It's a new year and time for some fresh viewing, so why not try Damages (AXN; Tuesday, 11pm)? Within the first 60 seconds of the pilot, you'll understand that, despite superficial similarities, this is not Law & Order but something altogether darker. An original legal drama series from FX, the network that brought us The Shield and Nip/Tuck, Damages debuted in the US last July with unspectacular ratings. Luckily, TV executives do not rely on these figures as heavily as they once did - especially when major newspapers and entertainment magazines, including The New York Times and Variety, are giving a show rave reviews. Why such plaudits for a programme conceived at a network once dubbed 'the poor man's HBO'? Hazarding a guess, even the most jaded of critics must have found it hard to suppress their excitement about the involvement of an iconic actor such as Glenn Close. Close is a formidable talent on the silver screen. Among a host of award nominations, including five for Oscars, she has won an Emmy and a Golden Globe. Her character in Fatal Attraction, Alex Forrest, sent fear through the hearts of cheating husbands around the world. In the otherwise hollow remake of The Stepford Wives, she played psychotic idealism to perfection. In addition to her film work, Close has maintained a television career since the early 1980s and Damages is arguably her biggest vehicle in the drama genre. The character of Patty Hewes seems tailor-made for her. From her first appearance in the pilot, Close's porcelain skin, ice-blue gaze and serpentine smile bring back deliciously wicked memories of the Machiavellian cunning and lust for power of the Marquise Isabelle de Merteuil (Dangerous Liaisons). Hewes is a ball-busting lawyer at the top of her game in the heady world of high-stakes litigation. She is sinking her teeth into multibillionaire Arthur Frobisher (Ted Danson, Cheers), who is accused of an illegal stock sale that bankrupted his 5,000 employees. Enter Ellen Parsons (Rose Byrne), a fresh-faced young lawyer in line for a job at New York's top firm. After a failed attempt to impress Hewes, a twist of fate fast-tracks her to the right hand of the notorious litigator and into the heart of the Frobisher case. Parsons soon suspects she was not hired on merit but that Hewes is a consummate manipulator and she is a pawn in her scheme. If you need an antidote to all this cynicism and suspense, there's always the Mediterranean. From beautiful coastal islands to bustling cities around Greece and Cyprus, host British-Cypriot Tonia Buxton (below) and her family explore markets, taverns and homes, discovering the secrets of the local gastronomy in the new series My Greek Kitchen (Discovery Travel & Living; Wednesday, 8pm). Whether she is waking at 5am to search for the finest seafood in the local fish market or persuading fishermen to let her trawl swordfish, Buxton brings out the sights and sounds of the Mediterranean in this show. And for viewers unable to follow in her footprints at the idyllic locations, Buxton shows how to cook healthy family meals, host parties and cater to weddings, all with Greek flair.