Essays · TV

The Most Anticipated Shows of 2019

Dragons, Gods, Detectives, and More.
Most Anticipated Shows
By  · Published on January 16th, 2019

20. Star Trek: Discovery

After 15 episodes with a little adjustment regarding Star Trek‘s first foray into arc-based storytelling, the CBS All Access series concluded with one banger of a cliffhanger. The USS Discovery, fresh from their escape of the Mirror Universe, faces down the USS Enterprise. The prequel series took full advantage of its platform, abiding time to unravel psychology as well as narrative, and now they’re bumping right up against classic original series characters. While it is one thing to accept Anson Mount and Rebecca Romijn‘s respective reinterpretation of Captain Pike and Number One, it is a wholly different thing to meet yet another Mister Spock. Dat beard tho. Based on what little we’ve seen from Ethan Peck‘s logical science officer, I’m feeling comfortable in Alex Kurtzman‘s charge to be bold, be brave, be courageous. We can handle this, we survived and even learned to enjoy J.J.’s Trek. This is not your granddaddy or your daddy’s Star Trek, and that is 100% ok and necessary. Worry less about continuity and starship design, and cheer on Saru’s declaration of “We Are Starfleet.” The human adventure continues. (Brad Gullickson)

19. Devs

Alex Garland

We’re big fans of Alex Garland here at Film School Rejects, and I’m a big fan of TV, so I might be more excited than anyone for the writer/director’s first miniseries on FX. A self-contained, eight-part story, the show will follow software developer Lily Chan (Maniac’s Sonoya Mizuno) as she investigates a shady (and possibly murderous) Silicon Valley company headed by Nick Offerman. Garland will serve as series writer and executive producer, and eerie sci-fi and outstanding performances are sure to abound.  (Liz Baessler)

18. Stranger Things

With its premiere still seven months away, most of the details about Stranger Things 3 are still under wraps, but everything we do know about it sounds as exciting and high-stakes as ever. The season will be set in the summer of 1985, sometime around Independence Day, with Hawkins’ local Starcourt Mall serving as an important set piece. Maya Hawke, Cary Elwes, and Jake Busey are all joining the cast, and rumor has it Will Byers (Noah Schnapp) might even get to have a good day. While we don’t know what monsters will be lurking in the shadows this season, the ominous, Easter-egg filled first poster promises plenty of thrills for the kids of Hawkins. (Valerie Ettenhofer)

17. Mindhunter

While it seems very hard to imagine David Fincher topping the pilot season of Mindhunter, everything we know so far about the second season set to be released this year makes us very excited. The first season explored serial killers in a mind-boggling way only Fincher could pull off, and the second season aims to do the same with the infamous Atlanta Child Murders that devastated the city in the 1980s. It’s a case that’s still debated today and covers victims that are widely under-represented when we talk about serial killings: minorities. There’s no clear way the show could choose to cover the case since there are theories that the man they imprisoned for the murders is innocent. The show won’t skimp on famous serial killers either since it’s been reported that the FBI agents will be interviewing Charles Manson and Son of Sam on the show. Needless to say, the second season seems to be an amalgamation of everything any true crime fan could want in one TV show. We’re ready, Netflix. (Emily Kubincanek)

16. Lovecraft Country

Lovecraft Country

If you found Green Book to be a disingenuous portrayal of racism in the American South, framed by the safety travelogue created for African Americans navigating the violence of the Jim Crow Era, then you will not want to sleep on Lovecraft Country. Co-opting the mythologized lore of H.P. Lovecraft, creator of all things tentacley tantalizing, Lovecraft Country (originally a novel by Matt Ruff) challenges the author’s own infamous history of racism by highlighting the horrors of our own reality. Atticus Black is searching for his father, who has been lured to the ominous town of Ardham. With the help of his uncle, with whom he’s written The Safe Negro Travel Guide, he goes on a cross-country expedition to get him back. While the original novel was written by a white man, he smartly gives the perspective of his story to the African-American characters being directly affected by the sins of our present and past. Even better, though, the television show is being co-produced by Bad Robot and Monkeypaw Productions, Jordan Peele’s production studio with Peele and Misha Green (of the canceled-too-soon Underground) on as creators. (Jacob Trussell)

15. The Passage

The Passage

Justin Cronin’s The Passage trilogy is an epic, centuries-spanning apocalyptic series that has garnered comparisons to Stephen King’s The Stand, so it’s a wonder it’s taken so long to be adapted. These are dense novels with lofty ideas about humanity, but judging by the first trailer for the Fox series, the adaptation is going to start smaller — with the relationship between special young girl Amy and FBI agent Brad Wolgast — and work its way up. Amy is the heart of the series, and Saniyya Sidney (Fences, Hidden Figures) is a promising casting choice. Other factors working in the adaptations favor include Friday Night Lights writer Liz Helden as series creator, and Ridley Scott executive producing. (Valerie Ettenhofer)

14. It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia

Always Sunny Group

I have certainly gotten my money’s worth writing about It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia over the past six months, both about the most recent season and the show as a whole. So I honestly can’t wait for the new season, whenever it comes to tie the show with Ozzie and Harriet as the longest running live-action comedy. It’s unclear how much season 14 will be informed by the game-changing season 13 finale. Heck, maybe the game won’t be changed at all, and the new season will wordlessly descend back into satirical depravity. I wouldn’t mind. But who knows… maybe the show will reinvent itself and usher in a new, more artistic era. I wouldn’t mind that at all either. I’m here for the mystery, and I’m here for the Gang. Whatever happens, the possibilities are thrilling. (Liz Baessler)

13. The Twilight Zone

Jordan Peele

CBS has been trying to beef up its all-access offerings ever since launching the service in 2014. Star Trek: Discovery and The Good Fight brought more attention than ever to the service in 2017 and now they are going back into their library of iconic properties once again for the service. The Twilight Zone, executive produced and hosted by Get Out director Jordan Peele, hopes to capture the same magic that has made the 1960s series a staple internationally. It will be no easy feat since the franchise has seen multiple attempts at resurrection throughout the last 60 years. We know about a few episodes thus far including a remake of the classic “Nightmare at 20,000 Feet.” Some of the guest actors include Adam Scott, Sanaa Lathan, Greg Kinnear, Steven Yeun, Jacob Tremblay, and John Cho. Black Mirror has shown that there is interest in standalone stories featuring up-and-coming actors, as well as interesting moral stories about our world today. If The Twilight Zone can tap into a similar audience for CBS All-Access, expect a lot of subscriptions coming to the streaming service. (Max Covill)

12. I Am the Night

I Am The Night

Modern, auteur television shows like True Detective and Sharp Objects have proven popular and successful, enticing A-list Hollywood directors and actors to partake in these concise, character-driven stories. In January, TNT will release the first episode of I Am the Night, starring Chris Pine and India Eisley and directed by Patty Jenkins, flooding television with robust and dynamic talent. The story follows a journalist (Pine) as he connects with a young girl (Eisley) who apparently has information regarding the mysterious Black Dahlia murder. The trailers up to this point have been dark and gripping, seeped with undertones of violence, foul play, and racial unrest. A story this deep requires strong talent — which it surely has. Pine, who teams up with Jenkins again following Wonder Woman, has, up until recently, only been known as the charming and handsome Captain Kirk in the revived Star Trek franchise. Since then, he’s shown he’s more than a pretty face with strong, dramatic performances in Hell or High Water and Outlaw King. Jenkins, who is best known for directing the best DCEU film, also directed Monster, a dark thriller which garnered a Best Actress Oscar for Charlize Theron. Anchored by the greatness of Pine and Jenkins, I Am the Night’s star-studded production and mysterious storyline makes this series worth looking forward to. (Pierce Singgih)

11. Veronica Mars

Veronica Mars

A long time ago (maybe circa 2004-2005) we used to be friends (well, less friends, more fans). But I haven’t thought of you lately at all (well, at least not since the film was released in 2014)! Veronica Mars, the mid- 2000’s pulpy noir-set-in-high school, followed the titular detective solving a string of dangerous cases out of her father’s private investigator business in Neptune, California (a stand-in for many a reference to San Antonio, Texas, where creator Rob Thomas taught high school). After an uneven Kickstarted film, Hulu has revived the series with the original cast (included NBA legend Kareem Abdul Jabbar as a writer!) and refocused the show to be bigger, darker, and unlike anything my fellow Marshmallows may be familiar with. Not much is known about plot outside of Veronica (Kristen Bell) tracking a serial killer in Neptune, but if the revitalization of horror in television over the past five years is any indication, we may get the strangest, and best, season of Veronica Mars yet. (Jacob Trussell)

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Liz Baessler is a frequent contributor and infrequent columnist at Film School Rejects. She has an MA in English and a lot of time on her hands. (She/Her)