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New to view – 18 new shows for 2018

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Remember when the fall television lineups were all that mattered?

It wasn't so long ago that that autumn offerings were the be-all and end-all of new TV. Shows that made their debuts in January were considered little more than filler, with the term “midseason replacement” taking on a derogatory tone.

However, as the ways in which we consume television have changed, so too have our attitudes regarding when shows join their respective lineups. Instead of an afterthought, this second season has become a viable entity in its own right, with loads of interesting programming arriving on your screens of choice.

Broadcast networks, premium and basic cable outlets, streaming services - everybody has something for the viewer looking for something new to consume this winter. If nothing else, it seems likely that all tastes - highbrow, lowbrow and everything in-between - will be addressed.

Have a look at some of the intriguing options that are en route.


Black Lightning (CW, Jan. 16)

Say what you will about the prestige flavor of Marvel’s Netflix shows, but the CW is getting it done with their TV adaptations of DC characters. The latest in the long line of offerings is “Black Lightning,” where Cress Williams stars as the titular superhero who is coming out of retirement to once again fight the bad guys. However, it isn’t part of the CW’s shared universe – it’s a standalone offering. As such, there’s potential here for some legitimately impactful storytelling, which seems fitting, considering the character’s history as one of comicdom’s first African-American heroes. There’s potential here for something a bit more sophisticated than the network’s usual superhero fare.

Corporate (Comedy Central, Jan. 17)

Maybe the most intriguing description of this show I’ve heard is “a nihilist ‘The Office,’ if everyone who worked there secretly had an opioid addiction.” Yeah. As you might imagine, this sitcom from Pat Bishop, Matt Ingebretson and Jake Weisman is not going to be for everybody. It’s the sort of dark dark DARK comedy that may struggle to find an audience, but that will also inspire fierce loyalty in the audience that it does find. As someone who often laughs at things that are awful and inappropriate, I anticipate liking this show. However, it should go without saying that your mileage will vary.

The Resident (Fox, Jan. 21)

What’s that? Another medical soap opera starring incredibly attractive people as doctors doing doctorly things and (presumably) becoming emotionally entangled along the way? Hey – some people love hospital drama. And the show’s got a solid lineup of TV vets in the cast – Matt Czuchry, who has been good in a bunch of things, is the lead, while folks like Bruce Greenwood, Emily VanCamp and Melina Kanakaredes are holding it down. It’s safe to assume that this show will feel very familiar, but the talent is there for it to have some legs. Then again, it might die on the operating table. We shall see.

The Alienist (TNT, Jan. 22)

Historical drama might not be the first thing you think of when it comes to TNT originals, but this one looks like it might have legs. Based on the 1994 novel of the same name, the show features a psychologist and a newspaper reporter teaming up to solve murders on New York’s Lower East Side in the 1880s. Expect a combination of pulpy thrills and Sherlock Holmesian puzzles, and with “True Detective” veteran Cary Fukunaga at the helm, at least you know that the pieces will be put together competently, though the tamer sensibilities of basic cable could undercut the source material.

Waco (Paramount, Jan. 24)

Did you know that Spike TV was about to become the Paramount Network? Well, now you do – and it’s a good thing, because otherwise, you might have missed this one. It’s a six-part limited series about the 1993 siege of the Branch Davidian compound in Waco, Texas. Not only is it a compelling story, but the cast is unreal. Michael Shannon is one of the leads as an FBI investigator. John Leguizamo is here. Andrea Riseborough and Rory Culkin too. And maybe most intriguing – Taylor Kitsch is playing David Koresh in what might be a career-defining turn. This show has the chance to be capital-G Great.

Counterpart (Starz, Jan. 28)

Man oh man. This one might not be getting a ton of hype, but I’m anticipating it as eagerly as any of these offerings. A metaphysical sci-fi espionage series starring J.K. Simmons as two versions of himself existing in parallel dimensions? What took you so long, TV? Simmons is a UN operative in Berlin who uncovers a plot to hide a portal to an alternate reality that he can only stop with the help of the other version of himself. Obviously, there’s a lot that can go wrong here – high-concept stuff like this always comes with considerable risk – but if it all works, this show could be awesome.

A.P. Bio (NBC, Feb. 1)

There’s a reason we see certain sitcom settings again and again. They work. This one is another in a long line of classroom-set comedies, but there’s enough of a pedigree for viewers to be cautiously optimistic. The show is the creation of Seth Meyers and Dave O’Brien and features a former Harvard philosophy professor – played by Glenn Howerton, late of “It’s Always Sunny…” – teaching in a high school in Toledo. Oh, and Patton Oswalt is the principal and the ensemble is packed with comedic talents. Sure, we’ve seen it before, but so what? If there are laughs to be had, this is a crew that will find them.

Altered Carbon (Netflix, Feb. 2)

There’s no denying that Netflix has had plenty of success on the speculative side of things with regards to its original programming. But this show marks the service’s first full-on deep dive into lavish, epic, operatic sci-fi. It’s set in the 24th century and looks it, which is awesome. The deal is that consciousnesses can be downloaded into new bodies; the current incarnation of a criminal is recruited by a multi-murdered rich guy to track down whoever keeps killing him. It sounds silly – and it might be – but if it’s as aesthetically over the top as it appears to be, who even cares?

Here and Now (HBO, Feb. 11)

Alan Ball’s “Six Feet Under” was my first prestige television obsession and still, to my mind, one of the best TV shows of all time. So imagine my delight in hearing about this show, a family drama featuring a multi-ethnic family confronted by the polarizing nature of modern society. One that just happens to star Tim Robbins and Holly Hunter, both of whom I love. Word is that the show is both poignant and riddled with Ball’s trademark dark humor, along with a dash of what may or may not be magic realism. Put it all together and you’ve got something special; nice to know I’ll be spending Sundays with Alan Ball again.

Good Girls (NBC, Feb. 26)

This one looks like one of the biggest hit-or-miss offerings of this go-round. Christina Hendricks, Mae Whitman and Retta star as three suburban housewives who, rendered desperate by financial issues, decide to plan a robbery. The initial success of their crime – they knock over a grocery store – leads to consequences both expected and not. The worry is that the premise quickly runs out of steam, but one imagines that the sheer talent of the trio at the show’s center can carry the load. This is a show that might have a lot to say … or it might say it all in the very first episode.

The Looming Tower (Hulu, Feb. 28)

This drama is based on the bestselling (and Pulitzer Prize-winning) nonfiction book of the same name by New Yorker writer Lawrence Wright. It’s a behind-the-scenes look at how various American agencies – specifically the FBI and CIA – approached the rising threat of Osama bin Laden in the late 1990s while also exploring how the rivalry between the two agencies may have contributed to the situation. It’s got an outstanding cast, featuring talents like Jeff Daniels, Peter Sarsgaard and Michael Stuhlbarg. These recreations of recent history can be tricky to make work; we’ll see if this team can pull it off.

Hard Sun (Hulu, March 7)

This one – a co-production with the BBC – offers one of the more intriguing premises we’ll see in 2018. The show is set in London, where a pair of police officers stumble onto a truly astonishing cover-up while investigating the death of a hacker. Basically, there’s an impending cosmic event that will end the world in five years – and the powers that be are hiding it, leaving the two cops to desperately try to avoid being permanently silenced. Billed as a “pre-apocalyptic” crime drama, this one has the pieces in place to be wildly entertaining – the concept is great and the cast features some incredible actors.

Rise (NBC, March 13)

Oh look – ANOTHER show set in a high school. But this one is an hour-long drama, a story about a high school English teacher in a small Pennsylvania town doing his best to inspire his students. The show’s creator is Jason Katims, best known for “Friday Night Lights,” a show from whose vibe “Rise” liberally borrows. Yes, it stars Josh Radnour - Ted Moseby himself - as the teacher trying desperately to mount a production of “Spring Awakening” (I’m unsure whether that’s a pro or a con). Basically, if you’ve ever yearned for a mashup of “Friday Night Lights” and “Glee,” well – here you go.

Krypton (SyFy, March 21)

If “Gotham” has taught us anything, it’s that superhero prequels can be very tricky to pull off. And even when they work, it can take a while for them to find their footing. We’ll see if this one, created by comic book media mainstay David S. Goyer, can manage. It’s the story of Krypton, Superman’s home planet, long before the Man of Steel was born. Apparently, there’s going to be a ton of world-building and a bunch of political intrigue and your standard sci-fi trappings. It’s an interesting idea, but one wonders if a Superman show without a Superman will struggle to resonate with an audience.

Barry (HBO, March 25)

Bill Hader is one of those weirdo talents who hasn’t always been able to find the right projects to reflect his own skewed sensibilities. So he made his own. This comedy has Hader’s hands all over it – he’s the creator and star and has written and directed episodes as well. Hader stars as the titular Barry, a low-level hitman who goes to L.A. to kill somebody and winds up deciding to become an actor. There’s a whiff of “Get Shorty” here (which is totally OK, by the way), but with Hader and fellow cast members like Henry Winkler and Stephen Root, this might be the perfect shade of strange.

Trust (FX, March 25)

Are you someone who didn’t get enough Getty kidnap drama from “All the Money in the World” and are looking for more? If so, this show is for you – this 10-episode series relates the 1973 kidnapping of John Paul Getty III and the lengthy drama that surrounded his abduction. Whether you believe the story needs to be told yet again or not, you can’t argue with the talent – Simon Beaufoy wrote the season and Danny Boyle directed it, while the show stars Hilary Swank and Brendan Fraser and Donald Sutherland as J. Paul Getty. We’ll see if the extra time makes the story feel more robust or simply bloated.

The Terror (AMC, March 26)

Adapted from the novel of the same name by Dan Simmons and inspired by a true story (emphasis on “inspired by”), this 10-episode offering tells the tale of the Royal Navy’s efforts to locate the fabled Northwest Passage. The voyage is fraught with peril – terrible conditions, limited resources and questionable decisions abound. However, there’s even more danger out there in the unexplored sea – because here there be monsters. These sorts of nautically-inclined shows can be tough sells, but it’s AMC; these folks have shown a real gift for prestige fare and have earned the benefit of the doubt.

Roseanne (ABC, March 27)

This is … weird. As someone who was a fan of the original show, it seems odd to think that we’re going to get new episodes of this show nearly two decades after its best-forgotten final season. But ABC apparently thinks very highly of the revival, and while Roseanne herself has proven to be a bit controversial in the interim, it didn’t stop pretty much the entire cast from coming back. That tells you something. There are few sitcoms of that era better suited to make this transition. This could be the most genuine-feeling working class sitcom we’ve seen on broadcast television in quite some time.

1 comment

  • Comment Link Darcie Aloan Monday, 12 March 2018 03:11 posted by Darcie Aloan

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