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If you’re a viewer of American television, you’ve no doubt just started coming to grips with the good, the bad and the awful of the 2016 season. Well don’t get too comfortable, because the next wave of shows is on the way, and what follows is Empire’s guide to 25 series debuting in 2017.
2 January, Freeform
Sounding a bit Dead Zone-ish, the premise has a man in his early twenties awakening from a twelve-year coma, now endowed with supernatural abilities. This guy, Holden (Burkely Duffield), doesn’t predict despotic presidential candidates (not that Americans couldn’t use that power in the current election cycle), but, instead, finds himself entering worlds...well, beyond our own, and in the middle of a conspiracy. Created by Adam Nussdorf, producers include Tim Kring (Heroes) and David Eick (Battlestar Galactica).
3 January, FOX
Kaitlin Olson is Mackenzie Murphy, a woman who, while coping with the fact that her husband has fled the US to avoid federal fraud charges (not as uncommon as you'd think), finds herself becoming the guardian of her wealthy sister’s children.
4 January (preview episode 14, December), FOX
The Lee Daniels Empire strikes back with a companion piece to his hit music series, which follows three music performers who have to somehow survive the rigors and ruthlessness of the music industry as they attempt to attain their dream. Playing the trio are newcomers Jude Demorest, Ryan Destiny and Brittany O’Grady, supported by such veteran performers as Queen Latifah and Benjamin Bratt.
6 January, NBC
We may not exactly be dancing our way down the Yellow Brick Road to see this wizard. Not when he’s the Kingpin...or, more accurately, Vincent D’Onofrio. Or when you consider that this take on Oz — having more in common with Game Of Thrones than L. Frank Baum — could kick the crap out of Judy Garland’s. Adria Arjona is twenty-year-old Dorothy Gale, who, along with a K9 police dog, finds herself drawn into “a mystical land of competing realms, lethal warriors, dark magic and a bloody battle for supremacy.” Where the hell did we put those ruby slippers? Tarsem Singh directs all ten episodes.
One Day At A Time
6 January, Netflix
A modern take on the Norman Lear ‘70s sitcom that starred Bonnie Franklin as a divorced mother raising her two teenage daughters, who were played by MacKenzie Phillips and Valerie Bertinelli. This version, focusing on an Hispanic family, stars Justina Machado, Rita Moreno, Isabella Gomez, Marcel Ruiz and Todd Grinnell.
A Series Of Unfortunate Events
13 January, Netflix
From the much loved Lemony Snicket novels, and not so much the all-but-forgotten 2004 feature film, comes this eight-episode series starring Neil Patrick Harris, Louis Hynes, Joan Cusack and Malina Weissman. The books, of which there are thirteen, chronicles the lives of Violet, Klaus and Sunny Baudelaire, who fall victim to the relative who gets custody of them after their parents’ death in a fire, Count Olaf. His goal is to steal their inheritance, but over the course of the story the kids discover a secret society that their parents and Olaf are connected to.
The Young Pope
15 January, HBO
Jude Law is Lenny Belardo, considered an extremely conservative cardinal in America, who finds himself becoming the first — and youngest — American Pope in history, taking on the name Pius XIII. Diane Keaton co-stars as Sister Mary. The series is created by Paolo Sorrentino.
5 February, FOX
With Kiefer Sutherland off being President Of The United States over at Designated Survivor, the producers of 24 have turned to Corey Hawkins for this spin-off of the original series. Hawkins portrays Eric Carter, a former Army Ranger who, upon returning to America, discovers that his anti-terrorist activities have followed he and his squad home. He turns to Rebecca Ingram (Miranda Otto) at Washington DC’s Counter Terrorist Unit for help. Needless to say, the formula of the season unfolding over the course of twenty-four hours will continue.
6 February, FOX
Justin Kirk is Gideon Reeves, a tech billionaire who has been given control over a police district in Chicago. His personal agenda is to solve the murder of someone close to him. Also starring Natalie Martinez, Caitlin Stasey and Ernie Hudson, the show is produced by Trey Callaway and the pilot directed by Len Wiseman.
27 February, NBC
So just who was Bryan Mills before people started trying to make a business out of kidnapping his family? That’s what this prequel to the Liam Neeson films is supposed to explore. Actor Clive Standen takes on the role of the young Mills.
17 March, Netflix
Series number four from the Marvel canon (following Daredevil, Jessica Jones and Luke Cage) comes to Netflix with this show starring Finn Jones as Danny Rand. Orphaned as a child and missing for fifteen years, he arrives in New York City, attempting to claim the family business as his own. Unbeknownst to anyone else is that he was raised by Buddhist monks and trained in the “way of the iron fist,” which actually comes in fairly handy when a new threat rises not only against him but New York. The big question is whether or not we’ll see him in the Iron Fist costume any sooner than the final fifteen minutes of the last episode. Showrunner is Scott Buck, who oversaw the early seasons of Dexter.
Big Hero 6
Premiere Date TBA, DisneyXD
A sequel to the theatrical Disney/Marvel film, this television series will be presented in traditional 2D animation rather than in CG as the feature had been. In the show, Hiro (Ryan Potter) is attending the San Fransokyo Institute Of Technology and trying desperately to fit in despite his age. In between he continues to team up with the robot Baymax (Scott Adsit) as well as Wasabi (Khary Payton), Honey Lemon (Genesis Rodriguez), Fred (Brooks Wheelan) and GoGo (Jamie Chung) to battle evil. Additional charactes are Aunt Cass (Maya Rudolph), Alistair Krei (Alan Tudyk), and Fred's Dad (Stan Lee).
The Blacklist: Redemption
Premiere Date TBA, NBC
She may have tried to kill James Bond with her thighs, and suffered a massive case of mutant PMS, but Famke Janssen’s next role is a little more down to earth. In this spinoff to The Blacklist, she portrays Susan “Scottie” Hargrave, in charge of the covert mercenary organization Grey Matters. The task for her and her “employees” is to take on problems that the government can’t. Co-star is the original show’s Tom Keen (Ryan Eggold), who discovered that Hargrave is actually his biological mother.
Premiere Date TBA, Netflix
As with most things Marvel, details on this one are under wraps. We do know that the eight-hour event series will bring together Charlie Cox’s Matt Murdoch/Daredevil, Krysten Ritter’s Jessica Jones, Mike Colter’s Luke Cage and Finn Jones’ Danny Rand/Iron Fist, as they go up against uber villain Sigourney Weaver. Not that we’re saying Sigourney is evil. By all accounts she seems perfectly lovely, we just don’t know who she’ll be playing.
Premiere Date TBA, ABC
Martin, a lonely and philosophical dog, serves as the point of view of this series, which examines the life of his owner, Nan (played by Allison Tolman of Fargo), a struggling millennial who has given up any semblance of a private life by immersing herself in her job at Clark And Bow Outfitters. Based on the web series of the same name.
The Good Fight
TBA February, CBS All Access
As CBS All Access attempts to become a major player in original programming streaming, they’re kicking things off with this spin-off from The Good Wife. Set a year after events of that show’s final episode, Diane Lockhart’s (Christine Baranski) life savings have been wiped out by a financial scam, resulting in her having to step down from the Lockhart & Lee law firm. This same scam has ruined the reputation of her goddaughter, Maia (Rose Leslie). The two of them end up joining Lucca Quinn (Cush Jumbo) at another Chicago firm. Like the original, the spin-off was created by Robert King and Michelle King.
Premiere Date TBA, ABC
There are people who have a tough time letting go of their imaginary friends (we are not among them...no, seriously, everybody talks to themselves!). Alice (Jenna Elfman), a single executive at a public relations firm, certainly thought she had left hers — Mary — back in her childhood. But now Mary is back, in CG glory, ready to “help” Alice get her life on track as she dates a single father of three.
Premiere Date TBA, FOX
When a professor creates a time machine that he hopes to use to help improve the life of he and a colleague, things start going horribly wrong when one of them starts dating Deborah Revere, daughter of Paul, the implications of which could result in a very different outcome for American history. It’s a comedy from Phil Lord and Chris Miller, the creatives behind The Lego Movie and the Jump Street films.
Premiere Date TBA, NBC
If you’re one of those people who miss HBO’s True Blood, then you may be able to get your fix again, though admittedly without the nudity or graphic blood spillage. Like that show, this one is based on the novels of Charlaine Harris and viewers can expect, according to the network, vampires, witches, psychics and hitmen who come to the town of Midnight, Texas, “a safe haven for those who are different.” Yeah, probably not.
Premiere Date TBA, NBC
This one has the potential to be a hysterical look at the flip side of the superhero genre, or a dopey workplace comedy. Let’s hope it’s the former, as it focuses on the employees of an insurance company that’s given the task of working out damage claims created by the battles of superheroes and supervillains. While the odds are pretty damn slim we’ll see the likes of Superman, Batman or Wonder Woman, since this is set in the DC universe, there is the promise of characters showing up from the comics. The cast includes Vanessa Hudgens, Danny Pudi, Alan Tudyk and Christina Kirk.
Premiere Date TBA, CW
Archie (K.J. Apa), Jughead (Cole Sprouse), Betty (Lili Reinhart), Veronica (Camila Mendes), Reggie (Ross Butler) and the rest of the Riverdale gang are leaping to live action in this Greg Berlanti-produced series. Sounding a bit like it could have a Twin Peaks/Blue Velvet vibe, the show is reportedly going to have a surrealistic take on life in a small town.
Premiere Data TBA, FOX
Torn right from the headlines comes this show about what happens in a fictional North Carolina town in the aftermath of a shooting that seems to have been racially motivated. The cast of this ten-episode series includes Sanaa Lathan, Stephen James, Helen Hunt, Richard Dreyfuss, Stephen Moyer, Will Patton and Jill Hennessy.
Star Trek: Discovery
May Premiere Date TBA, CBS All Access
The show,sixth series in the franchise that began a little over fifty years ago, just lost showrunner Bryan Fuller, hasn’t signed any of its cast members and seems to be in a state of disarray, but the studio is determined that the show will be ready for streaming come May. Little is known about it beyond the fact that the lead will be female, there will be a gay character, the whole thing takes place about a decade before the adventures of Captain Kirk and Mr. Spock, and the first thirteen episodes will be a single serialized story arc. Can it live long and prosper?
Premiere Date TBA, ABC
A sequel to William Shakespeare’s Romeo And Juliet, and based on the novel by Melinda Taub, this show, set in 16th Century Verona, is focused on Juliet’s cousin, Rosaline, who is ordered by Prince Escalus to marry Benvolio of Montague to put an end to the feud between the two families. Both endeavor to resolve the conflict on their own. Produced by Shonda Rhimes, and developed by Heather Mitchell, the series stars Lashana Lynch as Rosalie and Wadd Briggs as Benvolio.
Premiere Date TBA, AMC
Designed to be an anthology series in which one story unfolds over the course of a season, the show is based on the 2007 novel by Dan Simmons. Set in 1847, the ten-episode show takes place on a Royal Navy vessel in the Northwest Passage that picks up a predator that begins attacking the crew. It kind of sounds like Alien (Ridley Scott is one of the producers) but without chest bursters, outer space or Jones the cat.
Time After Time
Premiere Date TBA, ABC
We know it’s based on the 1979 film (seriously, a TV series based on a film? Whowouldathought?), which in turn was based on the Karl Alexander novel, and that it deals with H.G. Wells pursuing Jack The Ripper from 1893 England to America in the present. What we don't know, but which executive producer Kevin Williamson has mentioned, is what events of the series will prove influential to Wells in the creation of his many works of fiction. Invisible men? Morlocks? Martian invaders? It could be interesting.
Premiere Date TBA, CBS
Speaking of TV shows based on films….but at least this one is a sequel rather than a reboot. Taking place fifteen years after the Denzel Washington film (no, Denzel is not in the series… c’mon, did you really think he would be?). Like the feature, the premise is focused on the proverbial idealistic young cop who is ordered to go undercover in an elite LAPD squad to report on what CBS calls “a morally ambiguous detective,” adding, “They form an uneasy alliance that will irrevocably change the course of both their lives.” Justin Cornwell and Bill Paxton star.
Trial & Error
Premiere Date TBA, NBC
John Lithgow makes his return to series television as a professor of poetry accused of murder, who professes his innocence, but does nothing that proves it. Sounds like a drama, but it’s a comedy with Nick D’Agosto as Josh Simon, a New York lawyer who finds himself in a small Southern town where he’s to defend Lithgow’s Larry Henderson.