TV

‘The Last of Us’ and Milo Ventimiglia

More zombies? More spies? More witches?

This winter promises new TV shows that look and smell a lot like series of the past: A zombie apocalypse drama, but this time on HBO and based on a video game. A con-man spy romance on ABC, but starring everyone’s favorite network TV hunk, Milo Ventimiglia. Another Anne Rice adaptation on AMC, but with witches instead of vampires. A murder mystery from “Glass Onion” director Rian Johnson on Peacock. And an Amazon dark comedy with perennially villainous actor Christoph Waltz as the bad guy. 

Among the dozens of new shows premiering from now through mid-March , we picked five that are really worth your while. Maybe they seem like something you’ve seen before, but that’s not always a bad thing. In the cyclical world of Hollywood, it’s true that everything old is new again, but there are ways to take, say, the well-trodden story of the zombie apocalypse and make it new, with sharp scripts, magnetic actors and fungal zombies (yes, you read that right – the zombies are made of mushrooms). The familiar can be made just novel enough to pique your interest: There is pleasure in watching a romantic hero like Ventimiglia wear a tuxedo. Southern gothic fantasy is a classic. Johnson knows how to write a mystery. 

And Waltz is always terrifying. 

More:The 10 best TV shows of 2022, ranked, from ‘White Lotus’ to ‘Andor’ and ‘The Bear’

Alexandra Daddario as Dr. Rowan Fielding in "Anne Rice's Mayfair Witches," is a powerful witch who doesn't know her heritage.

‘Anne Rice’s Mayfair Witches’

AMC+ (Sundays) and AMC (Jan. 8; Sunday, 9 EST/PST) 

AMC has invested heavily in adapting the works of celebrated fantasy writer Rice, and “Witches” is the latest after last fall’s surprisingly great “Interview With the Vampire.” In the new series, Alexandra Daddario plays a brain surgeon who’s also a very powerful witch with a mysterious heritage, although she doesn’t realize it. Daddario, who was a standout in the first season of HBO’s “The White Lotus,” makes an appealing lead in the eerie gothic series, which leans on its horror roots. 

Pedro Pascal fights fungal zombies in HBO's "The Last of Us," a post-apocalyptic drama adapted from a popular video game.

‘The Last of Us’

HBO (Jan. 15; Sundays, 9 EST/PST)

HBO is going big with this adaptation of the acclaimed Playstation video game, in which an aggressive fungus has turned much of the world into “infected” monsters (they’re really just zombies). Twenty years after the outbreak, Joel (Pedro Pascal) is one of the survivors living in the new world order, a dirty, depressing dictatorship. He crosses paths with teen Ellie (Bella Ramsey, “Catherine Called Birdy”), and agrees to travel with her to a new “quarantine zone.” Only there is something a little different, maybe even special, about her. Pascal and Ramsey, both “Game of Thrones” alumni, are a perfect pair to lead the series, which lives up to the intimate, visceral nature of the video game. 

‘Poker Face’

Peacock (Jan. 26; Thursdays) 

With her trademark frizzy hair and gravelly drawl, Natasha Lyonne leads this new Peacock murder-of-the-week series as a washed-up poker player with an uncanny ability to tell when people are lying. Her need for the truth gets her into a scrape that sends her on the run, and she just happens to help solve murders wherever she lands. The far-fetched concept is propped up by Lyonne’s inherent charisma and a string of delightful guest stars, including Adrien Brody and Benjamin Bratt. 

Milo Ventimiglia plays a conman with a heart of gold who falls for a CIA agent on his tail in ABC's "The Company You Keep."

‘The Company You Keep’

ABC (Feb. 19; Sundays, 10 EST/PST) 

It’s a family affair all over again for Milo Ventimiglia. The actor charmed fans for six seasons on NBC’s “This Is Us,” and now he’s back with perhaps an even more dysfunctional clan in “Company.” He plays the prodigal son in a family of con men who think they’ve completed their final and biggest score. But when plans go awry, he is pulled back into the game (naturally) and falls for a CIA agent (Catherine Haena Kim) along the way. Easy to watch and very romantic, “Company” feels like the natural and welcome next step for the actor. 

Christoph Waltz plays a sociopathic boss in Amazon's "The Consultant."

‘The Consultant’

Amazon (Feb. 24) 

Macabre, twisty and just a little bit twisted, this very bleak workplace comedy starts with a shooting and gets darker from there. After the strange death of the CEO of a phone-app game company, a mysterious consultant (Waltz) shows up and takes over the organization with a rather unconventional and deranged management style. Also starring Nat Wolff (“The Stand”) and Brittany O’Grady (“The White Lotus”), the series defies all expectations while sucking you into the strange story. 

Penn Badgley as Joe Goldberg in Season 4 of "You" on Netflix.

Returning shows we’re excited about…

  • “RuPaul’s Drag Race” (MTV, Jan. 6): The beloved and long-running drag queen competition series returns on a new network for Season 15 with a new guest judge: Ariana Grande. 
  • “You” (Netflix, Feb. 9): Stalker and murderer Joe (Penn Badgley) returns for a fourth season of this addictive drama, bringing his talent for crime and danger to London. No one is safe. 
  • “Party Down” (Starz, Feb. 24): More than a decade after the workplace comedy about cater-waiters in Los Angeles ran for two short seasons on Starz, the beloved and hilarious show returns with almost its full original cast, including Adam Scott, Martin Starr and Jane Lynch.
  • “Yellowjackets” (Showtime, March 26): Showtime’s breakout hit about a girls’ high school soccer team that survives a plane crash (and the repercussions decades later for their adult selves) was an online and Emmy favorite in its first season. Season 2 brings new cast members including Elijah Wood and Lauren Ambrose (“Six Feet Under”). 

More:10 upcoming movies to watch in 2023, from Harrison Ford’s final ‘Indiana Jones’ to ‘John Wick’

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