With 2016 coming to a close we can’t help but look towards the horizon, and one thing that has us very excited is the amount of television shows to look forward to. In 2016, there were (count em) 455 scripted shows on television which I’m assuming is a record breaker. Next year, that number is expected to pass well over the 500 mark, which, is absolutely insane. Since there is only so much time in a day, we all have to carefully choose what we have time to watch, so I’ve put together a list of the hottest new shows set to debut this year. Don’t expect the likes of Twin Peaks, Atlanta, Stranger Things, or The Americans to appear on this list. We already love these shows and we already trust in the creators to deliver another stellar season. This list is instead dedicated to the new shows we’re most excited to watch. 2017 is looking extremely promising, with plenty of exciting new dramas, dark comedies, and half-hour comedies to keep us busy, not to mention a few revivals we can’t wait for. If you have free time, these are the shows you should try and make room for.
20) Powerless (NBC)
Powerless is an upcoming American action comedy series originally developed by Ben Queen (before dropping out) for NBC, and the first sitcom series set within the world of the DC Universe. Set in a world where humanity must cope with the collateral damage of superheroes and supervillains, Emily Locke begins her first day as Director of Research & Development for Wayne Security, a subsidiary of Wayne Enterprises that specializes in products that make defenseless bystanders feel a little safer. Full of confidence and big ideas, Emily quickly learns that her expectations far exceed those of her new boss and officemates, so it will be up to her to lead the team toward their full potential and the realization that you don’t need superpowers to be a hero. This show, which stars Vanessa Hudgens, Alan Tudyk (Firefly), Danny Pudi (Community) and Ron Funches (Undateable) is set to premiere on February 2, 2017.
19) Snowfall (FX)
The first of two John Singleton dramas to premiere this year, Snowfall is set during the dawn of the crack-cocaine epidemic in 1980s Los Angeles. The project, which was first set up at Showtime in 2014, was picked up by FX for a 10-episode first season and stars Damson Idris as Franklin Saint, young street entrepreneur on a quest for power; Sergio Peris-Mencheta, as Gustavo Zapata, a Mexican wrestler caught in a crime-family power struggle; Carter Hudson as CIA operative Teddy McDonald; and Emily Rios as Luica Villanueva, the daughter of a Mexican crime lord. If the show is half as good as John Singleton’s Academy Award nominated film Boyz In The Hood, it is well worth watching.
18) Maniacs (Netflix)
It was almost a decade ago that the high school comedy Superbad from director Greg Mottola and writers Seth Rogen & Evan Goldberg helped boost the careers of co-stars Jonah Hill and Emma Stone. Since the two have gone on to star in some of our favourite Hollywood comedies and now they will reunite for another project, this time on the small screen. Jonah Hill and Emma Stone are set to star in a new comedy series called Maniac, based on a recent TV show of the same name from Norway. The dark comedy which is set to air in 2017 on Netflix was created by director Cary Fukunaga, best known as the mastermind behind True Detective and Beasts of No Nation.
17) The Punisher (Netflix)
For the unfamiliar, Marvel’s The Punisher, or simply The Punisher, is an upcoming American web television series created for Netflix by Steve Lightfoot, based on the Marvel Comics character of the same name. It is set in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), sharing continuity with the films and other television series of the franchise, and is a spin-off of Marvel’s Daredevil. Excitement is building for The Punisher, given that Jon Bernthal’s character is maybe the best thing about the second season of Daredevil, thus the reason for this spinoff. The Punisher could be a tremendous vigilante-centered action series that dares to address social and political problems in the world today, or, it can be just another by-the-books superhero show that falls back on a safety net as oppose to taking any chances. Only time will tell, but for now, things looks rather promising. The Punisher is scheduled to be released in 2017.
16) Dear White People – Netflix
Based on Justin Simien’s 2014 crowd funded movie of the same name, Dear White People is a 10-episode, 30-minute project that hails from Lionsgate Television and will, like the film, follow a diverse group of students of color as they navigate a predominantly white Ivy League college where racial tensions are often swept under the rug. Simien will write for the series and direct several episodes. Executive producers are Yvette Lee Bowser (Black-ish, Living Single, Different World), Stephanie Allain (Hustle & Flow, Dear White People), and Julia Lebedev (The Dinner, Dear White People). Dear White People joins Orange is the New Black as Lionsgate’s second original series for Netflix.
15) G.L.O.W. – Netflix
Inspired by the real story of the 1980s Los Angeles female wrestling league, G.L.O.W. is a 10-episode comedy that tells the fictionalized story of Ruth (Alison Brie), an out-of-work actress who finds one last chance to live out her dreams in the form of a weekly series about female wrestlers. The series was created by the brilliant Jenji Kohan (Orange Is The New Black) and Tara Herrmann and co-stars Marc Maron, and Betty Gilpin. Netflix has not set a launch date for G.L.O.W., but it will launch on the streaming service this year.
14) I’m Dying Up Here (Showtime)
I’m Dying Up Here is an upcoming American comedy-drama series created by Jim Carrey and based on the bestselling book by William Knoedelseder. The pilot was written by David Flebotte and directed by Jonathan Levine. Carrey, Flebotte, Michael Aguilar, and Christina Wayne will serve as exec producers on the show. The series, which shoots in L.A. this fall, is set in Los Angeles’ infamous stand-up comedy scene of the 1970’s when many superstar comic’s careers were launched.
13) The Handmaid’s Tale – Hulu
Hulu has quietly been making a name for itself in the original programming department with well-respected series like Casual and The Path, but the upcoming The Handmaid’s Tale might just be the original drama that pushes them into the spotlight. The Handmaid’s Tale is one of two, new American television shows based on a book by the critically acclaimed author Margaret Atwood but this one makes the list simply due to the involvement of director Reed Morano and Mad Men star Elisabeth Moss who stars as a handmaid trying to survive in a male-dominated totalitarian regime. She is one of the few remaining fertile women who is forced into sexual servitude as a last desperate attempt to repopulate the world. The supporting cast includes Joseph Fiennes, Yvonne Strahovski, Samira Wiley, Max Minghella, Madeline Brewer, Ann Dowd and O-T Fagbenle. The 10-episode first season will premiere in April 2017. Check out the first look photos below.
12) Legion – FX
Legion is an upcoming American cable television series created for FX by Noah Hawley, based on the Marvel Comics character of the same name. It is set to premiere on February 8, 2017, run for eight episodes over its first season and is connected to the X-Men film series, the first television series to do so, and is produced by FX Productions in association with Marvel Television and 26 Keys Productions. Hawley serves as showrunner on the series. Dan Stevens stars as David Haller, a mutant diagnosed with schizophrenia at a young age. Rachel Keller, Jean Smart, Aubrey Plaza, Jeremie Harris, Amber Midthunder, Katie Aselton, and Bill Irwin also star.
11) Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency – BBC America
Based on Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency novels by Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy author Douglas Adams, the serialized comedic thriller (written by Max Landis) follows the bizarre adventures of eccentric “holistic” detective Dirk Gently (Samuel Barnett) and his reluctant assistant Todd (Elijah Wood). The series is a co-production between BBC America and Netflix, with episodes commencing airing on BBC America in the United States on October 22, 2016, and all episodes being available to stream on Netflix worldwide outside of the United States on December 11, 2016.
10) The Young Pope – HBO
Who knows where Paolo Sorrentino’s unpredictable and irreverent Vatican fantasy, The Young Pope, will lead over the course of its 10 episodes but based on the trailer, it looks utterly fascinating. The English-language drama television series originally premiered at the Venice Film Festival last summer where it was welcomed with glowing reviews and even the Catholic Herald raved about the “mordantly funny story-telling”. Fans of Jude Law will not want to miss this considering it is said to be his absolute best performance.
9) Riverdale – CW
When news broke that the CW would be developing a mature Archie TV series based on the long-running American comic, it almost seemed like a terrible idea. Fortunately, the show is being spearheaded by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, the current Chief Creative Officer at Archie Comics, who promises a Twin Peaks-like surrealist drama. That may seem like a bit of a stretch but the trailer did grab my attention. The American teen drama is scheduled to air during the 2016–17 television season, coinciding with the Archie character’s 75th anniversary. The pilot is set to premiere on January 26, 2017. Don’t miss it!
8) Marvel’s The Defenders – Netflix
For the unfamiliar, Marvel’s The Defenders, or simply The Defenders, is an upcoming American web television miniseries developed for Netflix by Douglas Petrie and Marco Ramirez, based on the Marvel Comics superhero team of the same name. It is set in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), sharing continuity with the films of the franchise and is the culmination of a series of interconnected shows from Marvel and Netflix. Netflix’s upcoming series is shaping up to be quite the epic superhero team-up. The limited series stars Charlie Cox as Matt Murdock / Daredevil, Krysten Ritter as Jessica Jones, Mike Colter as Luke Cage, and Finn Jones as Danny Rand / Iron Fist, all reprising their roles from their individual series. Élodie Yung also stars as Elektra Natchios, reprising the role from Marvel’s Daredevil. They’ll be going up against a mystery villain played by Sigourney Weaver, and the show will feature a variety of other villains as well. The Defenders will consist of eight episodes, and is scheduled to be released in 2017.
7) Iron Fist – Netflix
Also set in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), Iron Fist shares continuity with the films of the franchise and is the fourth in a series of shows that will lead up to The Defenders crossover miniseries. The series is produced by Marvel Television in association with ABC Studios, with Scott Buck (Dexter) serving as showrunner. Finn Jones stars as Danny Rand / Iron Fist, a martial arts expert with the ability to call upon the power of the Iron Fist. Jessica Henwick, David Wenham, Jessica Stroup, Tom Pelphrey, and Rosario Dawson also star. Iron Fist is scheduled to be released on March 17, 2017.
6) Mindhunter (Netflix)
The House of Cards executive producer/director David Fincher is expanding his Netflix portfolio with a second drama series, Mindhunter, based on the book Mindhunter: Inside FBI’s Elite Serial Crime Unit written by Mark Olshaker and John E. Douglas. Like House of Cards, which Fincher developed with Kevin Spacey, on Mindhunter the Gone Girl and The Social Network director also is collaborating with an Oscar-winning actor, Charlize Theron. While specific details about the drama are being kept under wraps in typical Fincher fashion, the series is said to revolve around two FBI agents in 1979 who interview serial killers in an effort to help them solve ongoing murders.
5) American Gods – Starz
Neil Gaiman’s American Gods is getting the cable TV series treatment we’ve been waiting for, and I couldn’t be more excited. Bryan Fuller is shifting his attention from the gone-too-soon Hannibal to the American Gods TV series on Starz. Other creators behind the project include co-showrunner Michael Green and fellow Hannibal alum David Slade behind the camera for the pilot. Fuller and Michael Green will script the first episode and serve as showrunners while Gaiman will executive produce along with Fuller.Green, Craig Cegielski, Stefanie Berk and Thom Beers. The series is set to premiere in April 2017. Considering Hannibal is one of the best shows ever made, and American Gods is arguablyNeil Gaiman’s best novel, we expect something truly spectacular! American Gods is set to premiere in April 2017.
4) Taboo – BBC One / FX
Taboo is a forthcoming British drama television miniseries created by Steven Knight, Tom Hardy, and his father Edward “Chips” Hardy. The eight-episode miniseries is about an adventurer who returns to Britain from Africa along with fourteen stolen diamonds to seek vengeance after the death of his father. Kristoffer Nyholm will direct the first four episodes. The miniseries, created from a story by the Hardys and starring Tom, will premiere on 7 January, 2017 on BBC One in the United Kingdom and on January 10, 2017 on FX in the United States. Hardy has proven that he’s more than capable of handling a role like this, and with Steven Knight on board as an executive producer, it seems like a pretty good bet.
3) Marvel’s The Inhumans
Marvel’s Phase 3 slate had originally included an Inhumans movie, but after it had disappeared from the scheduled line-up it was increasingly viewed as unlikely. This unexpected boost for the Inhumans franchise left fans with a lot of concerns but thankfully we now have an 8-episode live-action television series, titled Marvel’s The Inhumans, scheduled to premiere in September 2017 on ABC, after the first two episodes are screened in IMAX theaters beginning September 4, 2017 for two weeks. IMAX is also a financial partner for The Inhumans, and this will be the first time a television series has premiered in IMAX. The series will center on Black Bolt and other members of the Royal Family, and is not intended to be a reworking of the planned film from Marvel Studios, nor a spin-off of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Scott Buck will serve as showrunner and executive producer on the series.
2) Star Trek: Discovery (CBS All Access)
The first episode of Star Trek premiered 50 years ago, and the beloved sci-fi franchise is now scheduled to return to television in 2017 with a new series on Netflix and CBS — or more specifically, on CBS All Access, the network’s new stand-alone streaming service. Star Trek: Discovery is created by Bryan Fuller and Alex Kurtzman and is set roughly a decade before the events of the original Star Trek series, (separate from the timeline of the concurrent feature films) and explores a previously mentioned event from the history of Star Trek while following the crew of the USS Discovery. In addition to Fuller and Kurtzman, who wrote for previous Star Trek series and films, respectively, the crew includes previous Star Trek creative Nicholas Meyer as consulting producer, and Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry’s son Rod as executive producer. The production put emphasis on carrying on the legacy of the previous series, including making efforts to feature a diverse cast and taking inspiration from original designs by Ralph McQuarrie. Discovery stars Sonequa Martin-Green, Doug Jones, and Anthony Rapp and is set to premiere on CBS in May 2017, before moving to All Access. The first season will consist of 13 episodes
1) The Deuce (HBO)
The Deuce is an upcoming American television drama series set in and around Times Square, New York. Created and written by author and former police reporter David Simon (The Wire, Treme) along with frequent collaborator George Pelecanos, the series will be broadcast by the premium cable network HBO in the United States. The first season will consist of eight episodes and tells the story of the legalization and ensuing rise of the porn industry in New York beginning in the 1970s. Themes explored include the rise of HIV, the violence of the drug epidemic and the resulting real estate booms and busts that coincided with the change. Anyone familiar with David Simon’s work will understand why this is at the top of the list. If you haven’t seen The Wire, you should since it is arguably the best show ever made.
‘Mr. Robot’ Just Changed Everything with a Shocking Reveal
There have been a lot of moving parts put into place over the course of Mr. Robot’s fourth season. Several of them just came together, in devastating fashion.
There have been a lot of moving parts put into place over the course of Mr. Robot‘s fourth, and final, season. On Sunday night, however, several of those pieces came together for one of the best episodes of the entire series in “Proxy Authentication Required”.
The reveal of a trauma so intense and horrific allows the character of Elliot to make so much more sense – so much so it almost warrants an entire series rewatch, to search for other hints.
Staged like a five act play, and utilizing a cinematic aspect ratio, “Proxy Authentication Required” immediately lets viewers know that it’s doing something a little different. While this may not be a huge surprise for fans (Mr. Robot just did a dialogue-free episode two weeks ago, among other experimental efforts throughout the series) the reason for it is fitting.
Essentially a bottle episode, “Proxy Authentication Required” takes place entirely in the apartment of Elliot’s former therapist, Krista. As such, the five act structure makes it even more like a play than it already is. Moreover, the episode is very dialog heavy, with almost no action.
Still, with a meaty chess match between Elliot/Mr. Robot and drug dealer Fernando Vera making up the majority of the episode, the dialogue is weighty enough to justify this structure. The first round goes to Vera, who obviously has Elliot over a barrel, having kidnapped both he and Krista. However, Mr. Robot turns the tables in the second round, pointing out the lack of originality or planning in Vera’s drug-fueled, mystically-advised bid to take over New York City.
Finally, the third round comes: the tie breaker. As Fernando orders Krista to have an impromptu therapy session with Elliot, the most shocking reveal in the series is laid bare. After a tense build-up, and against the protests of both Krista and Mr. Robot, Elliot finally digs up the truth behind his alter ego. Mr. Robot wasn’t created after Elliot had an accident, he was created to protect Elliot from a series of traumas that came before it.
In an emotional moment sold gloriously by Rami Malek, Elliot accepts the truth: his father molested him throughout his childhood. In one fell swoop, so much of what we know about Elliot suddenly makes sense – and the fact that Mr. Robot looks like his dad is just the beginning. There’s also the details of the trauma that we’ve had up until now: that Elliot told Darlene to hide when he heard his dad coming; that he grabbed a bat to defend himself – and, finally, that he threw himself from the window when he feared he couldn’t best his father in the altercation.
The reveal of a trauma so intense and horrific allows the character of Elliot to make so much more sense – so much so it almost warrants an entire series rewatch, to search for other hints. Certainly it’s more logical that Mr. Robot was created out of these terrible memories rather than materializing after the injuries sustained during Elliot’s fall. It also lets the viewer know that Mr. Robot had a history of altering Elliot’s perception and memories long before the events of the series.
Even more disturbing is that the creation of false narratives and fake memories is actually a real-life coping mechanism used by survivors of sexual abuse, especially children. As such, the reveal fits naturally into the character of Elliot – but it’s a huge shock to drop on the audience a mere three episodes before the end of the show.
Of course, the reveal will no doubt ignite debates as to whether Mr. Robot creator and showrunner Sam Esmail planned this backstory from the start, or whether it was concocted as a wrench to throw in the gears at the last minute. Either way, questions remain as to how this new information will affect the remainder of the series.
Will Mr. Robot be back or is he gone for good, now that his job of protecting Elliot from the truth has become obsolete? Did/does Darlene know? Will this affect the plan to hack the Dark Army that has been building all season? All of these questions and more will be answered in the next three weeks but in the meantime, we’ll be waiting with baited breath.
Watchmen Podcast: Breaking Down “Little Fear of Lightning”
This week, Watchmen delves into Looking Glass’s past and revisits one of the biggest events from the comic: the “interdimensional” squid attack on New York that kills over three million people and psychologically damages millions more. “Little Fear of Lightning” the finest hour yet, a focused character study that connects past and present in fascinating ways. And as always, there’s a lot to digest.
Our Watchmen podcast will see Simon Howell and an assortment of guests tackle the entire series (or at least the first season). In this fifth episode, Simon Howell, Sean Colletti, and Randy Dankievitch, take a deep dive into “Little Fear of Lightning” and note some of the more astonishing facts of the episode you might have missed.
And for those of you wondering, in order to keep things simple, we’ve decided to upload each episode to the same feed as our other podcast, Before the Internet.
The Career of Seth Rollins: From Face to Heel at Lightning Speed
It wasn’t that long ago that The Shield debuted on Survivor Series, setting the main event careers of three talented wrestlers in motion. Dean Ambrose, Roman Reigns, and Seth Rollins all came to the WWE through NXT. In and out of The Shield, each man has held multiple championships and has had great success.
These days, look a lot different for the former Shield members. Dean Ambrose left the WWE for AEW to wrestle again as Jon Moxley and Roman Reigns took a step back from the spotlight after warring with cancer. Meanwhile, the career of Seth Rollins has taken a turn of its own.
Becoming Seth Rollins
Colby Lopez joined the WWE in 2010 as part of Florida Championship Wrestling under the name Seth Rollins. He was there when it was re-branded in 2012 as NXT and became their inaugural champion. Seth Rollins turned heel in epic fashion by betraying The Shield and embarking on a huge singles career after his main roster debut.
Rollins hitting his Shield brothers with a steel chair still rates as one of the most shocking turns in WWE history.
More recently, Rollins had two wars against Brock Lesnar over the Universal Championship. Rollins won the Royal Rumble, using the title shot he earned to beat Lesnar at WrestleMania. Then, Lesnar somehow won a Money in the Bank match he wasn’t technically involved in. He used that shot to get his belt back. Rollins would then reclaim the title at SummerSlam.
It was a repetitive feud.
Rollins vs. Lesnar Into Infinity
The back and forth between Rollins and Lesnar became exhausting to fans. Not shockingly, WWE viewers were already sick of Lesnar being an absentee champion by the point that Reigns finally took him down. When he reclaimed the belt after Roman’s cancer announcement, the focus turned to Rollins hunting Lesnar.
Even when someone else like AJ Styles or Baron Corbin got in the mix, fans knew they wouldn’t win. It was always going to be about Lesnar and Rollins so fans started to turn on Rollins. His Hell in a Cell match against ‘The Fiend’ Bray Wyatt was the final nail.
Top Face or Top Heel?
There was a time long ago that fans over the age of eight cheered for John Cena when he came out to the ring. At some point, it became cooler to boo him. The same is true of Roman Reigns, who had to go through a traumatic personal experience to get fans to ease up on him. In both cases, they were the corporate champions chosen to lead the brand.
In reality, fans didn’t really care if they were good wrestlers or not. It’s just something they chafe against.
The boos echoing through the arena are growing louder and louder for Seth Rollins for similar reasons. That’s due in no small part to the long, tedious promos he’s sent out to give to personally connect with the audience. Play that card too often and the opposite becomes true. WWE was frequently guilty of the same thing with both Cena and Reigns.
Watch the video from the night when Reigns made the announcement of his hiatus to fight cancer. Fans were reflexively booing him because they figured they were in for another long promo. The mood changed quickly when Roman started talking about leukemia.
Things Go Wrong at Hell in a Cell
All of this was already building to a head when Hell in a Cell came along.
Universal Champion Seth Rollins was set to defend his title against ‘The Fiend’ Bray Wyatt in the titular main event. Unfortunately, WWE had painted themselves into a corner. They wanted Seth to retain, which he did, but couldn’t use the traditional DQ or count out to do it. Instead, WWE went for some weird finish where Seth hurt Wyatt so much so the ref stopped the match.
Essentially, a DQ in a no DQ match.
Rollins became the focus of much of the rage for the bad finish but the feud between him and Wyatt would continue. Wyatt finally won the Universal Championship and took it back to SmackDown. The side effect of this would be Lesnar returning to Raw with the WWE Championship.
It’s inevitable that Rollins and Lesnar will cross paths for the WWE Championship. Unfortunately, fans will have to choose between the two. They’ll end up cheering Rollins on as the lesser of two evils from their perspective.
The main miscalculation that WWE made at Hell in a Cell is the same one they made with Reigns and Cena. They assumed that being the top face in a match makes you the fan-favorite. Bray Wyatt is, by far, the most over wrestler in the company. People love Firefly Fun House and they love ‘The Fiend.’ Rollins simply couldn’t compete as any ending that wasn’t Wyatt with a belt would not be satisfactory to fans.
Seth Rollins’ Next Phase
Now, Rollins is stuck in a weird limbo. The top face on Raw for management that’s morphing into a heel based on fan opinion. His heel run alongside Triple H was some of his best work and he is still a superb in-ring performer. WWE should let what’s going to happen by letting Rollins perform to his strengths.
Let Rollins burn it down as a heel one more time.
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