20 New TV Shows That We Hope Go On Forever
Just as Hollywood taketh, Hollywood giveth, too.
American Vandal. Casual. Pretty much every Marvel series on Netflix. (R.I.P., Daredevil and Luke Cage. Total “eh, whatever” to Iron Fist.) Yes, 2018 was an absolutely brutal year for television shows that frankly deserved better. At this point, why should anyone stick with a great show if cancellation seems not only possible but likely?
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Well, just as Hollywood taketh, Hollywood giveth, too. And this year was no exception. Between all the sudden cancellations, there were some fantastic additions to the television landscape: sweeping sci-fi epics, biting familial satires, dramadies that actually and effectively balance drama and comedy. It’s enough to renew a jaded viewer’s faith in an unpredictable form of entertainment. Just, please, execs, take note: Don’t cancel these stellar bits of programming! Keep them going and we’ll gladly sign up for any streaming program you want to sell us.
Of all the new shows that aired in 2018, Succession is arguably the strongest. Bryan Cox plays Logan Roy, a media scion not unlike (and in fact reportedly inspired by) Rupert Murdoch or Sumner Redstone. In the show, Roy is planning on stepping down as CEO of the company, kicking off a familial spat between three of his children—Kendall (Jeremy Strong), Roman (Kieran Culkin), and Shiv (Sarah Snook)—as to who gets to helm the ship. Of course, hijinks—and a whole lot of Shakespearian backstabbing—ensue.
It’s a biting, laugh-out-loud satire of a dysfunctional, wealthy American family that, on paper, shouldn’t inspire a shred of empathy. And yet, thanks to the innate charisma of every major player, it does. A whole lot. By the season’s end, you’ll find yourself rooting for this group of .01 percenters to get everything they want—even though they already have more than they could ever need.
Bill Hader stars in, writes, and even directs a few episodes in this captivating new dark dramedy about a hitman (Hader) who travels to Los Angeles to carry out a job and winds up attempting to start a career as an actor. (Classic Los Angeles transplant, right?) The premise is exactly what the show is: dark, odd, and unexpectedly hilarious. Yes, it’s the type of show that could wade into overwrought anti-hero territory. But thanks to a confident, solid handle on the ambivalent tone by Hader and co-creater Alec Berg (Silicon Valley, Curb Your Enthusiasm, Seinfeld), Barry still manages to feel original.
Killing Eve (BBC America)
The television gods finally answered our prayers and gave us another show starring the inimitable Sandra Oh. Killing Eve is a comedic spy thriller with feminist vibes. Need we say more? Oh carries the show with a nuanced performance as Eve, an M15 agent who is tasked with a high-profile murder assignment due to her sharp instincts. She sets out to catch an assassin, Villanelle (Jodie Comer), and a titillating game of cat and mouse ensues. The dialogue writing is practically flawless, the characters are irresistibly enigmatic, and the show manages to seamlessly weave together comedy, tragedy, and suspense, without ever getting too heavy handed. More, please!
Altered Carbon (Netflix)
Get a load of this premise: Takeshi Kovacs (Joel Kinnaman) is woken up 250 years after his death to help Laurens Bancroft (James Purefoy) solve the murder of Laurens Bancroft. And that’s just the first ten minutes of the first episode! From there, things only get more bonkers.
In the fiction of Altered Carbon, the human mind needn’t be tethered to any individual body—meaning people can swap from body to body (or, to put it in the show’s parlance, “sleeve to sleeve”) like they’re changing outfits. Oh, and “sleeves” can be cloned. Given all the face-swapping—on top of an already labyrinthian plot—if you think you can figure out the mystery before the big reveal, well, good luck.
To top it off, the whole production is dressed up in future-noir that looks straight out of Blade Runner (everything is neon, it seems to always be raining), and the show’s ideas of artificial intelligence and virtual reality are nothing short of novel. Plus, the action scenes rival anything you’d see in a Mission Impossible. For sci-fi fans, Altered Carbon is nothing short of a dream come true. Thankfully, a second season has been confirmed by Deadline, and Netflix is reportedly developing an animated spinoff. This is one cinematic universe we’re fine keeping up with.
Queer Eye (Netflix)
Technically a reboot of Bravo’s Queer Eye for the Straight Guy, from the aughts, Netflix’s Queer Eye is certainly a new and improved version. The premise is similar to the original—five gay men use their expertise to makeover someone’s life—but the reboot avoids the stereotype that gay men are accessories for straight people to use when they need a little sass and spice in their lives. Instead, Queer Eye focuses on tolerance, inclusion, self-love, and self-care. It has buckets of authenticity and heart, and the cast is so charismatic that binging an entire season in one sitting feels effortless. Can’t wait ’til the next go-around, guys!
Pose is everything that television needs right now: it’s diverse, it’s revolutionary, and it has a writers room full of people whose perspective match those of the characters they are in charge of creating. Set in the Reagan era, the show focuses on the drag race scene in New York city at a time when the AIDS epidemic was being completely ignored by the government. The premise is rich with untapped, important stories, and the show rises to the occasion of telling them with eloquence and depth. It’s co-created by superstar producing duo Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk (American Horror Story, Nip/Tuck), plus newcomer Steven Canals, and feels like a natural progression in Murphy’s illustrious FX career. We’re excited to see what comes next.
Sharp Objects (HBO)
An adaptation of Gillian Flynn’s book of the same name, Sharp Objects was made as a miniseries without the intent of a second season. However, the same could have been said for HBO’s tonally similar (though unrelated) Big Little Lies, which has announced a second season for 2019. All we’re saying is that, during this golden age of miniseries, anything is possible.
On the surface, Sharp Objects is a crime thriller, but throughout the eight episodes, it brings us deep into the core of show: the trauma and inner turmoil that haunts Camille Preaker (Amy Adams), who has returned to her hometown to dig into a series of unsolved missing persons cases. As usual, Adams gives a stunning performance, and we definitely wouldn’t be mad if more seasons were to come.
The Dragon Prince (Netflix)
It has a 100 percent on Rotten Tomatoes. It was renewed for a second season mere weeks after the premiere. It’s the latest and much-anticipated project from all-star creators. No, it’s not the hottest new show on HBO. It’s Netflix’s animated program, The Dragon Prince.
Created by Aaron Ehasz and Justin Richmond, of Avatar: The Last Airbender pedigree, The Dragon Prince is high fantasy at its best: all elves and dragons and that sort of thing. The animation is top-notch, the music is beyond epic (seriously, put the soundtrack on next time you want a pre-workout pump-up), all to serve a narrative that is sure to thrill anyone of any age. Our only hope is that this show doesn’t go the way of Avatar, which ended its run after just three (amazing) seasons.
Will & Grace (NBC)
When Will & Grace aired in 1998, it was already ahead of its time. Creators Max Mutchnick and David Cohen brought one of the first shows that centered on openly gay characters to mainstream television. Twenty years later, the show has been revived and is still keeping up with the times—so much so that we’re ready and willing to deem this latest iteration a new show.
Original episodes are fun to watch as reruns, but they do feel outdated. The much awaited reboot still feels like watching an episode of the beloved sitcom, but it has made enough adjustments to make it belong in the era of “wokeness.” It’s refreshing, yet familiar, and we hope it never leaves screens again.
This psychological thriller is unlike anything else on the air this year, in the best, weirdest way possible. Lost souls Owen (Jonah Hill) and Annie (Emma Stone) sign up to be part of an experiment for a drug that will allegedly “cure” people of any and all mental health issues. What follows is an absurd series of what one assumes are fantasies and hallucinations that take place in the subconscious of the characters, but it’s never quite clear. The result forces the viewer to ask if the show will ever reveal what’s real—and what isn’t. It’s delightful, and delightfully twisted. Showrunner Patrick Somerville told The Hollywood Reporter that there are no plans for a second season, but one can hope that that reality isn’t the case.
A spin-off of ABC’s Black-ish, this series follows Zoey (Yara Shahidi) as she leaves her family’s nest and heads off to college. Zoey breaks away from her role as the grounding character in Black-ish and gives a more nuanced look at what it means to be a young black woman coming of age in today’s society.
Like its parent series, Grown-ish has a cable series vibe and level of quality, but expertly packs in some social commentary without being too preachy for a mainstream audience. It also makes the clever choice of covering issues any college student encounters in 2018, such as being tempted by prescription meds. It’s a smart, digestible show, and it only got better as the first season progressed. We see good things for this show in the future, and are excited to sit back and watch.
The Haunting of Hill House (Netflix)
A modern iteration of Shirley Jackson’s 1959 novel of the same name, The Haunting of Hill House surprised audiences with how lasting of an emotional impact it left. The series has plenty of terrifying moments to qualify it as a horror, but it also delves into family trauma, guilt, and loss of loved ones.
The story is told through the lens of two different timelines, alternating between the past and the present of five siblings whose supernatural experiences at Hill House haunt them to this day. A second season hasn’t been ordered yet, but we’d love to see what other chilling stories could come from this house.
Homecoming (Amazon Prime Video)
From the director (Sam Esmail) who brought us Mr. Robot comes an equally as intriguing, yet less convoluted series. Homecoming centers on Heidi Bergman (Julia Roberts), a caseworker who helps veterans assimilate back into society through a program called Homecoming Transitional Support Center. However, that’s not all the show is about.
The plot fast-forwards to 2022, where Bergman has quit Homecoming and is now working as a waitress. When a Defense Department bureaucrat comes inquiring why she quit, the show quickly devolves into mystery, conspiracy, and… Well, just watch it for yourself! All episodes are available on Amazon Prime Video.
Lodge 49 (AMC)
Unlike other dramedies, Lodge 49 isn’t as caught up on seeing how dark it can get away with being. It still isn’t what one would call a feel-good show, but it isn’t afraid to lean into its sweet nature.
The AMC series follows ex-surfer Dud (Wyatt Russell) as he sets out to find something to live for after the death of his father. He stumbles upon a fraternity lodge, where he finds a community that welcomes him with open arms. The show is filled with metaphors, surrealism, and sunny despair. It feels like a coming of age story for someone who should have done so a long time ago. The ratings for season one weren’t high, but it was renewed for a second season, and we’re sure rooting for it.
Starring J.K. Simmons, this science fiction thriller examines a world where the UN is hiding a parallel universe that is at war with our own. Unsurprisingly, the Oscar-winning Simmons delivers a pitch-perfect performance and is one of the leading forces behind this versatile show. Though it hasn’t exactly lit up the headlines (perhaps because it’s not available for free on any of the major streaming platforms), it isn’t showing any signs of going off air at this point, and we sincerely hope that remains to be the case.
Wyatt Cenac’s Problem Areas (HBO)
Wyatt Cenac brings his unique perspective and laid-back charisma to this refreshing take on the late-night talk show. Instead of doing desk bits, Cenac tasks himself with going out into the world to explore and investigate social issues. Humor is never lost along the way, though, as Cenac is a polished comedian who has honed his craft both through stand-up comedy and from being a correspondent on The Daily Show. Overall, Problem Areas is smart, poignant, and fresh bit of programming that steers clear of giving too much screen time to topics that are being covered on every other late-night show.
Nailed It! (Netflix)
Hosted by comedian Nicole Byer and culinary maestro Jacques Torres, Nailed It! is the drama free, fun filled cooking show we never knew we were missing. Each episodes brings on a group of amatuer bakers who must prove themselves by cooking extravagant treats. There are small challenges along the way, and the results are always hilarious. The pressure is only slightly on, as there are cash prizes on the table, but ultimately the point is for these people to have fun. It’s the perfect show to throw on at the end of the day when you just want to be entertained, and we could watch it until the end of time.
I Love You, America (Hulu)
During a time of political unrest in America, comedian Sarah Silverman sets out to prove that deep down we are all the same. It’s a delightful change of pace for a topical comedy show, and Silverman brings on great guests who help shed light on perspectives you may not have considered. Plus, Silverman isn’t exactly known for being unoffensive, so seeing her take on this role is fun and interesting to watch, to say the least—every episode is unpredictable.
The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina (Netflix)
As part of the Archie Comics universe, this campy horror was originally set to air on the CW, but was transferred to Netflix at the last minute. This switch may have been for the best, as the series has the same “we know this is mostly for run” feeling as the CW’s Riverdale, but it isn’t beholden to the over-the-top, melodramatic storyline requirements of other CW shows.
Kiernan Shipka stars as Sabrina, a fiercely independent half-witch whose desire to live with a moral compass often conflicts with her family’s wishes for her to commit to her life as a witch. While the messages can be a bit on-the-nose at times, the series is overall a wildly fun adaptation of both the comic and the old TV show Sabrina the Teenage Witch, packed with moments of genuine horror and exquisite costumes. Luckily for us, the show will return for a second season in April!
The Bisexual (Channel 4)
True to its title, this new British series tells the story of Leila (Desiree Akhavan), a woman who has recently ended a long-term relationship with her girlfriend and is now ready but hesitant to explore her bisexuality. The biting humor and informed perspective are all here, making this show the best version of itself that it could be. The series is written and directed by its star, who based the show on her life and identity. Television is lacking in bisexual representation, so hopefully this show can carry on to help fill that gap. And for more on the year that was, here are the 50 Biggest Pop Culture Moments from 2018.
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