The movie slate in 2016 is full to bursting, but it's not just the big screen's cup that runneth over this year. With a raft of new shows heading towards the gogglebox over the next few months, here is our handy guide to the television series debuting or returning in the US (with some making their way across the pond) during the first few months of 2016.
From executive producer Seth MacFarlane and creator Mark Hentemann comes this politically incorrect (were you expecting anything less?) animated series focusing on residents of Mexifornia, a fictional town located the border between Mexico and California. Yes, the name is exactly the level of comedy you they're aiming for. Hank Azaria voices border patrol agent Bud Buckwald and Nicholas Gonzalez is Bud’s next-door neighbor, Ernesto Gonzalez.
US: January 3 (FOX)
UK: Autumn (ITV2)
The Shannara Chronicles
Throw Game of Thrones and The CW (pick a show) into a blender and the results would be The Shannara Chronicles, the decidedly YA fantasy based on the long-running series of novels by Terry Brooks. Elves, quests to save a dying land, demons, magic: it’s all here, along with mostly newcomers, but some genre veterans like Manu Bennett and John Rhys-Davies show up. This one comes from Smallville and Into The Badlands duo Al Gough and Miles Millar.
US: January 5 (MTV)
The growing trend of an acting ensemble returning in different roles for each story arc (which has been a showcase on American Horror Story) continues. Season two follows the case of a public high school student who claims he was raped by members of a private school’s championship basketball team, who then posted photos from the incident online. Cast returnees include Felicity Huffman and Timothy Hutton, with 12 Years A Slave's John Ridley once more overseeing the show.
US: January 6 (ABC)
Angel From Hell
There have been a lot of guardian angels on television, but this could very well be the first with a drinking problem. Glee’s Jane Lynch is the title character, Amy, who sets her sights on Allison (Maggie Lawson), a doctor who seems to have her act together… but may need some course correction to achieve a more wonderful life.
US: January 7 (CBS)
Shades Of Blue
Jennifer Lopez is Harlee Santos, a corrupt NY detective and single mother who is caught by the FBI and forced to turn informant on the cops she had aligned herself with, most notably Ray Liotta’s Lt. Bill Wozniak. Now Santos has to walk the line between both sides of the law, while protecting her daughter from all of it. J.Lo's first TV series since 1994's Hotel Malibu.
US: January 7 (NBC)
Spun off from Cassandra Clare’s The Mortal Instruments YA book series (which also served as the basis for the movie City of Bones — this will have to suffice in the place of a sequel to that one), the show has at its centre Clary Fray (Katherine McNamara), a human-angel hybrid who joins up with others of her kind to battle demons on Earth. McG serves as executive producer and occasional director.
US: January 12 (Freeform)
UK: January 13 (Netflix)
Morally bankrupt 75-year-old Jimmy Pritchard is murdered… but things could be worse. He wakes up in a genetically altered younger body with which he has the opportunity to try and make up for the past, travel down familiar paths or achieve a more noble purpose. True Blood’s Rob Kazinsky stars as the younger Jimmy. The show’s creator is Rand Ravich (The Astronaut’s Wife, Life) with support from executive producer is Howard Gordon (24, Homeland).
US: January 13 (FOX)
Help, help, we’re being oppressed. Again! There’s an occupying army in Los Angeles — likely extraterrestrial in nature — and this series focuses squarely on the Bowman family (led by Josh Holloway) as they try to cope with the changes and devise a way with others to fight back. It also marks a reunion between Lost alumni Holloway and producer Carlton Cuse. There are probably no polar bears this time.
US: January 14 (USA)
The 19th century police series returns for its fourth season (not bad for a show originally cancelled following season two). The year is 1897 and Matthew Macfadyen’s Edmund Reid finds himself drawn back to Whitechapel to clear the name of his old friend, Isaac Bloom (Justin Avoth), who has been found guilty of a murder that Reid simply can’t believe he committed.
US: January 15 (BBC America)
UK: January 15 (Amazon Prime)
Even if you’re not a billionaire, odds are you’ll find Paul Giamatti and Damian Lewis as, respectively, US Attorney Chuck Rhoades and hedge fund king Bobby “Axe” Axelrod absolutely riveting as they play off of each other here. Rhoades is doing everything in his power to bring Axelrod down, while Axelrod for his part... doesn’t care.
US: January 17 (Showtime)
When he’s not directing The Martian or various Alien sequels, Ridley Scott is producing thoughtful television, including this period series. Set during America’s Civil War, the focus is on Mansion House Hospital, one of the few places where the lines between the sides tended to blur. Mary Elizabeth Winstead and newcomer Hannah James are nurses who get caught up in the war’s conflict and intrigue.
US: January 17 (PBS)
Coming from the brains of Steve and Nancy Carell, this police spoof series is aiming to channel the spirit of Police Squad!. Rashida Jones stars as Angie, a ten year veteran of the Really Heinous Crimes Unit, who is assigned her latest partner (Jay, played by Hayes MacArthur). It promises to be reliably stupid and, thanks to its star and producers, boasts a hefty guest cast list across the first 10-episode season including Lisa Kudrow, Gary Cole, Adam Scott and even Bill Murray.
US: January 17 (TBS)
Haley Atwell’s Peggy Carter is moving to Los Angeles for this new ten-episode arc, which sees her fighting against thus far non-defined threats of the atomic age following World War II. There’s going to be a lot that’s different for the character, but in terms of adventure? Well, some things never change. James D’Arcy reprises his snarky role of Edwin Jarvis, but the big question regarding Peggy is where next she’ll turn up in the Marvel Universe and how the producers will weave in more comic-book mythology.
US: January 19 (ABC)
UK: January 28 (FOX, UK)
Returning for its third season, this show, based on the book series by Kass Morgan, follows the survivors of a hundred teenagers sent back to investigate Earth, generations after a nuclear Armageddon wiped out all life. At this point they’ve won their battle against the oppressive forces of Mount Weather, but are said to be coping with repercussions from what they’ve been through, while facing threats both old and new. Cryptic to the last.
US: January 21 (The CW)
UK: Spring (E4)
Get ready for some weirdness as Chip Baskets, forced to give up his ambitions of being a clown in France, returns home to California where he begins work as a rodeo clown while trying to win his mother’s approval. Created by Louis C.K., Zach Galifianakis and Jonathan Krisel, with Galifianakis starring. That goes a long way in explaining where this premise came from.
US: January 21 (FX)
DC’s Legends Of Tomorrow
Spun off of not one but two superhero shows — Arrow and The Flash — this is a time-tripping adventure that teams up humans with villains on a mission designed to save humanity’s future from the immortal Vandal Savage. Players include Brandon Routh as Ray Palmer/The Atom, Wentworth Miller as Captain Cold, Caity Lotz as White Canary, Casper Crump as Savage and Doctor Who veteran Arthur Darvill (who has a little experience with chrono-troubles) as the man coordinating it all, Rip Hunter.
US: January 21 (The CW)
UK: February (Sky 1)
Based on the British series of the same name, four underachievers in their '40s get together for the early retirement of their friend, but good times quickly turn bad. Seriously, when is murder a good thing? From producers Chris Cole and Shawn Ryan, the series stars Ben Chaplin, Michael Imperioli, Billy Zane and Steve Zahn.
US: January 22 (Amazon Studios)
In season three, Captain Flint’s (Toby Stephens) reign of terror escalates to the verge of insanity, and it’s up to John Silver (Luke Arnold) to help retrieve him from madness before it’s too late. The task is not made any easier by the arrival of Ray Stevenson as Edward Teach, AKA Blackbeard.
US: January 23 (Starz)
UK: January 25 (Amazon Prime)
Beowulf: Return To Shieldlands
This 13-episode British series is a re-imagination and expansion of the Old English poem, featuring new situations and characters. Created by James Dormer, Tim Haines and Katie Newman, the show, set in Scandinavia, stars Kieran Bew (Da Vinci’s Demons) in the title role.
US: January 23 (Esquire)
UK: January 3 (ITV)
Back for six episodes making up what is essentially the 10th season of the series. Creator Chris Carter reunites David Duchovny as Fox Mulder and Gillian Anderson as Dana Scully, with other returnees and new characters (including one played by Joel McHale). Needless to say, Mulder remains the believer, Scully the skeptic - though one wonders how, at this point, she can be skeptical about anything.
US: January 24 (FOX)
UK: February (Channel 5)
When you're the devil and you get bored, what do you do? After (presumably) turning the Kardashians into superstars, you abandon hell, move to Los Angeles and lend the LAPD a helping hand in dispensing justice to criminals. Because procedurals never tire of finding new premises. Based on the version of the character created by Neil Gaiman as part of the Sandman saga (though nothing to do with him), this has Miranda's Tom Ellis is cast in the title role, which has us counting the days until Miranda Hart herself makes a cameo.
US: January 25 (FOX)
UK: January 26 (Amazon Prime)
In The Magicians, magic doesn't necessarily make your life any easier. Based on the trilogy of best-selling novels by Lev Grossman, the series focuses on Quentin Coldwater (Jason Ralph), who gets accepted into Brakebills Academy, a sort of Hogwarts for college types. There he has to overcome his own shortcomings and learn to fit in, while exploring fantastic worlds beyond this one as well as a culture of magic that lives alongside ours.
US: January 25 (Syfy)
This werewolf drama returns for its third and final season, as Laura Vandervoort explores the role her character, Elena, plays in The Pack. Battles of the lycanthropic kind - as well as unfolding politics within the Council of International Alphas - are waged as Elena makes harrowing discoveries about herself.
US: February 12 (Syfy)
The Walking Dead
Andrew Lincoln's Rick and the rest continue their struggle in the post-apocalyptic wasteland that is zombie-infested America as season 6 continues. With the former small town-turned-sanctuary of Alexandria now breached, our heroes must fight the undead horde that threatens them while preparing to deal with the show's new ubervillain: Jeffrey Dean Morgan's Negan.
US: February 14 (AMC)
UK: February 15 (FOX UK)
It's the time of punk, funk, rock and disco. In this 10-episode series, Bobby Cannavale plays Richie Finestra, head of a 1970s record label who is desperately trying to keep his company afloat without too much collateral damage in a time when corruption within the music industry was rampant. The pedigree for this one is impeccable: Mick Jagger, Martin Scorsese and Terence Winter.
US: February 14 (HBO)
UK: February 15 (Sky Atlantic)
Better Call Saul
We know where Jimmy McGill (eventually Saul Goodman) ends up in Breaking Bad, but it's his journey to the dark side of the legal world in this prequel series that holds its fascination. In season two, Jimmy (Bob Odenkirk) is given the opportunity to get his life on track, but the odds of him doing so? Not so good.
US: February 15 (AMC)
UK: February 16 (Netflix)
Based on the Stephen King novel of the same name, this eight-part series focuses on the eternal question: If given the opportunity to change history, would you take it? High-school teacher Jake Epping (James Franco) is willing to take that chance and attempts to prevent the assassination of President Kennedy, but has to deal with the stubbornness of a history that doesn't want to be altered.
US: February 15 (Hulu)
Created by Judd Apatow, Paul Rust and Lesley Arfin, this comedic series is promising a no holds barred look at the highs and lows of a relationship as told through the eyes of wild child Mickey (Gillian Jacobs) and nerdy Gus (Rust). Issues of intimacy, commitment, humiliations and more will be explored. The ten-episode first season will be available as one batch and a 12-episode second has been ordered.
US: February 19 (Netflix)
UK: February 19 (Netflix)
House Of Cards
The titular construction, manipulated so brilliantly by Frank Underwood in seasons past, seem on the verge of collapse in the show's fourth year. The country doesn't want him (which hasn't stopped him running for a second term) while First Lady Claire Underwood (Robin Wright) has walked out on him. And that's where things begin.
US: March 4 (Netflix)
UK: March 4 (Netflix)
Essentially a sequel to 1976's The Omen, this television series flashes forward a couple of decades to focus on Damien Thorne (Bradley James), who is only now starting to discover his true identity as the Antichrist and the path to Armageddon that he is destined to lead the world on. It's all for you, Damien!
US: March 7 (A&E)
Knife? Check. Woman's robe? Check. Talking in Mother's voice? Check. Sinking bodies in the bay to hide the evidence? Oh yeah! Norman Bates is moving ever closer to the serial killer made famous in Hitchcock's Psycho, and as the show enters the fourth of what is believed to be a total of five seasons, cliffhangers will be resolved and audiences will see how just how far Freddie Highmore's Norman will go.
US: March 7 (A&E)
UK: TBA (Universal Channel)
Of Kings & Prophets
There's something to be said for sticking to the classics, and this series from Exodus: Gods & Kings writers Adam Cooper and Bill Collage is based on the Books Of Samuel. There is an ensemble of characters, though much of the emphasis is on Ray Winstone's Saul, King of Israel; Olly Rix's David, the future king of Israel; and Mohammad Bakri's prophet Samuel. The show's been described as an "epic biblical saga of faith, ambition and betrayal."
US: March 8 (ABC)
Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders
Or Gendarmes Sans Frontieres, if you will. This second spin-off of Criminal Minds is focused on a part of the FBI that takes on cases abroad, helping American citizens in trouble in international territories. The show stars Gary Sinise (returning to the land of law enforcement procedurals for the first time since CSI: New York ended), Daniel Henney and Alana de la Garza.
CBS: March 16 UK: TBA (Watch)
Wilson Fisk (The Kingpin) may be in jail, but Matt Murdock's life as Daredevil isn't getting any easier during his second round of adventures. This time out he's dealing with Frank Castle, The Punisher (played by Jon Bernthal); and the assassin Elektra (Elodie Yung), who is also a former flame. Charlie Cox returns as the Man Without Fear with Doug Petrie and Marco Ramirez stepping in as showrunners.
US: March 18 (Netflix)
UK: March 18 (Netflix)
At the center of this ten-episode drama is a family that is part of a controversial cult movement and the struggle they go through between the life they live and the life they want to live. From Jason Katims (Friday Night Lights), the cast includes Hugh Dancy (Hannibal), Michelle Monaghan (True Detective) and Aaron Paul (Breaking Bad).
US: March 30 (Hulu)
The film franchise about a by-the-books Hong Kong detective and a Los Angeles counterpart gets the TV treatment, with John Foo stepping into Jackie Chan's role of Chief Yan Naing Lee and Justin Hires as Chris Tucker's Detective James Carter. The film trilogy's director, Brett Ratner, serves as executive producer here. Expect lots of fish-out-of-water and culture clash comedy interspersed with high-kicking stunts.
US: March 31 (CBS)
UK: TBA (E4)
Game Of Thrones
We're entering uncharted territory for various characters here as the show's mythology finally outpaces George R.R. Martin's books. One of the biggest questions will be the fate of Kit Harington's Jon Snow (will he be a mopey ghost?) and a return for Isaac Hempstead Wright's Bran, now busy honing his Warging skills under the tutelage of Max von Sydow's mysterious mentor. Let's also not forget that there will be plenty of political intrigue and the persistent threat from the White Walkers as they march inexorably towards the rest of Westeros.
US: April 24 (HBO)
UK: April 25 (Sky Atlantic)