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Lifestyle

January 3, 2013

The mid-season shuffle Ten to watch

TV shows to whet your winter viewing appetite

OK, so maybe giving a starring role to a monkey in a lame sitcom (“Animal Practice”) wasn’t such a good idea, after all. And, in hindsight, “The Mob Doctor” and “Partners” were disasters just waiting to happen.

Yes, the fall featured its fair share of TV blunders. But we’ve now reached the midseason point and it’s time to hit the re-start button. A wave of new shows is headed our way, and several old favorites are making welcome returns.

How to sort through it all? To help you get with the program, we’ve made a list of 10 midseason developments to keep an eye on in the coming weeks and months:

1. A “Downton Abbey” wedding

The much-anticipated arrival of Shirley MacLaine isn’t the only big news going into Season 3 of the deliciously addictive period drama. After plenty of on-again, off-again anxiety, the show’s primary lovebirds, Lady Mary (Michelle Dockery) and Matthew (Dan Stevens), are preparing to walk down the aisle. But will the big celebration come off without a hitch? We’ll believe it when we see it. (“Downton Abbey” returns at 9 p.m. Jan. 6, PBS).

2. Judging the judges

Can Mariah Carey and Nicki Minaj avoid turning “American Idol” into a vicious cage match? Will Usher and Shakira enjoy the ride as they take their chairs for a spin on “The Voice”? It will be interesting to see how famous new judges fit into TV’s biggest talent shows. “Idol” could be in a precarious position as it deals with reports of bitter feuds between Carey and Minaj (who will be joined by Keith Urban). Then again, the animosity just might provide “Idol” with the ratings boost it needs in its 12th season. (“Idol” returns at 8 p.m. Jan. 16, Fox; “The Voice” returns at 8 p.m. March 25, NBC).

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