2015 was a great year for TV, but if the below list is anything to go by, 2016 might well have the edge. Here, in alphabetical order, we pick out the new shows that you should be making time in your schedules for…
The last few years have seen online streaming services like Netflix and Amazon become a force capable of rivalling the best of cable television. Now, Hulu is throwing its name into the ring with their adaptation of Stephen King’s 2011 novel about a man who time-travels back to the eponymous date in order to prevent the assassination of JFK – although as ever, it doesn’t quite go according to plan. Benefitting from the backing of JJ Abrams’ Bad Robot Productions (with the Force Awakens director on board as executive producer) and an impressive cast featuring the likes of James Franco, Sarah Gadon and Chris Cooper, we’re looking forward to seeing how this turns out.
Legends Of Tomorrow
The shockwaves from The CW’s superhero explosion is showing no sign of ceasing any time soon, with the various supporting cast members of Arrow and The Flash coalescing into their own show. In face of the impending threat of Vandal Savage, the likes of Atom (Brandon Routh), White Canary (Caity Lotz), Captain Cold (Wentworth Miller), Heat Wave (Dominic Purcell) and Rip Hunter (Arthur Darvill) make an unlikely alliance to counteract the threat. It’ll be more of the same for those familiar with Arrow and The Flash fans, but is that really such a bad thing? Of course it isn’t.
Marvel’s third Netflix series on the road to eventual small-screen team-up The Defenders will see Mike Colter’s Power Man strike out by himself, having been introduced in Jessica Jones. Having been a stand-out in the aforementioned series, it’ll be good to see Colter helm his own show, and fans will be satisfied that he definitely looks the part. Currently a member of the Avengers in the comics, his origin story is arguably less familiar than that of Jessica Jones and Daredevil, making this show an intriguing one. Ray Donovan and Southland’s Cheo Hodari Coker is taking on showrunning and executive producing duties, and it will also see the first MCU appearance of comics favourite Misty Knight, played by Simone Missick.
No relation to the crap Mitchell & Webb film, this is the latest in a string of ambitious-looking Syfy productions, helmed by Sera Gamble (Supernatural) and John McNamara (Lois & Clark). Based on Lev Grossman’s cult novel, it charts the parallel fortunes of budding magicians Quentin Coldwater (Jason Ralph) and Julia Wicker (Stella Maeve) as they are alternately accepted and denied entry into the prestigious Brakebills College for Magical Pedagogy. The source material has a lot of fans, who will be keeping a close eye on this one, but we’re going to keep the faith in Syfy on this one.
Fans of The Walking Dead will be hoping lightening can strike twice in Robert Kirkman’s latest TV series-length adaptations of one of his own Image Comics success stories. In Outcast, the focus of the story is the haunted Kyle Barnes (Patrick Fugit), whose attempts to uncover the truth behind his family’s lengthy history of demonic possession inevitably bring him into contact with dark forces. Dark subject matter aside, this sees as different from Kirkman’s better-known series as it’s possible to be. Still, if Outcast manages to be half as successful than that would be high praise indeed.
The first trailer may have got a mixed reception from fans, but we’ve still got high hopes for Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg’s take on Garth Ennis and Steve Dillon’s acclaimed comic-book series. For the uninitiated, AMC’s Preacher follows small-town, demon-possessed sermon-spouter Jesse Custer (Dominic Cooper) as he searches for God, aided by his ex Tulip O’Hare (Ruth Negga) and alcohol-soaked Irish vampire Cassidy (Joseph Gilgun). With Goldberg and Rogen at the helm, this will be funny at the very least, and hopefully a must-watch.
Those who were disappointed by the most recent attempt to adapt Cassandra Clare’s Mortal Instruments series in 2013’s The Mortal Instruments: City Of Bones will hopefully have their spirits lifted by ABC’s Shadowhunters, which will start things anew with an all-new cast. The interestingly named McG (Charlie’s Angels, Terminator Salvation) is overseeing this series, which tells of the age-old battle between vampires and ‘Shadowhunters’ taking place between contemporary New York. Netflix has picked up the UK rights for this one, which should be airing early in 2016.
The Shannara Chronicles
One of the more ambitious offerings on show here, those decrying the lack of epic fantasy on TV might finally have had their prayers answered – and in style, may we add. MTV’s take on Terry Brooks’ The Elfstones Of Shannara (the second in his Shannara series) boasts an embarrassment of riches behind the scenes: Smallville duo Alfred Gough and Miles Millar are teaming up as showrunners, in addition to producing alongside big-budget directors Jon Favreau and Jonathan Liebesman. It’s not to shabby on the acting front either, featuring the likes of John Rhys-Davies (Raiders Of The Lost Ark, The Lord Of The Rings), Ivana Baquero (Pan’s Labyrinth) and Manu Bennet (Arrow, The Hobbit).
Fans of Amazon’s The Man In The High Castle will likely find a lot to like in this BBC and Sid Gentle Films co-production, adapted from Len Deighton’s alternate-history detective novel, taking place in a world where the Nazis successfully invaded Britain during WW2. In addition to the great cast (Sam Riley, Kate Bosworth, Jason Flemyng and James Cosmo are all involved), it’ll also likely benefit from the involvement of Neal Purvis and Robert Wade, who have co-written every James Bond film from The World Is Not Enough all the way up to Spectre.
Admittedly we haven’t seen a lot of this yet, but everything about the TV series-length update of Michael Crichton’s cult 1973 sci-fi thriller looks and sounds utterly epic. Whether it’s the top-drawer cast, featuring the likes of Anthony Hopkins, Ed Harris, Evan Rachel Wood, James Marsden, Thandie Newton, Jeffrey Wright and many more; the wealth of talent behind the scenes (Christopher’s brother Jonathan Nolan is the co-creator, as well as producer alongside the ubiquitous JJ Abrams, whose Bad Robot again teams up with Warner Bros Television), and the reassuring guiding hand of HBO, we’re sure that Westworld is going to be something epic.