Five New TV Shows to Hold Your Breath For

First it was Mad Men. Then Sons of Anarchy, followed by Dexter (which finished a lackluster season on a bang). Since most of the TV series worth watching ended their seasons this fall, television has become a cultural dead zone. American Idol? No thanks. Luckily, spring is upon us, bringing new beginnings, rainbows, daffodils, and brand new TV shows. Not just new seasons — whole new premieres. We take a look at 2010’s most anticipated shows (and their trailers), from FX’s modern Wild West drama Justified to David Simon’s follow up to The Wire, post-Katrina New Orleans show Treme. OK, they may be a few months off. But we’ve got to give you more to live for than April’s return of Glee.

Justified

Since the demise of FX’s cop show The Shield, the channel has managed to continue its excellent testosterone programming with motorcycle drama Sons of Anarchy, and now Kentucky-based lawman series Justified this March. With an old-school Western feel, Justified stars underappreciated character actor Timothy Olyphant (we’ve been wondering when some smart channel would gobble him up) as Deputy U.S. Marshall Raylan Givens. And wait — is that Shane? The Shield’s ultimate hick Walton Goggins makes an appearance as well. Consider us fired up.

Spartacus: Blood and Sand

For those those who enjoyed 300, the slick production, bad-ass gladiator imagery, and heavy metal of Spartacus: Blood and Sand ought to fit the bill. Ignore the cheesy title and focus instead on the ultimate man-fest: blood, sex, and girl-on-girl action, oh my! It may be a poor man’s Gladiator, or it may be the greatest thing since Hercules (actually, Xena‘s Lucy Lawless stars as Spartacus’s slave owner, Lucretia). Premiering on January 22, it’s the first thing to watch on our list of illustrious new shows.

Treme

Everything David Simon touches turns to gold — or at least that’s what we TV fanatics think. Thus, there’s really no way Treme could go wrong: compelling, timely setting? Check. New theme to explore (music)? Check. Excellent cast? Check. The Wire‘s Bunk (Wendell Pierce) stars, along with Steve Zahn and Deadwood‘s Kim Dickens. If there’s one thing David Simon explores well, it’s poverty. Look for it this April.

Boardwalk Empire

The 1920’s gave us speakeasies, The Great Gatsby, and now HBO’s new show Boardwalk Empire. There’s no official release date yet, but Martin Scorcese’s Prohibition-era masterpiece (is it too early to call it that?) is expected in fall of 2010. With Steve Buscemi leading a cast of the Atlantic City underworld, luscious period costumes and a trailer reminiscent of Public Enemies’ stunning gangster cinematography, Boardwalk Empire may help HBO reclaim the premium channel throne (along with Treme and True Blood, of course.) Plus, the set looks amazing.

Day One

This new NBC drama is being billed as Lost meets V meets War of the Worlds, which as far as we can tell translates into tons of special effects and end of the world drama mixed in with some over-the-top acting, a cheesy tagline (“Every ending has a beginning.”), and some conspiracy theories. Perhaps it will help us fill the void that Heroes — which was also once about saving the world — left when it started to suck in Season Two.