There are some exciting shows slated for fall, including 'Person of Interest' (CBS' Michael Emerson-Jim Caviezel procedural with a twist), 'Up All Night' (NBC's relatable new comedy starring Will Arnett, Christina Applegate and Maya Rudolph), 'Pan Am' (ABC's swinging '60s drama set in the world of mile-high espionage), 'Secret Circle' ('The Vampire Diaries' boss Kevin Williamson's answer to witches) and 'Terra Nova' (Fox's ambitious time-travel dinosaur drama, pictured), just to name a few.
But some of the most buzzed-about shows are being held for January 2012 and beyond, and we're not the only ones taking note.
We gathered a group of esteemed critics to pick their favorite new dramas and comedies -- check out all our videos here -- and the conversation changed completely when we opened the selection up to include midseason offerings as well.
So, as much as people are probably over this common fill-in-the-blank statement, I'm saying it: This year, midseason is definitely the new fall. Check it out ...
MIDSEASON SHOWS WE CAN'T WAIT TO SEE:
Quite possibly the most exciting pilot of the entire season, 'Smash' features an all-star cast (Debra Messing, Angelica Huston, Katharine McPhee) poised to put on a Broadway musical production all about Marilyn Monroe. People already comparing 'Smash' to 'Glee' will be singing a different tune once they see it -- this show has catchy songs, truly remarkable performances and actual staying power.
Once they traded in 'B*tches' for 'Belles,' ABC ensured that any attention their soapy new Texas society dramedy got would be for the right reasons. You know, like catfights, husband stealing and good old fashioned scandals. And then they changed it again, to the less-than-exciting 'G.C.B.' Hmm. But with Leslie Bibb, Kristin Chenoweth and Annie Potts doing it up big, Texas style, we're still giving this one a big yeehaw.
'The Firm' (NBC)
John Grisham's books and movies have captivated audiences for decades, and now one of his most popular stories is hitting the small screen. We haven't seen any of it -- hence the intrigue -- but with the hotness that is Josh Lucas taking over the role Tom Cruise made famous, we see no objections in sight.
'Apartment 23' (ABC)
Another almost-sassily-named show (originally titled 'Don't Trust the B*tch in Apartment 23'), this pilot was surprisingly funny, showcasing the comedic timing of star Krysten Ritter and the comedic self-deprecation of James Van Der Beek, who plays "himself" -- 'Dawson's Creek' references included.
NBC has another cop drama waiting in the wings, but it's nothing like the 'Law & Order' franchise -- and we mean that as a compliment. 'Awake' stars Jason Isaacs as a cop who loses his wife in an accident ... then "wakes up" to find that it's his son who died and his wife is still alive. The only catch is he's not sure which reality is actually real; we'll see him trying to figure it out while continuing to live in both scenarios, with two different partners and cases, two different therapists and double the suspense.
'Scandal' isn't necessarily the most original new drama, but being from creator Shonda Rhimes -- she who hooks us in season after season of 'Grey's Anatomy' and 'Private Practice' -- gives it instant intrigue, even if the political plot lines are somewhat predictable. Plus, Kerry Washington and Henry Ian Cusick on our TVs every week? Yes, please.
'Bent' is certainly not the best comedy of the year, and it's not really reinventing the wheel, but it does have one of the most likable casts of the season, including Amanda Peet as an uptight working single mom, David Walton as her free-wheeling contractor and Jeffrey Tambor as his punchline-spouting dad.
From J.J. Abrams and 'Lost' executive producer Liz Sarnoff comes another mysterious island drama: 'Alcatraz.' There's a time travel element and some duplicitous characters introduced in the pilot, giving us hope for another highly addictive heavy mythology show. Plus it stars fellow 'Lost' alum Jorge Garcia, so we're forgiving the pilot for any missteps.
Best Friends Forever (NBC)
The previews for this show are hilarious. Like I laughed out loud semi-uncontrollably several times hilarious. Unfortunately you can't judge a show by a teaser, but I now have high hopes -- fingers crossed that when they finally send the full pilot, I won't be disappointed.
'The River' (ABC)
A mystery-suspense drama about a very well-known explorer who goes missing in the Amazon, leaving his colleagues and loved ones to find him, this pilot gave me goosebumps and even made me jump out of my seat once. I don't know where it goes (further into the jungle, I guess?), but I'll be tuning in to find out.
There are still plenty more that remain to be seen (literally) by critics, including Chelsea Handler's 'Are You There Vodka? It's Me, Chelsea' on NBC; CBS' cop drama 'The 2-2' starring Leelee Sobieski and Adam Goldberg, from executive producer Robert DeNiro; and 'Bones' spinoff 'The Finder,' which we saw a backdoor pilot for last season (shirtless Geoff Stults, anyone?), but is currently being tweaked a bit over at Fox.
There are also a few midseason flops (ahem, 'Work It' on ABC, we're looking at you!), proving that while some networks are using it to give quality shows a better launching pad, others are still counting on the winter bow to bury their duds.
Tell us: Which new shows are you most excited for? And do you think it makes a difference when they premiere?