1. Embarrassing, often funny, and occasionally quite serious bedroom mishaps are the basis of “Sex Sent Me to the ER,” a four-part series that premieres on Dec. 28 on TLC and encores on Discovery Fit & Health on Fridays beginning Jan. 3. In the opener, a hefty man gives his girlfriend a concussion, a musician becomes paralyzed after sex, and a threesome encounter goes terribly wrong.
2. Former Navy SEAL Joel Lambert is the human prey for the world’s most elite military and law enforcement tracking teams in “Lone Target,” premiering Jan. 1 on Discovery Channel. With no weapons, food and only the most basic gear, Lambert is dropped into inhospitable terrain and must make his way to an extraction point without being caught.
3. All of us wonder what we’d do in a life-or-death situation, but do we know enough to get out alive? Premiering Jan. 2, Nat Geo’s interactive series “Do or Die” puts our survival knowledge to the test via real footage, CGI and quizzes to illustrate scenarios like the best way to avoid a raging bull, escape an angry octopus, or deal with malfunctioning parachutes and brakes.
4. Three teams of Maine fishermen hunt the elusive but lucrative ($2,000 a pound!) glass eel in “Cold River Cash,” premiering on Animal Planet on Jan.2.
5. Animals are a lot smarter than many of us think. A laundry-washing orangutan and elephants that mourn over the bones of a deceased relative are just two of the examples in “Animal Einsteins,” which launches new season of “World’s Weirdest” on Nat Geo Wild on Jan. 3.
6. Discovery’s “Mythbusters” kick off new episodes Jan. 4 with tests of “Star Wars” plot points and scenarios, aided by guest star Sophia Bush.
'Mythbusters' special 'Star Wars' episode (Photo: Discovery)
7. Veteran veterinarian “The Incredible Dr. Pol” returns to Nat Geo Wild on Jan. 4 with new episodes. In the opener, he cares for cows in a rainstorm, tends to a pig and goat with a skin infection, and treats a chameleon’s cyst.
8. Six people have died trying to find the treasure that’s supposedly buried on remote Oak Island in Nova Scotia, and legend has it that one more will fall victim before it’s found. That hasn’t deterred Rick and Marty Lagina, two brothers from Michigan, who attempt to uncover the mystery — and stay alive — in “The Curse of Oak Island,” premiering on the History Channel on Jan. 5.
9. Get up close and personal with one of the most fearless animals in Africa in Nat Geo Wild’s special “Ultimate Honey Badger,” premiering Jan. 5.
10. A three-part documentary airing in back-to-back episodes Jan. 5 on MSNBC, “Heist” takes an in-depth look at a few of America’s most notorious bank robberies and how the crimes were solved. The first hour “Nuns, Guns and $17 Million” follows criminals who style themselves after the robbers in the movie “The Town” and an armored car caper gone very wrong.
11. “Gator Boys” Paul Bedard and Jimmy Riffle return to Animal Planet on Jan. 5 with new episodes of bare-handed gator capture, rescue and relocation. First assignment: Remove an alligator from under a house.
12. It’s been a decade since the twin rovers Spirit and Opportunity landed on Mars, and Nat Geo marks the anniversary with a special devoted to the amazing images they captured in “Ten Years on Mars,” premiering on Jan. 6.
13. About 25 years ago, Mick Dodge left civilization behind for the woods and he’s been there ever since, living completely off the grid in the Hoh rain forest of the Pacific Northwest. Nat Geo tracked the barefooted, bearded mountain man down and followed him for a series called “The Legend of Mick Dodge,” premiering with two back-to-back episodes on Jan. 7.
'The Legend of Mick Dodge' (Photo: National Geographic)
14. In 1914, Sir Ernest Shackleton’s trans-Antarctic expedition took a disastrous turn when his ship sank, stranding him and his crew and forcing him to attempt a treacherous rescue mission with five other men in a small boat. Modern explorer Tim Jarvis set out to recreate Shackleton’s journey to the letter, from the materials and dimensions of the 22-foot craft to period clothing, gear and food. The results, harrowing to watch, are the subject of the three-part “Chasing Shackleton,” premiering on PBS on Jan. 8.
15. Of all the planets beyond our solar system, which are most like Earth? And can they support life? PBS “Nova” explores the possibilities in “Alien Planets Revealed,” premiering Jan. 8.
16. Pete Nelson and his construction crew are back for season two of “Treehouse Masters,” returning to Animal Planet Jan. 10. In the premiere, they’re commissioned to build a huge adventure-themed treehouse in Pennsylvania’s Pocono Mountains, complete with a rock-climbing wall, suspension bridges, and a living wall made of 700 plants.
17. There are more animals than people in tiny Pomquet, Nova Scotia, and that means critter wranglers Charlie and Eddie Landry, a.k.a. “Beaver Brothers,” have plenty of work. Premiering with two half-hour episodes on Jan. 12, the Animal Planet series follows the boys’ animal and comedic adventures as they wrangle skunks, raccoons, groundhogs and porcupines.
18. The high-stakes, pressurized competition that is the summer salmon fishing season is the subject of the new Nat Geo Wild series “Alaska Fish Wars,” which premieres Jan. 13.
19. Hosted by the engaging Josh Silva, “Brain Games” returns to Nat Geo for a second season of interactive mind trickery. It premieres Jan. 13 with two half-hour episodes with episodes about how the brain perceives color and the science behind love and attraction.
20. Can four ceramic coffee mugs support a 2½-ton truck? Does wearing the color red make women more attractive? Does swearing increase tolerance for pain? These questions are posed and answered in the fun new series “Duck Quacks Don’t Echo,” which kicks off after “Brain Games” with two half-hour episodes on Jan. 13. Hosts Michael Ian Black, Tom Papa and Seth Herzog stage some experiments before a studio audience, including a homemade hovercraft race.
21. Cabin Kings Paul DiMeo and Tuffy Bakaitis use found and repurposed materials to construct rustic structures in remote places in Nat Geo’s “Building Wild,” premiering Jan. 14. In the first episode, they demolish an old barn to make a new hunting cabin for a farmer and his friends.
22. In a sequel to its travel series “An Idiot Abroad,” Science Channel debuts “The Moaning of Life” on Jan. 18, featuring Karl Pilkington experiencing cultures around the world as he assesses his own life and future.
23. Relocating 20 alpacas, making a travel crate for a bald eagle, and transporting four pampered pooches by car and ferry for a finicky owner are all in a day’s work for the Denickers, whose service is the subject of Nat Geo Wild’s three-part series “We Move Animals,” premiering Jan. 18.
24. The female leader of a Yellowstone wolf pack is the subject of the nature documentary “She Wolf,” airing Jan. 19 on Nat Geo Wild.
25. Discovery Channel’s first scripted series “Klondike” tells the story of the Alaskan gold rush of 1897 and six prospectors who head north to find their fortunes. It stars Richard Madden, Abbie Cornish, Sam Shepard and Tim Roth and premieres Jan. 20.
26. A relatively new hybrid animal, the coywolf is a mix of western coyote and eastern wolf, and it’s becoming more prevalent in both the wilderness and cities. “Nature” tracks this predator’s evolution in “Meet the Coywolf,” debuting Jan. 22 on PBS.
27. Black macaques may be funny looking, but they’re fascinating too, as revealed in the PBS “Nature” documentary “The Funkiest Monkeys.” Filmmaker Colin Stafford-Johnson revisits Indonesia to find out why their population is in decline. It premieres Jan. 29.
28. The life story of ALS-afflicted physicist and cosmologist Stephen Hawking is told for the first time, featuring unprecedented access to the celebrated genius in the documentary “Hawking,” debuting on PBS Jan. 29.
Stephen Hawking (Photo: PBS)