Midseason TV Guide: What To Watch, What To Skip

So now that TV is officially in mid-season, what's worth watching and what should you avoid?

Quiet series that would have been lost in the din of fall premieres fare better in the midseason. But it's also true that the final stretch of the traditional TV season is where questionable series picked up early on go to die.

Network executives, producers and stars pushed their shows during the winter gathering of the Television Critics Association earlier this month. The offerings range from Fox's anticipated sci-fi series Terra Nova from some guy named Steven Spielberg to ABC's hot-doctors-in-the-jungle series from the producers of Grey's Anatomy.

ABC has opted to embrace its feminine side by continuing to present female friendly programming. They're also taking a bold step by testing the one-hour drama hold on the 10 p.m. hour. This spring, ABC will try putting the rom-com Happy Endings at 10 p.m. on April 13 when Off the Map leaves the schedule.

CBS stays the course with procedural dramas including the serviceable Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior" spin-off Feb. 16 that should please fans and fits with the brand. The CBS rom com Mad Love is a close cousin to How I Met Your Mother. The only risky venture is an odd adventure dramedy, Chaos.

Fox tosses the spaghetti on the wall to see what will stick with comedies, sci-fi and a gritty cop show.

And NBC? Well, they have two of the worst offerings yet, and a third that has a slight potential to get better.

As for that series from Spielberg, the clips shown during press tour has spiffy special effects, but it won't premiere until May and then doesn't come back until the fall.

What to Watch

Traffic Light, Feb. 8 on Fox: The funniest rom com of the lot with three buddies and their wives, significant -- and insignificant -- others. The writing rocks, and so do the stars.

Mr. Sunshine, Feb. 9 on ABC: Dark humor permeates this comedy series starring Friends' Matthew Perry as a caustic guy who runs a San Diego entertainment/sports venue. He's a jerk trying to be a better man.

Game of Thrones, April 17 on HBO: The Comic Con fans have been long waiting for this series based on the popular novels set in a mythic land, and they won't be disappointed.

Chicago Code , Feb. 7 on Fox: Gritty cop show from The Shield's Shawn Ryan puts you right in the underbelly. Slick dialogue and complicated characters.

Off the Map, ABC Wednesday: No matter how much the producers deny it, this is Grey's Anatomy in the jungle. Doctors in the rainforest smolder in the heat.

The Borgias, April 3: First, the network gave you a hunky Henry VIII. Now you have the ribald Borgia clan, with a lusty Pope and his murderous kin. Lots of flash and passion.

Wilfred, FX this summer: FX put on a hilarious panel with the cast and creator. Elijah Wood stars as a suicidal guy who sees his neighbor's dog as a man in a dog suit who talks with him. Some people thought Fight Club, but producer says Harvey meets Son of Sam.

The Killing, April 3 on AMC: The network's working on a winning streak with Mad Men, Breaking Bad and The Walking Dead. Now it's offering a complex crime drama starring a woman detective who puts her work ahead of her family. Don't miss it.

What to Avoid

Perfect Couples, Jan 20 on NBC: This should be used in TV screenwriting class as an example of how to waste talent in this deadly rom com.

Harry's Law, Mondays on NBC: The creator of Picket Fences and The Practice is the king of quirk, but this time the risk taker just does a face plant. Waste of Oscar-winner Kathy Bates' considerable talents, who sat on the panel with a pained look.

Breaking In, April 6 on Fox: This series about a reluctant recruited hacker pilfers a bit of Chuck, but none of the good parts.

What Might Have Potential

The Cape, Mondays on NBC: There's a lot of cheese oozing from this series. So if you have a high tolerance for dairy, and an insatiable interest in comic book characters, you might stick with this one.

Chaos, April 1 CBS: April Fool's day is a perfect premiere date for this goofy buddy dramedy about rogue CIA agents. Different, but sometimes different isn't a good thing. We'll see if they realize this is more a comedy than a drama.