New year calls for new showtimes: Shows to keep you busy

Lena Dunham of the HBO series Girls returns for the show’s fourth season.

By: Saúl Berríos-Thomas | Layout Editor

While you wait for part two of season five of The Walking Dead to air, I thought I would drop by and offer some suggestions on other shows to fill that time you should spend studying instead.

Tuesday night’s back-to-back lineup from MTV is addictive. If you are not a fan of The Challenge, you are missing out. At 11 p.m. is Battle of the Exes 2 on a deserted island in Panama. It is the single best competition on TV. The characters are hilarious, the competitions are torturous and there is just enough eavesdropping on the cast members in the house to meet anyone’s guilty pleasure threshold.

The Real World (I know I can’t believe it’s still on either) is back with a spicy new season, airing Tuesdays at 10 p.m., called Skeletons. The show is in Chicago this year and the twist is that each week one of the roommates has someone from their past show up and live in the house for a week. As Violetta, one of the roommates put it “You know this could be the first season where someone gets killed, right?” I’m sold.

The final reality show I’m watching is The Bachelor, Mondays at 8 p.m. The big hook this year is that the desired Bachelor, Chris Soules, is a farmer from Iowa. The women are crazy, half of them are lying about their occupation and almost all of them are lying about their age, because that is what Bachelor contestants do.

I am very intrigued by HBO’s Sunday lineup. The network has a collection of three half hour comedies. This format seems to be becoming more popular. Now this isn’t just The Cosby Show and The Nanny, these shows are not afraid to tackle deeper issues and show sadness. The first show at 9 p.m. is Girls. If you don’t know about Girls by now, which is entering its fourth season, you are late. It’s a show that follows a group of 20-something females who are trying to figure out how to live the rest of their lives while navigating all the trouble life brings. I am warning you now so you can’t say you didn’t know, Lena Dunham is naked a lot in this show.

Lena Dunham of the HBO series Girls returns for the show’s fourth season.
AP Photo – Lena Dunham of the HBO series Girls returns for the show’s fourth season.

The second show is a premiere. Togetherness is, as HBO’s website describes it, “a new comedy series from the Duplass brothers. Togetherness explores four adults figuring out their dreams and relationships – all while living under one roof.” This show has a lot of promise and may be the funniest out of all three HBO series mentioned.

The third HBO half hour Sunday comedy series is Looking. It is about three friends is San Francisco. It explores the life of modern gay men, who struggle to balance friendship with intimacy.

Showtime counters with a heavy Sunday lineup of their own. Shameless, at 8 p.m., is a very fun show that follows the life of a Chicago family that is missing both parents and is very poor. The lengths they have to go to in order to help each other will both make you laugh and shed a tear.

The other Sunday show I love is House of Lies at 9 p.m. First of all Don Cheadle is the man. Second of all it’s another half hour comedy and it might be my favorite out of all of them. Cheadle is the head of a firm that helps businesses make money. He and his crew sweep the globe saving corporation after corporation, but what makes this show great is the dialogue that he and the rest of his crew exchange. Experienced watchers know that they all have a role in the crew that makes for hilarious encounters both in the boardroom and in first class on a flight to Tokyo.

The last premium channel show I will be watching is Banshee on Cinemax. This isn’t the Cinemax you used to sneak and watch at midnight for the soft-core. This show is smart, funny and filled with action. An ex-con whose name we never learn steals the identity of a sheriff of a small town and commits crimes and does good deeds at the same time. This show along with The Knick are changing how Cinemax is perceived and making it a place for great new shows.

A new network TV show on Fox that looks very interesting is Empire. This Wednesday night show at 9 p.m. is a complex and refreshing mold that hasn’t been done before. Terrence Howard and Taraji P. Henson are both impressive as a divorced couple trying to prepare one of their three sons to take over the company. They have a dark past but have a rags-to-riches story that makes them easy to root for.

So until Game of Thrones and The Walking Dead come back check out some of these new shows that are transforming the art of television storytelling.