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2010 rings in new and returning shows

Maureen Ryan
Chicago Tribune (MCT)

A quick glance at some of the most notable TV returns and debuts of early 2010.

Jan.10: "Chuck" (9 p.m., NBC), "Big Love" (9 p.m., HBO), "Return to Cranford" (9 p.m., PBS), "Battlestar Galactica: The Plan" (9 p.m., Syfy).

Retail clerk Chuck Bartowski (Zachary Levi) finds out whether his new spy skills will help him save the world from bad guys in "Chuck's" two-hour season premiere; Sissy Spacek joins the cast of "Big Love" as a powerful lobbyist; Judi Dench returns in the sequel to the pleasing Victorian miniseries "Cran ford"; and the "Bat tlestar" TV movie tells the story of the Cylon attack on humanity from the point of view of the Cylons.

Jan.12: "American Idol" (8 p.m., Fox) and "Southland" (10 p.m., TNT).

New judge Ellen DeGe neres won't be part of the panel when the audition rounds of "Idol's" ninth season begin; she will join the show starting with the Hollywood round. TNT is first re-airing the seven "Southland" episodes that were made for NBC last season. In March, TNT will begin airing six previ ously unseen epi sodes from the po lice drama's second season.

Jan.13: "Lever age" (10 p.m., TNT).

When this action -caper series returns, Nate (Timothy Hut ton) and his fellow do-gooder grifters try to take down a sweatshop owner.

Jan.14: "Project Runway" (10 p.m., Lifetime) and "Ar cher" (10 p.m., FX).

For "Runway's" seventh season, judges Mi chael Kors and Nina Garcia are back full time and the show returns to its New York roots (thank goodness for both developments). "Ar cher" is a dry, sometimes surreal animated comedy about a put-upon spy with a complicated personal life.

Jan.17: "Human Target" (8 p.m., Fox) and "24" (9 p.m., Fox).

It's a night of manly action on Fox, as the network unveils the bodyguard-for hire action drama "Human Target," which has a great cast — Mark Valley, Chi McBride and Jackie Earle Haley — but a somewhat iffy execution in the pilot. When "24" returns, cast constant Kiefer Sutherland will be joined by Katee Sackhoff ("Battlestar Galactica") and Freddie Prinze Jr.

Jan. 21: "Burn Notice" (10 p.m., USA).

If the frigid win ter is getting to you, return ing to Miami for more ad ventures with Michael West en (Jeffrey Donovan), Sam (Bruce Campbell) and Fiona (Gabrielle Anwar) could be just the ticket.

Jan. 22: "Caprica" (9 p.m., Syfy) and "Spartacus: Blood and Sand" (10 p.m., Starz).

"Caprica" is a promising "Battlestar Galactica" pre quel series with a great cast (Paula Malcolmson, Polly Walker, Esai Morales and Eric Stoltz) and zero space ships. "Spartacus" is an updating of the classic tale of a slave-turned-gladiator; one of the stars in the Starz drama is "Battlestar" and "Xena" actress Lucy Law less.

Jan. 25: "Damages" (10 p.m., FX).

The cast for the third season of this legal thriller looks stellar: Martin Short, Lily Tomlin, Camp bell Scott and Keith Carra dine will join stars Glenn Close, Rose Byrne and Tate Donovan for more classy conniving in New York boardrooms, offices and bedrooms.

Feb. 2: "Lost" (9 p.m., ABC).

"We concocted the mythology of the show a long time ago, and it's like having a Christmas present and you kept it on the shelf a long time and people are finally going to get to open it and see it," executive producer Carl ton Cuse told us regarding the ABC drama's 18-hour final season, which will sign off for good in May.

March 14:

"The Pacific" (10 p.m., HBO). The creative team behind "Band of Broth ers" produced this mini series, which follows the lives of three Marines as they fight their way from Guadalcanal to Peleliu to Okinawa.

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