In the bleak midwinter … it’s the perfect time to become a couch potato.

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Now that the holidays are over, along with their gloomy pit of reruns, the television landscape is looking up. A bunch of new shows are premiering this month and some old favorites are returning from their mid-season breaks. Here’s my list of shows to look out for:

Returning Dramas

Heroes (NBC) returns from its hiatus on Monday, Jan. 22, at 9 p.m. EST. You can catch up with all previously aired episodes on nbc.com right now or read the series’ graphic novel. The cheerleader is growing on me, despite her excessive perkiness.

Season 6 of 24 (Fox) premieres on Sunday, Jan. 14, at 8 p.m., airing the first two episodes of this season, followed by another two hours on Monday, Jan. 15 (it will air on Monday nights after the premiere). This season features Regina King as a “a determined and powerful advocacy lawyer” and, of course, Mary Lynn Rajskub as snarky smarty-pants CTU veteran Chloe O’Brian. The problem with 24 is that it’s like crack. If you start, you have to have a new fix right away. That’s why I usually wait for the DVD, but I have to say the 2-night, 4-hour premiere is genius, Fox marketing people!

Octavia and Servilia in RomeSeason 2 of HBO’s bloody, melodramatic and sometimes Sapphic Rome premieres Jan. 14 at 9 p.m. The women on this show are really something. I wouldn’t lie to you.

Lost (ABC) ends its torturous midseason hiatus on Wednesday, Feb. 7 at 10 p.m. Will the mysterious gay character finally come out? Personally, I’m not convinced there is a gay character on the show, but if anybody has proof otherwise, please share!

Jericho‘s (CBS) second half premieres on Feb. 14. I have to admit I’m kinda hooked on this postapocalyptic action/soap drama. And did you realize that Ashley Scott, who plays the small-town blonde beauty Emily Sullivan, had a previous life as a superhero? As a brunette, she was the kick-ass Helena Kyle on the short-lived WB series Birds of Prey. I enjoyed that show. So sad it was canceled. Sniff.

[Click below to see what’s new in reality TV]

Returning in Reality

Season 6 of The Donald’s The Apprentice (NBC) premieres Jan. 7 from 9:30-11 p.m. This time it’s set in L.A. with 18 new candidates, including two gay guys: Atlanta businessman Carey and entertainment lawyer Derek.

The mother of all reality shows, American Idol (Fox), premieres its sixth season on Jan. 16 and 17 in another two-night, four-hour event. Who knows if this show will ever have an openly queer contestant, but I’ll probably watch anyway.

New in Reality

Tika MilanMTV’s I’m From Rolling Stone premieres this Sunday, Jan. 7, at 10 p.m. The series follows a bunch of interns, including lesbian writer Tika Milan, at Rolling Stone as they vie for a chance at a job there as a contributing editor. Watch a preview for it in Sarah’s column. Hey Tika, if you don’t get the job at Rolling Stone, maybe you should apply at AfterEllen.com.

The show named after the eternal dating queestion, Gay, Straight or Taken? (Lifetime) premieres on Jan. 8 at 8 p.m. In this half-hour reality dating series, a woman meets three men and has to figure out whether they’re gay, straight or taken. If it were about lesbians, it would be Dyke, Bi-curious or Married?

Bravo’s next Project Runway-style series, Top Design, premieres on Jan. 31 at 10 p.m., this time seeking “America’s next great interior designer.” It’s hosted by openly gay Todd Oldham, and since this is Bravo you can probably count on at least one gay contestant; given that this is a design show, maybe two or three.

The search for the new Sandy Dumbrowski and Danny Zuko in a Broadway production of Grease begins on Jan. 7 at 8 p.m. on Grease: You’re the One That I Want (NBC). I’m disappointed they’ve already cast Rizzo. She’s the real star of Grease, as evidenced by Lucy Lawless‘ turn in Rizzo’s shoes in the mid-1990s (yes, I saw Lucy on Broadway!).

New in Drama

The Courtney Cox-starring drama Dirt (FX) premiered on Jan. 2, but don’t worry if you missed the premiere — the lesbian hasn’t shown up yet; there’s still time!

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