For years the word “mid-season” has been seen by TV fans as a scarlet letter, often signaling an inferior show. Yet times have changed and now shows held for “mid-season” are more often held back to gain a competitive advantage rather than just to burn off a mistake.
This year, the major networks have one of a more solid mid-season slate of rookies than they’ve had in a while. They even include one or two series that fans have been clamoring for since they were first announced.
Which ones are worth your valuable time? Here are our picks for 10 Mid-Season Series Premieres You Need To Watch In 2016.
10 Vinyl (HBO)
Premieres: February 14, 2016
The last time HBO teamed up Martin Scorsese and Terence Winter, they brought us Boardwalk Empire, so you can imagine why people are psyched for Vinyl.
Set in 1970s New York, this new drama is a journey through the music business as punk, disco and hip-hop met sex, drugs and rock and roll. Emmy winner Bobby Cannavale leads an ensemble cast as Richie Finestra, a record label head fighting for his company and his own morality.
The series is also set to feature Olivia Wilde (House), Ray Romano (Everybody Loves Raymond), Max Casella (The Sopranos), Juno Temple (Maleficent), Paul Ben-Victor (In Plain Sight) and James Jagger. If that last name sounds familiar, it should: James Jagger is the son of Rolling Stones legend Mick, who, not-so-coincidentally, is also an executive producer on the series.
HBO has a history of uniting strong talent with interesting stories but now add a music element to to the mix and Vinyl could easily become one of 2016’s most anticipated projects.
9 The Catch (ABC)
Premieres: March 24, 2016
Every network has that one showrunner that makes their lives a little easier. For ABC, it’s Shonda Rhimes. The Grey’s Anatomy/Scandal/How To Get Away With Murder overseer is set to add a new chapter to her every growing resume with The Catch.
Starring The Killing’s Mireille Enos, the series follows a fraud investigator who is taken for everything by a man she thought was the love of her life. Scorned and out for payback, she embarks on a dangerous game of cat and mouse as each half of the pair tries to one-up the other.
While we can all agree The Killing essentially killed itself following its first season fake-out finale, Enos and co-star Joel Kinnaman were consistently the best thing about it from start to finish. The pair were electric and we wouldn’t be shocked to see Enos light up the screen again with the talented Peter Krause (Six Feet Under, Parenthood) as her new foil.
8 Shades of Blue (NBC)
Premieres: January 7, 2016
For the last few years, NBC has been strong at luring big name actors to the small screen, and now they’ve reeled in Jennifer Lopez. The multi-talented performer will front a big-name cast in police drama Shades of Blue.
Lopez stars alongside Ray Liotta and Drea de Matteo as a member of a elite but equally corrupt unit of the NYPD. After a sting catches her in a comprising position, she’s forced to walk a dangerous line with serious and potentially deadly repercussions on each side.
While having a big name as your lead in no way guarantees a hit (i.e Katherine Heigl’s now cancelled State of Affairs), it certainly helps attract attention. So far, Blue’s buzz is strong, and while we’ve seen this type of scenario before, we are willing to see in what direction Lopez and her team take it; at least during their first few episodes.
7 Lucifer (Fox)
Premieres: January 25, 2016
Earlier this month, we looked at times that bad shows happened to good actors. While USA’s Rush wasn’t on that list, it easily could have been, as lead Tom Ellis is very charismatic and he could only do so much with the material he was given. Now Ellis is back with Lucifer and it suits his personality much better.
Ellis stars as Lucifer (a.k.a. Satan, or the Devil), who denounces his role as king of the underworld to come to Earth and have fun living in sin and causing havoc along the way. When not partying and boozing his way through the night, he also lends his unique tracking skills to the police to help them put away unsavory characters who probably belong in his former home.
Co-starring Chicago Fire’s Lauren German, Fox has the potential to hit the same type of unexpected success they did with Rosewood this fall. This is a show that doesn’t look like it will take itself too seriously and audiences will likely respect that, given the glut of “think TV” nowadays.
Paired with the return of X-Files on Mondays, this one will get a chance to succeed.
6 Billions (Showtime)
Premieres: January 17, 2016
Forget for a second that the premise sounds great and the trailer is slick, but Showtime’s latest drama has assembled a stellar cast. Headlined by Oscar nominee Paul Giamatti (Sideways) and Emmy winner Damien Lewis (Homeland), Billions co-stars Malin Ackerman (Trophy Wife), Maggie Siff (Sons of Anarchy) and David Costabile (Suits).
Set in the world of high powered finance, the series is a cat and mouse game between a shrewd U.S. Attorney (Giamatti) and a brilliant, but potential morally questionable hedge fund king (Lewis). It’s a battle of one-upmanship starring two actors that are capable of dominating every scene they are in.
Billions is already picking up buzz and it’s not hard to see why as its likeable cast and enjoyable premiere seems like it could make for a smart series.
5 The Real O’Neals (ABC)
Premieres: March 2, 2016
ABC’s “TGIF” was a '90s hallmark, and while that family-friendly Friday night comedy block is no longer around, its legacy still lives on. A few years ago the network returned to the same type of programming but without the laugh-track. So far it’s worked out extremely well, with series like Modern Family, The Middle and Black-ish prospering on the schedule.
Next year, ABC’s moving a even more dysfunctional family into the neighborhood with The Real O’Neals. The series stars Raising Hope’s Martha Plimpton as the over-bearing matriarch of a Irish-Catholic family that is thrown into chaos when their youngest son announces he’s gay.
But instead focusing just on that aspect, the show uses it as a catalyst for the rest of his family to come out with their own secrets. Now everyone’s in the same boat of embracing who they really are and in a very humorous way.
4 Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders (CBS)
CBS continually catches grief for its “procedural” strategy to programming. It catches even more grief when it spins off one of its “procedural” hits. Here’s the thing though: it works.
The first time the network spun-off Criminal Minds, the short-lived Suspect Behavior, it flopped, but this time around the odds are stronger. One reason is that this spinoff has an easy-to-understand pitch: it's basically Criminal Minds: International.
With a new team led by Gary Sinise (CSI: NY), Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders revolves around crimes against Americans on foreign soil. CBS introduced the cast earlier this year with a backdoor pilot in a episode of the original Criminal Minds, but since then, co-lead Anna Gunn has dropped out and Forever’s Alana de la Garza has stepped into join Daniel Henney (Three Rivers) and Tyler James Williams (The Walking Dead).
Borders won’t be anything ground-breaking, but if you like the original Minds series, you’ll probably be just as enthralled with this one.
3 Second Chance (Fox)
Premieres: January 13, 2016
If you haven’t heard of Second Chance, that’s OK, because it’s had two other names since first being announced in May. First there was The Frankenstein Code and then the even more nebulous Looking Glass.
The basic idea was a modern-day take on Frankenstein, but watch the trailer and you'll see that it goes a little deeper than that. The series follows two scientists who find a way to bring back the dead but in a new body with the same memories and personality.
White Collar star Tim DeKay is the most recognizable lead, and plays the son of a slain corrupt sheriff brought back by the pair. Together they work to unravel the truth behind his father’s death and the possibilities of this “second chance” project.
Fox is giving Second Chance an American Idol lead-in, so clearly people will be aware of the series, the question will become if audiences will stick along for the ride. It’s a clever take on an old premise and it feels like if any network can make it work, it would be Fox.
2 Game of Silence (NBC)
While NBC hasn’t set a air date for this one yet, but we know it's coming soon. We also know the series is perfectly aligned with the type of drama the network specializes in.
Game of Silence stars Revolution’s David Lyons as a successful Atlanta attorney whose life is changed when his estranged childhood friends return after a 25 year absence. Returning with them is a decades long secret shared between the group that will test their loyalty and desire for revenge.
Silence is overseen by CSI producer Carol Mendelsohn, who knows a thing or two about this genre. Her cast also includes Once Upon A Time’s Michael Raymond-James and Rush’s Larenz Tate. Along with Shades of Blue, this figures to be one of NBC’s bigger winter premieres, and hopefully debuts stronger than last year’s DOA Allegiance.
1 DC’s Legends of Tomorrow (The CW)
Premieres: January 21, 2016
Of all the new shows debuting in 2016, we think it is safe to say this one is going to be the most popular among this site’s readers… and rightfully so.
For as skillfully constructed as the Marvel Cinematic Universe is, DC and The CW have been doing a lot of underrated work with their Arrow universe, which now includes The Flash and, soon, Legends of Tomorrow. Instead of spinning off a single new hero, The CW and go-to producer Greg Berlanti have assembled a team of them.
With characters from both Flash and Arrow in the mix, Legends opens with a built-in audience. It was a brilliant move by all involved as actors like Victor Garber, Brandon Routh and Caity Lotz have been welcomed by viewers. Utilizing them to start a new series will pay off as their popular on-screen alter egos will help new additions like Arthur Darvill’s Rip Hunter and Ciara Renée’s Hawkgirl get the same warm reception.
Which one of these are you most looking forward to? Did we miss any shows your psyched about? Hit the comments and let us know.