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What to watch in 2017

29/12/2016TV

Tom Hardy as a 19th Century businessman! A reboot of 24! One of the Goonies joins Stranger Things! Prepare to get excited about the next 12 months in TV-land.

 

Taboo

Saturday 7th January at 9.15pm on BBC One (CH 101)

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Why you should watch: Tom Hardy, in a big new period drama? Don’t mind if we do!

Juicy historical context: It’s set in the early 19th Century and features the war, politics and the notorious East India Company.

Who does Hardy play?: A man who was presumed dead, now back to inherit his father’s business empire.

Awesome names alert: The drama features characters called things like James Keziah Delaney, Zilpha, and Sir Stuart Strange. And yet none of them are superheroes, oddly.

I need yet another reason to watch: It’s produced by Ridley flippin’ Scott, how about that?

 

Bull

Friday 13th January at 10pm on FOX (CH 157)

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Why you should watch: It’s a slick new legal drama about a brash psychologist.

So it’s yet another quirky genius sleuth thing?: Not quite – this one heads up a legal consulting firm, deploying his genius to shape criminal trials.

In other words: He “reads” and manipulates jurors in a really shady-seeming way. Fun!

Who’s in it?: In the lead role is Michael Weatherly, aka the cocky agent from NCIS.

Unlikely inspiration alert: Bull is actually based on the early career of Oprah Winfrey’s Dr Phil.

 

Lemony Snicket’s A Series Of Unfortunate Events

Friday 13th January on Netflix

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Why you should watch: The mega-selling novels, previously made into a Jim Carrey film, are getting the Netflix treatment.

What’s the gist?: Set in a gothy, Tim Burton-y world, it follows the misadventures of orphaned kids being stalked by their evil uncle.

Biggest reason to watch: Neil Patrick Harris is taking the old Carrey role as Count Olaf, and we heartily approve.

What to say: “A deliciously dark and witty series that kids and adults will all love.”

What not to say: “What kind of a name is Lemony anyway? COME ON.”

 

Frontier

Friday 20th January on Netflix

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Why you should watch: It’s a Canadian show about the 18th Century fur trade. But wait, it’s going to be interesting, really!

Why?: Well, it’s got Jason Momoa, who plays Aquaman in the DC universe movies.

Also: It’s essentially a violent Western about the early cutthroats who carved up the New World in a mania of greed and megalomania.

Also, also: It’s been renewed for a second season, so you can go ahead and get emotionally invested.

Amusing actor pairing: We’ll see the incongruous sight of burly Hollywood beefcake Momoa acting alongside Alun Armstrong from New Tricks.

 

Legion

Thursday 9th February at 9pm on FOX (CH 157)

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Why you should watch: Dan Stevens as a “truly insane” superhero mutant? Sign us up.

What’s Mr Downton Abbey up to?: He plays David Haller, a schizophrenic who realises there’s more to his voices than he thought.

Look out for: Parks and Recreation’s Aubrey Plaza as a fellow asylum inmate.

Relation to X-Men: In the comics, David Haller is Charles Xavier’s son. So here’s hoping Patrick Stewart makes a cameo sometime.

Peculiar musical reference of the year: The love interest is a beautiful woman called Syd Barrett. Yes, in reference to Pink Floyd’s Syd Barrett.

 

24: Legacy

Tuesday 14th February at 9pm on FOX (CH 157)

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Why you should watch: Because who can resist a new series of 24? Especially now that it’s all new-fangled and different.

What’s different?: No Jack Bauer for one thing. That’s right.

Meet the new lead: This reboot follows a war hero who is targeted for assassination by sinister forces.

Will he also prevent massive terror attacks?: It’s 24. Of course he will.

Chances of it being a sucky, misguided reboot: Low. They took time to craft the right script, and even brought back the man who directed the first season’s pilot episode.

 

Marvel's Iron Fist

Friday 17th March on Netflix

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Why you should watch: Because it’s the latest addition to the Netflix/Marvel ensemble, joining Daredevil, Jessica Jones and Luke Cage.

Who’s Iron Fist?: Oh, you know, just your average everyday billionaire Buddhist monk martial artist superhero.

Facial recognition analysis: Mr Fist is being played by Finn Jones, aka Loras Tyrell in Game of Thrones.

So it’s going to be spiritual and magicky?: Yes, so it’ll be interesting to see how it gels with the more gritty world of Daredevil, Jones and Cage.

Will there be a big team up?: We recommend reading on to the next show below…

 

The Defenders

Date TBC, Netflix

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Why you should watch: It’s the Avengers Assemble of the small-screen Marvel world, and no self-respecting comics nerd should miss it.

What’s the gist?: Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Iron Fist and Luke Cage are in cahoots and kicking butt.

Why this is interesting: They’re all such weird, grumpy loners that it’ll be fun to see what compels them to work together.

Look out for: Sigourney Weaver! Because, you know, she’s in it.

Also: Stick. Yes, Daredevil’s bad-ass mentor is back, being all grizzled and awesome.

 

Jamestown

Date TBC, Sky1 (CH 110)

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Why you should watch: It’s a whole new take on the birth of the country that would one day become the United States of America.

When’s it set?: 1619, with the first English settlers of the New World.

Females first: Three major characters are a trio of women who are dispatched to the colony to marry the locals. Complications ensue.

Look out for: A who’s who of veteran telly stars, including Max Beesley, Jason Flemyng, and Shaun Dooley.

Misleading pedigree: It’s from the makers of Downton Abbey. But don’t go expecting many posh types in drawing rooms.

 

Lethal Weapon

Date TBC, ITV (CH 103)

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Why you should watch: You can’t pretend you’re not curious to see how the ultimate cop buddy movie translates to the small screen.

Who’s taking the reins?: Damon Wayans Jr is Danny Glover, and Clayne Crawford is Mel Gibson. If you see what we mean.

What we want to see: Sharp quips, thrilling action and someone saying “I’m too old for this &*%£”

What we don’t want to see: Anything like the recent TV reboot of Rush Hour, which was given the chop.

Bonus points for: Bringing in a new take on the sleazeball Joe Pesci character, because he was great.

 

Emerald City

Date TBC, 5Star (CH 151)

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Why you should watch: Because we’re off to see the wizard, the wonderful grittily rebooted wizard of Oz!

What’s the gist?: Dorothy Gale is a headstrong, modern girl from Kansas who gets swept into a dark and exciting parallel world called Oz.

Definite proof it’s going to be gritty: Toto is now a big fearsome German Shepherd.

Majestic beard of the year: Vincent D’Onofrio is playing the wizard with the kind of facial scruff you’d expect from the barman of a hipster cocktail bar.

But will it be as scary as Return to Oz?: Nothing is as scary as Return to Oz.

 

Disjointed

Date TBC, Netflix

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Why you should watch: It’s a brand new sitcom from a couple of comedy maestros.

Which maestros?: Chuck Lorre, creator of Big Bang Theory and Two And A Half Men, plus one of the chief writers of The Daily Show.

What’s the gist?: Kathy Bates plays a lifelong advocate of marijuana legalisation who gets her wish and opens a cannabis shop.

Unlikely trivia tidbit: Kathy Bates got this job off the back of playing Charlie Sheen’s character’s ghost in Two and a Half Men. Yes, you read that right.

Quotes to live by: “Business, family, and romance are difficult. They’re harder stoned.”

 

The Punisher

Date TBC, Netflix

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Why you should watch: The most awesome/terrifying of Marvel “heroes” gets his own show, and we cannot wait.

Why it’s exciting: Berserk vigilante Frank Castle, aka the Punisher, was the best thing about Daredevil’s second season.

Why it’s long overdue: This TV take on the Punisher is literally the only time the character has been done right on screen.

Any Daredevil cameos?: Karen Page is definitely in this, but we’ll have to wait and see if the guy in red spandex shows up.

What about the Dolph Lundgren version?: Let’s forget about that one for the time-being, shall we?

 

Alias Grace

Date TBC, Netflix

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Why you should watch: This is a major, opulent, serious drama to make up for all the superhero shows and episodes of First Dates we usually gorge on.

What’s the gist?: It’s based on the true story of Grace Marks, a poor domestic servant notoriously convicted of murdering her employer.

Impressive source material alert: It’s based on an acclaimed novel by literary colossus Margaret Atwood.

How guilty was Grace?: Aye, there’s the rub. Watch and make up your own mind.

Look out for: True Blood’s Anna Paquin as a woman who incurs Grace’s wrath.

 

Line Of Duty

Date TBC, BBC One

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Why you should watch: One of the BBC’s biggest EVER dramas returns, and it’s a fair cop. (Or a thoroughly bent one, as the case may be.)

There’s been a promotion: The show’s been bumped up from BBC Two to BBC One. Nice job.

Will our heroes be back?: Yep, the likes of Arnott and Fleming are present and correct.

Who’s the baddie?: Our latest dirty detective is a character played by none other than Thandie Newton.

Will people suddenly and shockingly die?: Hey, this is Line of Duty. We still remember what happened to Daniel Mays’ character in the first time episode last time round.

 

Stranger Things

Date TBC, Netflix

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Why you should watch: Because absolutely everyone else will be watching it and you don’t want to be the left-out weirdo.

Best cast addition ever: Sean Astin, leader of the Goonies, is on board. Which, for a show about a) 80s nostalgia and b) a bunch of plucky kids, is so fitting it hurts.

Barb? What about Barb?: The fan favourite character is dead. As in, dead dead. Sorry.

Will there be more of that monster with a face like a giant open fig?: Who knows? But it did look delicious.

Episode title tease: The first episode of the new run is called Madmax. Make of that what you will.

 

Gotham

Date TBC, Channel 5

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Why you should watch: This unexpectedly fascinating and inventive take on the Batman mythos will be heading into season three.

Where are we at?: Jim Gordon is a bounty hunter and there’s a bizarre doppelganger of Bruce Wayne on the loose.

Best thing about the whole show, bar none: The Penguin. This is the best version of the character ever committed to screen.

What about the Joker?: Patience, patience. He ain’t here yet.

Does Sean “Alfred” Pertwee look crazily like his father Jon?: We’d say so, yes.

 

Stan Lee’s Lucky Man

Date TBC, Sky1

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Why you should watch: It’s the second series of the monster hit starring James Nesbitt as a copper with a very natty bracelet.

Monster hit?: Yep, the first series was officially the most successful original drama ever shown on Sky1.

What’s the gist?: Nesbitt is a detective whose ancient charm grants him good luck. With often calamitous consequences.

Where are we at?: Details are scarce, but rest assured there’ll be car chases, fisticuffs and James Nesbitt looking moody.

Stan Lee says: “Fortune smiles on those who catch my king sized cameo in season two!"

 

Catastrophe

Date TBC, Channel 4

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Why you should watch: Because it’s the new series of literally the best sitcom on television.

Why it’s so great: Sharon Horgan and Rob Delaney have written the sharpest, wittiest, most painful, most truthful take on love and life in our ridiculous times. Plus, there’s some great swearing.

Classic quote: “If a normal courtship is a dance, then ours is like a heart attack or seizure or something.”

Also: “You’re an American Sex-Wolf in London.”

 

American Crime Story

Date TBC, BBC Two

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Why you should watch: After its unbelievably gripping take on OJ Simpson, the ACS franchise has an even bigger fish to fry in season two.

What’s the event?: Hurricane Katrina, and the devastation it brought to New Orleans.

But where’s the “crime”?: To quote one of the showrunners: “Katrina was a crime against a lot of people who didn’t have a strong voice and we’re going to treat it as a crime.”

Epic sweep alert: The show will sprawl from overcrowded hospitals to the exodus of survivors from New Orleans, and take us to the corridors of power.

Sarah Paulson is brilliant: Just in case it bears repeating. Also, she’s in this one too.