Why being a couch potato has never been more enjoyable

As magazines and newspapers exhort us to get up and start exercising, in an effort to shift the excess pounds piled on during the Christmas festivities, I for one take great heart in the fact that I will be steadfastly glued to my sofa over the next few weeks.
 
The reason is that January TV viewing in the UK has now become one of the great joys of the modern age. In spite of the onward march of boxset viewing and timeshifting, terrestrial and satellite channels are pulling out all the stops during the first three months of the year.
 
Probably most exciting is the long-awaited showing of Glee on E4. A post-modern take on High School Musical with nods to the likes of Drop Dead Gorgeous and even Heathers. It has garnered awards galore since its debut last year in the US and is now being unleashed on the British viewing public with predictably gushing results.
 
At the total opposite end of the humour spectrum is the return to our screens of the brilliant Edie Falco as the eponymous heroine in the black dramedy Nurse Jackie. Mixing elements of Scrubs, ER and Six Feet Under, this packs more into 25 minutes than many other shows manage in twice the time. Sharply funny, squirm-inducing, but also poignant, it manages to hit a number of sweet spots simultaneously and anyone who stays with it will be richly rewarded.
 
But it's not all about American shows. The much underrated Being Human has just begun its second series on BBC3. Three housemates – a ghost, a vampire and werewolf – try to negotiate everyday life, without giving into their desires or revealing their true selves. Being Human is funny, well-written and a rollicking yarn and deserves a bigger audience when it gets shown on BBC1 later down the line.
Back over the Atlantic for my final two picks of the moment. Next week (21st) sees the return of Brothers and Sisters, sometimes seen as a slightly mawkish family drama revolving around the sprawling Walker family. 
 
The show has an astounding cast including Rachel Griffiths, Matthew Rhys, Calista Flockhart, Sally Field and Rob Lowe and has drawn some of the most rounded, if mildly infuriating, characters you will see on TV for a while.
 
It's not pretending to have the political insight of The West Wing nor the wackiness of, say, Six Feet Under, but it cleverly highlights the flaws and redemptive qualities of a family and how they somehow keep things together.

Last but definitely not least is possibly the new series I'm looking forward to the most. Mad Men is coming back for its third series in the UK and promises to be just as compelling as the previous two.

 
Acres has already been written about this show and it has won countless awards, seemingly without anything happening. Describe an individual episode and it sounds as interesting as watching grass grow, yet the sum of its parts reveal why it's so feted. 
 
The period details are wonderful in themselves, the acting is of course astonishingly good, coaxing career-defining performances from people who were previously barely known – not least John Hamm and January Jones as Don and Betty Draper – and the writing is close to peerless.
 
There's much more good stuff out there, including Survivors on BBC1 and The Misfits on E4, but these are the ones that stand out for me.

Posted via email from Rob’s stream of web

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