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The 28 Most Anticipated TV Shows of 2018

From new shows to returning sagas, there’s plenty of competition to see what fills the Game of Thrones-size hole in the TV landscape of 2018.
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By  · Published on January 3rd, 2018

It’s that time again. Time to be bombarded with news of the new year’s upcoming TV shows, and to try to figure out which are worthwhile. This is our list of the most promising newcomers, as well as a few of our returning favorites, that we can count on seeing in 2018.

The Alienist (TNT)

It would seem like The Alienist came out a long time ago given how TNT has been promoting the series, but it is coming this January. Based on the novel by Caleb Carr, The Alienist depicts a story about the gruesome murder of male prostitutes in 1896. Police Commissioner Teddy Roosevelt has appointed Dr. Laszlo Kreizler, a criminal psychologist, to investigate along with newspaper journalist John Moore and Sara Howard. With a cast that includes Luke Evans, Daniel Bruhl and Dakota Fanning it is easily one of highest profile shows of the new year. – Max Covill

Altered Carbon (Netflix)

Netflix has a new science-fiction series to start off the new year and it’s based off a doozy of a novel. The cyberpunk TV show Altered Carbon is based off Richard K. Morgan’s 2002 noir sci-fi novel. It inspired a trilogy based on the life on the Takeshi Kovacs, a dead soldier who has been brought back to life. Using a process known as “sleeving” a mind can be transferred to inhabit another body. Now this agent in a new body must solve a dangerous crime. If it sounds like Ghost in the Shell that isn’t too surprising, but Altered Carbon lives in a much more violent world that only Netflix would bring to life. – Max Covill

Arrested Development (Netflix)

While Season 4 wasn’t as effective as its predecessors, there are reasons to be optimistic about Arrested Development’s fifth season. Showrunner Mitch Hurwitz, the entire original cast and, of course, Ron Howard’s narration voice, will return to follow up on the Bluth family’s shenanigans, which will revolve around Lucille 2’s murder. The new season will also explore the similarities between the Bluths and the Trump family, in the same way, the first three seasons did with the Bush clan. A murder mystery with a slight touch of political satire and the traditional running gags make for a promising Season 5. – Karen Gomez

The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story (FX)

The second installment of FX’s true crime anthology series will delve into the murder investigation of fashion designer Gianni Versace (Édgar Ramírez) by the serial killer Andrew Cunanan (Darren Criss) in the 1990s. Carrying on its modus operandi as a show about distinctly American crimes (or as executive producer Nina Jacobson puts it, “a crime America is guilty of”), the show will focus on how the investigation into Versace’s death led to what is famously considered the largest failed FBI manhunt in history. The Assassination of Gianni Versace also stars Penélope Cruz as Gianni’s sister Donatella and Ricky Martin as Antonio D’Amico, Gianni’s partner. – Meg Shields

Ash Vs. Evil Dead (Starz)

Tighten your man-girdles and fuel up your chainsaw hand, things are about to get a whole lot groovier. The upcoming season of the Starz horror-comedy gore-fest sees series protagonist Ash (the unfairly charming Bruce Campbell) discovering his long-lost daughter (Arielle Caver-O’Neill), reconnecting with foe/ally/author of the Necronomicon Ruby (Lucy Lawless), and invariably punching evil in the nards. – Meg Shields

Babylon Berlin (Netflix)

How many German-language tv series have you seen? How many have drawn you in? Our numbers are probably the same. But Babylon Berlin is set to change that with its gritty two season look at the Weimar Republic in the years before World War Two. The show premiered in Germany this past fall, but it’s coming to the US via Netflix this spring. With a budget of $47 million, it’s the most expensive non-English tv series ever produced in Europe. If the buzz is anything to go on, it’ll be well worth it.  – Liz Baessler

Ballad of Buster Scruggs (Netflix)

Historically, the Coen brothers have been lukewarm on the whole TV thing. But lucky for us, the scope of six intertwining storylines proved too challenging for a single feature film. Joining the growing trend of auteur-driven television, the brothers are teaming up with Annapurna and Netflix to bring us an anthology miniseries set in the Old West starring the likes of Tim Blake Nelson, James Franco, and Zoe Kazan. Yee-fucking-haw. – Meg Shields

Better Call Saul (AMC)

One of the most underrated shows on television, Better Call Saul has consistently proven to be the best prequel property ever created. Thanks to a career-peak performance by Michael McKean, last year’s third season was the show’s best yet, cementing its status as being just as well-written and well-acted as its more popular source program, Breaking Bad. Now that McKean’s character is gone, what will Season 4 entail? Presumably, we’ll finally see Jimmy (Bob Odenkirk) transition to becoming “Saul Goodman,” the character we knew him as on the other series. There’s confirmation that Nacho (Michael Mando) will have a bigger role going forward, meaning more of the drug world. Producers have also continued hinting that eventually the series will stop being a prequel and will show more of the post-Breaking Bad story. Does that mean Season 4 could be the last for Kim (Rhea Seehorn)? Will we finally get that promised Walter White (Bryan Cranston) cameo? Either way, everyone needs to do the right thing and catch up with Better Call Saul and watch what happens next when it returns in the fall. – Christopher Campbell

Britannia (Amazon)

It’s like Game of Thrones but with a big dollop of history. Britannia is set in England in the year 43 AD, when the Romans came to conquer the Celts, who may have had a more magical connection to the land than their invaders are ready for. The show is a multi-national effort, being produced by and airing on both Sky Atlantic (in the UK and Ireland) and Amazon (in the US). – Liz Baessler

Castle Rock (Hulu)

Created by J.J. Abrams, this horror series is based on the stories of Stephen King. The ten episodes of the first season will draw upon characters and events from King’s body of work, centering them all around the fictional Maine town of Castle Rock. Cast members include André Holland, Sissy Spacek, and King-adaptation darling Bill Skarsgård. – Liz Baessler

Devilman Crybaby (Netflix)

In 1972 the original Devilman manga and subsequent anime adaptation appeared. Since then, there have been countless spinoffs and remakes, and Devilman Crybaby is the latest in a long and illustrious line. The ten-part anime centers around Akira Fudo, who combines himself with a demon in order to protect humanity in a war against more demons. – Liz Baessler

Final Space (TBS)

This animated sci-fi comedy produced by Conan O’Brien follows human Gary Space and alien Mooncake as they try to find the end of the universe. The whos who cast of voices includes David Tennant, John DiMaggio, Tom Kenny, Gina Torres, Fred Armisen, Caleb McLaughlin, Steven Yuen, and on and on. So is it like Rick and Morty? Creator Olan Rogers is glad you asked but wants you to know that no, no it isn’t. – Liz Baessler

Good Girls (NBC)

In this new dramedy, Christina Hendricks, Retta, and Mae Whitman star as three suburban moms who rob a grocery store and quickly get in over their heads for reasons you wouldn’t expect. NBC is calling it “Thelma & Louise with a bit of Breaking Bad.” – Liz Baessler

Good Omens (Amazon)

It’s a great time for Neil Gaiman adaptations. American Gods is already one season in on Starz, and now Good Omens, his beloved novel co-written with Terry Pratchett, is coming to Amazon and BBC Two. The six hour-long episode miniseries chronicles the end of days centered, as these things usually are, around England. It’s a funny end of days, though, and it ought to be a great ride. David Tennant and Michael Sheen star as the demon Crowley and the angel Aziraphale (respectively) who aren’t sure Armageddon is all it’s cracked up to be. – Liz Baessler

The Good Place (NBC)

The Good Place has become something more bold, strange, and spellbinding in its second season; wading deeper into the Camus-adjacent absurdity of its premise and confidently tightening its weighty moral knots. The mid-season finale left us with the sudden return of the infernal judge Shawn (Marc Evan Jackson), who briskly ordered our villain-turned-lovable-demonic-ally Michael (Ted Danson) to “Shut the door. Have a seat.” Here’s to hoping Michael does right by his new friends and gets out of this pickle when the season resumes in the new year. – Meg Shields

Here and Now (HBO)

Alan Ball’s new drama examines the lives of a progressive American family and all the difficulties entailed in being both progressive and American. And in being a family. It follows Holly Hunter and Tim Robbins as the parents of four adult children, one biological and three adopted from Somalia, Vietnam, and Colombia. – Liz Baessler

House of Cards (Netflix)

With Kevin Spacey in disgrace, Netflix is taking the high road (and following the advice of countless fans on Twitter) by carrying on the production of one of its most popular shows with Robin Wright as the lead. The shift is a thankfully natural progression that ought to play out well. This 8-episode-long sixth season will reportedly be the last and should offer satisfying closure both to audiences and a production team who suddenly found their show without its lead actor. – Liz Baessler

Legion (FX)

With an expanded order of a sparkly two additional episodes, the second season of Noah Hawley’s Legion is gearing up to be as daring, cerebral, and committed to giving its characters space to breathe as its first. This go round, we will return to a big bad in the astral form of the Shadow King, who at this point has already possessed Aubrey Plaza’s Lenny and Jemaine Clement’s Oliver. Here’s to hoping David gets out of that weird flying orb thing in one piece. – Meg Shields

Our Cartoon President (Showtime)

It’s been 17 whole years since Comedy Central aired That’s My Bush!, and the salad days of that administration’s political satire are but a distant memory. This decade’s answer is Our Cartoon President, based on the recurring animated Trump on Stephen Colbert’s Late Show. The ten-episode, half-hour comedy, which premieres just days after live-action Trump’s State of the Union address, will offer an inside look into the goings-on inside the White House. Will it be funny enough to offset our severe unease and despair? Only time will tell. – Liz Baessler

Philip K. Dick’s Electric Dreams (Amazon)

It would seem that each network is looking for its own anthology science-fiction show. Similar to the format of Black Mirror and Twilight Zone, Philip K. Dick’s Electric Dreams adapts the short stories written by Dick during his lifetime and turns them into hour-long television episodes with an eclectic cast of actors and actresses. These stories don’t look as morbid as some in Black Mirror, so this might appeal to more people, but Amazon is taking a gamble in releasing an unproven series. Will this draw the same interest as its peers or will it be a one season and done series? – Max Covill

RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars (VH1)

Yas Gawd. The highly anticipated third season of All-Stars will see the return of beloved drag queens from past seasons vying for a coveted spot in the Drag Race Hall of Fame. While our money’s on Skinny Legend Trixie Mattel, after the curveball last season (where eliminations were determined by the queens themselves) there’s no telling what Mama Ru has in store. Also if anyone wants to join my tinfoil hat tea-spilling party re: the 10th mystery queen find me on twitter. – Meg Shields

Sense8 Finale (Netflix)

Netflix sparked outrage last summer when it canceled Sense8, claiming that its audience, while fiercely passionate, wasn’t large enough to justify the financial strain of a third season. That audience (us included) proved its passion by starting petitions and penning persuasive essays about why the show deserved better. And that campaigning seems to have finally paid off… sort of. The Wachowski sisters’ beloved series will return to Netflix this summer with a final two-hour special, with Lana Wachowski citing fans’ tireless efforts as a big deciding factor. It’s no third season, but it is closure, and proof that fans really can make a difference. – Liz Baessler

A Series of Unfortunate Events (Netflix)

A Series Of Unfortunate Events Season Teaser

Last year Netflix offered up its adaptation of Lemony Snicket’s belovedly macabre young adult series. Breaking away from the unsuccessful 2004 film, which ended after a single installment, the Neil Patrick Harris-driven series has taken on a darker tone and achieved critical acclaim. And on New Year’s Day Netflix released a promo for the second season, which will purportedly cover books 5-9 of the series, featuring an appropriately snarling and knife-sharpening Count Olaf. It’s a dismal way to start the new year, but I for one am all in. – Liz Baessler

Star Trek Discovery (CBS All Access)

After the midseason break, Trekkies are still trying to figure out if they like, love, or loathe this latest iteration of Gene Roddenberry’s 50+-year-old franchise. Personally, I fall into the LOVE category. Is it my daddy’s Star Trek? Maybe not. It is the first time a Trek series has been allowed a serialized structure. That means that plot and characters are allowed time to grow. We may have been ok with an evil Captain or Admiral for one episode, but we’re freaking out not understanding Captain Lorca’s motivations for half a season. Where is the Spock character? Who fits the Scotty mold? The archetypes for Discovery are less obvious. When fans spend years/decades loving a property so damn much, it’s easy to get frustrated when the actual product doesn’t live up to our fan-fiction. Still, I argue that there is plenty of Trek to be found on CBS All-Access, and it’s the best season one of Star Trek since the 1966 original.

The second half will open up in a new universe or possibly, a new dimension. The showrunners are stoking the fires of fandom with their tagline, “Find out what happens when you boldly go too far.” Maybe Lt. Stamets will rage out in full Gary Mitchell style for an episode or two. Will the effects of his spore warped brain transform him into a god beyond repair or will he just be a one-and-done dilemma? Will Michael Burnham find redemption by season’s end? Will Saru get that stick removed from his ass? And come on, Ash Tyler? You’re one damaged Klingon. Before we start burning our cosplay, let’s see how this first era of new Trek concludes itself before Summer. – Brad Gullickson

The Terror (AMC)

Adapted from the bestselling Dan Simmons book and based on a true story, The Terrofollows the British Navy’s attempt to chart the Northwest Passage. Produced by Ridley Scott, the 10 episode drama shows the crew’s struggle to survive the elements and each other on a perilous mission into the frigid unknown. – Liz Baessler

2 Dope Queens (HBO)

Jessica Williams and Phoebe Robinson’s WNYC podcast is coming to HBO. The comedy podcast, which itself consists of edited recordings of the duo’s live shows in Brooklyn, is a free-form conversation with guests combining stand-up comedy and anecdotes, with an emphasis on female and LGBTQ comedians and comedians of color. HBO has ordered 4 hour-long episodes to be aired as a special. – Liz Baessler

Westworld (HBO)

With its unique treatment of time and intricate storytelling, the first season of Westworld was a goldmine for conspiracy and interpretation. Then it ended on a note that was both definitive and open-ended. Will it ever be able to match the surprise and excitement of that initial unraveling? It’s hard to say. But the finale suggests that the show is just getting started, so it’s safe to assume it’ll only get more elaborate and intense in its second season. – Liz Baessler

The X-Files (Fox)

I still remember the premiere of The X-Files like it was a little over twenty-four years ago. From the now-iconic theme music to the charismatic pairing of a believer and a skeptic to weekly episodes that could transport viewers into the wildest mysteries and darkest locales (provided they all looked like Vancouver)… I was hooked. I stopped watching the show once Mulder left as the dynamic was gone, but I happily returned along with its tenth season as if no time had passed. This year sees the duo return for an eleventh season, and while I know in my gut that the “monster of the week” episodes will rock and the mythology ones will whimper I also know that I’ll be tuning in for every moment. Another Gillian Anderson and David Duchovny reunion demands nothing less. – Rob Hunter

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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)