Network: HBO
Stars: Dustin Hoffman, Nick Nolte, Dennis Farina, John Ortiz, Richard Kind, Kevin Dunn, Ian Hart, Kerry Condon, Jill Hennessy
Premiere Date: January 29
Why we’re excited: Some new TV shows possess so much star power and prestige that pop culture junkies are practically forced to watch it just off general principle. Think back to the lead-up for HBO’s Boardwalk Empire, with its top-shelf cast of stars and superior character actors (Steve Buscemi, Michael Shannon, Michael Pitt, Michael K. Williams) and off-camera heavyweights (Martin Scorsese, Mark Wahlberg, The Sopranos executive producer Terrence Winter). In 2012, the equivalent to Boardwalk's inherent muscle can be found in Luck, another name-packed HBO series.

In front of the directors’ lenses, the horse racing drama boasts Academy Award winner Dustin Hoffman, Golden Globe winner Nick Nolte, and very fine character actors John Ortiz (Carlito’s Way, American Gangster), Kevin Dunn (Transformers), and Dennis Farina (Get Shorty, Snatch). But the real draw is David Milch, Luck’s acclaimed, untouchable creator, whose inception credits include NYPD Blue and HBO’s unbelievably slept-on, and unfairly cancelled, Deadwood. Tack on pilot director, and Luck’s executive producer, Michael Mann (the esteemed filmmaker behind such winners as Manhunter, Heat, and Collateral) and you’ve got one of 2012’s heaviest first-year hitters.