If you are looking for something new to watch this year, this guide will highlight the 25 new shows I am anticipating most in the coming year. In a sign of the times, none will be from broadcast networks and most will be from SVOD (Streaming Video On Demand) services. In another indication of where the television industry is, this guide will mostly consist of limited series. In the last five years limited series have become much more popular. The rise of premium networks and streaming services has given creators more flexibility and freedom to tell their stories in as few hours needed. Less time commitment is also required for viewers and with the increase in the limited series format, movie stars are constantly on television shows where, I would argue, the best stories are being told.
The Outsider — HBO, January 12 at 9E/6P
This is a 10-episode limited series based on a Stephen King novel and on the surface, it appears like a simple investigation into a murder of a teenager. But things get complicated when supernatural forces get involved and upend the case. Emmy winner Ben Mendelsohn ( Bloodline, Rogue One, Darkest Hour) is the veteran cop who takes on the case. Tony and Emmy award nominee Bill Camp ( The Night Of, Lincoln), Julianne Nicholson ( Boardwalk Empire, Masters of Sex), and Jason Bateman also star. But I am more interested in this series because of who’s behind the camera more than who’s in front. The creator and person who wrote the majority of the episodes is acclaimed crime novelist Richard Price, who is also known for writing episodes of The Wire, the showrunner of the Emmy winning HBO miniseries The Night Of, and the novel and film Clockers. Crime novelist Dennis Lehane, who also wrote for The Wire and wrote the acclaimed film The Drop, also pens a couple scripts for the series. Jason Bateman will direct the first two episodes-which is awesome given he just won an Emmy last fall for directing an episode of his Netflix show Ozark-and veteran TV director-producer Andrew Bernstein will direct six episodes. Bernstein has directed episodes of The West Wing, ER, House, Mad Men, The Americans, and Ozark. Perhaps what excites me most is the casting director is Alexa Fogel, whose impressive, 30+ year career includes NYPD Blue, Oz, The Wire, Pose, True Detective, The Politician, Ozark, and Atlanta. She could cast an elementary school play and I would be first in line to get tickets. View the trailer here.
Little America — Apple TV+, January 17th
An anthology series from the producers behind Oscar nominated film The Big Sick teams up with The Office writer Lee Eisenberg, this 8-episode season tells the stories of immigrants living throughout America. This appears to be a pretty uplifting show that celebrates the different background and cultures which shape America. View the trailer here.
Avenue 5 — HBO January 19, at 10E/7P
Armando Iannucci, the creator of the critically acclaimed and multi-Emmy winning HBO comedy Veep, is the showrunner of Avenue 5, a sci-fi comedy set 40 years in the future. Hugh Laurie is the captain of a space cruise ship which faces disaster on its way back to Earth. It also stars Josh Gad and Zach Woods ( The Office, Silicon Valley). View the trailer here.
Briarpatch — USA Network, February 6th at 10E/7P
Created and written by Andy Greenwald, former TV critic and longtime podcaster, Briarpatch is a 10-episode crime thriller which follows Allegra Dill, a tenacious investigator who returns to her border-town Texas home when her sister is killed. As she investigates, she uncovers more corruption in her hometown than she could have ever imagined. The series also stars Jay R. Ferguson ( Mad Men), Tony award winner and Emmy nominee Alan Cumming ( The Good Wife), and Kim Dickens ( Deadwood, Treme, Fear the Walking Dead). It is executive produced by Sam Esmail, creator of the Emmy winning series Mr. Robot. Based on knowing Greenwald’s sensibilities, I’d expect quite a bit of levity and wit to balance out the mystery and crime element to the show. View the trailer here.
High Fidelity — Hulu, February 14th
Based on the popular 2000 film of the same name, High Fidelity is instead based in Brooklyn and stars Zoe Kravitz ( Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, Big Little Lies) as a romantic and self-destructive record store owner. The series was originally developed for Disney+ but then went to Hulu for content reasons (Hulu is where Disney’s darker, more adult programming will go). As of 2019, Disney now majority owns Hulu after it bought Fox’s stake in the platform. View the trailer here.
Hunters — Amazon Prime Video, February 21
In the 1970s, Nazis have infiltrated American society-including our government-but a group of Nazi killers led by Al Pacino and Logan Lerman ( The Perks of Being a Wallflower) are on the hunt. Jordan Peele’s production company is on board which brings more gravitas and the likelihood of levity to a dark concept. It appears this is Al Pacino’s first starring role in a television series ever in his fifty year career so that’s exciting. View the trailer here.
The Plot Against America — HBO, March 16
David Simon’s ( The Wire, Treme, Generation Kill) longtime partnership with HBO continues with an adaptation of this alternate-history Philip Roth novel in which FDR lost the presidency to Charles Lindbergh in 1940 and the United States becomes an isolationist and anti-semitic nation. The 6-episode limited series will star Ben Cole, Winona Ryder and John Turturro and it’s told through the eyes of a working-class Jewish family in New Jersey as they watch the country veer toward facism. Alexa Fogel was also the casting director for this show. Yes, it is a dark premise during a time in our country with anti-semitism on the rise, but it’s David Simon, who is a genius so it is worth a shot.
Little Fires Everywhere — Hulu, March 18
After a competitive bidding war, Hulu landed this 8-episode miniseries based on a best-selling novel of the same name. Reese Witherspoon is a picture perfect matriarch in suburban Ohio whose life is shaken up when Kerry Washington’s Mia and her daughter moves to the town. Also starring is Rosemarie DeWitt and Joshua Jackson. Just the firepower of Witherspoon and Washington alone is enough to get me to check it out, regardless of plot. That’s how much I love these women. See the teaser here.
Tokyo Vice — HBO Max, 2020
Based on a 2009 memoir, Tokyo Vice is about an American journalist who goes undercover in the Tokyo Vice police squad to expose corruption. Ansel Elgort will play Jake Adelstein and the pilot will be directed by Michael Mann, who is a four-time Academy Award-nominee and a two-time Emmy Award-winning director. HBO Max is WarnerMedia’s streaming service-it will cost $14.99/month, include current and past HBO programming, be the home of Warner Bros. content, Turner content, and original programming such as this series. HBO Max launches in May, but as of now, it is unclear when this show will premiere. Elgort is quite talented and charming so his first television project should be fun.
Mrs. America — Hulu, Wednesday, April 15 on FX on Hulu
This limited series about the movement to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment and the strong backlash led by conservative activist Phyllis Schlafly, portrayed by Cate Blanchett, is very promising. The series also stars Rose Byrne as Gloria Steinem, Uzo Aduba as Shirley Chisholm, and Tracey Ullman as Betty Friedan. The show was created and written by Dahvi Waller, who is most known for her work on Mad Men and the first two episodes were directed by Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck, who directed Captain Marvel. Historical dramas are right in my wheelhouse, which is partly why I loved Chernobyl and Escape at Dannemora. This was originally developed to air on FX but as part of FX’s new streaming deal with Hulu, 40 of the past and current FX shows will exclusively stream on Hulu. This is one of four shows which will also debut this year on the streaming service under the banner “FX on Hulu.” Its first three episodes will premiere on Wednesday, April 15 on FX on Hulu, with new episodes airing each subsequent week on FX on Hulu. View the trailer here.
Space Force — Netflix, 2020
Created by Steve Carell and Greg Daniels, who developed The Office, this comedy is about the people tasked with creating the Space Force, a new branch of the U.S. military. It stars Steve Carell, Ben Schwartz ( Parks and Recreation, House of Lies), Tawny Newsome, and John Malkovich. The first season will consist of 10 episodes. See the trailer here.
Your Honor — Showtime, late 2020 Perry Mason — HBO, 2020
The Falcon and the Winter Soldier — Disney+, late 2020
This is really only for the fans of the Marvel movies, which I suppose is most people. It is one of two Marvel shows debuting on Disney+ in 2020-the other being WandaVision. The series will consist of six episodes and each episode will reportedly cost $25 million. The show takes place after the events of Avengers: Endgame. Last fall, news broke that Marvel Television is essentially shutting down and future shows by Marvel will be under the Marvel Studios banner, with the goal being more connectedness between the TV shows and the MCU films. Even Kevin Feige, Marvel Studios’ President and Chief Creative Officer, is said to “take a hands-on role in the development” of each show for the purposes of continuity of the story and handling of the studio’s big-screen talent. Sebastian Stan is really hot so even if the show is just OK I will keep watching because of him.
WandaVision — Disney+, late 2020
WandaVision showrunner Jac Schaeffer described the series as “half classic sitcom and half full MCU spectacular,” both reasons to be intrigued, and importantly Kevin Feige has explicitly said that WandaVision will set up Scarlet Witch’s appearance in the upcoming Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, which will come to theaters in 2021. Like The Falcon and the Winter Soldier it takes place after the events of Avengers: Endgame, will consist of 6 episodes and have a budget of $25 million per episode. Each episode will be directed by Matt Shakman whose stellar TV work includes Game of Thrones, Fargo, and The Good Wife. Jac Schaeffer co-wrote Captain Marvel and 2020’s Black Widow. Besides Olsen and Bettany reprising their roles as Wanda Maximoff and Vision, Randall Park is also returning as FBI Agent Jimmy Woo, who debuted in Ant-Man and the Wasp, and Kathryn Hahn will star as well.
Hightown — Starz, 2020
I Know This Much is True — HBO, 2020
This 6-episode limited series, based on a novel of the same name, is billed as a family drama which follows the parallel lives of identical twin brothers and explores themes of betrayal, sacrifice and forgiveness. Mark Ruffalo plays the twin brothers Dominick and Thomas Birdsey. The rest of this excellent cast includes Emmy-winner Archie Panjabi ( The Good Wife), Rosie O’Donnell, Kathryn Hahn, and Oscar-winner Melissa Leo.
Lovecraft Country — HBO, 2020
Defending Jacob — Apple TV+, Fall 2020
Based on the novel of the same name, this 8-episode miniseries is a thriller which centers on a father (Chris Evans) who deals with the accusation that his 14-year old son is a murderer. His son is played by Jaeden Martell,-who fans of IT know as Bill-his wife is played by Michelle Dockery, and Cherry Jones also stars. The series will be directed by Morten Tyldum, who was nominated for an Oscar in 2015 for The Imitation Game. After Evans’ mesmerizing performance in Knives Out, I can’t wait to see what he does with this material.
Ratched — Netflix, 2020
Sarah Paulson plays the evil Nurse Ratched, based on the novel One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, and delves into her origin story starting in 1947 as it tracks her murderous progression through the mental health care system. Paulson is surrounded by top talent such as Finn Wittrock, Cynthia Nixon, Corey Stoll, and Sharon Stone. This is expected to be the third Netflix series produced by Ryan Murphy since he signed his massive contract to produce projects for the streaming giant. Netflix won a bidding war for this project over Hulu and Apple and gave it a two season order of nine episodes each. Sarah Paulson and Ryan Murphy are such a fun duo that I’d watch anything they do together and this genuinely sounds like an interesting show.
Run — HBO, 2020
Fleabag and Killing Eve creator Phoebe Waller-Bridge and Vicky Jones, who wrote on those series, bring us this comedy about Ruby, who receives a text inviting her to fulfill a pact made in her youth and ventures on a journey with an old flame. 2-time Emmy winner Merritt Wever plays Ruby and Domhnall Gleeson (General Hux in the Star Wars sequel trilogy) is her old flame, Billy. Phoebe Waller-Bridge will also recur in the series. Literally inject any media Phoebe Waller-Bridge is involved with directly into my veins.
The Old Man — Hulu, late 2020
This thriller developed by Jonathan Steinberg-who was showrunner for the short-lived but fun, action-thriller Human Target and ran the spy-comedy Chuck for season one-stars Jeff Bridges as a former CIA officer who’s living off the grid until he is targeted for assassination and is forced to return to the life he left behind. The cast includes Amy Brenneman ( NYPD Blue, Judging Amy, The Leftovers), Alia Shawkat ( Arrested Development), and John Lithgow. This series is also under the “FX on Hulu” banner.
The Stand — CBS All Access
The second Stephen King adaptation on this list, The Stand, is a 10-episode limited series about a post-apocalyptic world in which the fate of humanity rests on 108-year old Mother Abigail and a handful of survivors. According to the CBS logline, “their worst nightmares are embodied in a man with a lethal smile and unspeakable powers: Randall Flagg, the Dark Man,” who is played by Alexander Skarsgård ( True Blood, Generation Kill, Big Little Lies). He is joined by Greg Kinnear, James Marsden, and Whoopi Goldberg as Mother Abigail. Anything post-apocalyptic is an instant-watch for me; also, how can you not love this cast?
The Undoing — HBO, 2020
This 6-episode limited series based on a best-selling novel, which David E. Kelley called a “character driven psychological thriller,” is sure to be intriguing. Nicole Kidman stars as a successful therapist who is about to publish a book when her life is upended by a violent death, a missing husband, and she must pick up the pieces for herself and her son. This awesome cast includes Hugh Grant, Lily Rabe ( American Horror Story, Vice), Noah Jupe ( A Quiet Place, Ford v Ferrari, Honey Boy), and Donald Sutherland. Susanne Bier-Emmy winner for 2016’s AMC series The Night Manager -will direct each episode and serve as executive producer.
Devs — Hulu, Thursday, March 5, on FX on Hulu
This sci-fi thriller from writer-director Alex Garland ( Ex Machina, Annihilation) centers on a young software engineer (Sonoya Mizuno) who works for an innovative tech company in Silicon Valley. When her boyfriend is killed she suspects her company is involved and starts investigating. As she searches for the truth she discovers a technology-based conspiracy that could change the world. The cast includes Alison Pill ( Milk, In Treatment), Zach Grenier ( Fight Club, Zodiac, The Good Wife), and Nick Offerman ( Fargo, Parks and Recreation). Devs is an 8-episode limited series and is also under the “FX on Hulu” banner. While I did not love Ex Machina, it was interesting enough that I look forward to seeing what Garland does in the TV format. The concept is also intriguing. Devs will premiere its first two installments on Thursday, March 5, on FX on Hulu. A new episode will follow each week. View the trailer here.
Originally published at https://camscorner47546243.com on January 9, 2020.