in Santa Clarita Diet (Feb 3) make or break Drew Barrymore’s new Netflix series? Can The Good Fight (Feb 19) shake off the bad ju-ju of its predecessor’s final season and survive the leap to CBS All Access? And will starpower propel HBO’s Big Little Lies (starring Reese, Nicole and Shailene) and ABC’s gay rights miniseries When We Rise to big ratings?
Top Pick: Returning
The Expanse S2* (Feb 1 – Syfy): The sole remaining hope for hard sci-fi on TV, this adaptation of James A.S. Corey’s bestselling space opera series treats its audience with respect. S1 featured three disparate but interlocking stories that all suggested intergalatic war was on the horizon, but the story only really gelled when the conspiracy threads came together in the final few episodes. Now that the core cast members are finally interacting, S2 should prove even more compelling, murky and complicated, which only makes for better TV.
- Runners up: The 100 S4* (Feb 1 – The CW) hopes to recover from its divisive (and poorly executed) third season focusing on nukes and climate change…no comment. Will S2 be the year that audiences discover underrated gems like TBS’ The Detour or AMC’s imported UK drama Humans?
Training Day S1 (Feb 2 – CBS) / 24: Legacy S1 (Feb 5 – Fox) / Taken S1 (Feb 27 – CBS) : Three different male-oriented series aiming to capitalize on pre-existing properties make their debut this month and the question is whether audiences are ready for them? Training Day is the TV adaptation of the Antoine Fuqua film that won Denzel his Oscar, but it has lacklustre reviews and a misguided lead performance by Paxton. 24 tries to build on the enthusiasm for FOX’s real-time crime thriller, but subtracts arguably its most valuable asset (no Jack Bauer). Ditto for Taken, which swaps Liam Neeson for Vikings‘ star Clive Standen. The question is whether any of the three will be embraced by fans of the originals…or will they manage to carve out an audience of their own?
- Runners up: Are audiences ready to welcome Katherine Heigl back into their hearts when Doubt debuts Feb 15? Bates Motel (Feb 20) heads into its final season with Rhianna as Marion Crane after a humdinger of a S4 finale.
Full List of New and Returning Series – February 2017
Wednesday, Feb 1:
- The 100 S4* (The CW – 9pm EST): The fourth season picks up right where we left off. Clarke has just learned the human race is doomed to face an unbeatable enemy. Alie was telling the truth. The remaining nuclear reactors on Earth are melting and will set the atmosphere on fire. Can our heroes find hope knowing the end is inevitable? Will they spend their remaining days trying to survive? Or will they use their limited time to finally live? The stakes have never been higher, alliances are breaking, and the world is about to collapse. Civility has no place at the end of the world and there’s no telling what lengths our heroes can and will go to in order to survive.
- The Expanse S2* (Syfy – 10pm EST): The story of The Expanse unfolds across a colonized galaxy 200 years in the future, when two strangers – a hardened detective, Joe Miller (Thomas Jane), and a rogue ship’s captain, James Holden (Steven Strait) – become unwittingly swept up in a vast conspiracy to cover up a horrific human experiment. As Season 2 kicks off with interplanetary tensions at an all-time high, the cold war between Earth and Mars is on the brink of an all-out battle.
- The Quad S1 (BET – 10pm EST): Anika Noni Rose stars as Eva, the newly elected President of the fictional college Georgia A&M. Upon her arrival, Eva finds a bold, brazen and diverse freshman class that promises to keep her hands full.
Thursday, Feb 2:
- Powerless S1 (NBC – 8:30pm EST): Emily Locke lands her dream job as Director of Research and Development for Wayne Security in Charm City, home to super heroes and villains and citizens fed up with the collateral damage of their constant fighting. Full of confidence and big ideas, Emily quickly learns that her aspirations far exceed those of her new boss and officemates, so it will be up to her to lead the team toward their full potential and the realization that you don’t need superpowers to be a hero.
- Superior Donuts S1 (CBS – 8:30pm EST): Superior Donuts is a comedy about the owner of a small donut shop that’s located in a quickly gentrifying Chicago neighborhood. Arthur is a gruff, to the point Chicagoan who refuses to sell newfangled cronuts and macchiatos or renovate his dated shop that hasn’t changed since it opened in 1969. Moves to Mondays at 9pm on Feb 6
- Training Day S1 (CBS – 10pm EST): A crime thriller that begins 15 years after the events of the feature film left, about an idealistic young police officer (Justin Cornwell) who is appointed to an elite squad of the LAPD where he is partnered with a seasoned, morally ambiguous detective (Bill Paxton).
Friday, Feb 3:
- Santa Clarita Diet S1* (Netflix – 3am EST): Married couple Sheila and Joel (Barrymore and Olyphant) are real estate agents in Santa Clarita, California. The couple’s lives take a dark turn after Sheila goes through a transformation; in a good way. All episodes stream today
Sunday, Feb 5:
- 24: Legacy S1* (FOX – Post-Superbowl): Six months ago in Yemen, an elite squad of U.S. Army Rangers, led by Sergeant Eric Carter (Corey Hawkins), killed terrorist leader Sheik Ibrahim Bin-Khalid. In the aftermath, Bin-Khalid’s followers declared a fatwah against Carter, his squad and their families, forcing them into federal witness protection. But a recent attempt on Carter’s own life makes it clear to him that his team is now exposed. To thwart further attacks, Carter enlists Rebecca Ingram (Miranda Otto), who quarterbacked the raid that killed Bin-Khalid. She’s a brilliant and ambitious intelligence officer who has stepped down from her post as National Director of CTU to support her husband, Senator John Donovan (Jimmy Smits), in his campaign for President of the United States. Decades of sleepless nights and missed anniversaries landed her at the top. With the White House within their grasp, can she truly embrace a new role as First Lady? Or will her love of the action draw her back in? Together, in this fast-paced thrill ride, Carter and Ingram uncover a sophisticated terrorist network that will force them to ask: “Who can we trust?” As they battle Bin-Khalid’s devotees, they are forced to confront their own identities, families and pasts. Premiere continues in its regular Monday 8pm EST timeslot
Monday, Feb 6:
- APB S1 (FOX – 9pm EST): After his best friend is murdered in a botched attempted robbery, and the killer remains at large, Gideon Reeves (Justin Kirk) demands justice. Putting up millions of dollars of his own money, he makes an unprecedented deal to take over the troubled 13th District – and reboot it as a private police force: better, faster and smarter than anything seen before. With cutting-edge technology created by Gideon himself, this eccentric yet brilliant outsider challenges the city’s police force to rethink everything about the way they fight crime. But the near-overnight transition to the city’s most advanced police district doesn’t sit well with all of its members. Gideon knows if he’s going to change anything, he needs an ally, whom he finds in Officer Theresa Murphy (Natalie Martinez), an ambitious, street-smart cop who is ready to embrace Gideon’s technological changes. With the help of Gideon’s gifted tech officer, ADA Hamilton (Caitlin Stasey), he and Murphy embark on a mission to turn the 13th District – including a skeptical SGT. Ned Conrad (Ernie Hudson), and determined Officers Nicholas Brant (Taylor Handley) and Tasha Goss (Tamberla Perry) – into a dedicated crime-fighting force of the 21st century.
Tuesday, Feb 7:
- Imposters S1 (Bravo – 10pm EST): Bravo’s new series follows Maddie (Inbar Lavi), a persona shifting con-artist who is as beautiful as she is dangerous, leaving her unwitting victims tormented when they realize they have been used and robbed of everything – including their hearts. But things get complicated when her former targets, Ezra (Rob Heaps), Richard (Parker Young) and Jules (Marianne Rendón) team up to track her down. While pursuing her newest mark, Maddie meets a potential love interest, Patrick (Stephen Bishop), which threatens to derail her assignment, much to the chagrin of her mysterious boss, The Doctor. Meanwhile, her dejected past lovers manage to take control of their new realities, not realizing that in their quest to confront her, they’ll have to face their own truths and find new versions of themselves along the way.
- The Detroiters S1 (Comedy – 10:30pm EST): Single camera, buddy comedy that centers on Sam (Richardson) and Tim (Robinson), two local ad men who make low budget commercials in Detroit. But the two best friends, much like the city in which they live, aspire to achieve great things.
Wednesday, Feb 8:
- Legion S1* (FX – 10pm EST): Legion follows David Haller (Dan Stevens), a troubled young man who may be more than human. Diagnosed as schizophrenic, David has been in and out of psychiatric hospitals for years. But after a strange encounter with a fellow patient, he’s confronted with the possibility that the voices he hears and visions might be real.
Friday, Feb 10:
- David Brent: Life on the Road (Netflix – 3am EST): The film catches up with David Brent (Ricky Gervais) twelve years on from the BBC mockumentary ‘The Office’ to find he is now a travelling salesman with Lavichem, a cleaning and ladies’ personal hygiene products company. However, he hasn’t given up on his dream of rock stardom and is about to embark on a self-financed UK tour with his band, ‘Foregone Conclusion’.
Sunday, Feb 12:
- The Missing S2 (STARZ – 8pm EST): When Alice Webster (Abigail Hardingham) walks back into the town she was abducted from 11 years previously, it is revealed that she holds vital clues about another missing girl. French detective, Julien Baptiste (Tchéky Karyo), becomes embroiled in the mystery when he races across Europe to pursue a 12 year-old case.
- Girls S6 (HBO – 10pm EST): Final season. ‘Nuff said.
Monday, Feb 13:
- Humans S2* (AMC – 10pm EST): The second season picks up several months after the events of Season 1, with Niska (Emily Berrington) still at large and in possession of the consciousness code. Her Synth family, Mia (Gemma Chan), Leo (Colin Morgan) and Max (Ivanno Jeremiah), unaware of her location, are each trying to find their place in the world, while Joe (Tom Goodman-Hill) and Laura (Katherine Parkinson) attempt to mend their marriage. As unconfirmed reports of Synths behaving inexplicably surface, the ripple effects of one simple yet seismic decision sees the past return dramatically and surprisingly to the door of the Hawkins house. Joe, Laura and the entire family are faced with a difficult choice that will put the family under an intense spotlight.
Wednesday, Feb 15:
- Doubt S1 (ABC – 10pm EST): Katherine Heigl’s latest post–Grey’s Anatomy outing, Doubt, in which she plays Sadie Ellis, a tough, maybe rebellious lawyer at a boutique law firm who starts falling for her client Billy Brandt (Steven Pasquale) who’s on trial for murder.
Sunday, Feb 19:
- The Good Fight S1* (CBS – 8pm EST): The Good Fight picks up one year after the events of the final broadcast episode of The Good Wife. In the new series, an enormous financial scam has destroyed the reputation of a young lawyer, Maia Rindell (Rose Leslie), while simultaneously wiping out her mentor and godmother Diane Lockhart (Christine Baranski)’s savings. Forced out of Lockhart & Lee, they join Lucca Quinn (Cush Jumbo) at one of Chicago’s pre-eminent law firms.
- Big Little Lies* (HBO – 9pm EST): Tells the tale of three mothers of first graders (Nicole Kidman, Reese Witherspoon and Shailene Woodley), whose apparently perfect lives unravel to the point of murder.
- Billions S2 (Showtime – 10pm EST): In Season 2 of Billions, Bobby ‘Axe’ Axelrod (Damian Lewis) uses his considerable resources to exact revenge on U.S. Attorney Chuck Rhoades (Paul Giamatti). Axe’s move sends Chuck reeling as he finds himself under investigation, forced to scramble to hang on to his office and his family.
- Crashing S1 (HBO – 10:30pm EST): Comedian Pete Holmes plays a New York-based stand-up comic who is forced to re-evaluate his life after he discovers that his wife has been cheating on him.
Monday, Feb 20:
- Bates Motel S5 (A&E – 10pm EST): Season five picks up almost two years later and finds Norman (Freddie Highmore), a grown man now, living a double life. Publicly he’s a happy and well-adjusted member of the White Pine Bay community, but at home Norman struggles; his violent blackouts continue to increase as ‘Mother’ (Vera Farmiga) threatens to take over his mind completely. Meanwhile, Dylan Massett (Max Thierot) and Emma Decody (Olivia Cooke), since leaving White Pine Bay, have been living their lives blissfully unaware of Norma’s death and Norman’s full on descent into psychosis. Unfortunately, for them, they will soon find themselves drawn back into Norman’s insanity, while a vengeful Alex Romero (Nestor Carbonell), who is currently incarcerated for a perjury, hungers for a chance to destroy his stepson and avenge the murder of his one true love, Norma Bates. Need a refresher?
Tuesday, Feb 21:
- The Detour S2 (TBS – 10pm EST): In Season 2 of The Detour, when Nate (Jason Jones) receives a promising job opportunity and the family moves to New York for a fresh start, everyone is excited but Robin (Natalie Zea), who knows that a move to the big city means her mysterious past may catch up with her. While Nate and Robin adjust to new jobs, new neighbors and old flames, Jared (Liam Carroll) and Delilah (Ashley Gerasimovich) dive headfirst into the awkwardness of adolescence
Wednesday, Feb 22:
- Major Crimes S6B (TNT – 9pm EST)
Thursday, Feb 24:
- The Blacklist: Redemption (NBC – 10pm EST): In this thrilling new spin-off of NBC’s breakout hit series, undercover operative Tom Keen (Ryan Eggold) joins forces with Susan “Scottie” Hargrave (Famke Janssen), the brilliant and cunning chief of Grey Matters, a covert mercenary organization that solves problems governments don’t dare touch.
- Sun Records (CMT – 10pm EST): Set in Memphis during the tumultuous early days of the civil rights movement, Sun Records tells the untold story of nothing less than the birth of rock ‘n’ roll. Guided by Sam Phillips, young musicians like Johnny Cash, Elvis Presley, Carl Perkins and Jerry Lee Lewis combined the styles of hillbilly country with the 1950s R&B sound created by artists like Muddy Waters, B.B. King, Fats Domino and Ike Turner, and changed the course of music forever. The series chronicles these young artists’ often jarring and sudden meteoric rise to fame in the face of sweeping political change and social unrest.
Friday, Feb 24:
- Patriot S1 (Amazon – 12am EST): This hourlong dramedy, written and directed by Steve Conrad (The Secret Life of Walter Mitty), centers on an intelligence officer (Michael Dorman) whose mission to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons necessitates going undercover at a Milwaukee pipe factory. (In his spare time, he’s also a mediocre folk singer/songwriter.) Lost‘s Terry O’Quinn plays his father and boss.
Monday, Feb 27
- Taken S1 (NBC – 10pm EST): A young Bryan Mills (Vikings‘ Clive Standen) must fight to overcome personal tragedy and exact revenge on those responsible. Jennifer Beals plays his CIA boss, while Gaius Charles (Friday Night Lights) co-stars as one of his fellow operatives
- When We Rise (ABC – 9pm EST): Eight-hour miniseries about the history of America’s gay rights movement from Oscar-winning Milk screenwriter Dustin Lance Black stars Guy Pearce, Mary Louise-Parker, Michael K. Williams, Rachel Griffiths, and Ivory Aquino, with guest appearances from David Hyde Pierce, Whoopi Goldberg, Rosie O’Donnell, and Denis O’Hare. Airs Monday-Wednesday + Friday.
Annnnnd that’s it for February. Come back next month for the debut/ return of big time heavy hitters, including Ryan Murphy’s Feud, S5 of The Americans, S3 of American Crime, S1 of Marvel’s Iron Fist and FOX’s limited event series Shots Fired.
Descriptions provided by Metacritic.com & YouTube