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TWoP 10: Most Promising Looking New Shows of 2011-12

Now that we've survived the network upfront season and have had a couple of minutes to process the glut of new shows that will be coming in the fall and midseason, we've figured out what we're looking forward to. While there are plenty of freshman series that sound terrible, and a few that seem merely mediocre with the potential to improve, a select handful genuinely impressed us (or, at least their preview clips did). Of course, that doesn't mean that they'll all last a few season - in fact, some of these might be a hard sell - but for now, here's what we think shows the most promise:

10. The X-Factor
We've been hearing about this show forever and given how disappointing this season of American Idol has been, we're anxiously awaiting our dose of nonsensical Paula Abdul and critical Simon Cowell. We truly miss his bitterness.

9. Grimm
We're a bit leery about the fairy tale genre taking over TV next year, but this one looks to liven up the procedural format by having its lead be a descendent of the brothers Grimm, allowing him to see the supernatural evil that lurks around him. There's lots of red riding hoodies and big bad wolves, but don't confuse this with the ridiculously over-the-top Once Upon a Time.

8. Scandal
Shonda Rhimes is breaking out of her medical drama mold with this series about lawyers who help keep political controversies at bay. It's a big step for her and it doesn't even look like it'll have each character having semi-public sex with every other one. It's a different take on law and politics, so we're hoping for the next Good Wife here.

7. Person of Interest
The idea of Michael Emerson in another show from J.J. Abrams is definitely enough to make us overlook the presence of Jim Caviezel. And while this series about using data to stop crimes before they happen might end up being the next FlashForward or Rubicon, we're still full of hope at this point.

6. GCB (Good Christian Belles)
Southern women putting up a polite front while making catty comments towards each other in private? Sign us up. We really hope that there's a Kristen Chenoweth/Leslie Bibb hair-pulling showdown at some point. Maybe the season finale.

5. Awake
We can't help rooting for really complicated, high concept shows like this one about a man who responds to being in a terrible car accident with his wife and son by coming up with a bizarre coping mechanism. He begins to live two parallel lives, one in which he's alive and other in which his child is. It looks like a compelling cross between Memento meets Sliding Doors.

4. Smash
It's not the new Glee, so don't expect a whole host of pop songs on iTunes, but there is singing since it's about the making a Broadway musical. We're excited despite the presence of Debra Messing and Katherine McPhee, and that's saying a lot. But the concept is solid and having two women competing for the same Marilyn Monroe role reminds us a bit of A Chorus Line, so fingers crossed that this becomes the new haven for moonlighting Broadway stars.

3. Alcatraz
Before you get worried about JJ Abrams stretching himself too thin or about how his serial dramas often fizzle out, focus on the fact that Fox asked him to provide a detailed outline of where the story was heading in the long term. So, there's a plan in place and the show looks pretty cool, with prisoners from '60s Alcatraz disappearing into thin air, only to return in the present day.

2. Terra Nova
Dinosaurs and Steven Spielberg. We've been waiting for this show for over a year now, and while the delays had made us skeptical, the few minutes we saw this week of the action and CGI already has us on the edge of our seats. We expect big, Tyrannosaurus-sized things from this, so we hope it lives up to the hype.

1. Ringer
This Sarah Michelle Gellar vehicle almost didn't make it on the air because CBS didn't pick it up, but The CW swooped in and now it's the most adult show that fledgling network has ever attempted. It looks well written, twisted and dark, with Buffy living it up as two very different twin sisters. Consider this a ringing endorsement.

Check out video previews and analysis of every upcoming new show from ABC, CBS, The CW, NBC, Fox, TBS and TNT. Plus: see which pilots deserved to be rejected and which cancellations made us happy.

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