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MEDIA: January Brings Back TV’s Most Anticipated:

It seems like a lifetime ago that we last said goodbye to the characters of Lost, with some 2009 return date looming in the distance. It was impossible to imagine waiting back then, but wait we have. Now the time is nearly upon us, and Lost is slated to return on January 21. It’s almost a month away but between now and then we’ll have plenty of other big returns to look forward to.

Lost is the most interesting show because we keep watching even though it’s utterly confusing. For a long time they teased us with the crew getting off the island at last. Now, they’re teasing us with the notion that the crew is trying to get back on the island. It doesn’t really matter, does it, because we just like to watch them all squirm like bugs under a glass.

The writers’ strike has wreaked havoc on the television season and it hasn’t been nearly as apparent as it’s been this past fall. Television has seemed lifeless while the Internet has become more and more interesting. But January promises to start bringing the tube back to life.

Life on Mars will get a new night right behind Lost, hoping to cash in on those viewers who like to extend their belief systems for the night. Those two shows should pack a powerful punch ratings-wise.

Damages, the FX series and breakout hit starring Glenn Close and Rose Byrne, returns on January 7. William Hurt will join the series, along with Marcia Gay Harden. The vague plot details from the website describe Hurt as someone from Patty (Close’s) past and this time the plot has something to do with a politically connected domestic murder. Meanwhile, little Ellen (Byrne) is going to be seeking revenge against Patty by helping the FBI uncover corruption at Patty’s firm.

Fox’s 24 returns on January 11 after a ridiculously long dry spell. During its premiere week, 24 will air on two evenings, two hours a pop, and we already sort of know what’s going to happen there since they kindly provided us with an original TV movie last month where Jack Bauer turned himself into authorities in order to save a group of children.

Big Love returns January 18 with all of the same ongoing conflicts exploding. Will the sister-wives accept a new member of the clan? Will Sarah and Scott’s relationship go public? Will Bill be successful in business once he starts living more openly with his calling? We’ll have to tune in to find out.

The Closer comes back January 26, making the month a true battle of the divas. Other notable returns include Friday Night Lights on January 16. New shows on the horizon include The Beast, starring Patrick Swayze for A&E; Trust Me, for TNT, starring Eric McCormack and Tom Cavanagh; and the brand new Diablo Cody series for Showtime starring Toni Collette, The United States of Tara.

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