The year’s almost over and our DVRs are filled to capacity. Who knew so many shows would pique our interest? During the annual upfronts, we weren’t impressed with most of the series orders. Everything was either too much, too little, or just plain boring. But once they premiered, we were pleasantly surprised. Somehow a superhero with no superpowers works. The millionth incarnation of a famous detective seems fresh. And a campy sci-fi drama was shockingly grounded. Here are five new shows that caught us off guard.

5. Girls – (HBO)

After its debut, Girls caught a lot of flack. It was a critical darling, but the public wasn’t drinking the Kool-Aid. We weren’t fans of the pilot and found laughs few and far between (To be fair, most pilots are mediocre at best). But as the season progressed, Lena Dunham got into a groove. We began to relate to the characters and found something humanizing about them. We’re actually looking forward to next month’s season premiere.

4. Go On – (NBC)

Matthew Perry did it. After the failed Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip and Mr. Sunshine, he hit pay-dirt with Go On. The dynamic between his character and his new group of “friends” is what drives the comedy. Yes, there were some bumpy moments in the beginning, but everything’s gelled nicely. It also helps that the cast includes the hilarious John Cho and amazing Julie White.

3. Arrow – (The CW)

When The CW announced Arrow, fans automatically thought it would be the next Smallville. Boy were they wrong. The series would be based on the Green Arrow comic, but wouldn’t be a spinoff for Justin Hartley. It would also stay clear of fantastical elements like superpowers and the Justice League. It left us feeling discouraged. But somehow, someway, the producers made it work. We’ve grown to love Stephen Amell’s Oliver Queen. The show’s interpretation of the comic characters has been impressive. Arrow isn’t the next Smallville, and it doesn’t need to be. It’s in a league of its own.

2. Revolution (NBC)

When we saw the first promo image for Revolution we thought, “Firefly plus Falling Skies makes this?” It looked like another post-apocalyptic show that would easily come and go. Imagine our surprise when the story and Billy Burke‘s sharp performance grabbed our attention. Not only is the dynamic between Burke, Giancarlo Esposito and David Lyons drool-worthy, but the soap opera plot twists keep us clamoring for more.

1. Elementary – (CBS)

Out of all the new shows last fall, Elementary had it the worst. Before airing a single episode, die-hard fans of BBC’s Sherlock were up in arms about America’s bastardized version. “Sherlock Holmes in New York with a female Watson? Blasphemy!” But after the pilot, people quickly changed their tune. Jonny Lee Miller‘s performance is a standout. He owns every scene he’s in, and viewers agree. The show has been a solid ratings draw since day one. Elementary turned doubters into believers — us included!

What show surprised you the most this year?