TV’s midseason is upon us, with a slew of new shows premiering over the coming weeks.
Here’s a quick rundown of three of them:
* “The Assets,” 9 p.m. Thursday, ABC. The eight-part miniseries started Thursday -- you can catch the first episode on demand -- and is based on the true story involving the efforts of CIA counter-intelligence officers Sandy Grimes (Jodie Whittaker) and Jeanne Vertefeuille (Harriet Walter) to take down traitor Aldrich Ames (Paul Rhys) during the Cold War in the 1980s.
The Cold War is hot fodder now, with FX gaining critical acclaim with last year’s “The Americans.”
In "Assets," I wanted more about Ames and his motives -- and maybe that will come later -- but this is Grimes’ story, right down to how her job affected her home life. There’s even an eye-rolling speech her husband gives her in the first episode about the important job she’s doing. Grade: C+
* “Intelligence,” 8 p.m. Tuesday, CBS (moves to 9 p.m. Monday, starting Jan. 13). CBS is hyping the heck out of this. And why not, it features two of TV’s biggest stars in Josh Holloway (“Lost”) and Nebraska’s Marg Helgenberger (“CSI”).
I describe this as Sawyer from “Lost” with a computer chip in his head -- Holloway’s just as snarky and charming as he was on the ABC drama. Here he plays an intelligence operative who’s directly connected to the information grid via the microchip placed in his brain. Meghan Ory plays the Secret Service agent charged to protect him, and Helgenberger is their boss.
This one’s a procedural, with Holloway and Ory taking down a baddie each week. The good thing about procedurals is you can come and go and not miss much. The bad thing about procedurals is you can come and go and not miss much. Holloway, though, should be enough to keep you coming back. Grade: B
* “Killer Women,” 9 p.m. Tuesday, ABC. Not sure if this is meant as an homage to filmmaker Robert Rodriguez, the director responsible for the “Machete” B-films, or if this is just bad TV. My guess is it’s a little of both, because “Modern Family’s” Sofia Vergara is one of the executive producers. She appeared in “Machete Kills.”
Tricia Helfer (“Battlestar Galactica”) is Texas Ranger Molly Parker, who is as tough on the inside as she is beautiful on the outside. According to press materials, Parker has a “sixth sense for why women kill.”
I was along for the ride until the end of the pilot when Parker and her DEA boyfriend (Marc Blucas from “Necessary Roughness”) took on 20-some, gun-toting members of a Mexican drug cartel and came out of it without a scratch. It's more video game, than TV drama. Grade: D+
Other new shows starting this week include:
* “Chicago PD,” 9 p.m. Wednesday, NBC. From Dick Wolf (“Law & Order: SVU,” “Chicago Fire”), Jason Beghe heads up a crime unit attempting to clean up the streets of Chicago.
* “Enlisted,” 8:30 p.m. Friday, Fox. Three brothers (Geoff Stults, Chris Lowell and Parker Young) are up to hijinks on an Army base.
* “Helix,” 9 p.m. Friday, Syfy. A team of scientists from the CDC travels to a high-tech research facility in the Arctic to investigate a possible disease outbreak.
Shows starting new seasons this week include: “Downton Abbey,” 8 p.m. Sunday, PBS; “The Bachelor,” 7 p.m. Monday, ABC; “Justified,” 9 p.m. Tuesday, FX; Cougar Town,” 9 p.m. Tuesday, TBS; “Psych,” 8 p.m. Wednesday, USA; “Banshee,” 9 p.m. Friday, Cinemax.