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amNY Picks: New shows worth watching

Megan Hilty, left, and Katharine McPhee in “Smash.”

Megan Hilty, left, and Katharine McPhee in “Smash.” (Will Hart/NBC) Photo Credit: Megan Hilty, left, and Katharine McPhee in “Smash.” (Will Hart/NBC)

Be they network midseason replacements or smart new cable series, there's a packed-DVR's-worth of series premering next year to keep you glued to your couch.

'Smash'
Feb. 6, 10 p.m., NBC
Starring: Debra Messing, Brian D'Arcy James, Katharine McPhee, Angelica Huston

What it's about: I could go on and on about what the show is about, but it's easier to just call this "Glee" built around the production of a Broadway musical about Marilyn Monroe.

'Hou$e of Lie$'
Jan. 8, 10 p.m., Showtime
Starring: Don Cheadle, Kristen Bell, Ben Schwartz

What it's about: Cheadle plays high-powered management consultant Marty Kaan, who will stop at nothing to do well for his clients in this hyperkinetic series based on the book "House of Lies: How Management Consultants Steal Your Watch and Then Tell You the Time."

'The Firm'
Jan. 8, 9 p.m., NBC
Starring: Josh Lucas, Molly Parker, Callum Keith Rennie, Juliette Lewis, Tricia Helfer

What it's about: In this continuation of the John Grisham book - and 1993 Tom Cruise film - Lucas picks up the role of Mitch McDeere 10 years later as McDeere and his family emerge from Federal Witness Protection.

'Are You There, Chelsea?'
Jan. 11, 8:30 p.m., NBC
Starring: Laura Prepon, Lauren Lapkus, Chelsea Handler

What it's about: Inspired by Handler's books, this series stars Prepon ("That '70s Show") as Chelsea, a sassy woman who works at a New Jersey bar, and her kooky group of friends and co-workers. Handler plays her born-again sister.

'Alcatraz'
Jan. 16, 8 p.m., FOX
Starring: Sarah Jones, Jorge Garcia, Sam Neill

What it's about: This high-concept series from super-producer J.J. Abrams ("Lost") follows a San Francisco police officer investigating a murder who discovers that the prime suspect is a man who disappeared from Alcatraz years and years ago - and hasn't aged a bit. There's a lot more to it than this, so just watch it and thank us later.

'Touch'
Preview: Jan. 25, 9 p.m., FOX
March 19, 9 p.m., FOX

Starring: Kiefer Sutherland, Gugu Mbath-Raw, David Mazouz, Danny Glover
What it's about: "24" star Sutherland teams up with writer/creator Tim Kring ("Heroes") for this new series about a man whose mute, autistic son is able to predict the future.

'Luck'
Jan. 29, 9 p.m., HBO
Starring: Dustin Hoffman, Nick Nolte, Dennis Farina, John Ortiz, Jill Hennessy

What it's about: From director Michael Mann ("Heat") and creator David Milch ("Deadwood") comes this nine-episode drama about horse racing, gambling and the colorful characters lurking around the track.

'Life's Too Short'
Feb. 19, 10:30 p.m., HBO
Starring: Warwick Davis, Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant

What it's about: Davis plays a fictionalized version of himself in this hilarious comedy starring the 3-foot-6 actor - best known for his roles in "Willow" and the "Star Wars" and "Harry Potter" series - as he maneuvers his way through the film industry. Think a British "Curb Your Enthusiasm," written by Gervais, and starring a genuinely funny man who once wore an Ewok costume.

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