Gail Pennington: 10 buzzworthy shows on midseason TV calendar
The idea of a TV “season” is getting blurrier by the year. Even on the broadcast networks, series now premiere not just in September but also in November, January, March and May. And on cable, of course, premieres are efficiently scheduled year-round, with one original series ending just in time for another to start.
March marks the beginning of network TV's traditional “midseason,” when failed fall shows have already made their exits and replacements are ready to go, getting a chance to catch on before the ratings-dictated season ends in May.
But cable certainly doesn't cede midseason to broadcasters, slotting series debuts and returns as well as big events now through May.
Here are 10 of special note:
• “Bates Motel,” 10 p.m. March 18, A&E. A “Psycho” prequel, this new series stars Freddie Highmore as young Norman Bates and Vera Farmiga as his mother.
• “Top of the Lake,” March 18, Sundance. Jane Campion directed this six-hour miniseries (which premiered to rave reviews at the Sundance film festival) in which a young police detective (Elisabeth Moss of “Mad Men”) investigates the disappearance of a pregnant 12-year-old.
• “Phil Spector,” 9 p.m. March 24, HBO. Al Pacino stars as the music producer, accused of murdering a young woman, in a docudrama with Helen Mirren as his attorney.
• “Game of Thrones,” 9 p.m. March 31, HBO. “Death is coming” in Season 3 of the epic action-fantasy.
• “Masterpiece: Mr. Selfridge,” 9 p.m. March 31, PBS. Jeremy Piven plays a brash American who teaches the Brits about merchandising in 1909 London in a 10-part historical drama.
• “Hannibal,” 10 p.m. April 4, NBC. In a prequel, Bryan Fuller (“Pushing Daisies”) takes on the story of a young FBI profiler (Hugh Dancy) who seeks help from a famed psychiatrist named Hannibal Lecter (Mads Mikkelsen).
• “Mad Men,” 9 p.m. April 7, AMC. Season 6 begins with a two-hour episode that has been kept, so far, mostly spoiler-free.
• “The Moment,” 10 p.m. April 11 on USA. Kurt Warner is host of a series giving people a second chance to pursue their dream careers.
• “Da Vinci's Demons,” 10 p.m. April 12, Starz. David S. Goyer is executive producer of a new series with Tom Riley as young Leonardo Da Vinci, “tortured by a gift of superhuman genius” and determined to expose the lies of religion.
• “Defiance,” 9 p.m. April 15, Syfy. In a post-apocalyptic place that used to be America, a frontier town rises over the ruins of a city that looks a little familiar — see that Arch? “We call it Defiance now,” a visitor is told.
Gail Pennington is a staff writer for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.