1. Dollhouse (Fox, premiering Feb. 13) Joss Whedon in the (doll)house! With Buffy's Eliza Dushku as part of a group of humans whose personality is erased and imprinted with a new one each time she goes on a new mission for a client. Sheesh, it sounds complicated, doesn't it? But there's no one I'd trust more to guide me into a tricky TV series than creator-producer-writer Whedon. Bring on the mind-bending...
2. Castle (ABC, premiering Mar. 9) Another Whedon alum--Nathan Fillion, from the great cult series Firefly--stars as a mystery-writer turned mystery-solver. Could be a lot of wry fun, or could be Murder, He Wrote; can't wait to find out.
3. Lie To Me (Fox, premiering Jan. 21) Tim Roth (Pulp Fiction) stars as a scientist who specializes in reading people's faces and body language to determine whether they're telling the truth. He uses his ability to help cops solve crimes. I've seen this pilot, and suspect Fox is right in thinking it's got itself a possible big hit. Roth is charmingly sardonic, and Kelli Williams, who's kept herself pretty hidden since co-starring in David E. Kelley's The Practice, radiates a smart glow.
4. Cupid (ABC, premiering Mar. 14) A guy claims to be the earthly manifestation of the Roman love-god Cupid (Will & Grace's Bobby Cavanale), and tries to match up people destined for each other. Some folks think he's crazy--including co-star Sarah Paulson (Studio 60 On The Sunset Strip) as his psychiatrist. If this show sounds familiar, it's because its creator, Rob Thomas (Veronica Mars) did a show a decade ago called Cupid starring Jeremy Piven in the title role. Same premise. It bombed. Maybe this concept's time has come now?
5. Kings (NBC, premieres Mar. 19) I'll be honest: Tell me this is about a mythical kingdom of kings and princes but set in the present-day, and I'll give you a "Get outta here!" But tell me that the king is played by Deadwood's Ian McShane, and involves a lot of ruthless plotting, and I'll be in front of my TV, hoping it is good and worthy of the great McShane.
Which of these new shows are you looking forward to?