Midseason used to be the time when networks dumped junk on viewers. It was the betamax of the television season, but no more--early 2009 promises some great returns and some promising debuts. We count down the 10 shows we're looking most forward to in the first three months of the year...and it looks like we'll have plenty to watch!
10. Damages season twoThe second season of this FX gem adds William Hurt to the mix as a person from Patty Hewes' past. Season one started with Ellen walking down the street covered in blood. How will season two start? And how is this all the way down at number 10?
Season two begins January 7 on FX
9. Reaper season twoSome say that Reaper was the best new show of 2007, and we can buy that argument (even though it was almost canceled). Mixing sci-fi, comedy, drama, and, most importantly, Satan, Reaper is one underdog we hope lasts a long time.
Season two debuts March 17 on The CW
8. American Idol edition eightHow can we not have American Idol on this list? The reality phenomenon is pop culture and dictates water-cooler discussion as long as it's on. Besides, don't you want a preview of who will be singing next year's top-selling Christmas album?
Season eight kicks off January 13 on Fox
7. Dollhouse series debutTwo words: Joss Whedon. Wait, make that four words: Eliza Dushku. Whedon is a masterful storyteller, Dushku is a sci-fi geek's dream, and the plot is wide open for all sorts of settings. Early bad buzz knocks this down to number seven, but we still think it'll be just fine.
Series premieres February 13 on Fox
6. Flight of the Conchords season twoBret and Jemaine are hilarious, talented, and, let's face it, adorably cute. A year and a half ago, no one knew who they were; now tickets for their shows are selling out in minutes. The funniest thing on HBO since Mr. Show.
Season two premieres January 18 on HBO
5. Kings series debutWe have our fingers crossed so tightly for this one they're broken. A preview at Comic-Con left our jaws on the floor, and NBC is very high on this modern-day take on David and Goliath. And with Ian McShane on board, we know it's going to be intense. Can Kings save NBC? We'll be tuned in to find out.
Series premieres March 19 on NBC
4. 24 season sevenIt's been too long since day six ended, and with the year off, producers were able to go back and make sure season seven was top notch. 24: Redemption was an appetizer for what's in store: no more CTU and the return of Tony Almeida.
Season seven premieres January 11 on Fox
3. Breaking Bad season twoFor seven gritty, peek-through-your-hands episodes, strike-shortened season one of AMC's Breaking Bad totally caught us by surprise. Bryan Cranston delivered the performance of the year as Walter White, and Aaron Paul became one of our new favorite faces. And what's not to like about a chemistry teacher making crystal meth to pay his oncologist bills?
Season two is slated for March on AMC
2. Battlestar Galactica finaleHaters will say, "I don't like science-fiction," but they're missing the point. Battlestar is one of the best dramas--spaceships or no spaceships--to come to television in a long, long time. The series ends in March, and we're still waiting for that one last question to be answered.
Season 4.5 begins January 18, and the series finale is scheduled for March 20 on Sci-Fi Channel
1. Lost season fiveAhem, pardon me while I ask, "WHERE and WHEN is the f%@*ing island!??!?!?!?"
Season five premieres January 21 on ABC
How does our list stack up to yours? Let us know in the comments section below!