The Platinum Age of Television is here to stay after the finales of Mad Men, Justified, and Parks and Rec were followed by a dozen great shows in 2015. Upwards of 400 scripted series were on the air last year, and with new players like Playstation and Vice joining the fray each season, that number should continue to rise in 2016.
No longer are viewers forced to find the next breakthrough series on just the premium channels like Showtime or AMC, as elevated material is coming from the broadcast networks, streaming services, and not-so-basic cable. In the wake of this deluge of content, the technology in which to enjoy these shows is advancing as well, with foldable OLED displays, standalone network apps like HBO GO, and new progress with self-driving cars that will allow "drivers" to take their eyes off the road so they can instead watch their favorite programs.
So as the ways to enjoy television expand, and shows are binge-watched easier, more often than ever we're left asking ourselves, "What's next?"
Though this year will see the highly anticipated returns of series like House Of Cards and Last Man On Earth, and long awaited revivals like Twin Peaks and The X-Files, here's a list of brand new shows that you should keep your eye out for down the road.
Colony, USA Network
When you're talking up a new science fiction drama, name-dropping Lost still goes a long way. So you can understand why expectations are high for this new show coming from the iconic show's executive producer Carlton Cuse and its star actor Josh Holloway, who won a SAG award for his role as Sawyer. Set in the future, Holloway plays a former FBI agent whose family has become entangled between a human rebellion and a possibly alien occupying force trying to squash the uprising.
"What's the point of having fuck-you money if you never say, 'Fuck you'?" The closing line of the trailer for Showtime's new series says it all. Award-winning actors Paul Giamatti and Damian Lewis go head-to-head in a flashy new drama about the struggle between power politics and high finance in New York. From the writers of Rounders, Brian Koppleman and David Levien expect plenty of sharp, witty dialogue.
War and Peace, A&E/History/Lifetime Simulcast
Considering the success of Downton Abbey, the desire for period dramas in the States is as prevalent as ever; so expect a lot of those fans to also tune in for the BBC's new dazzling adaptation of Leo Tolstoy's War and Peace. Though the story has been told before, most notably in feature film, the series' producers, including Harvey Weinstein, spared no expense in nailing down a star-studded cast including Lily James, James Norton, and American thespian Paul Dano.
Team Ninja Warrior, Esquire Network
"This is unlike anything that anybody has ever seen," says executive producer Brian Richardson. Following the success of American Ninja Warrior, the action-packed competition series that challenges even the world's most fit men and women, the network has found a way to up the ante. Now competitors won't just go head-to-head with the diabolically constructed obstacle course, but will do so while in dead heats against other squads.
Mad Dogs, Amazon
A group of 40-something pals visit an old friend at his early retirement home in Belize for some good times, but the visit devolves quickly into a series of mysterious, twisted events as it becomes clear that their host hasn't told them the full truth. Comedy prevails throughout the narrative, even during the most traumatizing situations. The pilot is already getting good buzz, boasting a dream cast of Michael Imperioli, Billy Zane, Steve Zahn, Ben Chaplin, and Romany Malco.
You, Me and the Apocalypse, NBC
As evidenced by the title, the show is about the end of the world, or rather 34 days before the end of the world. The delightfully dark show follows individual storylines of a great ensemble of entertainers like Mathew Baynton, Rob Lowe, Jenna Fisher, and Megan Mullally, as they scour the Earth for safety from an impending comet. The show is yet another U.K. import, and thus features some of that fantastic dry humor synonymous with British comedies.
The People vs. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story, FX
Ryan Murphy's latest offering, depicting the headline-gripping pursuit and subsequent prosecution of O.J. Simpson, should probably be handed the Emmy for casting right now. Cuba Gooding Jr. will portray the man himself, with a star-studded list of supporting actors including John Travolta, David Schwimmer, and Sarah Paulson playing the now-infamous faces of the Trial of the Century. It will undoubtedly be riveting television.
There are cartoons made for kids that adults can enjoy, and then there are cartoons that are not made for kids at all. This is the latter. Produced by the Duplass Brothers, who created an indie film empire and are now taking over TV, the show was created by two animators who met at an ad agency in New York. The city and its animal population are the main characters, with all sorts of creatures from rats to pigeons lightheartedly debating everything from casual sex to party etiquette. You may recognize some of the voices as well, with comedic stars including Aziz Ansari, Nick Kroll, Matt Walsh, Jason Mantzoukas, Mark Maron, Ike Barinholtz, Paul Sheer, and many more offering their skills.
Full Frontal with Samantha Bee, TBS
When Jon Stewart devastated the world by stepping down at The Daily Show, there were two names frequently mentioned as possible heirs to the throne, Samantha Bee and Jason Jones. But instead the real-life married couple went to TBS, where Bee has set up her own weekly late-night comedy talk show where she will commentate on current issues in her own smart brand of satire. If her hilarious career on Comedy Central is any barometer, this show should be great, as will be having a female voice added to the late-night arena.
You only need to read the credits to be convinced that this series about a 1970s record company president whose life consists of sex, drugs, and a particular genre of music is going to be a winner. Directed by iconic filmmaker Martin Scorsese. Written by Boardwalk Empire creator Terence Winter. Produced by rock legend Mick Jagger. Starring the talented Bobby Cannavale and Olivia Wilde. There you have it.
It's safe to say that 11/22/63 has a lot going in its favor. Based on Stephen King's best-selling novel about a time traveller who tries to prevent the assassination of President John F. Kennedy is being brought to the small screen by none other than Star Wars savior JJ Abrams. The nine-hour limited series was directed by Oscar-winning documentary director Kevin Macdonald and stars famously prolific James Franco, supported by strong talents like Chris Cooper.
The Catch, ABC
From the mind of Scandal and Grey's Anatomy showrunner Shonda Rhimes comes a thriller about a private investigator at the top of her game who gets conned out of every cent she owned by her supposed fiancé. The brilliant Mireille Enos stars as the woman scorned who will stop at nothing in her quest for revenge. Rhimes has a knack for writing strong woman put in impossible situations, so it's doubtful that this offering will disappoint.
The Path, Hulu
Aaron Paul makes his return to drama in Hulu's new series about a family that comes under the influence of a new controversial cult leader, played by the dynamic Hugh Dancy. Though the creators are quick to say the religion in the show is not based on Scientology, comparisons will be made as the family is tested and challenged when its allegiances are called into question. Minka Kelly and Michelle Monaghan round out the cast entrenched in the chilling circumstances, shown in the latest trailer, which is gripping from the start.
Huang's World, Viceland
The new network Viceland will launch this February, featuring an inundation of interesting new programming, but it's Eddie Huang's long-running travel and food web-series that we can't wait for more people to discover. Some viewers may have heard of the original series Off The Boat, based on Huang's memoir, but nothing can compare to the colorful chef in his element.
Boris Horvat / Getty Images
Netflix is looking to expand its foreign reach with series like Marseille, a House of Cards–like political drama centered on a French mayor whose daily life is a struggle against drug lords, corrupt politicians, and labor unions. Gerard Depardieu stars in the show written by some of the greatest creative minds in France, assuring that the show will be nothing if not authentic and likely a distinctive look at the genre.
Based on Whitley Streiber's book series, the show is spearheaded by two ladies who know their science fiction, The Walking Dead and The Terminator trilogy producer Gale Ann Hurd and 12 Monkeys showrunner Natalie Chaidez. In the show, humans are entangled in a new battle with an alien presence, and Nathan Phillips plays an unknowing FBI agent who is enlisted and paired with a mysterious ace operative, played by Britne Oldford. Syfy has been on a roll with its latest entries into the original series field, and Hunters stands to be no exception.
Following the rampant success of The Walking Dead, and its prequel, Fear the Walking Dead, another one of Robert Kirkman's comic book properties is coming to television. Patrick Fugit plays a tormented man who has always struggled with demons, and is recruited in the war against absolute evil. Though this show is based on the supernatural rather than the undead, it still involves that eerie suspense we've grown to love from Kirkman's projects.
Based on Garth Ennis's cult-level graphic novel series Vertigo, about a disillusioned preacher with mysterious powers who is sent on a quest to find God, and, after he has thrown in the towel, is poised to be unlike anything else on the small screen. Produced by comedian Seth Rogen and his producing partner Evan Goldberg, Peacher will pair riotous humor with Tarantino-level gore while trying to remain fairly faithful to its source material. If you weren't excited enough already, it will also star the brilliant Dominic Cooper.
Luke Cage, Netflix
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Any doubters of Netflix and Marvel's collaboration on their Defenders collection of original superhero series were hushed quickly by the tremendous success of Daredevil. Mike Colter's Luke Cage has technically already made his grand entrance in season one of Jessica Jones, but many still wait with great impatience for his standalone series to get deeper into his backstory and the origin of his powers.
Ride with Normal Reedus, AMC
Gene Page / AMC
There are a lot of travel series out there, and it has become more difficult to make any noise in the genre, but if there is anyone that can it's The Walking Dead star Norman Reedus. On his new series, the charismatic actor will lead viewers on a motorcycle tour around the country, exploring bike culture and local color. It's a dream gig for Reedus, who is a longtime rider, and it sounds like it could be just as fun to watch as it was to make.