Winter provides the perfect backdrop to find the coziest spot on the couch and hibernate for a while (perhaps a long while). The season has not only dropped snow, depending on your region, of course, but also a lot of new television series, a few of which will surely strike your fancy. Hint: Harry Potter fans, get ready. Back in the day, TV executives used to release just about any TV show during the winter months because the chilly climate would ensure that they would receive high ratings. Luckily, things aren’t quite the same today. This new season has a lot of crime dramas on the menu (one which offers a different take on the genre), big screen actors making their way to the small screen, including several cast members from Friends, new Sci-Fi content and a couple of new series from the beloved, HBO. We’ve compiled a list of some of the most interesting shows to binge-watch during this chilly, winter season – all you need is a cozy spot on the couch and a bowl of popcorn to go along with it.
10. Shades of Blue
Jennifer Lopez is turning to scripted television again. Shades of Blue is a crime drama, which Lopez both executive produces and acts in. She plays a bad cop with questionable morals in one of those good cop/bad cop type of scenarios, while struggling with various financial problems as a single mother. As a whole, the series tackles the murky side of the police force, raising questions of blurry lines, which is as relevant today as ever. While it has been noted that the show certainly uses all of those familiar crime tropes, Lopez’s interesting character might be where the series excels, according to some reports. The series has received an 6.9 on IMDB, which isn’t terrible – Lopez’s popularity will be sure to lure in a lot of viewers. The series premieres on January 14 on NBC.
This original drama, executive produced by Paul Giamatti, focuses on an incestuous family of outsiders, The Ferrells, who live in the Appalachia hills, unconnected from everyone else. They live according to their own rules, where the town has simply left them alone for the last 200 years. That all changes when the town below begins to want the family’s land, with a battle of power and control then ensuing. The storyline will see this family fighting for what’s theirs, not stopping at anything. The network, who brought Salem to TV screens everywhere, appears to have a lot of faith in the show, considering the show went straight-to-series. The series will premiere on January 26 on WGN America.
8. The Magicians
Harry Potter fans unite. This series, an hour-long fantasy, has been dubbed as “Harry Potter for adults,” and is based on the very popular novels by Lev Grossman. The premise of the show is based around a bunch of 20-somethings who enroll at a University to study magic. The show focuses on Quentin Coldwater, who discovers that the wonderful magic in the books of his childhood is very much real, but may in fact pose a certain threat to the human world. The show currently has a 7.6 on IMDB, which is decent enough. The first episode already premiered on December 16 on Syfy, while the remaining episodes will follow suit on January 25.
7. You, Me and the Apocalypse
Starring Mathew Baynton (Horrible Histories), Jenna Fischer (The Office) and Rob Lowe (Parks and Recreation), You Me and the Apocalypse is a 30 minute British-American, sci-fi comedy/drama that centers around a group of eight individuals who find out that a comet is set to collide with earth, and that the apocalypse is approaching. The group gathers in the town of Slough to watch the end of the world on television. The series has a 7.8 on IMDB and has already premiered in the U.K (and therefore is available online), but it is set to hit U.S. televisions on January 28 on NBC.
A new HBO series is always welcome. This one is a drama and comes from Terence Winter, executive producer of The Sopranos and Boardwalk Empire, and Mick Jagger. Vinyl, in short, is about a New York, drug-addicted record label executive in the 70s, who is trying to stop his company from failing by finding new artists in the ever-changing music scene that is moving away from hard rock and disco. Quick fact? Martin Scorsese directs the pilot. The show premieres on Valentine’s Day, February 14, making it the perfect reason to stay in this year.
Starring Paul Giamatti, Billions is a drama about Wall Street, featuring U.S. attorney (played by Giamatti), who isn’t fond of certain wealthy criminals who use their money as a means to work their way around the law. This is the premise of the show, which sees Giamatti’s character ruthlessly going after another prominent figure in New York – a “hedge fund king” who is seen as charitable, but in reality is a criminal, played by Damian Lewis of Homeland. The show already aired online on January 1st and has garnered an 8.5 on IMDB, which is a pretty stellar rating. The show will premiere on January 17th on Showtime.
This is a dystopian sci-fi series set in the not-so-far-off future of Los Angeles, not unlike the LA of today, which extraterrestrials have come to inhabit and take control of. It comes from the network that released Mr. Robot, a show that received very positive reviews. The series was created by Carlton Cuse, executive producer of Lost and Bates Motel, with the series focusing on a couple trying to stay alive while still grieving for their son after he was taken by “The Hosts.” They are determined to find him again, which is a major storyline in the show. The couple is played by Josh Holloway, for any Sawyer fans from Lost, and Sarah Wayne Callies, for any Lori Grimes (The Walking Dead) or Kate O’Malley (Prison Break) fans. The show premieres on January 14th on the USA Network.
3. American Crime Story: The People v. O. J. Simpson
This new drama focuses on O.J. Simpson’s infamous murder trial, the most high-profile one in recent history, which went on to pave the way for 24 hour news and reality television. It brings a lot of stars from the big screen (Selma Blair, who plays Kris Jenner, and David Schwimmer, who plays O.J. Simpson’s lawyer, Robert Kardashian). The show has already created a lot of buzz. The Kardashian kids will make an appearance, if at all you were wondering. The series will have a 10-episode season. Future seasons aim to move beyond the O.J. Simpson trial in an effort to tackle other significant moments in American culture, with the second season rumored to focus on Hurricane Katrina. The series will premiere on February 2 on Fox.
Another animated comedy for adults is returning to HBO for the first time since The Life and Times of Tim. However, this show is a bit different given that its cast of characters is animals, as the name would suggest. The show definitely has a certain uniqueness going for it. The series, with Mark Duplass (The Mindy Project and The League) and his brother as executive producers, sees a cast of rats, pigeons and bedbugs in New York discussing their existential crises, mid-life crises, love and other issues, like what to bring to a party – issues not entirely unlike our own. The show will premiere on February 5.
1. Angie Tribeca
While television likely doesn’t need another crime series, this one offers a different take, spoofing and satirizing the genre itself in a 30 minute comedy. The best part? It is brought to you by the one and only Steve Carell, who created the show, along with his wife. It centers around a detective, played by Rashida Jones (Parks and Recreation), who is working for the “Really Heinous Crimes Unit” at the Las Angeles Police Department, where she investigates very serious cases in what will likely be a very comedic manner. The series will also feature a lot of guest stars, including the likes of Bill Murray, Lisa Kudrow and James Franco. The series premieres on January 17th on TBS.
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