Television

‘Mind Games,’ ‘Mixology’ debut, ‘Scandal’ leads returning series

 
 
 <span class="cutline_leadin">‘Mind Games’:</span> The cast includes, from left, Wynn Everett, Cedric Sanders, Christian Slater, Gregory Marcel and Steve Zahn.
‘Mind Games’: The cast includes, from left, Wynn Everett, Cedric Sanders, Christian Slater, Gregory Marcel and Steve Zahn.
Matt Dinerstein / ABC

Philadelphia Daily News

Television as we know it comes roaring back this week.

So, let go of the figure-skating math and crank up the DVR, because reruns are over, Scandal is back, along with several shows that have been gone for much longer – and ABC has a couple of new series:

Tuesday

• Mind Games, 10 p.m., ABC: Christian Slater and Steve Zahn ( Treme) star in this drama about a con man and a bipolar genius who start a business – complete with hot, highly educated employees and amazing offices – aimed at helping clients change other people’s behaviors through what’s apparently best described as Jedi mind tricks.

No, really. That’s what it’s about. There’s the germ of an interesting idea, if not much of a business plan, in Mind Games, which messes with our heads right from the start by making Zahn, not Slater, the brother who’s off his meds.

But creator Kyle Killen, whose obsession with duality brought us the intriguing but short-lived Lone Star and Awake, seems to become a little more sentimental with each project, as if appealing to viewers’ hearts will distract them from what their heads may be telling them.

Based on the two nonconsecutive episodes I’ve seen, mine’s telling me I have no more time for these games.

• Also Tuesday: Two new comedies that premiered over the weekend, About a Boy and Growing Up Fisher, make their time-slot debuts at 9 and 9:30 p.m., on NBC, and Glee (8 p.m., Fox) moves to a new day and time.

Wednesday

•  Mixology, 9:30 p.m., ABC.

Ryan Seacrest’s production company branches out from its “reality roots” for this serialized sitcom in which the entire season takes place on a single night in a bar full of single people.

A little bit Lost, a little bit 24 and a lot of lame pickup lines, Mixology follows 10 characters from birth (yes, there are flashbacks) to possible hookups.

Even those used to keeping up with the Kardashians may struggle to remember who’s who from week to week. But maybe that’s what the beer goggles are for?

•  The Americans, 10 p.m., FX.

One of the winter’s most anticipated events, the Season 2 premiere of this drama about Soviet agents living in Reagan-era suburbia does not disappoint.

They were probably always too active to be called sleeper spies, but as a new threat turns Elizabeth (Keri Russell) and Philip Jennings (Matthew Rhys) into increasingly sleepless parents, the stakes are higher than ever. And the wigs even crazier.

•  Perception, 10 p.m., TNT.

ABC’s not the only network intrigued by high-functioning people with mental illnesses: Eric McCormack returns for the second half of Season 2 of TNT’s drama about a schizophrenic professor of neuroscience who helps the FBI solve crimes.

Thursday

•  Vikings, 10 p.m., History.

The Season 2 opener of the History Channel’s first scripted series finds Ragnar Lothbrok (Travis Fimmel) at war with his ever-jealous brother Rollo (Clive Standen). And that’s just the beginning of his troubles.

•  The Red Road, 9 p.m., Sundance.

Martin Henderson, Jason Momoa ( Game of Thrones) and Julianne Nicholson ( Masters of Sex) star in a moody drama set in a small New Jersey town that borders a Native American community.

•  Portlandia, 10 p.m., IFC.

Fred Armisen, the newly named bandleader for Late Night, returns, along with Carrie Brownstein, for a fourth season of crunchy-granola satire.

Also Thursday: Scandal returns from its too-long break at 10 p.m., ABC.

Friday

•  Hannibal, 10 p.m., NBC.

As Season 2 opens, Hannibal Lecter (Mads Mikkelsen) is still cooking up trouble for FBI profiler Will Graham (Hugh Dancy), who’s accused of murders that only we know he didn’t commit.

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