The 12 Most Anticipated TV Shows of 2018
Usually there’s a buffer between the start of a new year and the beginning of premium TV season, which is when networks bury the pop-culture obsessed in essential programming.
This is not one of those years.
January will have barely begun before we have the premieres of new must-see TV like Emmy winner Lena Waithe’s Showtime drama The Chi and the latest chapter in FX’s American Crime Story anthology (this one covers the backstory of slain fashion designer Gianni Versace). Later in the year, we’ll have new series like the Heathers remake for Paramount Network and ABC’s revival of Roseanne. And this list doesn’t even include anticipated new shows that don’t yet have premiere dates like Hulu’s Castle Rock, J.J. Abrams’ psychological thriller based on the Stephen King story collection, and Netflix’s revamp of the Queer Eye reality TV franchise.
Below, we’ve gathered a list of some of the new 2018 shows for which we are most excited. Watch them all and prepare to be the hippest, most dry-eyed member of your dinner parties.
2 DOPE QUEENS
Comedians Jessica Williams and Phoebe Robinson’s hysterical, yet informative, podcast has become the place for accessible discussions about everything from race and LGBTQ issues to romance and Billy Joel. The new four-part program looks to offer more of the same. Directed by Tig Notaro, it kicks off with an episode themed around New York and features Williams’s former boss, Jon Stewart. Other guests include Sarah Jessica Parker on the topic of hair and Tituss Burgess, who will be talking about something that anyone who watches him on Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt will find appropriate: “hot peen.” (Premieres February 2 on HBO)
The trippy new sci-fi series based on the Richard K. Morgan novel comes from the mind of creator Laeta Kalogridis (Terminator Genisys) and covers topics as rich as digital immortality and religion while a murder investigation unfolds. Stars include Joel Kinnaman, James Purefoy, and Hamilton alum Renée Elise Goldsberry. (Premiering February 2 on Netflix)
THE ASSASSINATION OF GIANNI VERSACE: AMERICAN CRIME STORY
Like we did for its precursor, which covered the O.J. Simpson trial, come to this show for the stunt casting and stay for the socio-political conversation. So while marveling at the talents of Darren Criss—who is already earning praise for his portrayal of fashion designer Versace’s murderer, Andrew Cunanan—take a moment while watching to appreciate the miniseries’ bigger message. Co-creator Ryan Murphy maintains that this installment is as much about the homophobia that was (and is) predominant in our country as the first season was about race. (Premieres January 17 on FX)
Does the world need another superhero TV show? Eh. Does the CW think its letters now stand for something like Comic Wonders? Maybe. But those facts aside, this is a very well done take on the genre. Star Cress Williams nails his role as the retired vigilante who gets pulled back in just when he thought he was out (in this world, it’s because family matters have proven that he can no longer ignore the town’s gang problem). (Premieres January 16 on the CW)
Think of this as a darker companion piece to Showtime’s similarly South Side of Chicago-set dramedy, Shameless. Writer Lena Waithe’s tale follows interwoven storylines of survival, responsibility and family to offer a gritty, honest portrayal of communities we don’t usually get to see on screen. Producers also include Common while The Wood’s Rick Famuyiwa directed the first episode. (Premieres January 7 on Showtime)
If you ever wanted a modern take on the movie Office Space that also starred someone who was on The Wire, this is the show for you. This dark satire about corporate greed follows the lowest ladder climbers at a soul-killing multinational company that somehow seems to make everything. Oh, and Lance Reddick stars as the HDIC. (Premieres January 17 on Comedy Central)
Just in case the idea of J.K. Simmons playing two parts wasn’t enough for you, here’s a drama that mixes the best elements of Cold War-style espionage thrillers with science fiction. The detail-heavy world created by Justin Marks (The Jungle Book) is set a Berlin that’s similar to the one we recognize except its not. There are also clones, assassins, government cover-ups and brilliant acting from Simmons and co-stars like Olivia Williams and Harry Lloyd. (Premieres January 21 on Starz)
Creator Jenna Bans’ new show has the potential to be one of the best accompaniments for the #MeToo movement: It’s a drama that isn’t really a drama about a group of good girls who revolt. Christina Hendricks, Retta, and Mae Whitman star in this series about three suburban women who are fed the fuck up and decide to rob a supermarket. Things don’t go exactly as planned. (Premieres February 26 on NBC)
GROWN-ISH / ALONE TOGETHER
Black-ish creator Kenya Barris’ spinoff follows Yara Shahidi, who played eldest daughter Zoey on the original, as she enters college and it’s inevitable that it will be called A Different World for the new generation. It has all the heart, humor and cultural awareness as its source material while also giving a younger talent a chance to showcase her abilities. Those who tune in for Grown-ish should also stay for Alone Together. The new series created by, starring, and based on the lives of comics Esther Povitsky and Benji Aflalo (and produced by the Lonely Island folks) is the best will-they-or-won’t-they set up in years. (The first premieres January 3 and the second premieres January 10 on Freeform)
There have been several attempts to recreate writer Daniel Waters and director Michael Lehmann’s acclaimed high school comedy for TV. But how do you do an adaptation of this satirical take on frenemies and teen bullying in the post-It Gets Better society? For starters, this trio of cool kids don’t look like the types who would be playing croquette and pairing bright tights with blazers and plaid miniseries. Que Sera, Sera. (Premieres in spring 2018 on Paramount Network)
ONE STRANGE ROCK
With shooting locations that include both outer space and over 40 countries on six continents, this 10-part miniseries from director Darren Aronofsky and others attempts to explain the phenomenal sphere that hosts all of humankind. Interviews with astronauts cover the third rock from the sun’s fragility and magical abilities and reminds us how vulnerable we all are for living here. (Premieres in 2018 on National Geographic)
Not every long-running television show needs a revamp. Then again, not every TV show broke down as many barriers as Roseanne Barr’s seminal sitcom. The lady with the mighty laugh returns, along with other co-stars from the original—they even found a way for “Second Becky” Sarah Chalke to appear—to give us a comedy about flyover country that we need in the Trump era. (Premieres March 27 on ABC)
This story originally appeared on Esquire.com.
* Minor edits have been made by the Esquiremag.ph editors.