Now that summer’s winding down, network executives and show-running producers are sharpening their knives and counting their lucky stars. Per the entertainment industry’s yearly tradition, television’s movers and shakers are prepping a seemingly infinite number of new shows, everything from single-camera sitcoms to hour-long dramas and provocative genre mash-ups.

The fall season has long been TV land’s most fertile breeding ground, and it’s easy to see why. During the summer, couch potatoes vegetate less, venturing off to beaches, pools, and/or destination vacation spots; it’s a shift in priorities that gives TV Guide addicts an endless stream of scenic distractions to choose from that don’t revolve around DVR technology and gluttonous carbohydrate intake—what’s a good sitcom without some tortilla chips and salsa within arm’s reach?

Kicking off next week, the Fall 2011 TV season is looking like it’ll turn us all into lethargic gastronomes whose nightly exercise routine consists of remote control arm-curls. For the first time in years, the slate of new programs is full of imagination, albeit sporadically ridiculous imagination. Viewers are about to meet fairy tale creatures, sadomasochistic ghosts, pissed-off dinosaurs, and scantily-clad bunnies, along with more generic offerings that upgrade familiar tropes with solid casting and ambition.

And then there are the returning champs, complete with zombies (The Walking Dead), hustlers (How To Make It In America), and CBS’s Monday night lineup minus Charlie Sheen. The field is crowded as hell, so narrowing down the impending premieres into the following countdown of our 25 Most Anticipated TV Shows Of Fall 2011 was tougher to complete than the task of enduring all 22 episodes of NBC’S canceled (halle-fucking-lujah) Outsourced. We promise there’s no show here with even the potential to be that awful. Or so we hope.

Written by Matt Barone (@MBarone)

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