Next week in TV land: what's coming up

We're getting close to an exciting time of year: New Season, the period during which our main networks give a debut to new shows to fall in love with and new episodes of returning favourites.

New Season shows are starting to trickle in early this year, and next week is shaping up to be the first really busy week of the year, in terms of new and returning shows. For today's blog, I thought I'd take you through the next seven days, highlighting some of the shows to look out for; I'll try to do the same every Friday for the next month or so.

So, here is my look at the next week on Kiwi television. Enjoy!

The first day of the week is fairly quiet; there aren't any new or returning shows on the schedule. If you want my advice, go for the Californication marathon (SoHo, 5pm), kids flick Muppets in Space (Four, 6.30pm) or Kiwi film I'm Not Harry Jenson (Maori TV, 8.30pm). Just don't go and see Life of Pi at the cinema, like I did last weekend - or, if you do, walk out before the movie-ruining, Chris-angering final 10 minutes.

Cooking enthusiasts can enjoy Joe's World on a Plate, with Joe McLeod cooking international cuisine (Maori TV, 7pm), while home renovation enthusiasts can enjoy Kevin McCloud's Man Made Home, the designers attempt to build an eco-friendly cabin in the woods (presumably without all those creatures from the Joss Whedon movie Cabin in the Woods) (One, 7.30pm). Later, Hunted continues with its spy-tastic conspiracy tale (SoHo, 8.30pm); I still can't believe how much Melissa George pouts during all her dramatic scenes.

Shortland Street (TV2, 7pm) and daily sports opera The Crowd Goes Wild (Prime, new time of 7pm) are back, and SoHo is repeating the excellent mini-series Top Boy (SoHo, 8.30pm), but the big news is the return of Grey's Anatomy and Private Practice (TV2, 8.30pm/9.30pm), picking up where they left off at the end of last year. If that's not your thing, you can take in new episodes of How I Met Your Mother, New Girl, Don't Trust the B**** in Apartment 23 and 30 Rock (Four, 7.30pm/8pm/8.30pm/9.30pm), and, if you've not seen it before, make sure you check out repeats of Community (Four, 10pm) and see what I'm always raving about. Of course, there's also The Syndicate (UKTV, 8.30pm), a mini-series about five joint winners of the British lottery, and legal drama Damages (One, 11.30pm), both of which started last week. I'm also tempted to watch Louis Theroux: Twilight of the Porn Stars (One, 9.30pm), if only because Louis Theroux hasn't made a boring documentary yet.

The big switch takes place at 7pm: One is switching out repeats of Border Security for repeats of Border Patrol (One, 7pm) - don't try to figure out the difference, because there isn't one*. Fashionistas can take in America's Next Top Model: College Edition (Four, 7.30pm), while Navy-set crime procedurals NCIS (TV3, 8.30pm) and NCIS: LA (TV3, 9.30pm) are back with new episodes. The big addition for the night, however, is Banshee (SoHo, 8.30pm), the new show from producer Alan Ball and starring Kiwi actor Antony Starr (Outrageous Fortune), about a conman who poses as a town sheriff while lying low.

Another quiet night: fatties get a workout on The Biggest Loser (Four, 8.30pm) and Ross Kemp continues trying to get himself killed in a foreign country on Ross Kemp's Extreme World (Prime, 9.30pm). If you want me, I'll be watching Canadian drama Durham County (SoHo, 8.30pm) and avoiding Hot in Cleveland (TV2, 8pm) with every fibre of my being.

The second-biggest night of the week! Quirky crime procedural Bones and fashion design competition Project Runway are back with all new episodes (TV3, 8.30pm/9.30pm), while new episodes of American Dad, The Cleveland Show and Bob's Burgers make their way to our shores (Four, 8pm/8.30pm/9pm). High-rating BBC drama Prisoners' Wives comes for a visit (Prime, 9.30pm); you can tell it's British because the main character's name is Gemma. Meanwhile, Sky subscribers get the choice cuts of the evening: Lena Dunham's comedy Girls is back for a second season (SoHo, 8.30pm), and sketch show Watson & Oliver and Irish comedy Moone Boy, starring Chris O'Dowd, continue (UKTV, 8.30pm/9pm).

The early evening becomes a battleground, with The Amazing Race: Unfinished Business (TV2, 7.30pm), American Ninja Warrior (Four, 7.30pm) and American Idol (Prime, 7.30pm) all vying for the same time slot; my recommendation would be Idol, purely for the chance to see Nicki Minaj and Mariah Carey slap each other on camera. Later, already cancelled supernatural drama 666 Park Avenue makes its way to the schedule (TV2, 8.30pm), and Kiwi hunk Jay Ryan is a monster, despite only having an iddy-biddy scar, on the remake of Beauty and the Beast (Prime, 9.30pm). By the way, if you haven't watched it yet, SoHo is repeating Game Oo Thrones with double episodes every Friday (SoHo, 8.30pm), and the crazy crew of Red Dwarf X (UKTV, 8.30pm) are as entertaining as ever.

A final note: keep an eye out on Monday, as Moata "Blog Idle" Tamaira and I will be live-blogging our way through the Golden Globe awards, sharing our thoughts on the goings-on from around midday - we'd love you to join us for the afternoon. I'll try to post a reminder, and a few award picks, on Monday morning. Have a great weekend!

What new or returning shows are you looking forward to most next week? Alternatively, what have you seen already? Give us a quick, spoiler-free review, if you can ...

(*) Actually, Border Security is set in Australia, while Border Patrol is set in New Zealand.

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