Following on from his article on the best TV shows of 2015, Samuel Brace now picks out eight TV shows to look forward to in 2016…
There is a lot heading our way in 2016. There is a myriad of returning shows and new series to feast upon. A lot of this content is/looks very good indeed. But what are the very top shows to be getting excited for? There is so many to choose from, but these are the pick of the bunch…
Better Call Saul (Returning)
Better Call Saul got off to a fantastic start with its debut season in 2015. The Breaking Bad spin off impressed and won over both fans of its parent show and new audience members alike. Through careful and nuanced world building and slow but deliberate character development, Bryan Fuller and Peter Gould have delivered the goods in every way we could hope for. Saying this however, there is room for improvement, and this is where the excitement comes in. Season 2 has the chance to take the merely excellent first season and develop it into one of TV’s truly great shows. The potential is there, the potential is obvious. This is a tantalising possibility. We could be in for something truly special here, folks. February can’t come soon enough.
The Nolan name means something in 2015. It has meant something for many years now. It alone is a sign of quality, or at least the promise of it. HBO’s upcoming reimagining of the 1973 film of the same name has that same promise. It may not be Christopher behind the scenes, but his brother Jonathan carries some of the very same clout with his impressive resume of writing credits. With a fantastic premise on the table, an exciting cast on board and with the HBO stamp of approval, this dark sci-fi drama about a futuristic theme park has all the makings of some immense television. Will it be great? Time will only tell, but on paper this is an obvious pick for 2016 success.
The Leftovers (Returning)
Ah, The Leftovers… a show I’ve been triumphing for some time now, a show that proved the majority of its doubters wrong with 2015’s second season, a show that is now coming to an end in 2016. This fact alone is another to depress, a show that is this good, this immaculate, deserves all the praise in the world, it deserves the presence of our eyes and minds longer than most. But the fact that 2016’s season 3 will be the last does indeed invoke excitement. Building off the immense momentum of season 2’s finale, seeing how Kevin’s story will come to a close will surely be must see TV. Also the fact that we now know there will only be 3 seasons, takes away any fears that this wonderful show might deteriorate into mediocrity. So many shows end up becoming shadows of what they once were, so surely The Leftovers can keep up it’s beautifully ambiguous brand of storytelling for one more season. If it can, these last chunk of episodes could easily become 2016’s standout viewing experience. It has all the tools, it has the fuel, it just needs to cross (hopefully sprint through) the finish line.
AMC has been in a tough spot of late. With the end of it’s premium shows Breaking Bad and Mad Men — two of the very best shows on television at the time — it’s portfolio all of a sudden wasn’t looking quite so impressive. The Walking Dead has been on a gradual decline and a couple of its new shows haven’t quite hit the mark. Better Call Saul is the networks best offering by far and could become better still, but they need something else. BCS needs a dance partner. Enter Preacher, the new and upcoming series by Seth Rogan, Evan Goldberg and Sam Catlin based on the popular comic book series of the same name. Preacher has every chance of being the show that AMC need and it has every chance of being one of 2016’s stand out series. The premise and world that Preacher promises to it’s viewers — a darkly comic fantasy journey to find god — sounds pretty darn on the money. If this show can mar sharp writing, good looking visuals and convincing performances, everything else will already be in place to take this series to the top. It’s certainly unique and should be unlike anything else currently available. This is certainly worthy of our excitement.
BoJack Horseman (Returning)
If you are not excited about the return of BoJack Horseman that probably means you’ve never seen it, and if you have never seen it you should rectify that colossal error in your life right now. BoJack is the real deal. It is so good. It is more than good. Its god damn glorious. BoJack Horseman is so much more than what it appears. From an outsider this show would appear as a casual, funny, animated throwaway to watch while bored. This couldn’t be further away from the truth. Yes, it is funny but it is also way more than that. This show is deep, it’s tragic and for a show about a Charlie Seen like talking horse, it’s incredibly real. This shows highest quality isn’t in its constantly funny escapades but in incredibly touching quite moments that end up permeating everything that is presented to its audience. Season 1 was fantastic. Season 2 was better still. Season 3… well, if it doesn’t get any better from here that will be just fine because it’s just about perfect how it is. You can’t think TV in 2016 without thinking about Netflix’s BoJack Horseman. It’s title character is one of the most compelling leads in TV, it sounds dumb but if you watched the show you would know it to be true. WATCH THIS SHOW. And be excited for 2016 because of it.
A new HBO show from master craftsmen Martin Scorsese and Terence Winter? Yeah, sign us up. Does it even matter what it’s about? Actually, I guess it kind of does, but still, if that duo on HBO isn’t enough reason to be excited, the fact that they are bring us a new series in 2016 about the 1970’s New York music scene will surely push anticipation over the edge. The two trailers released so far have given us glimpses of the adrenaline filled, fast paced bonanza the series promises to be, while also providing a look at some truly stunning mise en scene. A lot of hard work and very talented people have had a hand in making this series, that is obvious from the very little we’ve seen so far. The HBO name is enough to get viewers to the table and with Martin and Terence — the duo behind The Wolf of Wall Street — pulling the strings; TV surely won’t get much better than this in the coming year. Oh, and the fact that the incandescent Juno Temple is amongst the cast doesn’t hurt either. She is enough to get even the most apathetic of viewers excited. This is no doubt a series to look out for.
Game of Thrones (Returning)
Was season 5 the best season of Game of Thrones? No, it was not. Was season 5 the first season of this show not to be better than the last? Yes, it was. Is Game of Thrones still the best show, pound for pound, on television? Your god damn right it is. The real question is, will it be able to hold onto the mantle for another year? There are a lot of excellent and promising shows — as we have discussed — on the horizon and with GOT’s slight (and I stress slight) dip in form from the perfection it displayed previously, the gap has shortened just a little. Whatever the pinnacle of TV may look like come 2016’s end, there is no doubt GOT will be near the top, if not standing tall above it. There are so many plot points and character arcs in the balance for season 6 in order to propel enthusiasm for its return. The closer we get to this series end, the higher the stakes will inevitably be. Whether we will see a return of season 4’s gold standard or if we just get the merely exceptional season 5 brand of quality does not affect in the slightest the anticipation for what’s to come. Game of Thrones has already cemented its place at the top, all that is at stake now is its legacy. I bet it knocks it out of the park.
American Gods (New)
This is the most questionable entry in this list. Not because of its promise of quality but because of its release date. There is a tentative release of late 2016 but that may very well turn into 2017, if that does become the case I won’t be sorry for including it in this list because it is really just an excuse to talk about a series I am exceptionally excited for. Hannibal was — while it graced our screens with its spectacular glory — one of the very best shows on TV and a personal favourite of mine. Creator and showrunner Bryan Fuller delivered an immaculate presentation of dark and audacious storytelling that will last the test of time, which is why excitement for his new series, American Gods — another adaptation — is at the top of any and all excitement. There has been an argument for so long that TV can’t compete with the mood, atmosphere and grandiose visuals of Film, that the camera, because of time and money constraints, can’t be used as a character, what Bryan Fuller and co achieved with Hannibal smashed that notion well and truly into oblivion. TV can achieve such things, it has achieved such things and perhaps it will again. American Gods will provide Fuller with the chance to demonstrate his enormous talents once more, with David Slade (frequent Hannibal director) also jumping on board to hopefully dazzle us with more obscenely fantastical imagery. Whether American Gods can capture the lightning in a bottle of Hannibal will remain to be seen, but boy does it have a good head start. If it does indeed arrive in 2016, American Gods could spoil the party dramatically.