Welcome back, television! In this week's returning shows, we get the strangest clone of them all in Star Wars: The Clone Wars. There's also a confrontation with the Devil, the deadliness of "doomsday volcanoes," and a fairytale murder mystery. Plus the steampunk superhero story you've been waiting months for.
Check out clips and details on the 10 shows that are back from the winter break this week, below.
Top Image: Once Upon a Time
New Year's Eve Specials (Various Channels, Tonight):
There are some vaguely science fictional touches among these different specials. On ABC, Dick Clark's New Years Rockin' Eve, now hosted by Ryan Seacrest, features Fergie from the Black Eyed Peas, along with various other guests. On Fox, there's Carmen Electra, whom Prince once named "The Scariest Female on the Planet." Adult Swim has The Eric Andre New Year's Eve Spooktacular, which promises to make 2013 scarier than 2012, and includes Kevin Sorbo.
Dual Survival (Discovery, 9 PM):
The season opener is called "Mars on Earth," and here's the skinny:
DUAL SURVIVAL series features two people with drastically different backgrounds and survival strategies who take on some of the planet's most unforgiving terrain, from Chile to Zambia, to demonstrate how the right skills and some creative thinking can keep you alive even in the most dangerous situations. This season the challenges are bigger, the environments are more extreme and the differences between the two men couldn't be greater. Returning this season is Cody Lundin, a 20 plus-year survival veteran who honed his skills living in the deserts and mountains with little modern tools, equipment or assistance. Lundin is a professional survival instructor and has been going barefoot for more than two decades, part of his indigenous survival strategy. New this season is Joseph Teti, a combat-tested special operations veteran and graduate of more than 30 formal schools related to special operations. His training in the art of staying alive has helped him survive countless classified missions in Afghanistan and Iraq. Together they could be the most formidable survival team on the planet - if only they could agree on strategy.
Also on TV tonight: Science is showing three hours of Fringe from 8 to 11. There's a new Doomsday Preppers on National Geographic at 9 PM.
Nova (9 PM, PBS):
It's the 40th (!) season premiere, with "Doomsday Volcanoes":
Find out what can we do to prepare for the inevitable disaster following a volcanic eruption in Iceland.
American Horror Story: Asylum (10 PM, FX):
Any other show that featured a character confronting the Devil, it would probably be metaphorical. Here, it's probably going to involve naked babies flying out of people's ears.
"The Name Game" - The Monsignor confronts the Devil. Dr. Arden's experiments reach a shocking conclusion. Dr. Thredson facilitates a surprising reunion for Kit.
House of Anubis (8 PM, Nickelodeon):
This "weird boarding school" show's been gone a long time, but at last it's back with "House of Arrivals / House of Presents". And here's what happens, according to the House of Anubis Wiki:
A new girl named KT begins school, and Eddie recalls seeing her in a vision; a new teacher arrives and settles into the gatehouse. Fabian is upset Nina does not return to the Anubis House; Fabian finds Nina's locket in amongst Eddie's things. Victor searches for an important parcel; and Eddie tries to learn more about KT. In this episode everyone forgets Amber's birthday at first and doesn't give her a present; while Fabian tries to get in contact with Nina.
Person of Interest (9 PM, CBS):
Yay, thank goodness one of our favorite shows is back already, and we get to find out what happens next to Reese after his unfortunate run-in with the FBI. Here's what CBS wants you to know:
"2pR" - Finch goes undercover as a high school substitute teacher to protect a teen genius POI as Carter undertakes a dangerous mission to stop the FBI from determining that an imprisoned Reese is the "Man In a Suit."
Also on TV tonight: Sheldon gets accused of sexual harrassment in a new Big Bang Theory on CBS at 8 PM. Travel has a new Mysteries at the Museum at 9. There's also a new Elementary on CBS at 10 PM.
Merlin (10 PM, Syfy):
At last, season five of this British magical coming-of-age series is on Syfy. We've been getting caught up on this show during its long hiatus, and have started to appreciate the quasi-Cumberbatchian stylings of Colin Morgan as the titular young Merlin. Here's what's up in "Arthur's Bane Part 1":
Camelot basks in the halcyon days of a new Golden Age. But even as she flowers, so the dark seeds of her destruction are being sown. For in the frozen wastelands of the North, men are disappearing without a trace. In search of answers, King Arthur and his Knights must undertake a dangerous mission to the unknown. As the sun sets on the icy plains, Merlin finds himself locked in a battle unlike any he has fought before — a battle with Fate itself.
Star Wars: The Clone Wars (9:30 AM, Cartoon Network):
It's the 100th episode! Check out a clip at left, plus here's what's in store in "Missing In Action":
In a nearly vacant town on a strange planet, the intrepid members of D-Squad discover Gregor, a clone commando who has lost his memory, and is toiling away as a dishwasher. The all-droid squad and their gruff leader must help Gregor regain his memory so they can steal a heavily guarded shuttle and return to the Republic.
DC Nation (10 AM, Cartoon Network):
The all-too-long-awaited return of both Green Lantern and Young Justice, plus more of those weird little shorts that usually accompany them. The Green Lantern episode is the "steampunk" outing that was supposed to have aired months ago, "Steam Lantern." And here's what's up with Young Justice:
Blue Beetle and Miss Martian go on a mission to help their teammates and discover something unexpected.
Actually, I think both of these episodes were supposed to have aired months ago, and were yanked at the last minute.
Also on TV today: A new Ben 10: Omniverse on Cartoon Network at 9 AM.
Once Upon a Time (8 PM, ABC):
Another returning show! It sounds like we could be in for some fairytale courtroom drama, which is probably the best kind:
"The Cricket Game" - Regina is accused of murdering one of the town's most beloved fairytale characters — but only Emma senses that she may be innocent. Meanwhile, back in the fairytale land that was, after capturing the Evil Queen, Snow White and Prince Charming set about planning her public execution in order to rid the land of her murderous tyranny.
Animation Domination (8 PM, Fox):
All the usual animated shows. Worth mentioning because The Simpsons is about a survivalist group that believes the end of the world is coming imminently, and The Family Guy features the Griffins going to Space Camp and being accidentally launched into space.
Robot Chicken (Midnight, Adult Swim):
Allegedly there's a new episode airing this week, but there are no details whatsoever.
Tron Uprising (Midnight, Disney XD):
Once again, the burning off of episodes continues. This week: "Welcome Home." In which:
Beck tries to rescue a fleeing government scientist before Paige and the Occupation finds her; Paige and Beck become passengers on the same runaway train and Beck must save the innocent programs on the train without revealing his identity.
And that's followed by the season (and likely series) finale of Motorcity at 12:30 AM.