On the house

Starting Friday, Showtime is offering many basic-cable subscribers a free weekend, one that happens to include the season premieres of "Shameless" (8 p.m. Sunday), "House of Lies" (9 p.m. Sunday) and "Californication" (9:30 p.m. Sunday).

I fought the law

There's a new sheriff in town -- and he's not the Gary Cooper type. "Banshee" (9 p.m. Friday, Cinemax), a new series from "True Blood's" Alan Ball, centers on an ex-con who tricks a small town into thinking he's a lawman, even as he tries to outwit gangsters he's betrayed in the past.

Ladies night out

Caustic Ricky Gervais has handed off hosting duties to Amy Poehler and Tina Fey, which should make for a kinder and gentler "70th Annual Golden Globe Awards" (7 p.m. Sunday, KMSP, Ch. 9). The former "Saturday Night Live" heroines are about as brilliant as it gets. Let's hope this serves as an audition for a future Oscars gig.

Girls night out

Lots of pay-cable series start new seasons this weekend, none with more riding on it than "Girls" (8 p.m. Sunday, HBO), Lena Dunham's scathing satire that had hipsters talking about it for most of 2012. Fans will no doubt start buzzing again, but I must admit that I did more cringing than laughing during the season's early episodes.