Midseason 2011 TV Preview

  • Publish Date: January 4, 2011
  • Comments: ↓ 7 user comments

Jan. 14: Updated premiere dates for The Borgias, Nurse Jackie, United States of Tara, and Game of Thrones.
Jan. 7: Updated premiere dates and times for An Idiot Abroad and The Killing.

The top new and returning shows coming this winter and spring

ImageWill Game play well on TV?

Beginning tonight with the debut of new reality competition Live to Dance and the return of V and Southland, the next few months will see just as many -- if not more -- premieres as the fall season brought us. Among the most anticipated of the new programs are Fox's cop drama The Chicago Code, HBO's fantasy Game of Thrones, FX's boxing drama Lights Out, and AMC's murder mystery The Killing. Midseason will also see the return of two Friends (Matt LeBlanc on Showtime, Matthew Perry on ABC), new cable costume dramas in The Borgias and Camelot, and the return of critically-acclaimed shows like Parks and Recreation and Justified.

What won't you see at midseason that you might have been expecting? Unfortunately, you'll have to wait until summer to watch returning favorites like Breaking Bad, Damages, Futurama, Torchwood, and Louie, while some highly anticipated new shows like Simon Cowell's X Factor and the HBO horse racing drama Luck won't arrive until the fall season. (Another, Steven Spielberg's Terra Nova, will officially arrive in the fall after a sneak preview in May, while a second Spielberg production, Falling Skies, debuts this summer.) And HBO programs like Treme and Curb Your Enthusiasm likely won't arrive until later in 2011, although dates have not yet been set.

Over the next few pages, we look at the new shows coming to broadcast and cable networks over the next four months, followed by key returning shows and a handy calendar of all midseason TV premiere dates.

New broadcast network shows

Bob's Burgers
(Fox, Sundays at 8:30p starting Jan. 9)

A new animated workplace comedy from Loren Bouchard (Home Movies), Bob's Burgers is set in a family-run hamburger restaurant. The voice cast includes H. Jon Benjamin (Archer), Eugene Mirman, and Kristen Schaal.

Body of Proof
(ABC, Tuesdays at 10p starting Mar. 29)

Like Quincy, the new crime procedural Body of Proof centers on a medical examiner, but this time, the ME is a woman (Dana Delany), who turns to crime solving after a car accident ends her career as a neurosurgeon. Jeri Ryan co-stars.

Breaking In
(Fox, Wednesdays at 9:30p starting Apr. 6)

Christian Slater leads a team of "oddball geniuses" who run a high-tech security firm in this single-camera comedy created by Fanboys co-writer Adam F. Goldberg. Only seven episodes were ordered, which doesn't suggest a lot of confidence in the show.

The Cape
(NBC, Mondays at 9p starting Sun. Jan. 9)

One of the more ambitious shows in NBC's 2010-11 lineup, The Cape is an hourlong superhero drama centering on a good cop (David Lyons) who is framed for crimes he didn't commit and presumed dead. After hooking up with a carnival troupe, he dons a powerful cape and hides out under the alias of his son's favorite comic book hero. Summer Glau co-stars. After the two-hour premiere on Sunday, January 9 at 9:00pm, the series shifts to Mondays at 9:00pm on January 17.

(CBS, Fridays at 8p starting Apr. 1)

This Brett Ratner-produced dramedy stars Freddy Rodriguez, Tim Blake Nelson, Kurtwood Smith, and Eric Close as a group of rogue spies working for the CIA.

The Chicago Code
(Fox, Mondays at 9p starting Feb. 7)

Easily the most intriguing network show on the midseason schedule -- on paper, at least -- this hourlong crime drama (formerly known as Ride-Along) comes from The Shield creator Shawn Ryan. As the title change suggests, the city of Chicago plays a major role in the fast-paced series, which focuses on power, politics and corruption in addition to following the daily activities of a pair of detectives and the chief (superintendent) of police. Jason Clarke (Brotherhood), Jennifer Beals, and Delroy Lindo star.

Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior
(CBS, Wednesdays at 10p starting Feb. 16)

The first spinoff from Criminal Minds centers on yet another group of FBI profilers, including Forest Whitaker, Janeane Garofalo, and Richard Schiff.

(Adult Swim, Thursdays at Midnight starting Feb. 3)

A live-action Adult Swim comedy from Conan O'Brien's production company, Eagleheart stars Chris Elliott as an aging action star in Texas who uses his TV show as a platform for his right-wing politics. In case you were on the fence, the show also features an evil ventriloquist.

Friends with Benefits
(NBC, tba)

NBC's latest attempt to re-capture the Friends magic (heck, it even has "Friends" in the title) is a Brian Grazer-produced sitcom about a group of single friends. The ensemble cast of 20-somethings includes Ryan Hansen (Party Down), Zach Cregger (The Whitest Kids U Know), and Danneel Harris (One Tree Hill).

Happy Endings
(ABC, Wednesdays at 10p starting Apr. 13)

Speaking of Friends-like sitcoms, ABC's attempt at just such a thing (though in a single-camera format) follows a close-knit group of friends who are suddenly divided when the core of the group -- long-time couple Dave and Alex (Zachary Knighton and Elisha Cuthbert) -- split up after finally agreeing to get married. The producers include Anthony and Joe Russo (Community), who also directed the pilot.

Harry's Law
(NBC, Mondays at 10p starting Jan. 17)

David E. Kelley's latest legal dramedy stars Oscar-winning actress Kathy Bates (yes, she's the Harry in the title -- make that Harriet) as a down-on-her-luck patent attorney who starts a new practice in an abandoned shoe store with two younger lawyers in similarly dire straits. Nate Corddry co-stars.

Live to Dance
(CBS, Wednesdays at 8p starting Tue. Jan. 4)

If you aren't sick of primetime talent competitions yet, you may be by the end of 2011, thanks to a bevy of new shows in the genre. The first comes from former American Idol judge Paula Abdul, though her show -- Live to Dance -- is actually a direct competitor to So You Think You Can Dance. Dancers of all ages will be judged by a panel that features Abdul herself; the winner will get a $500,000 prize.

Love Bites
(NBC, tba)

Though a few behind-the-scenes snafus have delayed the series, Love Bites is expected to debut at some point over the next few months. The nine-episode, hourlong romantic-comedy anthology series will feature guest stars (ranging from Jennifer Love Hewitt to Craig Robinson to Charlyne Yi) in a variety of stories each week in addition to ongoing storylines centering on regulars Greg Grunberg and Becki Newton.

Mad Love
(CBS, Mondays at 8:30p starting Feb. 21)

Yet another sitcom about a group of friends living in New York, Mad Love at least boasts a strong cast that features Sarah Chalke (Scrubs), Judy Greer (Arrested Development), Jason Biggs (American Pie), and Tyler Labine (Reaper).

Mr. Sunshine
(ABC, Wednesdays at 9:30p starting Feb. 9)

Speaking of Friends, that show's Matthew Perry makes his return to television as the misanthropic manager of a second-tier sports arena in this sitcom from executive producers Jamie Tarses (My Boys) and Thomas Schlamme (The West Wing). Allison Janney stars as Perry's crazed boss, while Andrea Anders (Better Off Ted) plays his co-worker and would-be love interest.

Off the Map
(ABC, Wednesdays at 10p starting Jan. 12)

The latest medical drama from Grey's Anatomy's Shonda Rhimes, Jenna Bans, and Betsy Beers follows Dr. Lily Brenner and her fellow physicians at an under-supplied medical clinic in a South American jungle, where she and her colleagues have relocated after giving up their practices in the States.

The Paul Reiser Show
(NBC, tba)

The former Mad About You star's attempt at a Curb Your Enthusiasm-style reality-based comedy lacks the latter show's cutting humor. Only six episodes were ordered.

Perfect Couples
(NBC, Thursdays at 8:30p starting Jan. 20)

The final piece to NBC's newly expanded Thursday night comedy lineup depicts three different relationships at differing levels of success; Olivia Munn and Kyle Bornheimer are among the stars. A sneak preview episode of the series that aired in December earned some less-than stellar reviews from EW, HitFix, Time, and Variety, though the critics agreed that the show wasn't terrible.

Traffic Light
(Fox, Tuesdays at 9:30p starting Feb. 8)

Formerly known as Mixed Signals, this ensemble comedy is based on an Israeli series and focuses on three male friends (including David Denman, who played Roy on The Office) who are in different stages of their relationships.

The Voice
(NBC, tba spring)

Here's a wacky idea: take a popular European amateur singing competition series and bring it to America. Based on The Voice of Holland, NBC's new talent show at least has some star power -- well, on the executive side -- with reality vets John de Mol (Big Brother) and Mark Burnett (Survivor) among the producers. Four yet-to-be-determined celebrities will serve as mentors to the contestants, who will be competing to win a recording contract. One departure from the American Idol format: judges will turn their backs to the singers during auditions, so they can eliminate singers based on what they hear rather than what they see.

On the next page...

Continue to page 2 for a look at midseason's new cable shows.

We're sorry, but comments are closed for this article.

Comments (7)

  • Mark Mearin  

    I do not see skins lasting more than a couple months. But then again what do I know, I only helped create the best tv and movie review site ever. lol
    Enjoy the new mid season series coming out.

  • tvlover  

    love this article, thanks!

    one punctuation note - you have 'critically-acclaimed' in your first paragraph - the hyphen should be removed (no hyphen when using an adverb ending in an -ly).

  • martinex  

    I can't wait for "Live to Dance"........to be canceled that is. Why won't Paula Abdul go away (sob)?

  • jigglypuff  

    the new metacritic sucks. bring back the old design and bring back the book section. the usability of the website pales in comparison to the old design.
    metacritic used to be one of the best sites around, but now it is highly ordinary.

  • Jack  

    When does the next season of 24 start?

  • Mitch Tough  

    Love it! Thanks, Jason.....

  • Pearl  

    This was a very comprehensive overview. Goo job!!

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