There was Natsuiro no Sunadokei ('Hourglass of Summer Colors'). From the start, it's clear it'll be another bishoujo series. But this one has a twist: time travel!
The main character is a guy who is in love with the school idol. Somehow, he gets showered with sand from an hourglass from a time-agent from the future, prompting some uncontrollable time travel. We find out that he ends up dating the girl of his dreams, only for her to have a fatal accident later that summer. The agent has come from the future to stop her from getting killed -- and the easiest way is to make sure our main man and his dream-girl never hook up in the first place. Of course, this is not what he had in mind, and thus he gets a mission: he has to remove a vital factor leading up to the accident earlier on in the chain of events. He succeeds, but it seems time resists changes that are made to it: another factor has popped up!
So, you see where this is going: every week, our protagonist has to jump through time and 'fix' things. It's certainly an amusing premise (though, of course, employing a patently false model of time travel). The episodes are long too: a full 30 minutes, instead of the 25 minutes maximum most series seem to employ.
We've also seen Elfen Lied. The series starts pretty harsh: we see a naked girl escaping her bonds in some high-tech research laboratory. Carnage ensues, as she uses her powers of telekinesis to kill the guards of the place in various gruesome ways: heads and arms are all ripped off, pens are flung through eye sockets, and more stuff like that. It all ends with the mysterious figure dissapearing.
Then we meet the two main characters of the series: a college freshman and his cousin. He moved away but has returned to study at the local college. His aunt has sent her daughter to fetch him from the train station and to bring him to the empty restaurant that will serve as his house, in return for keeping the place clean. Of course, they find a naked and confused girl (with horns!) on the beach, and take her home with them.
I can't understand why someone with vast telekinetic powers who kills offhandedly in one moment, would turn into a helpless little girl the next. Also, the series seems to be populated with various highly unpleasant characters, and it doesn't offer anything new: it's just all violence and nakedness.
We had already decided that we would be following Maria-sama ga Miteru ~ Spring, sight unseen. However, we did squeeze in the first episode, and it didn't dissapoint. If the first episode is anything to go by, it seems that the context will be gradually 'opening up': no more just the micro-cosmos of the school, but a larger social context as well.
The first episode is about a new year's sleepover party at Sachiko's house. Rosa Gigantea tricks Yumi into packing for a multi-day trip, only to bring her to the mansion of Sachiko's family! We meet her cousin again (the one she is betrothed to, the one who played the prince in the Cinderella play), and to everyone's surprise, he has Yumi's brother in tow!
Not much happens, but we were right back into the whole mood and setting of the series after watching this episode!