Did you know that when the clock strikes January and 2012 calls it a year, the network TV season continues? It's true, and those in the know call it "the midseason." That's when the reinforcements arrive to take the place of their fallen brethren (R.I.P. Made in Jersey) and shows that just didn't fit into the fall lineup get their chance to shine with less promotion than the new fall series did. And to cable networks, the midseason is known as "just another time of the year because we don't play by stupid network rules because we're cooler than that." And to us it means that a bunch of brand-spankin'-new shows will be released into the wild.
But with so many new shows knocking on your DVR's front door, you might need to know which ones to let into your living room. Here's a list of the ones we're most looking forward to inviting in.
10. Africa (Discovery)
When it's on: Tuesdays starting January 8
Who's in it: Animals and things
What it's about: The creators of Planet Earth and Life could make a documentary series about the crisper drawer in a refrigerator and make it fascinating, but for their latest project, they took their HD cameras and patience to that giant continent in the middle of your world map. There, they stalked and filmed rhinos, cheetahs, chimps, lizards, giraffes, and other critters you've only seen in boxes of Animal Crackers. Fire up your viewing-enhancement goodies and learn a thing or two.
9. Out There (IFC)
When it's on: February 2013
Who's in it: Ummm.. we're not sure?
What it's about: This is a bit of a mystery project to us, but would you rather see ABC's Family Tools on this list? NO. IFC is making great original television, and this animated show from South Park lead animator Ryan Quincy looks like a trip. It's about young guys (or monster-beings, whatever they are) growing up in that awkward time between childhood and adolescence. This one is for indie animation fans.
8. Zero Hour (ABC)
When it's on: Wednesdays starting February 13
Who's in it: Anthony Edwards, Scott Michael Foster, Addison Timlin, Jacinda Barrett
What it's about: Is it okay to anticipate a show that looks like it's going to be a complete disaster, simply to get your own sinister and perverse kicks? Yes. Possibly the next The Event, Zero Hour stars Anthony Edwards as one of those geeky conspiracy theorists with a way-too-hot wife who gets abducted over a very important clock that may have been built by Nazis and I'm just gonna take a shot and say aliens are involved, too.
7. Legit (FX)
When it's on: Thursdays starting January 17
Who's in it: Jim Jeffries, DJ Qualls, Dan Bakkedahl
What it's about: Australian comedian Jim Jefferies stars as Australian comedian Jim Jefferies in this raunchy comedy about a guy trying to grow up and be "legit." Expect misadventures aplenty with his friend Steve and Steve's crippled brother (played by Qualls). There will be dick jokes.
6. The Carrie Diaries (The CW)
When it's on: Mondays starting January 14
Who's in it: AnnaSophia Robb, Austin Butler, Chloe Bridges, Brendan Dooling, Katie Findlay, Ellen Wong
What it's about: Do you, like, remember the '80s? Fluorescent sunglasses, asymmetrical hair, weird pants, popular music played by people pushing buttons on a keyboard... you know, kinda like the cool kids today who think they're original and ironic and hip because they're stomping on our childhoods by listening to that "classical music" known as New Order. The CW goes into Depeche Mode with a prequel to Sex and the City that follows a teenage Carrie Bradshaw as she lives a life of floozily cavorting around New York City and making out with the fresh meat at her high school. Expect every single high-school plotline you've seen elsewhere on the network but flair'd up with terrible fashion and "Now That's What I Call Music: '80s Edition" turning your ears into blood fountains on repeat.
5. Defiance (Syfy)
When it's on: April 2013
Who's in it: Grant Bowler, Julie Benz, Tony Curran, Jaime Murray, Mia Kirshner
What it's about: This massive project for Syfy is a big risk and harkens back to the old days of when Syfy was SciFi and the network was dedicated to science-fiction. Defiance is set in the near future and plays "What if?" with a collective of alien species trying to move to Earth after their sun explodes. It's basically a metaphor for immigration except this time, Ellis Island is closed, bitches. *cocks shotgun* Expect impressive special effects and a unique video-game tie-in, too.
4. Hannibal (NBC)
When it's on: Midseason date TBD
Who's in it: Hugh Dancy, Mads Mikkelsen, Caroline Dhavernas, Laurence Fishburne
What it's about: What happens when TV weirdo Bryan Fuller, the same man who brought the fluffy cutesy-wutesy Pushing Daisies and Wonderfalls to the small screen, adapts a prequel to The Silence of the Lambs for NBC? We're betting on really weird stuff. This chapter follows FBI criminal profiler Will Graham and his early relationship with forensic psychiatrist Hannibal Lecter pre-fava beans and Chianti.
3. Continuum (Syfy)
When it's on: Mondays starting January 14
Who's in it: Rachel Nichols, Victor Webster, Erik Knudsen, Stephen Lobo, Roger Cross
What it's about: Continuum has already aired on Canada's Showcase but is being imported for American audiences because it's actually quite good. Rachel Nichols stars as a cop from the year 2077 who is accidentally time-traveled back to 2012 along with a group of escaped terrorists. The bad guys are trying to change the future by changing the past, and the hot cop works with a young tech genius to make sure they don't. Intriguing questions about terrorism, right and wrong, and the dangers of out-of-control corporations abound!
2. The Following (Fox)
When it's on: Mondays starting January 21
Who's in it: Kevin Bacon, James Purefoy, Maggie Grace, Natalie Zea
What it's about: The highest-profile network show of the midseason will also be its bloodiest and Baconest. Kevin Bacon stars as an alcoholic former FBI agent who gets pulled back into the job when a serial killer (a fantastic James Purefoy) he put away starts killing again in a unique way: by recruiting a cult of copycats via his blog or Facebook or something online related! We've seen the pilot and it's some dark shiznit that your grandmother will not like.
1. The Americans (FX)
When it's on: Wednesdays starting January 30
Who's in it: Keri Russell, Matthew Rhys, Noah Emmerich
What it's about: Russell and Rhys star as a couple of Russian KGB spies who live in 1980s suburban America in this drama that will quench your thirst for more Homeland. They pose as a married couple so that they can become deeply embedded sleeper agents, but will they end up being a real couple? Will they end up starting a real family? Will they end up becoming real Americans? And will this end up being a really good show? It's on FX and doesn't star Charlie Sheen, so we say yes.