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Thursday, December 20, 2012
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7 TV Happenings To Keep You Occupied During The Winter Hiatus

By Carson Blackwelder
Television Contributor

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It’s the most wonderful time of the year — except for TV. During a large part of December, our TV options are as disappointing as coal in a stocking, as several shows hibernate until January.

We here at ScottFeinberg.com don’t want you to be without entertainment as you anxiously await the return of your favorite series (especially with in-laws visiting!), so here are seven hidden gems to check out this winter hiatus:

7. ABC’s Nashville catch-up (Jan. 2 at 10 p.m. EST)

I just had to sneak this one onto the list. Although Nashville isn’t taking the stage again until Jan. 9, ABC is offering fans an opportunity to catch up on all the drama, tunes and steamy romances.

Nashville: The Whole Story” will highlight the intersecting tales of country legend Rayna Jaymes (Connie Britton) and rising star Juliette Barnes (Hayden Panettiere) as they navigate the charts as well as their hearts. The men in Rayna’s life, friend, former lover and ex-bandmate Deacon (Charles Esten) and husband Teddy (Eric Close), bring her life added stress while Juliette is haunted by her ever-present druggie mother (Sylvia Jefferies). Forming the other love triangle of the show are singers/songwriters Scarlett (Clare Bowen), Avery (Jonathan Jackson) and rocker Gunnar (Sam Palladio).

Fitting this much drama into one hour is sure to pack one heck of a Southern punch.

6. Season four premiere of IFC’s Portlandia (Jan. 4 at 10 p.m. EST)

Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein return in the sketch comedy, which features a unique representation of Portland, Ore. IFC just aired a special holiday episode, entitled “Winter in Portlandia,” Dec. 14, but if you missed it, you can catch it for free on iTunes. This episode includes skits with such regulars as the feminist bookstore ladies and Peter and Nance, so it’s not to be skipped.

This season will feature a variety of guest stars, including Chloë Sevigny as Fred and Carrie’s new roommate and Kyle MacLachlan as the Seattle-averse mayor of Portland.

5. Season 10 premiere of TLC’s What Not to Wear (Jan. 3 at 10 p.m. EST)

The fashion makeover show, starring Clinton Kelly (also of ABC’s The Chew) and Stacy London, is TLC’s longest running primetime program and will be making its double-digit season debut.

The season premiere features Tiffany, the 1980s pop star, who’s looking to hang up her signature jean jacket. A first in What Not to Wear history, Tiffany nominated herself in order to obtain a more fitted, modern style.

This season will see the makeovers of other celebrities (Nicole Eggert, Tina Yothers and Shannon Elizabeth) as well as a slew of other ladies looking for variety in the closet and a positive change in their lives.

4. Season three finale of TNT’s Rizzoli & Isles (Dec. 25 at 9 p.m.)

Season three comes to a close for Boston detective Jane Rizzoli (Angie Harmon) and medical examiner Dr. Maura Isles (Sasha Alexander), who undoubtedly prove that two heads are always better than one. Don’t be too sad to say goodbye, though, as TNT already renewed the female-dominated drama for a fourth season.

In this episode, titled “No More Drama in My Life,” Dr. Hope Martin (Sharon Lawrence) requests a favor of Maura and a building collapses, among other exciting events.

3. MTV’s series finale of Jersey Shore (Dec. 20 at 10 p.m. EST)

It’s (finally) time to bid all of your favorite “guidos” and “guidettes” goodbye. Join JWoww (Jennifer Farley), Snooki (Nicole Polizzi), The Situation (Mike Sorrentino) and the rest of the gang as an era comes to an end. The roommates’ final summer in Seaside Heights ends with an episode called “The Icing on the Cake,” which will be followed by a reunion episode.

MTV will be debuting yet another classy show just two weeks later, on Jan. 3, when Buckwild takes over the timeslot once held by Jersey Shore. The West Virginia reality show has yet to premiere, but it is already teeming with drama.

2. USA Network’s Burn Notice season six finale (Dec. 20 at 9 p.m. EST)

USA’s longest-running original drama, Burn Notice’s two-part sixth season finale is entitled “You Can Run” and will air back-to-back tonight. Michael Westen (Jeffrey Donovan) and crew will be on the run from someone who wants them dead, whereas Sam (Bruce Campbell) and Jesse (Coby Bell) have been caught.

It look as though this season is sure to go out with a bang — but what else is new?

1. BBC America’s Doctor Who Christmas Special (Dec. 25 at 9 p.m. EST)

Whovians, brace yourselves for an amazing Christmas gift. This year’s Doctor Who Christmas special, entitled “The Snowmen,” will be a big one for the British series. Matt Smith, the 11th Doctor in the series, will be meeting a new companion, Clara, played by Jenna-Louise Coleman. The Doctor will surely be reeling from losing his previous companions, Rory Williams (Arthur Darvill) and Amy Pond (Karen Gillan), but won’t have time to mourn because he will be facing an icy army of snowmen and a fancy new design of the TARDIS. Looks like things might be heating up for him and his new companion, too.

Did we miss anything you are looking forward to? Let us know what you’ll be watching in the comments below!

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    BBC America “The Hour”