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70 must-see shows to get you through the rest of winter

Creator and writer Awkwafina stars in Comedy Central's

Creator and writer Awkwafina stars in Comedy Central's "Awkwafina is Nora from Queens" inspired by her real-life growing up in Queens. Credit: Comedy Central/Danielle Levitt

Picard is back. “Shameless” wraps. “Curb Your Enthusiasm” will turn 10. Anything else happening this winter on TV? Just a few things, in fact. Here’s your annual winter preview, which barely scratches the surface. 2020 will be another record year for television, another exciting one too.

NOW ON

DOCTOR WHO (BBC America, Sundays, 8 p.m.)
The entire planet must be saved — I believe that’d be Earth, but don’t hold me to it. Jody Whittaker is back as Who and — don’t hold me to it — I believe she will.

MESSIAH (Netflix)
This Mark Burnett/Roma Downey ten-parter about a possible (or not) Messiah, played by Mehdi Dehbi, and investigated by a CIA officer (Michelle Monaghan) already has blowback in Jordan because he may also be “Mahdi,” who is supposed to rid the world of evil, per Islamic tradition.

DEPUTY (Fox/5, Wednesdays, 9 p.m.)
Modern-day western set in modern-day Los Angeles, about a modern-day lawman — Stephen Dorff, who was pretty good as one in the third season of “True Detective” — with a Wild West style.

SURVIVING R. KELLY II: THE RECKONING (Lifetime, Jan. 3 and 4, 9 p.m.)
Lifetime returns with the sequel to “Surviving,” this time with an on-camera interview with Dominique Gardner, his former live-in who talks about her life-in-hell with him.

ILANA GLAZER: THE PLANET IS BURNING (Amazon Prime)
St. James native Glazer gets her first Prime standup and while the former “Broad City” star is funny and energetic, this special may not be advisable for anyone with delicate sensibilities.

JAN.4

DRACULA (Netflix)
Yeah, Drac. Him again. But this time, he’s played by Claes Bang, the Danish actor so memorable in the last season of “The Affair.” Even better: written by star Brit scribes, Mark Gatiss and Steven Moffat of “Sherlock.”

JAN. 5

77TH ANNUAL GOLDEN GLOBES (NBC/4, 8 p.m.)
Hugely important, of course, for the Oscars, but what can you say about its importance in the TV category? Maybe the less said the better. Ricky Gervais hosts.

JAN. 6

MANIFEST (NBC/4, 10 p.m.)
This decent thriller about the disappearance/then reappearance of flight 828 looked like it might pull a disappearing act, too. After a long wait, “Manifest” needs to get viewers back, and fast.

AMERICA’S GOT TALENT: THE CHAMPIONS (WNBC/4, 10 p.m.)
The second season returns, with acts from around the world and from our own backyard, too: Garden City South’s Luke Islam is one of the 40 competitors.

THE BACHELOR (ABC/7, 8 p.m.)
And your guy for the 24th season is: Peter Weber, the Delta pilot from Westlake Village, who finished 3rd in the 15th season of “The Bachelorette” and is still looking for true love.

AMERICAN EXPERIENCE: MCCARTHY (WNET/13, 9 p.m.)
This “AmEx” focus on the years 1950-54, when Joseph McCarthy, the junior senator from Wisconsin, conducted his hunt for alleged Communists in the U.S. government.

JAN. 7

FBI: MOST WANTED (CBS/2, 10 p.m.)
This latest from the Dick Wolf spinoff factory line was introduced last April on “FBI,” and follows those agents who — well, see title. With Julian McMahon, best remembered from “Nip/Tuck.”

SCHITT’S CREEK (Pop, 9 p.m.)
Last chance to see what the recent fuss is about — those Emmy nods — or at least why star Catherine O’Hara is one of the greats. The 6th and final is 14 episodes.

JEOPARDY: THE GREATEST OF ALL TIME (ABC/7, 8 p.m.)
“Jeopardy” goes in search of the GOAT, but doesn’t have to look far. James Holzhauer, Ken Jennings and Brad Rutter will compete each night, and the first to three match victories wins.

FINDING YOUR ROOTS WITH HENRY LOUIS GATES, JR. (WNET/13, 8 p.m.)
Skip Gates is back to help Sterling K. Brown, Nancy Pelosi, Amy Ryan, Eric Stonestreet, Bill Hader, Gayle King and a couple dozen others find their roots.

ZOEY’S EXTRAORDINARY PLAYLIST (NBC/4, 10 p.m.)
Jane Levy (“Suburgatory”) is Zoey, a San Francisco-based coder who suddenly can read people’s thoughts — as expressed through song. Yup, we’ve got an oddball here, and an intriguing one. This is a preview episode; the official premiere is Feb. 16.

JAN. 8

PARTY OF FIVE (Freeform, 9 p.m.)
This update of the 1990s Fox series follows the Acosta siblings after mom and dad are deported back to Mexico. With original showrunners Amy Lippman and Christopher Keyser back in the driver’s seat.

CRIMINAL MINDS (CBS/2, 9 p.m.)
Final and 15th season begins,with a two-hour launch. Expected the expected — deaths, and grisly ones.

AMERICA’S TOP DOG (A&E, 9 p.m.)
Curt Menefee — you know him best from “Fox NFL Sunday”— hosts this newcomer about “K-9” dogs in competition with average, civilian ones.

JAN. 9

RECLAIMED (Discovery, 9 p.m.)
Another one of TDC’s “off-the-grid Thursday” series, in which the hosts (Alex Charvat and Kevin Gilman) go in search of treasure, hidden in plain sight.

JAN. 10

LINCOLN RHYME: HUNT FOR THE BONE COLLECTOR (WNBC/4, 8 p.m.)
This TV adaptation of the 1997 Jeffery Deaver novel is about the quadriplegic former NYPD detective Lincoln Rhyme— the always-excellent Russell Hornsby (“Grimm”) -- who returns to chase the serial killer who put him in the wheelchair.

MEDICAL POLICE (Netflix)
Erinn Hayes (the killed-off mom who killed off “Kevin Can Wait”) is back in this satire/comedy about an outbreak of a virus that is tonally a carbon copy of Adult Swim’s (and Hayes’) “Children’s Hospital.”

AJ AND THE QUEEN (Netflix)
“Sex and the City” co-creator Michael Patrick King and “Drag Race’s” RuPaul have produced this sticom about a drag queen, Ruby Red (RuPaul) who wants to open a drag club.

JAN.12

THE OUTSIDER (HBO, 9 p.m.)
Ten-part adaptation of Stephen King’s 2018 novel — written by King and Richard Price — about the murder of a boy, and the chief suspect (Jason Bateman). One of the major HBO launches of the year.

SANDITON (WNET/13, 9 p.m.)
Upon her death in 1817, Jane Austen had written a fragment of a new novel which Austen fans have sought to complete ever since. This first major TV attempt comes from a legendary British TV writer, Andrew Davies.

JAN. 13

THE NEW POPE (HBO, 9 p.m.)
This sequel to 2017’s “The Young Pope” brings back Jude Law but John Malkovich will be playing the new pope -- Sir John Brannox, a British artistocrat. Also stars Sharon Stone and Marilyn Manson, so we can assume the Vatican has not endorsed.

JAN. 14

LESLIE JONES: TIME MACHINE (Netflix)
The former, and late-lamented, “Saturday Night Live” cast member shows what she’s been up to since leaving Studio 8H.

JAN. 15

KILLER INSIDE: THE MIND OF AARON HERNANDEZ (Netflix)
This docuseries explores the life and death of the former Patriots star wide receiver, convicted of murder, who committed suicide while in prison.

JAN. 17

DIARY OF A FUTURE PRESIDENT (Disney +)
“Crazy Ex-Girlfriend” writer Ilana Peña has her own show about a 12-year-old Cuban American girl (Tess Romero) who becomes prez (Gina Rodriguez).

LITTLE AMERICA (Apple+)
Anthology about the immigrant experience in America, with showrunners Emily V. Gordon, Kumail Nanjiani (“The Big Sick”), Alan Yang (“Master of None”) and Lee Eisenberg (“The Office”).

JAN. 18

SEVEN WORLDS, ONE PLANET (BBC America, Sundance, IFC, 9 p.m.)
This seven-partner with Sir David Attenborough as host globe-trots across seven continents.

JAN. 19

9-1-1:LONESTAR (Fox/5, 10 9 p.m.)
“9-1-1” spinoff with Rob Lowe and Liv Tyler. This one’s set in Austin.

AVENUE 5 (HBO, 10 p.m.)
“Veep” creator Armando Iannucci returns to HBO to explore (satirically, scabrously, probably hilariously) the cruise ship industry of the future, with Hugh Laurie as captain.

CURB YOUR ENTHUSIASM (HBO, 10:30 p.m.)  
The show’s 10th season guests include Jon Hamm, Laverne Cox, Jane Krakowski and Fred Armisen.

JAN. 20

SPY GAMES (Bravo, 10 p.m.)
Ten would-be spies see if they have what it takes to become real-world spies.

JAN. 21

SECRETS OF THE DEAD: BOMBING AUSCHWITZ (WNET/13, 9 p.m.)
Explores one of the greatest moral questions of the 20th century: “Should we bomb Auschwitz and risk killing Jewish prisoners in the camp to stop future atrocities?”

JAN. 22

AWKWAFINA IS NORA FROM QUEENS (Comedy Central, 10:30 p.m.)
Awkwafina (“Crazy Rich Asians,” “Ocean’s 8”) gets her own TV series, about a woman, Nora, growing up in Flushing, although (as you’ve already guessed) it’s really Awkwafina’s story. From what I’ve seen so far, a winning one, too.

JAN. 23

OUTMATCHED (Fox/5, 8:30 p.m.)
Blue-collar Jersey couple (Jason Biggs, Maggie Lawson) trying to raise three genius kids; cue laugh track.

STAR TREK: PICARD (CBS All Access)
Obviously one of the event series of 2020, with Patrick Stewart back as Starfleet commander and a worthy cast — Jonathan Frakes, Michelle Hurd, Santiago Cabrera, Alison Pill, Isa Briones, Harry Treadaway — as a witness to his glorious return. Famed novelist Michael Chabon is showrunner for the 10-episode run.

JAN. 26

SHAMELESS (Showtime, 10 p.m.)
This is it — the final episode (“Gallavich!”) of the most successful, or least beloved, series in Showtime history.

JAN. 28

MIRACLE WORKERS: DARK AGES (TBS, 10:30 p.m.)
Return of the quirky Daniel Radliffe-Steve Buscemi comedy, this time set in the Dark Ages.

JAN.30

THE GOOD PLACE (NBC/4, 8:30 p.m.)
“Good Place” wraps its run with a 90-minute blow-out that includes a Seth Meyers aftershow.

FEB. 2

SUPER BOWL LIV (Fox/5, 6 p.m.)
Watch for the halftime show (‎Jennifer Lopez‎, ‎Shakira)! Watch for the commercials! Watch even for the football! From Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, Fla.

THE MASKED SINGER (Fox/5, 10:30 p.m.)
The 3rd season launch gets the best time slot of the year.

FEB. 5

LEGO MASTERS (Fox/5, 9 p.m.)
From the wild, wooly world of reality TV comes a wild, wooly show about LEGOs — right,the plastic blocks you collected as a kid. Those Legos. In this, twelve teams compete to build the best Lego-whatever imaginable.

SUMMER HOUSE (Bravo, 9 p.m.)
The’re baaack and ratings suggest that you don’t caaare, but this is shot in Water Mill (and what, you ask, did Water Mill do to deserve this?)

FEB. 6

BRIARPATCH (USA, 10 p.m.)
Ross Thomas, the highly regarded mystery writer of the ‘70s, once wrote a book called “Briarpatch,” which has now made its way to the 2020’s as an anthology series that launches on what may be the most packed night of the new year. This anthology about a political fixer (Rosario Dawson) who investigates her sister’s murder.

BROOKLYN NINE-NINE (NBC/4, 8 p.m.)
The new season arrives, and as a reminder, on NBC, not Fox.

INDEBTED (NBC/4, 9:30 p.m.)
Sitcom about a young married couple with kids whose financially strapped parents (Fran Drescher, Steven Weber) move in with them.

INTERROGATION (CBS All Access)

Peter Sarsgaard and David Strathairn star in this series about a man convicted of killing his mother and who claims he is innocent. The episodes can be watched in any order, an unusual wrinkle in this Age of Binge.

KATY KEENE (CW/11, 8 p.m.)
Lucy Hale (“Pretty Little Liars”) stars in this “Riverdale” spinoff from the preternaturally productive producer, Greg Berlanti; about twenty-year-olds on the hunt for fame and fortune in New York.

THE SINNER (USA, 9 p.m.)
One of the better series of recent years, lost in the madness of Peak TV, is back for a third season, this time starring Bill Pullman, Matt Bomer and (Northport’s own) Chris Messina.

TOMMY (CBS/2, 10 p.m.)
Northport’s Edie Falco returns to network TV in this cop procedural about the LAPD’s first female chief of police.

FEB. 7

LOCKE & KEY (Netflix)
Joe Hill’s graphic novel may be fascinating, but it is also extremely difficult to describe in a few words. (Set during the American Revolution... then fast forwards to the ‘80s... demons that turn into iron blobs... magic key... hey, I tried.) Maybe that’s why it’s taken forever to get this to the screen, big or small, but it’s here now, with Carlton Cuse and Meredith Averill (“The Haunting of Hill House”) as showrunners.

MYTHIC QUEST: RAVEN’S BANQUET (Apple+)
Rob McElhenney (“It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia”) stars along with Danny Pudi, F. Murray Abraham, and David Hornsby “) in this series about a video game company, and its trusty band of developers.

FEB. 9

HOMELAND (Showtime, 10 p.m.)
In this 8th and final season, Saul (Mandy Patinkin) tries to broker peace with the Taliban, and drags in you-know-who for help. Carrie (Claire Danes) needs the help of her own after incarceration in a Russian prison. Soon enough, we won’t be able to say “poor Carrie” anymore...

92ND ANNUAL OSCARS (ABC/7, 8 p.m.)
Many questions, many nominees, and not a single host in sight.

FEB. 11

FOR LIFE (ABC/7, 10 p.m.)
Isaac Wright, Jr. has a remarkable story and (alas) this new drama is not it, but close enough: Man wrongfully convicted as drug lord, gets rap overturned and becomes lawyer for the wrongfully convicted.

FEB. 12

SURVIVOR:WINNERS AT WAR (WCBS/2, 8 p.m.)

Yup, even I’ll watch some of this 40th anniversary season, or at least until I get voted off the island, because many of the past winners are here.

FEB. 14

HIGH FIDELITY (Hulu)
Nick Hornby’s ‘95 novel has gone through lives, including one on Broadway, and in this latest, Zoe Kravitz plays the record store guy who knows everything about music but has a lot to learn about life, death, love and commitment. All ten episodes drop.

FEB. 16

DUNCANVILLE (Fox/5, 8:30 p.m.)
Amy Poehler, Mike Scully and Julie Thacker Scullyare the creative team behind this animated newcomer, about an average kid named Duncan (Poehler) and the average lives he encounters; other voices include Rashida Jones, Ty Burrell, and Wiz Khalifa

OUTLANDER (Starz, 8 p.m.)
The droughtlander ends, as the 5th season at last gets underway, with Claire (Catriona Balfe) and JamIe (Sam Heughan) in North Carolina atop Fraser’s Ridge during the so-called “War of the Regulation” (1765-70) which preceded that bigger war to follow.

WAR OF THE WORLDS (Epix, 9 p.m.)

Gabriel Byrne, Elizabeth McGovern, Léa Drucker, and Natasha Little star in this latest adaptation of the H.G. Wells classic, and this time, the aliens arrive from an address well beyond Mars. (Epix is now available as a channel on Amazon Prime.)

FEB. 23

BETTER CALL SAUL (AMC, 10 p.m.)
After a two-year wait, “Saul” is back with a two-night Sunday-Monday premiere to make amends (it’ll remain on Mondays hereafter). The whole gang is back, by the way.

MARCH 1

DISPATCHES FROM ELSEWHERE (AMC, 10 p.m.)

AKA the return (at long last) of Jason Segel (“How I Met Your Mother”), who stars in and also produces this intriguing anthology about people who have to find the solution to some mystery right under their nose, in the city where they live. Sally Field and Andre 3000 are also aboard.

MARCH 6

HILLARY (Hulu)
This four-hour documentary on Hillary Clinton promises a personal look, without the usual pyrotechnics. Nanette Burstein — who has done a lot of fine work in her career, like 2001’s “Say It Loud: A Celebration of Black Music in America” and Oscar nominated “On the Ropes” — is director.

MARCH 9

COSMOS: POSSIBLE WORLDS (Nat Geo, time TBD)
At long last, the follow to the excellent and profoundly un-Fox-like 2014 docuseries “Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey,” from Seth MacFarlane and Neil deGrasse Tyson (who hosts). This 13-episode season will repeat on Fox over the summer.

MARCH 16

THE PLOT AGAINST AMERICA (HBO, time TBD)
David Simon (“The Wire,” “The Deuce”) has adapted Philip Roth’s alt-history novel in which America goes fascist iin the 1940s under a Charles Lindbergh presidency; with Winona Ryder, John Turturro, Morgan Spector, and Zoe Kazan.

SUPERNATURAL (CW/11, 8 p.m.)
It’s over, or nearly over, as “Supe” heads to a new time period as it ends a run that began way back in 2005. The 15th season comes to an end May 18.

MARCH 18

LITTLE FIRES EVERYWHERE (Hulu)
One of Hulu’s big bets of the year, with two major stars — Reese Witherspoon and Kerry Washington— who star in (and produce) this 8-part adaptation of the Celeste Ng bestseller about a couple of not-quite-fully-functional families living in the Cleveland suburb of Shaker Heights in the mid-‘90s.

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