New Year's, big parties, bowl games, sure -- but what some of us are really waiting for in the coming days is the return of old TV favorites and new mid-season shows. From the return of "Lost" and "24" to the premieres of "True Beauty" and "The Beast," January's TV offerings will make staying in from the cold really easy.
Here's a run-down of the new and the returning shows next month ...
Jan. 3 -- "Game Show in My Head" (CBS)
Joe Rogan (rhymes with "whoosh rag") directs hapless contestants via hidden earpiece to walk around town and humiliate themselves.
Jan. 4 -- "Superstars of Dance" (NBC)
Because, by gum, we're not going to let ABC have all the silly TV dance shows. We're goin' global! High-steppers from eight countries battle for another totally useless title.
Jan. 5 -- "True Beauty" (ABC)
More cruelly twisted "reality" -- a bunch of women think they're competing in a beauty pageant, but what they're really being judged on (via hidden cameras, etc.) is the way they behave ... the beauty on the inside (groan). Produced by the odd combination of Tyra Banks and Ashton Kutcher.
Jan. 6 -- "Homeland Security" (ABC)
A reality show glorifying the civil rights-stripping ... I mean, terrorist-thwarting tactics of our nation's various branches of border patrols. There's a Facebook page protesting the propaganda.
Jan. 7 -- "13: Fear Is Real" (CW)
Thirteen contestants go through the reality-TV motions, this time with horror-movie overtones. Produced by horror movie studs Sam Raimi and Robert Tapert.
Jan. 9 -- "Howie Do It" (NBC)
Because while Kutcher is producing that drivel above, Howie Mandel is stealing time from "Deal or No Deal" to host and participate in this "Punk'd"-style prank show. Perhaps you've seen the commercials with Howie delivering a singing telegram to a funeral. Ha ha.
Jan. 13 -- "Chopped" (Food Network)
Who knew Ted Allen would be the only guy from "Queer Eye" with real staying power? The brainy foodie gets his own show on the appropriate network, where each week he'll lead four chefs through a grueling meal preparation. Three get "Chopped."
Jan. 15 -- "The Beast" (A&E)
Patrick Swayze plays a crusty old FBI agent who can't be stopped -- even by Swayze's real-life pancreatic cancer. Season one of this noir drama proceeded as scheduled -- much of it filmed here in Chicago -- and Swayze is reportedly pretty great in it.
Jan. 18 -- "The United States of Tara" (Showtime)
Written by Diablo Cody (of "Juno" fame), Toni Collette stars as a suburban woman with multiple personalities -- a teen girl, a conservative housewife, and a macho man.
Jan. 21 -- "Lie to Me" (FOX)
Tim Roth ("I love you, honey bunny") is an expert on lying -- that's the out-there new twist on a very old cop-show formula.
Jan. 26 -- "Trust Me" (TNT)
"Lie to Me"? "Trust Me"? This season is one big TV exec Freudian slip, eh? This new outing finds Eric McCormack (the Will of "Will & Grace") back on TV as a partner in a Chicago ad agency.
Jan. 5 -- "The Bachelor" (ABC)
Jason Mesnick was rejected on "The Bachelorette," and now he gets to let the ladies fight over him. Spoiler: Maybe it works -- Mesnick has mentioned in interviews he's engaged.
Jan. 6 -- "The Biggest Loser: Couples" (NBC)
We just wrapped a regular season of this weight-loss competition, and now we're back with a couples challenge. An older couple from Wheaton is featured.
Jan. 6 -- "Scrubs" (ABC)
How often does this happen? The long-running sitcom lives on ... on a new network. Now on ABC, the wacky docs continue being wacky. And look for a new chief of medicine: Courteney Cox.
Jan. 7 -- "The Real World: Brooklyn" (MTV)
Jan. 11 -- "24" (FOX)
We finally found Jack Bauer's weakness: a writers strike! Nonetheless, after November's stick-with-us movie, Jack is back -- and so is Tony Almeida!
Jan. 13 -- "American Idol" (FOX)
Season 8 should be full of chills and thrills. Watch Paula Abdul try to save face! See new judge Kara DioGuardi mouth off in order to stake her claim! Hear another dreadful batch of tuneless freaks chosen purely for the entertainment value of their eventual demise!
Jan. 16 -- "Battlestar Galactica" (Sci Fi)
And so the story will (somehow) come to a conclusion, as Season 4.5 begins -- the last 11 episodes of the best TV remake ever. Because believe it or not, the crew finding Earth -- as they did, as a devastated wasteland, in the last episode we saw -- was not the end of this story. Who is the final Cylon?
Jan. 21 -- "Lost" (ABC)
Who's going to show up this year, Gilligan? Because maybe that's where the disappearing island went -- back to the '60s! The castaways are back trying to prove Thomas Wolfe wrong, and we're still trying to figure out how John Locke became Jeremy Bentham.
Jan. 5 -- "The Secret Life of the American Teenager" (ABC Family)
Jan. 5 -- "Gossip Girl" (CW)
Jan. 5 -- "One Tree Hill" (CW)
Jan. 6 -- "90210" (CW)
Jan. 6 -- "Nip/Tuck" (FX)
Yes, the long-delayed fifth season actually made it back on the air!
Jan. 6 -- "Privileged" (CW)
Jan. 7 -- "Damages" (FX)
I guess in this economy, even when your boss (Glenn Close) tries to have you (Rose Byrne) killed, you still get up and go to work in the morning. At least William Hurt is in the office this season.
Jan. 8 -- "Private Practice" (ABC)
Jan. 9 -- "Everybody Hates Chris" (CW)
Jan. 9 -- "Flashpoint" (CBS)
Jan. 9 -- "The Game" (CW)
Jan. 9 -- "Monk" (USA)
Jan. 9 -- "Psych" (USA)
Jan. 12 -- "Kyle XY" (ABC Family)
Jan. 15 -- "Bones" (FOX)
Jan. 15 -- "Smallville" (CW)
Jan. 15 -- "Supernatural" (CW)
Jan. 16 -- "Friday Night Lights" (NBC)
Jan. 18 -- "Big Love" (HBO)
Jan. 18 -- "The L Word" (Showtime)
Jan. 18 -- "Secret Diary of a Call Girl" (Showtime)
Jan. 19 -- "House" (FOX)
Jan. 26 -- "The Closer" (TNT)
Jan. 28 -- "Life on Mars" (ABC)
Jan. 29 -- "Hell's Kitchen" (FOX)