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Best Television Shows To Watch In 2012

Salomon Fuentes |
January 17, 2012 | 7:02 p.m. PST

Staff Writer


"Games of Thrones" returns in 2012 on HBO. (Courtesy Creative Commons)
"Games of Thrones" returns in 2012 on HBO. (Courtesy Creative Commons)
The start of of 2012 is poised to be a great one for television fans. There’s a lot of great returning shows and even some new ones to watch out for. Here’s a preview to the best returning and new shows this season:

"Archer" FX

“Archer” is an animated show featuring H. Jon Benjamin (also of “Bob’s Burgers”) as the voice for the eponymous Archer, a spy in a surreal world where the Cold War lives on. Archer is a crass, incompetent agent with mommy issues, but that’s why we love him. The jokes come flying at you a mile a minute and if you’re an “Arrested Development” fan, this show is basically like a weekly mini-reunion. Jessica Walter and Judy Greer are part of the cast and David Cross and Jeffrey Tambor have had guest appearances.  Ultimately, the banter between Archer, his mother/boss Malory (Walters) and his ex-girlfriend/partner Lana (Aisha Tyler) will be the reason you keep coming back. Season three of “Archer” premieres Thursday, January 19 at 10 P.M. on FX.

"Justified" FX

Admittedly, I’m not fully caught up on “Justified” but believe me when I say the show really has a fun premise with Timothy Olyphant’s Raylan Givens as a U.S. Marshall with a quick trigger finger. Givens is forced to go back to his hometown of Harlan, Kentucky for being too much of a renegade (or badass, depending on your point of view) and his past comes back to haunt him. One thing that critics agree on is that "Justified" has really made a huge leap last season from being a pretty good drama to being in the same conversation with “Mad Men” and “Breaking Bad.” Season three starts January 17 at 10 P.M. on FX.

"Luck" HBO

Luck” stars Dustin Hoffman as Ace, a guy who’s just been released from prison and so just to happens to be involved in horse race gambling. Dennis Farina is also on-hand as Gus, Ace’s friend, partner of sorts and driver and Nick Nolte is also part of the cast. It was written and created by “Deadwood” creator/showrunner David Milch, so there’s a lot of hype and expectations riding on this series. The show is methodical and deliberate so don’t expect a lot action other horse races initially. It’s not going to be for everyone but I’d be willing to bet (get it?) if you liked “Deadwood” or “Mad Men,” you’ll enjoy this. At the very least, the dialogue will always be sharp and with a cast like this, it’s a show with high potential. HBO aired the entire pilot in December as a sneak-peak but you can start watching again on January 29 if you missed it. 

"Mad Men" AMC

Mad Men” has been off the air seemingly forever thanks in part to contract negociations between showrunner Matthew Weiner and the AMC network but now that that’s out of the way, expect “Mad Men” to return starting March 25. The last time we saw Don Draper, he was engaged to his secretary, Megan, and it seemed to indicate his life was turning a new leaf. Yet, after watching the show for four years we should know better. Last season, Don seemingly brought nothing but turmoil to those around him. I would be surprised if this year was different but maybe with Peggy’s help he can finally get the solace that he lacked after his divorce from Betty. There are still other questions to be answered like Joanie and Roger’s relationship, how Sally Draper is handling all the change in her life and how Pete will handle being a father. If nothing else, a trip back to the 60’s has been long overdue, but will it have been worth the wait?

"Game of Thrones" HBO

Winter is coming a bit late with “Game of Thrones” kicking off its second season April 1st so there’s still quite a wait before we get to see some more of the Starks and Lannisters. As someone who refuses to read the books (they’re pretty long) I can reassure you this series is worth watching from the beginning and you’ll never feel out of the loop. If you’re already familiar with the books, the series no doubt stays loyal to George R.R. Martin’s words. Ultimately, we’re all dying to find out if the Starks can get revenge on King Joffrey and the Lannisters, how Peter Dinklage's Tyrion will continue to charm us and oh yeah, Dany Targaryen and her dragon/Dothraki army. HBO is re-airing season one starting January 26, so you’ll have an opportunity to catch up.

Reach writer Salomon Fuentes here

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