The wait is almost over. You can print out our full list of midseason TV debut dates and highlight the ones you want to remember to record. But which is your must-see of early 2012? Let’s take it to a vote. Note: We’ve only included select new and returning shows with confirmed season premiere dates through February (sorry, Mad Men, Game of Thrones, and Cougar Town fans, but it does level the playing field a bit).
A quick primer on the new shows included in the poll:
Oprah’s Next Chapter (Jan. 1, OWN): Oprah Winfrey ventures out into the world for her sit-downs in this prime-time series, starting with a conversation with Steven Tyler in his New Hampshire home.
House of Lies (Jan. 8 series premiere, Showtime): Fast-talking Marty Kaan (Don Cheadle) leads the No. 2 management consulting firm in the country. Costars Kristen Bell and Parks and Recreation’s Jean-Ralphio (Ben Schwartz).
The Firm (Jan. 8 series premiere, NBC): Based on the John Grisham novel, it continues the story of attorney Mitchell McDeere (Josh Lucas), who, as a young associate 10 years earlier, had brought down the prestigious Memphis law firm of Bendini, Lambert & Locke, which had been operating as a front for the Chicago mob. After a difficult decade, which included a stay in the Federal Witness Protection Program, McDeere and his family now emerge from isolation to reclaim their lives and their future – only to find that past dangers are still lurking and new threats are everywhere.
Are You There, Chelsea? (Jan. 11 series premiere, NBC): Inspired by Chelsea Handler’s books, the comedy follows the exploits of the twentysomething Chelsea (Laura Prepon), an opinionated and unapologetic young woman who lives life to the fullest as a cocktail waitress, friend, daughter, sister, and sexually dynamic “advanced drinker.”
The Finder (Jan. 12 series premiere, Fox): The pseudo Bones spin-off stars Geoff Stults as a mildly brain-damaged Iraq vet who can find anything and anyone with the help of his “Finder power,” a loyal friend (Michael Clarke Duncan), and a U.S. Marshal with whom he sleeps and trades information.
Alcatraz (Jan. 16 series premiere, Fox): A San Francisco detective (Sarah Jones) is assigned to a grisly homicide case, and a fingerprint leads her to a shocking suspect (Jeffrey Pierce), an Alcatraz inmate who died over 30 years ago.
Lost Girl (Jan. 16 series premiere, Syfy): A young woman finds out she’s a Fae succubus who feeds on the sexual energy of humans and decides to take the middle path between the humans and the Fae while embarking on a personal mission to unlock the secrets of her origin.
Touch (Jan. 25 series sneak peek, Fox): Kiefer Sutherland stars as a widower and single father haunted by an inability to connect to his mute, severely autistic 11-year-old son, Jake. Jake, it turns out, has the ability to see things that no one else can, the patterns that connect everything, and communicates through numbers. He needs his father to decipher their meaning and connections to seemingly unrelated characters whose lives they affect.
Luck (Jan. 29 series premiere, HBO): The Dustin Hoffman horse-track drama already had a sneak peek.
Smash (Feb. 6 series premiere, NBC): A rivalry for the lead in a Broadway musical based on the life of Marilyn Monroe forms between an inexperienced Midwestern beauty (Katharine McPhee) and a stage veteran (Megan Hilty), who’s determined to leave the chorus line and finally get her big break. Also stars Debra Messing (songwriter), Anjelica Huston (producer), and Jack Davenport (director).
The River (Feb. 7 series premiere, ABC): A famed wildlife expert and TV personality (Bruce Greenwood) goes missing deep in the Amazon, and his family, friends, and crew set out on a mysterious and deadly journey to find him.
Comic Men (Feb. 12 series premiere, AMC): The reality show takes us inside Kevin Smith’s famous Jay and Silent Bob’s Secret Stash comic shop.