Usually I avoid mid-season television because it sucks copious amounts of ass. Customarily, it's the time of the year where shows that are too terrible for the New Fall Season are dumped. But that hasn't been true for years now. Plenty of good shows end up in the mid-season, as networks are finding out they can flourish when the competition is low...
Extant (Wednesdays 10pm on CBS)
Halle Berry plays an astronaut who arrives back on earth pregnant after 13 months in space. Alone. On a solo mission. As if that weren't enough intrigue... she is married to a robot scientist who has created them a robot son that's starting to act strangely. Not enough freaky for you? Halle's dead first husband keeps showing up. The show is well-written and acted, but the reason I am compelled to watch is that I'm dying to know how all this crazy shit is going to fit together. Is it going to be brilliant? Or is it going to be a steaming pile of crap like Lost?
Satisfaction (Thursdays 10pm on USA)
I don't even know why I tuned into this show because it's absolutely not the type of thing I'm interested in. But the previews looked unique, so I decided to give it a shot. Wow. What happens when a man with the perfect life finds out his wife is hiring a guy for sex? Surprisingly, the answer to his problems and the solution to his dissatisfaction with how things have turned out in his idyllic life. Satisfaction caught me completely by surprise, and I have high hopes they'll be able to push the premise in interesting directions.
The Strain (Sundays 10pm on FX)
Leave it to Guliermo Del Toro to create a modern vampire epic so good that it's hard to believe that it's on television. Blending just the right amount of horror and suspense with thrills and breakneck pacing, The Strain is an entertaining show that relies on using predictable elements in unpredictable ways. The result is well worth your valuable time, though it's hard to tell how long they're going to keep the premise feeling fresh.
Outlander (Saturdays 9pm on Starz)
Thanks to the unprecedented success of Game of Thrones on HBO, it only seems to reason that other premium-priced networks would be investigating fantasy dramas of their own. And Starz has landed on a series based on the very popular Outlander books by Diana Gabaldon. It's 1945 and a World War II nurse named Claire Randall has been transported back to Scotland in the year 1743. Though already married in 1945, she ends up forced to marry Jamie Fraser... a Scottish warrior fighting a war and traversing a dangerous world. Though the romance angle isn't really my thing, I have to admit the series in really well done. Here's hoping show-runner Ronald D. Moore doesn't fuck it up like he did Star Trek and Battlestar Galactica.
And that's it so far. I'm still trying to decide on shows like Welcome to Sweden, Finding Carter, The Divide, and a few others.
Life is way too short to spend on bad television.