Friday, May 20, 2016

2016 Top 20 (HBO) New TV Series

We're deep into the era of "peak TV," and even the most dedicated viewer can have a hard time keeping track of the shows on in a single evening — let alone a single year. With old favorites returning for another run, promising new shows arriving all the time, and entire seasons arriving on a variety of streaming services, how can you keep up? 

I've done my best to sort through every possible option and winnow it all down to the most interesting TV shows of 2016, so you can pick and choose the ones that most appeal to you. These shows have been listed in the order they'll premiere, and I'm only including shows with a set release date. 

 

1. Game of Thrones (HBO, April 24) 

Last year, the HBO fantasy series ended on a buzzy cliffhanger that guaranteed even the most jaded fans would tune in for another season. But while Game of Thrones remains one of TV's most durable hits, there's an intriguing new wrinkle to season six. The TV series has officially caught up with its literary source material, which remains unfinished, and author George R.R. Martin recently confirmed that the next book won't be published before the sixth season premieres. In short: For the first time ever, fans of the books don't know what's coming next. 

2. Silicon Valley (HBO, April 24) 

Silicon Valley might be the most stressful sitcom on television — but if you're willing to laugh and bite your nails at the same time, you'll find plenty to admire about it. The series, which follows a scruffy group of programmers (led by Thomas Middleditch) navigating the high-stakes world of the tech boom, keeps one-upping itself, as new allies and competitors arrive to give or claim millions of dollars from the show's hapless leads. 

3. Veep (HBO, April 24) 

HBO's terrific political satire (and reliable Emmy darling) suffered a blow when showrunner Armando Ianucci stepped down at the conclusion of last year's fourth season. Fortunately, the network locked down a capable replacement: David Mandel, best known for his work on Seinfeld and Curb Your Enthusiasm. Last year's season finale offered a cliffhanger that left the political career of Selina Meyer (Julia Louis-Dreyfus) in question, and by extension the fate of the United States — so it should be a blast watching Veep untangle this particular knot. 

4. Penny Dreadful (Showtime, May 1) 

Showtime's stylish horror drama can get bogged down in its own lurid plotting, but it has one undeniable asset: star Eva Green, delivering a powerful and deeply committed performance as a woman plagued by the devil himself. Penny Dreadful's mash-up approach to gothic horror means that legendary characters like Dr. Victor Frankenstein (Harry Treadaway), Mina Harker (Olivia Llewellyn), and Abraham Van Helsing (David Warner) have put in appearances; season three will add Dr. Jekyll (Shazad Latif) to the show's mix. 

5. Person of Interest (CBS, May 3) 


Person of Interest first premiered way back in September 2011, but CBS isn't exactly giving the sci-fi thriller a rousing sendoff for its final season: The remaining episodes will be burned off with pretty much no fanfare, with two episodes airing per week until the series finale airs. But the network's shoddy treatment of Person of Interest doesn't mean you should avoid toasting the show's final season, which sees stars Jim Caviezel and Michael Emerson taking The Machine on one last run. 

6. Marseille (Netflix, May 5) 

Having tackled American politics in House of Cards, Netflix swings to France for Marseille. Gérard Depardieu stars as a longtime mayor forced to go head-to-head with a charismatic former ally (Benoît Magime) who takes a run at him in a general election. 

7. Preacher (AMC, May 22) 

Having found a successful formula with The Walking Dead, AMC is doubling down on its investment in buzzy adaptations of bloody comic-book franchises with Preacher, which follows a violent, superpowered priest (Dominic Cooper), his ex-girlfriend, and a vampire on a quest to find and confront God. The Preacher comics were long thought too blasphemous and profane for anything but a totally bastardized adaptation, but an early screening of the pilot left fans buzzing that the series had arrived on the small screen, rather remarkably, with all that adults-only storytelling intact. 

8. Wayward Pines (Fox, May 25) 

Anyone who stuck with last year's "event series" Wayward Pines was treated to one of the most out-and-out bonkers stories to air on network television in recent years. The series — which follows a Secret Service agent who wakes up in a bizarre town full of creepy people and creepier mysteries — packed in as many twists as you'd expect from a show executive produced by M. Night Shyamalan. But the biggest twist of all may be the series' unexpected return for a second season, which takes on the challenge of picking up after last year's characteristically oddball ending. Wayward Pines' second season will also introduce several new protagonists, including a historian played by Djimon Honsou. 

9. Feed the Beast (AMC, May 31) 

We're in the midst of an unlikely David Schwimmer renaissance, and AMC's new dramedy Feed the Beast aims to pick up where American Crime Story: The People vs. O.J. Simpson left off. A loose adaptation of the Danish series Bankerot, Feed the Beast follows a hard-luck sommelier (Schwimmer) and his chef buddy (Jim Sturgess) as they attempt to open a restaurant in Brooklyn while dodging a gang of mobsters, whom they owe a considerable financial debt. 

10. UnREAL (Lifetime, June 6) 

Lifetime built its name on a series of gloriously cheesy made-for-TV movies, and until recently, it seemed fairly comfortable staying within that niche. But last year's new original drama UnREAL — which chronicles the behind-the-scenes production turmoil at a Bachelor-esque reality show — represented a colossal leap forward for the network, delivering a femme-centric antihero story that could go toe-to-toe with the kind of thing you'd see on the prestige networks. Season two introduces B.J. Britt as the new bachelor at the heart of the show-within-a-show, alongside an all-new cast of hopeful contestants for UnREAL's protagonists to manipulate. 

11. Casual(Hulu, June 7) 

TV doesn't exactly have a shortage of shows about middle-aged, middle-class white people navigating life and love — but if you're up for another binge-watch, Casual is one of the good ones. The first season established the foibles of the talented multigenerational cast: newly divorced Valerie (Michaela Watkins), as well as her mother (Frances Conroy), rakish younger brother (Tommy Dewey), and teenaged daughter (Tara Lynne Barr). 

12. O.J.: Made in America (ABC/ESPN, June 11) 

Yes, yes — another O.J. Simpson series. But even if you've devoured every episode of American Crime Story: The People vs. O.J. Simpson, you'll get a totally different experience out of O.J.: Made in America. The ambitious new series is a documentary, not a drama, and it takes a broader scope of Simpson's life and career, beginning with his childhood and ending with today, as he sits in prison after a 2013 conviction for armed robbery. 

13. Orange is the New Black (Netflix, June 17) 

Earlier this year, Netflix made a near-unprecedented decision to renew the prison dramedy Orange is the New Black for a fifth, sixth, and seventh season — and all before the fourth season had even premiered. What inspires that level of confidence in a TV series? It probably has something to do with Orange's continued commitment to telling deeper, smarter, more diverse stories than you'd find in any other series — and now that we know it will be around for at least a few more years, the show's creative team can start laying the groundwork for the seasons to come. 

14. Roadies (Showtime, June 26) 

A passion project from writer/director Cameron Crowe (who could really use a hit right now), Roadies promises a behind-the-scenes look at a rock band on tour, as told by the grunts who make the show happen. All the usual Cameron Crowe tropes are there — a sprawling ensemble cast, corny philosophizing, Pearl Jam — but at a time when so many prestige TV shows are built around damaged antiheroes, it's refreshing to see a network like Showtime push a series with such warm-hearted optimism. 

15. The Night Of (HBO, July 10) 

Still bummed about True Detective's laughable second season? You might be able to get your crime drama fix from The Night Of, an HBO miniseries based on BAFTA-winning British series Criminal Justice. The Night Of begins in the immediate aftermath of the murder of a young woman in New York City's Upper West Side, chronicling the various people who become involved in different aspects of the investigation and subsequent trial. Stars include John Turturro, Riz Ahmed, and Michael K. Williams. 

16. Mr. Robot (USA, July 13) 

If you're looking for evidence that a single TV show can change the face of a network, look no further than Mr. Robot — the twisty, stylish thriller that single-handedly obliterated USA's reputation for blandly disposable procedurals. Mr. Robot's second season aims to broaden the scope of the show's paranoid narrative, with protagonist Elliot (Rami Malek) adjusting to a new world order — and increasingly doubting his own sanity — in the wake of last year's climactic finale. 

17. Stranger Things (Netflix, July 15) 

Netflix's new original series is still largely shrouded in mystery — there's not even a trailer yet — but what we do know sounds intriguing. The story follows Joyce (Winona Ryder), a woman attempting to uncover what happened to a young boy who inexplicably disappeared. A Netflix press release reveals that the series will have supernatural elements, so it's probably safe to assume that Stranger Things will take the viewer to some pretty strange places over its eight-episode first season. 

18. Ballers (HBO, July 17) 

HBO's Ballers can succinctly but correctly be reduced to a simple summary: Entourage in the NFL. But while that description doesn't inspire a ton of confidence, and the series could certainly stand to aim a little higher, it does have one thing that no other TV show can offer: Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson on your TV screen every single week. 

19. Vice Principals (HBO, July 17) 

HBO's newest comedy, which follows a pair of vice principals gunning for the principal job at a midwestern high school, has two ideal leads for this kind of over-the-top comic premise: Danny McBride and Walton Goggins. Vice Principals was co-created by McBride and Jody Hill — and given that their previous HBO series was the no-holds-barred satire Eastbound & Down, you can safely expect a full season of raunchy one-upmanship. 

20. The Get Down (Netflix, August 12) 

Netflix continues to broaden its slate of originals with The Get Down, a period musical drama co-created by Baz Luhrmann and Shawn Ryan. The series follows a group of teenagers growing up in the 1970s, against a musical backdrop tracing the rise of disco and funk in the South Bronx. The young cast features a slew of promising unknowns, with talented characters actors like Giancarlo Esposito and Jimmy Smits playing supporting roles. 

Source: http://theweek.com/articles/593093/66-tv-shows-watch-2016 

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