Time hurries on, and so, too, does the New Golden Age of Television, whether we always know what to do with it or not. We’ve been living past the saturation point for several years now, and while this makes for some of the best storytelling in history, the sheer volume can get a little overwhelming.
That’s why we’re here to sift through the flotsam and tell you what we’re most looking forward to. It’s certainly not everything, and it’s not even everything that’s good, but it’s what I hope is a healthy mix of intriguing newcomers, returning champions, and a few writer/editor favorites. It’s what we as a team are excited about, weighted a smidge more toward my interests (which are, apparently, weird cerebral comedies and beloved English novels of the late 20th century).
Here are our most anticipated tv shows of 2019.
28. American Gods
The first ever TV adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s beloved novel, American Gods has had its share of trouble. After a strong first season, it lost showrunners Bryan Fuller and Michael Green. Then it lost its next showrunner. Reports from the ground have been shaky, and Gillian Anderson and Kristin Chenoweth are both reportedly out, but by God, the sophomore season is coming to Starz this Spring. The series has a special place in my heart (its weekly coverage was my first steady gig at Film School Rejects, and it got me good-naturedly yelled at by Orlando Jones on Twitter), and as a Bryan Fuller devotee, I have to admit that I’m nervous. But I’m also glad the series is getting a fair shake, and I’m excited to see what it becomes. Shows have undergone bigger changes and thrived. I sincerely hope American Gods sticks around. (Liz Baessler)
It’s a Breaking the Waves reunion with Emily Watson and Stellan Skarsgard co-starring in this limited series depicting the aftermath of the 1986 Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant disaster. Yeah, that’s enough to get excited for an HBO production created by the writer/director of Superhero Movie and directed by the former Swedish rapper who went by the name Stakka Bo — he also helmed a few good episodes of Breaking Bad, too. Jared Harris is also in this, playing Valery Legasov, who headed the investigation into what happened. (Christopher Campbell)
Attentive readers of this website will wonder how Letterkenny — one of the obsessions of yours truly and by proxy, this site — ended up so low on the list. First, that’s the wrong way to think about this — it made the list. Second, it’s not a slight to say that we are flush with Letterkenny brilliance at the moment, so thinking about the next season feels over-indulgent. But there will be a new season of Letterkenny at some point in the next year. The heroes at Crave Canada have ordered many dozens more episodes. We can expect to see more of the hicks, skids, hockey players, and other colorful characters of rural Canada soon and now that we’re thinking about it, we can’t wait. (Neil Miller)
25. Miracle Workers
Steve Buscemi is God, and Daniel Radcliffe is an angel. I’m on board already. Based on a novel by Simon Rich, the new comedy follows a checked-out God ready to destroy the world and two angels (Radcliffe and Geraldine Viswanathan of Blockers fame) who have to convince him to give life a second chance by achieving the impossible: getting two humans to fall in love. It’s a silly, contrived premise, and I’m very ready for it. Given TBS’s success with Search Party (which I have some choice words about below), I have a lot of faith in the network’s ability to produce another weird, beautifully crafted underdog. (Liz Baessler)
24. True Detective
Four years after the disastrous second outing that almost sunk the show for good, True Detective is back on our screens for another season. The upcoming third season moves the setting over to the Ozarks, with a new case that looks to echo the first’s use of multiple timelines and a more focused narrative, in what will hopefully bring the show back to the great heights of season one. And creator Nic Pizzolatto has assembled an all-star cast and crew to help steer the ship. In front of the camera will be the always fantastic Mahershala Ali, along with the likes of Stephen Dorff, Carmen Ejogo, Deborah Ayorinde, Scoot McNairy, and Ray Fisher. If that’s not reason enough to be excited, the first two episodes are helmed by Jeremy Saulnier, director of Green Room, Blue Ruin, and last year’s Hold the Dark. Saulnier’s chaotic depiction of violence and its grizzly aftermath are a perfect fit for True Detective, and it’s only a shame that he isn’t directing more episodes. And if you’re somehow still not convinced, how about the fact that Deadwood and NYPD Blue creator David Milch also co-wrote an episode? Now that should be more than enough to erase those painful memories of season two. (Hayden Cornmell)
23. Central Park Five
Ava DuVernay has done a lot of great work in the last five years as a producer, writer, and director, but she still hasn’t topped her 2014 movie Selma, which broke her out into the mainstream. Maybe she’s best suited for historical drama? If that’s the case, then this limited series about five minority teenagers wrongfully convicted of assaulting a woman in Central Park in the late 1980s could be another unique and powerful effort. The cast assembled is certainly promising, from Overlord’s Jovan Adepo as one of the titular five to Felicity Huffman as the head of the prosecution. You can bet there will be some indictment of Donald Trump’s racist public pleas to have the boys executed, too. (Christopher Campbell)
22. Big Little Lies
Debatably the hottest miniseries (one might say, biggest little series…) to debut in 2017, the seven-episode Liane Moriarty adaptation about motherhood, mystery, and domestic abuse will be back for a season two in 2019 with most of its major stars. The mom squad of Reese Witherspoon, Zoe Kravitz, Shailene Woodley, Laura Dern, and Nicole Kidman is as starry as powerhouse ensembles come and will only be getting starrier for season twp with the addition of Meryl Streep. Jean-Marc Vallée (Dallas Buyers Club, Sharp Objects) won’t return to direct, but he will not be missed. American Honey writer/director Andrea Arnold will take up the reins, to much anticipation. Moriarty hadn’t published a sequel but agreed to write season two’s story for HBO. Very few plot details have been unveiled. We know Streep will play Perry’s (Alexander Skarsgard) mother, but there’s no telling if (or how) Perry would return himself. (Luke Hicks)
21. What We Do in the Shadows
Taika Waititi’s brand of dry New Zealand humor has taken the US by storm of late, culminating in an acting and directing credit on one of Marvel’s funniest and most bizarre features in Thor: Ragnarok. In 2019, he’s coming back with one of his beloved properties, What We Do in the Shadows. The 2014 film of the same name— co-written and co-directed with regular collaborator Jemaine Clement — follows a trio of vampires living a mundane modern life. It is uproariously funny and garnered popular and critical acclaim. While the original three will not be returning in the FX adapted series, Waititi directed it and Clement is credited for some writing, so we can at least hope for it to be under the same brand of comic genius. (Luke Hicks)