With 2016 firmly in our rearview, we can look forward to the calendar of stellar new TV shows debuting this year. The slate of upcoming shows is a doozy to say the very least. Suffice it to say, it’ll leave viewers with plenty to chew on, whether it’s the ambitious plans Marvel has for 2017, or the revival of a beloved sci-fi franchise.
So, without further ado, let’s jump in and run through the massive list of this year’s most anticipated new TV shows.
1. Emerald City, NBC (premiered January 6)
The Wizard of Oz narrative has been done to death in Hollywood over the last few decades. That said, NBC took it in a different direction, giving the land of Oz a distinctly Game of Thrones-esque feel. Reviews haven’t been all that kind, with AV Club claiming that it “borders on self-parody,” while io9 calls it “as empty as the Scarecrow’s brain.”
2. Taboo, FX (premiered January 10)
Tom Hardy is hands down one of Hollywood’s most talented actors. That being so, it’s always a treat getting to see him flex his considerable skills outside of film. That’s exactly what we see in Taboo, which premiered first in the U.K. on BBC One and then in the U.S. on FX shortly after.
The limited-run series follows James Keziah Delaney (Hardy), a man recently returned from Africa under mysterious circumstances, and the intrigue surrounding his alleged death (and subsequent rising from the grave). The show is every bit as weird as the early promos made it seem, providing us with a decidedly more experimental new series.
3. A Series of Unfortunate Events, Netflix (premiered January 13)
Back in 2004, Lemony Snicket’s popular A Series of Unfortunate Events books were adapted to the silver screen. Sadly, it fell well short of expectations both critically and financially, and as a result, hadn’t been heard from in Hollywood in almost a decade and a half.
2017 has finally changed that, bringing Snicket’s novels to life once again, this time in a far more suitable format as a Netflix TV series. This time around, it stars Neil Patrick Harris as the sinister Count Olaf, running a full eight episodes on the streaming service, and giving us hope for the offbeat A Series of Unfortunate Events story in live-action format.
4. The Young Pope, HBO (premiered January 15)
HBO has never struggled when it comes to wrangling incredible creative talent, and The Young Pope is no exception. The series stars Jude Law as an American anointed to the papacy, bringing with him a rigid set of ideals and a desire to shake the foundations of the institution he now finds himself in charge of. While Game of Thrones and Westworld hold things down on the fantasy/sci-fi end for HBO, The Young Pope gives a brand new prestige drama that’s already inspired a good deal of hearty debate following its premiere.
5. Powerless, NBC (premiered February 2)
While DC Comics’ presence on TV is largely contained within the confines of The CW, they brought us a different kind of superhero show in 2017. Powerless focuses less on the heroes of DC’s expansive pantheon, and instead on the insurance company tasked with protecting ordinary citizens from the collateral damage of super-powered battles. It’s an idea that harkens back to the criticism movies like Man of Steel got for casually leveling entire cities, giving us a unique perspective that pushes the boundaries of comic book television.
6. Legion, FX (premiered February 8)
If the superhero genre is going to ensure its long-term survival, it’s going to have to constantly change what defines a comic book story on TV and in movies. FX’s Legion looks to be a prime example of that evolution, led by Fargo mastermind Noah Hawley. The series takes on a tone unlike anything we’ve seen in any other superhero show, featuring Downton Abbey’s Dan Stevens as David Hale, a mutant with multiple personalities who struggles to balance his considerable power with his mental instability.
7. Marvel on Netflix: Iron Fist (March 17), The Defenders (fall 2017), and The Punisher (late 2017)
Powerless and Legion might be providing 2017 with a different slant on superhero television, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t room for the old guard as well. This year marks Marvel’s most ambitious one yet, with the studio rolling out three new Netflix series. Things kick off with Iron Fist (currently not getting the best reviews from critics), followed by The Defenders in the fall, and wrapping things up with the Jon Bernthal-led Punisher series soon after that.
All in all, it’ll give fans of the Marvel Cinematic Universe plenty to chew on, as Netflix continues to prove itself to be the ideal television home for long-form comic book storytelling.
8. American Gods, Starz (April 30)
Bryan Fuller is uniquely set up for a career year. The talented showrunner’s resume is packed with truly great television that was canceled well before each show’s respective expiration dates, ranging from Dead Like Me to Hannibal.
2017 has the potential to finally break that trend, with Fuller heading up Starz’s adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s iconic American Gods novel. The story follows one man, as he finds himself caught in a battle between the old gods and the new. It, of course, runs much deeper than that though, something many new fans will find out this spring when American Gods debuts.
9. Star Trek: Discovery, CBS (May 2017)
Bryan Fuller’s second big show in 2017 comes to us in the form of his Star Trek reboot. The pilot is set to debut on CBS’ network television home in May of 2017, with all subsequent episodes airing on the pay-to-play streaming platform, CBS All Access.
The new series will be set a decade before the original Star Trek series, while touching on the very same themes that made fans fall in love with the franchise all those years ago.
10. Inhumans, ABC (September 1)
Marvel’s Inhumans were part of a long saga of delays and cancellations before they were brought into the MCU by Season 3 of Agents of SHIELD (albeit sans the primary characters featured in the comics). After their standalone movie was removed from Marvel’s release schedule, many thought the studio would reserve them strictly for Agents on ABC.
As it turns out, that was merely a precursor to bigger and better things, as they announced plans to air a separate Inhumans TV series on ABC in 2017. The first two episodes will arrive in IMAX theaters nationwide on September 1, followed by the remaining episodes on ABC’s network home beginning September 26 (totaling eight installments for its initial run).
11. His Dark Materials, BBC One (late 2017)
Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials trilogy is often talked about as the atheistic equivalent to C.S. Lewis’ Narnia saga. As a rich, iconic fantasy world, it’s been disappointing to see it go by the wayside in recent years, after an unsuccessful (and controversial) attempt to adapt the first book into a film.
It’ll be getting a second chance in 2017 though, with His Dark Materials getting the green light from BBC One for a full-on TV series. All eight episodes will run on the network, with Harry Potter and the Cursed Child writer Jack Thorne signed on to pen the story.
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