With this series, HBO almost single-handedly redeems all the vapid depictions of 20-something female identity that dominate network sitcoms.

I really liked Season 1 from the moment in the pilot when Hannah’s parents essentially cut her off on so many levels — and told her to grow up. What a great pilot. Season 2 starts off just as strong.

‘The Following’ Fox, 9 p.m. Jan. 21. It’s a network drama, but it has a cable feel with Kevin Bacon in the lead as a heavy-drinking, burned-out ex-FBI agent called back to action when a serial killer escapes from prison. It is hard to tell whether Bacon is delivering a minimalist performance or simply not that excited about working for Fox.

Baltimore viewers, take note: The killer is obsessed with Edgar Allan Poe, and there are wall-to-wall Poe references and trivia in this series.

All viewers, take special note: This is a particularly graphic and grisly series for network TV. If the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School has truly affected the national psyche, it could be a problem for this series in terms of finding an audience.

‘The Americans’ FX. 10 p.m. Jan. 30. Keri Russell and Matthew Rhys star as KGB sleeper agents living in suburban America, outside Washington, in Ronald Reagan’s 1980s as a married couple with two children. This is my favorite concept of the TV season. Oh yeah, an FBI agent (Noah Emmerich) lives next door.

‘House of Cards’ Netflix, Feb. 1. The listing does not give an airtime because this big-budget remake of the BBC thriller is not going to be airing on TV. The entire first season will be available from Netflix starting Feb. 1. That is an exciting and possibly transformative business model that will be watched closely throughout the entertainment industry.

I wrote a lot about the series as it was being filmed last year and will be writing more in coming weeks. Kevin Spacey and Robin Wright star, with David Fincher directing the first episode and producing with Spacey. From what I have seen during production, it looks as good as the original, which I loved.

‘Top of the Lake’ Sundance, 9 p.m. March 18. A seven-part, murder-mystery miniseries from Jane Campion (“The Piano”) about the disappearance of a pregnant 12-year-old. Elizabeth Moss stars as the investigating detective. It’s on my dance card Monday nights in March, I’ll tell you that.

‘Mr. Selfridge’ PBS, 9 p.m. March 31. Jeremy Piven stars in this miniseries as the American founder of the famed British department store, Selfridges. I have not seen anything but a trailer from ITV, where it premiered in the U.K., but I’m going out on a limb on the strength of Piven and the fact that Andrew Davies, who wrote the original “House of Cards” for the BBC in 1990, is the writer. Davies also wrote TV’s “Pride and Prejudice” and “Little Dorrit.” I’ll give it a look on the strength of that.

david.zurawik@baltsun.com

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