CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Last week I gave you five things related to specific shows that you can look forward to this year. This week, here are five that, for the most part, are more general.
1. New shows
Let's face it; this fall's crop of newbies was pretty lackluster. In 2013, we not only have midseason shows on the networks to pin our hopes to but also new winter and summer shows on the cable networks. (And then, of course, the new fall season.)
The one I'm most looking forward to is A&E's "Bates Motel," a "Psycho" prequel coming sometime in March that's the story of how Norman Bates came to be the man he was in Hitchcock's classic movie. Freddie Highmore ("Charlie and the Chocolate Factory") plays the young Norman, and Vera Farmiga ("Up in the Air") is Mother, known here as Norma Louise.
Also in March is ABC's mob drama "Red Widow," based on a Dutch series, and before that, on Feb. 14, the network has the conspiracy mystery "Zero Hour," starring Anthony Edwards ("ER"). CBS has a new show in February, too: the cop drama "Golden Boy" on Feb. 26.
More immediately, NBC debuts "Deception," which it calls a "dark family murder mystery" at 10 p.m. Monday. It's got a little bit of a "Revenge" vibe with a young woman of lesser-status (she was the maid's daughter) returning to a wealthy world. She's secretly undercover to solve the murder of the family's daughter, who used to be her best friend.
NBC also has the White House family comedy "1600 Penn" on Jan. 10, and the Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde medical drama "Do No Harm" on Jan. 31.
Other new January shows are the comedy "Legit," Jan 17 on FX; the Kevin Bacon serial-killer thriller, "The Following," Jan. 21 on Fox, and "The Americans," starring Keri Russell ("Felicity") and Mathew Rhys ("Brothers and Sisters") as KGB spies in Cold War-era suburban D.C., on FX Jan. 30. Syfy starts the Canadian import "Continuum," about a detective from the future trapped in the present day, on Jan. 14.
Looking a little further into the future, ABC premieres two sitcoms in the spring: "How to Live with Your Parents for the Rest of Your Life," starring Sarah Chalke ("Scrubs") sometime in April and "Family Tools," on May 1. USA will have a new summer series called "Graceland" about a group of undercover agents from the FBI, DEA and Customs living together in Southern California.
2. Favorites finally return
While some shows only have a four or five month wait, ending one season in May and starting another in September or October, other shows aren't so lucky. Several shows returning soon have had us missing them for at least three-fourth's of a year.
First up, coming back after nine and eight month absences, respectively, are FX's "Justified" and "Cougar Town," now on TBS, both at 10 p.m. Tuesday. Next, CBS' "Rules of Engagement" and ABC's "Body of Proof" return on Feb. 4 and 5 after nine and 10 month absences.
Perhaps the most rabidly awaited show, "Community," is back on NBC Feb. 7 after nine months away. It was supposed to return in October, but the network delayed it - so long in fact that the show's Christmas-themed episode will now air sometime after Valentine's Day.
The longest waits, though, belong to "Psych" and "Southland" fans, who will have waited about 11 months each. "Southland" returns to TNT on Feb. 13. "Psych" is back on USA Feb. 27 for its seventh season, which will include the show's 100th episode.
3. Great guest stars
Several of my favorite shows have some good guest stars coming up that I can't wait to see, and I'm sure that the shows you love will have some good ones pop up, too.
Some already-known appearances that I'm looking forward to are "SNL" alums Jenny Slate and Abby Elliot on "Parks and Recreation" and "Happy Endings," respectively. Slate will play Mona Lisa, the twin sister of the outrageous Jean-Ralphio, and Elliot, who shared the "SNL" stage with "Happy Endings" star Casey Wilson, plays a friend of Max.
On "Once Upon a Time," Ethan Embry (who I've loved since "Empire Records") will pop up as a "mysterious visitor." Details of his character are under wraps, but some have theorized that he will be Baelfire, Rumplestiltskin's son. Also, Rose McGowan ("Charmed") will play a young Cora.