Emily McNeiece ’20 / Emertainment Monthly Staff Writer
2017 was, to say the least, a difficult year. It was a year of heart-wrenching tragedy. disturbing celebrity scandal, paradoxical political decisions. A year that we can now look back on and say, “Hey, that actually might’ve been worse than 2016.” Still, despite being an awful year for reality, 2017 was an amazing one for TV. We saw fresh spins on old favorites in Twin Peaks: The Revival and One Day at a Time, immersed ourselves in the brief but brilliant continuations of Stranger Things and Game of Thrones, and gaped in amazement as The Good Place and Master of None took the tried and true sitcom formula, flipped it on its head three times, then proceeded to punt it across the room. The 2018 TV season clearly has a lot to live up to. But with new series announcements popping up left and right, it’s looking to be a serious contender. Here’s the rundown of 2018’s must-watch original programming.
1. Here and Now (Feb. 11th, HBO)
Alan Ball, creator of critically acclaimed hits Six Feet Under and True Blood, returns to TV this winter with Here and Now, a dramedy about multi-racial families and their struggles in America’s current political climate. Centered around a philosophy professor and his adopted children from Vietnam, Liberia, and Colombia, as well as the Muslim family of one of his children’s psychiatrist, Here and Now promises to be a dark, meditative comedy examining the U.S.’s current political climate. And if it has any of Six Feet Under’s sharp wit or good-natured cynicism, Here and Now will be a show to look out for.
2. The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story (Jan. 17th, FX)
2016’s The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story received 22 primetime Emmy nominations in the year after its release, and for good reason. The limited series, based, of course, on the real-life case after which it was named, brought countless new perspectives to the already well-examined Simpson case through its superb casting and masterful pacing. Although series creators Larry Karaszewski and Scott Alexander won’t be returning for the second season, Versace promises to be just as riveting, if not more, than its predecessor.
3. 9-1-1 (Jan. 3rd, FX)
At first glance, 9-1-1 looks like your typical formulaic police or medical drama. Then you realize that Ryan Murphy, known best for creating the hit anthology series American Horror Story, is its showrunner, and are forced to think again. 9-1-1 is your average high-stakes cop drama, but with all the weirdness that AHS has become known for. Not every plot thread makes perfect sense and the dialogue can be campy at times, but 9-1-1 is a breath of fresh air in a genre that’s long gone stale.
4. Heathers (Spring, Paramount Network)
Heathers is the definition of a sleeper hit. Though it did poorly in the 1988 box office, the high school-centric dark comedy later proved itself to be a cult classic. Heathers has gained even more attention in recent years following its 2014 Off-Broadway adaptation, Heathers: the Musical. Only time will tell whether the TV series will live up to its widely loved predecessors, but for now, it’s undoubtedly worth keeping an eye on.
5. Mosaic (January, HBO)
The way we consume television is constantly evolving. Streaming services become increasingly more popular by the day, and networks, struggling to catch up, have started to acknowledge that cable’s final days are almost upon us. Mosiac, a new limited series by Steven Soderbergh, seems to suggest the start of a new era of TV viewing. It’s a murder mystery crime thriller, one that, after viewing its introductory character scenes, will allow the viewer to choose what happens next. The concept itself is not something new (Choose Your Own Adventure books have been letting audiences choose a story’s ending for years) but Mosiac, a viewing experience that is simultaneously controlled by the viewer but also the director, promises to introduce something more: the start of a new way to interact with television.
6. Britannia (Jan. 18th, Sky Vision; Amazon Prime)
Following on the heels of Game of Throne’s wild success, Britannia is a ten episode British period drama from Jez Butterworth. Set in AD 43, the series will be centered around Celtic rivals Kerra and Antedia, warrior women who work together to fight off Roman invaders. Promising striking visuals and strong female characters, the first glimpses of Britannia make it seem like a show worth remembering.
7. Titans (2018, Warner Bros.)
Just when we thought we were beyond being drawn in by childhood nostalgia. Titans, a live -action spin-off of the beloved 2000s-era cartoon Teen Titans (and their original comic), is being produced for a still-unnamed DC Comics digital media service. Starring Brenton Thwaites and Anna Diop as Robin and Starfire respectively, Titans promises to be a newer and more mature reimagining of the Titans stories, while still remaining true to their characters.