When the New Year comes around every 365 days, it feels like a sigh of relief. You can forget about all the shows you missed out on last year and just wait for the new ones (or your old favorites) to pop on screen. But then you remember, “oh no, there’s like…4 million shows premiering just this month, what do I do?” and then turn on The Office for a 79th rewatch. Don’t let that panic happen. Let us guide you through it. We present to you our most anticipated TV shows for the upcoming year, so you know what to wait for.
Austin: Jonah Hill? Emma Stone? Cary Fukunaga (the guy who made True Detective S1)? NETFLIX?! All in. Wait…what is that? Justin Theroux too?! Just take all of my money. Netflix could raise their prices 4000000% and I’d still pay for this.
Maniac centers on two patients at a psychiatric hospital who venture into fantasy worlds. There’s no more information available but it sounds like it will be a combination of clearly fantastical elements with dark humor, maybe taking a page out of the FX series Legion (minus the superheroes) which utilized mental health patients and imaginative worlds to great success.
The cast and team behind this, along with the artistic freedom Netflix generally gives has me over the moon excited for Maniac. All we need is an official release date and the hype train will be full speed ahead.
Honorable Mentions: The Looming Tower; Mosaic; Sharp Objects; Waco
Westworld Season 2
Andy: Season one of Westworld was some of the most fun I’ve had trying to put the pieces together of a story since season one of Lost. With multiple timelines being told at once, fantastic acting by a great cast, and some of the coolest music I’ve ever heard by Game of Thrones composer Ramin Djawadi, Westworld was some of the most entertaining TV of 2017. Evan Rachel Wood, Anthony Hopkins, Ed Harris, Jeffrey Wright, James Marsden, and even one of the McPoyle brothers from It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia round out the incredible cast.
Dissecting every frame, easter egg, and hint dropped in season one was definitely part of the thrill, although it might have lessened the impact of some of the larger reveals if you had already figured most of the major plot points out. I plan to watch season two without the ‘help’ of the internet. Without providing any spoilers, season two looks to go a COMPLETELY different direction that I wouldn’t have thought possible until after a few seasons of laying the groundwork.
With season one’s final episode airing December 4th of 2016, fans have been waiting a very long time for more of this world, and I have a feeling it will be worth the wait. Westworld will return in Spring 2018.
Honorable Mentions: Altered Carbon S1; Luther S5; The Terror S1; Daredevil S3
Arrested Development Season 5
Pat: There’s always good TV in the banana stand. Arrested Development is one of my favorite TV shows, favorite comedies, favorite anything of all time. I re-watch the series on and off every couple of months and every time I watch I catch something new that I hadn’t noticed before. That’s why I’m more excited than George Michael kissing his cousin for Season 5.
Season 4 was a bit uneven and disappointing, although I feel like it gets more hate than it probably deserves. I think in order to really appreciate it, you need to give it a few re-watches which most people (myself included) haven’t really done yet. The biggest disappointment (besides the poorly aged Michael Cera and a what the hell happened to the beautiful Portia de Rossi) is the fact that we got so little of the family all together. As selfish as they are, they are the glue that holds the show together and they all play off each other so well, that it hurt to see the story line have them so separated.
Thankfully, Season 5 should fix this issue. Although I’m not a huge fan of the idea of this season being the “Act 2” to Season 4, and would much prefer a clean break with a new story line away from the “murder mystery” concept they set up, I have faith in all the talent involved. I’m really hoping that Season 5 fires on all cylinders because with David Cross and Jeffrey Tambor’s inappropriate behavior, I’m thinking this might be the last chance we’ll get to see everyone all together.
Honorable Mentions: Westworld S2; The Terror S1; Castle Rock S1
Man in the High Castle Season 3
Chandler: The alternate history genre has always been one of my favorites. It’s fun and even scary to imagine what would have happened if some of the biggest moments in human history played out differently. For example, what if President John F. Kennedy lived? What if the South had won the Civil War? Or what would the world be like if Germany and Japan defeated the Allies in World War II?
The latter scenario sets the stage for Man in the High Castle. Set in an alternate 1962, after the United States lost the war to Germany and Japan, Nazis control most of the Eastern half of the country now called The Greater Nazi Reich while Japan controls much of the west coast under the name Japanese Pacific States. It’s incredibly chilling to witness the dark and dreary setting of oppressive living under dual dictatorships. The visuals shock your senses upon seeing the eagle of the Third Reich atop New York skyscrapers and American schoolchild reciting the morning “pledge of allegiance” to the Nazis.
What impressed me most was the ambiguity of the characters and trying to understand their motivations. Yes, there is a sense for Americans to join the underground resistance and fight off their oppressors. But the costs are great, the stakes are high and it’s incredibly compelling to see the characters weigh the pros and cons of their actions on all sides of the conflict.
Season 2 certainly left us with a cliffhanger and introduced some new supernatural elements that should shift the story into a brand new direction. I won’t spoil anything but I highly recommend this show. The acting is great and the production values are excellent, as the cast did an admirable job for a TV show bringing to life alternate 1962.
Honorable Mentions: Arrested Development S5; Westworld S2; The Walking Dead (just kidding, this show is trash*)
*Editor’s/Austin Note: Can confirm. Trash is putting it nicely.*
Smithers (TheChumpcast.com): I will watch anything with Matt Groening attached to it. Netflix has finally listened to my hundreds of mean emails demanding a new cartoon from the father of The Simpsons and Futurama. They’re doing it right with some of the best voice actors in the business. Maurice Lamarche, Billy West, Tress MacNeille, and John Dimaggio are headlining an excellent cast of people you’ve probably never heard of, but have definitely heard.
Not much is known about the actual show as of now, but we do have a synopsis. We’ll be following the story of Bean, an alcoholic princess, her elf companion Elfo, and her “personal demon” Luci, who live in a medieval kingdom. Groening and crew are signed on for 20 episodes so far, 10 of which we’ll be seeing this year. It’s sure to be truly binge-worthy animation.
Honorable Mention: Altered Carbon; Westworld; The Magicians; Maniac