My 5 Most Anticipated Mid-Season Shows

2011 looks like it will be a great year for TV. Breaking Bad will launch its fourth season this summer, and Mad Men (which I caught up on over my winter break) will start its fifth sometime later this year. Not even counting those late returners, though, there are a bunch of mid-season shows beginning over the next couple months: old ones that are starting new seasons or returning from the winter hiatus, and a whole crop of newcomers that look promising. I have a list of my 5 most anticipated mid-season series, new and returning, after the jump.

5. Archer (FX) – I watched the entire first season a few weeks ago on Netflix, and it was hilarious. The spy spoof genre is well-worn, but this animated take on it is a great mixture of crudeness and funny characters. All of the voice work is great, and I’m really looking forward to another season. Thursday, Jan. 27

4. Parks and Recreation (NBC) – After a long hiatus, my favorite comedy from last year is back, with new cast members Adam Scott and Rob Lowe. From what I’ve heard (and seen), the third season should be just as funny and charming as last year’s, and I just can’t wait to see more of Ron F*in Swanson. Thursday, Jan. 20

3. The Chicago Code (FOX) – I don’t know a whole lot about the new police drama from Shawn Ryan, but after watching Terriers this past fall, I’m willing to jump on board his newest effort. (I have yet to watch The Shield, but I’ve heard great things, and it’s on my to-watch list.) It sounds like it could be a network, Chicago-set version of The Wire, and while nothing will ever live up to The Greatest Television Series Ever, a show that at least draws positive comparisons is worth a look. Monday, Feb. 7

2. Lights Out (FX) – The buzz on FX’s newest drama is great, and they seem to be on a hot creative streak, so I can’t miss this one. The former-champion-returns-to-the-ring story has been told plenty of times, so I hope this one will do something different. Judging by FX’s track record, I bet it will. Tuesday, Jan. 11

1. Game of Thrones (HBO) – This is my most anticipated show of mid-season 2011 for several reasons: 1) It’s HBO, 2) the Internet is going crazy waiting for the adaptation of George R. R. Martin’s fantasy epic, and 3) I have absolutely no idea what to expect. I had never even heard of the series before HBO announced its plans to adapt it last year, but since then, I haven’t stopped hearing and reading about it. Every time a new promo image or trailer is released, I can’t avoid news of it from every major entertainment site, so I’m excited to finally see what all the fuss is about. Sunday, April 17

Also excited/curious about:

Community (NBC) – One of my other favorite comedies, which has been on a roll during its second season,  trying everything from zombie horror parody to claymation. Thursday, Jan. 20

The Cape (NBC) – I haven’t heard great early reviews of this one, but I’ll reserve judgment until I see it. I don’t have fond memories of Heroes, but maybe a different take on the superhero genre could be a good thing. Sunday, Jan. 9

Episodes and Shameless (Showtime) – I’ve heard mixed reactions to both of these new premium cable comedies, but with stars like Matt LeBlanc and William H. Macy headlining, respectively, I figure they’re worth a look. Sunday, Jan. 9

Fringe (FOX) – When the sci-fi drama returns, it will be in the Friday “death slot,” but I hope the momentum it has had for the first part of its third season will carry it, and that the captivating Other Side turmoil will continue to draw viewers. Friday, Jan. 21

The Killing (AMC) – The latest project from AMC gets an automatic slot on my viewing schedule. This one, adapted from a Danish series, follows the investigation of a young girl’s murder, and though the subject matter sounds more familiar than, say, a chemistry teacher becoming a meth dealer, it sounds like AMC will put a different spin on it. Sunday, April 3

Mr. Sunshine (ABC) – The Matthew Perry vehicle will be taking over for Cougar Town for a while, which I’m not thrilled about, but I hope it’s at least a worthy and funny replacement. Wednesday, Feb. 9

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3 responses to “My 5 Most Anticipated Mid-Season Shows

  1. Ben, i like your lists so far and would like to thumbs-up my anticipation for Archer and Game of Thrones.

    I would caution against any undue excitement over “Lights Out”. I don’t know if you have heard the latest but the ratings crashed horrifically after a poor start, i will be surprised if this lasts even a full season.

    Another thing, can you explain the attraction of “Fringe” to me? I tried to watch it in a block and lost interest after 3 episodes. Does it get better? Is there a way to watch it perhaps?

    Regards from a fellow TVland resident

    El Bludgerino

  2. Thanks, El Bludgerino.

    I wrote this list before any of the shows premiered this season, so it was based purely on the show’s premise, cast, etc., not on any potential success. It’s too bad “Lights Out” is struggling in the ratings, but from what I’ve seen so far, it seems like a solid show. I bet it will get to air its full season, even if it doesn’t get a second season renewal, simply because it’s on FX. “Terriers” did terribly in the ratings, too, but the network aired all the episodes, so I think this could be another case of being lucky it’s on cable.

    As for “Fringe,” it’s definitely a sci-fi show, so you have to be ready for that, but it did start out pretty shaky. The first season and a half it was really trying to find itself, but the mix of stand-alone procedural episodes with larger mythology arc episodes kept it from gaining speed, I thought. From the second season episode “Peter,” though, it has really settled into a groove and delivered consistently entertaining episodes. If you were starting from the beginning, I can see why you lost interest, but I’d recommend sticking with it or skipping to the second season if you want to give it another try.

    Thanks for reading and commenting!

    Ben

  3. Pingback: Checking In on ‘The Chicago Code’ | BP on TV

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