Spotlighting spring TV premieres

Digital video recorders are expensive. Luckily, television shows let you know about their returns far in advance so you can build your schedule around what truly matters: your favorite shows.

Of course, school comes first. But for that hour-long break between studying, you’ll want something good to watch. The Oracle previews upcoming TV premieres, from brand new series to the returns of time-tested favorites.

“Missing” ABC

March 15, 8 p.m.

Imagine a TV series version of the action movie “Taken,” but swap out Liam Neeson for Ashley Judd. ABC’s latest action series tells the story of an ex-CIA mom whose son gets kidnapped in Italy. When she travels there to find him, her past life begins to haunt her.

The trailer promises explosions, gunfire and Jason Bourne-like Vespa chases. Judd takes on the daunting task of balancing that “gimme-back-my-baby!” angry mom role and a calm, cool killer who outsmarts the bad guys with wit and composure. The preview brings to mind the style of a fast-paced mini-movie like “24.” Come March 15, we’ll know a lot more about whether secret agent mom can live up to the hype.

“Community” NBC

March 15, 8 p.m.

If you’ve never watched the quirky college show that holds the coveted 8 p.m. timeslot of NBC’s Thursday night comedy block, a College Humor-produced PSA staring the cast will convince you to start. Because of the tough competition in that timeslot, the future of the show is up in the air. This spurred a number of fan campaigns to save the show.

The College Humor short titled “Save Greendale” shows each cast member in character listing reasons to save the school from being torn down, and therefore save the show. It begins by saying: “The following was paid for with the budget for Greendale Athletics – don’t tell them.” One of the best lines comes from Joel McHale. Five bullet points appear on the screen as he lists the ways Greendale benefits the community. He mentions the first bullet point, “overflow parking for the mosque next door,” then walks away, leaving the remaining four bullets points blank.

“Touch” Fox

March 22, 9 p.m.

Speaking of “24,” star Kiefer Sutherland is back on Fox, but this time his show is all about numbers. Forget that the name of his last show was a number. This time he’s trying to figure out why his 10-year-old son is unable to speak, but is obsessed with math.

The trailer hints at a chaos-theory storyline similar to the 2009 film “Knowing.” Sutherland’s character befriends Danny Glover’s character, who tells him his son can see into the future via complex mathematics. We’ll see how the new Fox series pulls off combining science with the supernatural. Showing a couple of Fibonacci spirals in the trailer is a good start.

Mad Men” AMC

March 25, 9 p.m.

After winning four Emmys in its first four years, it’s foolish to think fans and critics will have a hard time picking “Mad Men” back up after a 17-month hiatus. Don Draper and his ad cronies return to bring cigarettes, scotch and misogyny back to TV.

Critics and viewers adored the show in its first four seasons for offering not only a historically accurate style, but also a compelling storyline with deep characters. Last season ended with Don Draper spontaneously marrying his secretary. This season will reveal whether he becomes a one-woman man or whether Megan is the new Betty – just another nave woman he seduces into cooking his meals and raising his children.

“The Killing” AMC

April 1, 8 p.m.

While the pilot season of AMC’s murder mystery series was good enough to garner a second season, many fans were troubled by the unresolved ending of the first. The show revolves around a murder investigation that’s also being used to get sympathy votes during a mayoral campaign.

The first season ended without revealing the murderer, meanwhile suggesting that the mayoral candidate and a missing girl may have had an affair. An exclusive interview with actor Billy Campbell, who plays mayoral candidate Darren Richmond, revealed that season two will uncover the murderer, but not until the end. The actor also expressed how impressed he was with the script for season two, saying, “…all of those people who were disappointed at the end of Season 1 will have no reason to be disappointed in Season 2.”

“Glee” Fox

April 10, 8 p.m.

What was once America’s sweetheart of a TV series has seen a decline in its popularity and acclaim. The show that combines talented tribute performances worthy of “American Idol” with the plots of an ABC Family teen drama has been accused of jumping the shark. For those not fluent in TV lingo, “jumping the shark” refers to the moment a show gets desperate for attention, named after the “Happy Days” episode that featured Fonzie jumping over a shark while waterskiing.

They’ve played the same tired cards – engagement, pregnancy and another engagement. They even had one of the characters come out of the closet. “Glee” will either fade away as the show with great potential or make a comeback worthy of its first-season hype.