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What's on TV, Mom?

Posted: Updated: surveys the top ten new shows of the season

After a full day doing the mommy thing, a little chill time in front of the TV is not a bad thing for you or, gasp, for your kids sometimes. But with a new television season ringing in the new year (or close to it), there are shows that need deciphering whether they're worth our precious time or if they're fit for our precious ones' eyes.

We're not talking new episodes of our favorites, of course -- we're flying high that The Bachelor, American Idol, The Biggest Loser as well as McDreamy, McSteamy and Co. are back in the TV lineup.

It's the slew of new midseason premieres from the TV and cable networks that leaves moms thinking. We've got to figure a) which ones are worth adding to our already laden nights (there's snuggle time/help with homework time/ hanging with our mate time/committee meeting time/bring home work from office time, etc.) and b) which ones, no matter their hype, are actually appropriate for our kids (not to mention ones that we may be able to sit through too).

So, we've previewed, pored over, and pondered the offerings so we can now reveal the best shows to watch with your offspring and which are the best ones to stay up for after they're tucked in to bed.

Big Time Rush (Nickelodeon; January 18th 8:30 ET)
The show's sneak peak in November rocked to 3.5 million viewers -- the series premiere is not too racy and is kind of cute as it tracks the making of a band (4 hockey playing friends from Minnesota) in LA with one of the members' mom and little sis in tow.

Life Unexpected (CW11; Jan 18th 9/8c)
Bring on the popcorn for a teeny bopper show you can actually watch and get into with your (a little bit older) kids. Critics call this Gilmore Girls meet Juno -- a 15-year-old who has grown up in the foster care system needs to find her birth parents to become emancipated. She does and they end up becoming a temporary family of sorts. Story lines feel real and there are likeable characters both your age(ish) and your more mature adolescent's.

Deep End (ABC; January 21st 8/7c)
Think Ally McBeal meets LA Law -- green uber smart (and uber attractive) lawyers tangle with each other and the establishment -- showtime is right for any budding lawyers in your brood.

Team Umizoomi (Nickelodeon; January 25th 11:30 am ET)
We're hopeful you won't need to hone your math skills on this math-focused preschool series, but the timing is just right for you to get lunched prepped and to the table.

The Marriage Ref (NBC; sneak peak January 28th following Olympics closing ceremony; series premiere March 4th 10/9c )
Reality Marriage TV from Jerry Seinfeld -- celebs, comedians, and sports figures comment on and decide who's right in spats between husbands and wives. This has got to be funny.

StarStruck (Disney; February 14th 8/7c)
Another tweeny-bopper made for TV movie (this one starring Sterling Knight from Sonny With a Chance) that's like a public scene or someone else's embarrassing moment -- you can't help but watch.

How to Make it in America (HBO; February)
From the producers of Entourage, need we say more? A smart comedy about twenty-somethings realizing the American Dream. Lots of friendships, hard work, and camaraderie -- feel good stuff that will keep you wanting more (and, unfortunately, like our other HBO faves--a season of what seems like only a few episodes that fly by).

Parenthood (NBC; March 1st 9/8c)
You might not need more of your own family drama, but this one inspired by the movie of the same title and executive produced by Ron Howard, will keep you laughing about someone else's.

Sons of Tucson (Fox; March 14th 8:30 ET)
If you can get past the father going to prison part and the three boys he left behind hiring a schemer to stand in as dad, this show could provide some laughs before the school week resumes.

Miami Medical (CBS; April 2nd 10/9c)
If you miss ER and live for medical dramas, the team of surgeons at this premiere trauma center will make you cry, gasp, and thankful for what you have.