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In what is likely an effort to whet viewers’ appetites for some of their returning original programming (and entice people to subscribe), Showtime has made the season premiere episodes of Shameless, Episodes and House of Lies available for free online ahead of their planned premieres this Sunday night. This should help curb some of the anxiety TV watchers may be experiencing in anticipation of next Sunday night, which piles the Golden Globes, HBO premieres, Showtime premieres and some other great programming into one small block of hours, forcing fans to decide what to watch and what to save for later. I suppose there are worse problems, but getting to watch three season premieres ahead of schedule does alleviate some of that stress. If there’s a downside, its that Showtime tends to edit the online versions, which means swearing and other adult content will be at a minimum.
Above is the Season 4 premiere of Shameless, an underrated dramedy based on a British series, which stars William H. Macy and Emmy Rossum and centers on a dysfunctional working class Chicago family. Showtime just aired a marathon of the first three seasons of the series, to catch viewers up or offer a refresher for everything that’s happened leading up to Season 4. The fourth season premieres at 9:00 p.m. on Sunday, January 12 on Showtime.
Next up, we have Episodes, which stars Matt LeBlanc as a humorous version of himself, the star of a struggling TV comedy based on a BAFTA-winning UK comedy created by characters Beverly (Tamsin Greig) and Sean (Stephen Mangan). Sean and Beverly are not only having trouble adapting their TV series for a U.S. audience, they’re also having trouble adapting themselves to Hollywood life, which has put their marriage in jeopardy. Season 3 is set to officially debut on Sunday, January 12 at 10:30 p.m., following the return of House of Lies…
Also on its third season, House of Lies stars Don Cheadle as Marty Kaan, the leader of a “Pod” of management consultants. Also among the cast is Kristen Bell, playing Jeannie, one of Marty’s team members and also a love interest (kind of). Ben Schwartz and Josh Lawson also play members of Marty’s team, while Dawn Olivieri plays Marty’s ex-wife and mother to his child. House of Lies is set to return for Season 3 on Sunday, January 12 at 10:00 p.m.
As mentioned, this Sunday is a busy night for television, between the Showtime and HBO premieres (Girls and True Detective) and the Golden Globes. There’s also regularly scheduled programming including Fox’s Animation Domination line-up, The Good Wife, Revenge, Downton Abbey, The Mentalist and Betrayal. So Showtime releasing these three premieres early online really does take some of the weight off viewers who might actually try to watch everything. (Good luck with that!)