Let’s just call it:
Mid-season TV is more intriguing than fall premiere week.
Autumn drops a bomb of commercial network shows, big stars and small concepts. Anyone still mourning NBC’s reboot of “Ironside”?
Mid-season brings risk, newcomers and quirkier shows — something for everyone.
Here’s a select look at some of the shows looking for a berth on your DVR:
How’s this for dream casting? Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson team for “True Detective” (HBO, Jan. 12) as two law enforcement officers struggling to catch a serial killer who has roamed free for almost 20 years.
On the comedy flip-side, check out this lineup: Kristen Wiig, Will Ferrell, Tobey Maguire, Tim Robbins and Jessica Alba in the miniseries “The Spoils of Babylon” (IFC, Jan. 9).
In one of the most hoped-for returns to primetime, Josh Holloway (“Lost”) headlines “Intelligence” (CBS, Jan. 7) as an agent implanted with a super microchip that gives him access to every bit of information everywhere. I better delete those tweets from last night. Marg Helgenberger (“CSI: Crime Scene Investigation”) co-stars.
Greg Kinnear is “Rake” (Fox, Jan. 23), a brilliant defense attorney whose personal life borders on criminal malpractice.
Arrggghhh! You’re shivering in anticipation for “Black Sails” (Starz, Jan. 24). This prequel to Robert Louis Stevenson’s classic “Treasure Island” has already been renewed for a second season.
From “Modern Family” star Sofia Vergara comes the action drama “Killer Women” (ABC, Jan. 7), with “Battlestar Galactica’s” Tricia Helfer as a Texas Ranger wrangling evildoers.
“Chicago Fire’s” rogue cop Voight (Jason Beghe) spins out into his own Dick Wolf ensemble series, “Chicago P.D.” (NBC, Jan. 8).
“Helix” (Syfy, Jan. 10) finds scientists trying to contain a scary bad virus before it annihilates mankind or at least until they get seven seasons out of it.
Enough with the vampires and the zombies! It’s time for furballs to get their due. “Bitten” (Syfy, Jan. 13) gets its paws into a werewolf clan.
The gay answer to “Girls”? “Looking” (HBO, Jan. 19) trails three single men in San Francisco as they search for love.
The animated “Chozen” (FX, Jan. 13) riffs on the rap world with a gay star living the thug lifestyle.
Mark and Donnie Wahlberg share the spotlight with their family in “Wahlburgers” (A&E, Jan. 22), about the family’s Hingham restaurant, but who will prove to be Mom’s favorite child here?
Another Southie series? With UFC’s Dana White at the helm, you’re guaranteed this show won’t pull any punches. “The Fighters” (Discovery, Jan. 23) follows several local top amateur talents as they try to take their careers to the next level.
“Cold River Cash” (Animal Planet, Jan. 2) tracks three teams of Maine fishermen as they compete to capture the most elver eels.
In “Don’t Trust Andrew Mayne” (A&E, Jan. 13), the illusionist uses his skills to get revenge on unsuspecting targets — and their most prized possessions. In one prank, a motorcycle seemingly flies through the sky.
In what seems like sheer desperation, the aging reality show “Real World: Ex-Plosion” (MTV, Jan. 15) tosses aside its “seven strangers picked to live in a house” formula and opts for 11 — including four exes.
Speaking of last gasps, the retooled “American Idol” (Fox, Jan. 15) opens with the Boston round of auditions and the kinder panel of Keith Urban, Harry Connick Jr. and Jennifer Lopez. Will it be enough?
“Downton Abbey” (PBS, Jan. 5) opens its doors for another season as Mary tries to cope with Matthew’s death.
The holidays left you feeling a little stabby? “The Following” (Fox, Jan. 19) embarks on a new spree.
Howl like you just don’t care. “Teen Wolf” (MTV, Jan. 6) opens the second half of its season with a new threat, a girl with supernatural powers. The show is so popular, an after-show, “Wolf Watch,” will air immediately after every new episode.
“Justified” (FX, Jan. 7) cocks a pistol on a new crowd of dim-witted but dangerous criminals.
Showtime would very much like you to cancel all plans for Jan. 12 as its slate of dark comedies — “Episodes,” “House of Lies” and “Shameless” — all return for new rounds of debauchery. Matt LeBlanc is back in the pointless “Episodes” (Showtime, Jan. 12). Also vying for your attention that night: HBO’s “Girls,” and Hannah (Lena Dunham) and Adam (Adam Driver) seem happy. That can’t last.
For the show that gets absolutely no press (said no one anywhere): A&E’s “Duck Dynasty” returns Jan. 15, no doubt to record ratings. There’s no quacking around that.
Distributed by MCT Information Services