Want to hear some crazy statistics? About five hundred television show pitches are heard by studio and network executives every summer (and that’s after even more pitches have been weeded out by assistants and interns). Of those, approximately 90 pilots are ordered throughout the fall and winter seasons. After those series film pilots, more are weeded out; after they film a few more episodes to supplement the pilot, even more are eliminated from the selection process. By the spring season, five to twelve series are selected by each major network to air throughout the year. Those odds are ridiculous for those who are trying to sell their series pilots, but that’s a lot of series networks are hoping we’ll watch. And it’s not like there are only a few major networks to consider; while Fox, ABC, NBC, and AMC are amazing, we’ve also got to think about HBO, Starz, Amazon Prime, Hulu, and Netflix. The industry of television shows has done a lot of evolving in the last few years and it’s hard for us fans to keep up with.
How are we supposed to know what’s worth watching? Oftentimes, we wait for critics and friends to discover quality shows before taking a chance on them ourselves in hopes of sparing ourselves time and disappointment – but then we run the risk of hearing spoilers and important developments before we get a chance to get invested in the series. We need a better method to discover our favorite TV series before they come out! Spare yourself future spoilers and find your next obsession before social media ruins it for you. Here are the top fifteen upcoming TV series you’ll love!
Oh no, this is no mistake. That’s right. MACGYVER IS BACK! This remake of a late eighties classic will star Lucas Till (best known for his time in the X-Men movies as Alex Summers, aka Havoc) as the young action hero that can Jerry-rig a solution to any problem and use his unconventional skills and talents to save lives. The series will also star George Eads (best known for his time on CSI), Sandrine Holt (House of Cards, Mr. Robot), and Justin Hires (22 Jump Street, Stomp the Yard).
Is this series going to be a hit for fans of the original series? Well… maybe not. Let’s face it, people that watched MacGyver in the 80’s aren’t likely to be in love with the sense of humor of the millennial cast of this remake. But could this inspire a whole new generation of MacGyver obsessed fans that come home every week to plant themselves in front of the TV and see how he does it this time? Absolutely!
14. A Series of Unfortunate Events
Okay, yes: it is a series that was originally intended for children. BUT, this series is designed for both kids that could read the books today as well as the kids that grew up reading Lemony Snicket’s horrifying fictional accounts.
Most millennials grew up reading Harry Potter, but those that went beyond J. K. Rowling‘s addictive fiction tended to discover Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events, a novel series doubly as long as Rowling’s about orphaned children and the mystifying events that caused their parents death. While Nickelodeon attempted to bring the series to cinemas in 2004 with a seriously star-studded cast, the film didn’t thrive as much as hoped and the series was dropped. Now Netflix has seized the opportunity to try again, casting such sensational talent as Neil Patrick Harris (to play Count Olaf). While Netflix has worked hard to keep details of filming under wraps, we’re all very eager for the release early 2017.
13. Son of Zorn
Are you the kind of person that doesn’t like dramas? Do you work hard all day and want to come home to a brainless comedy that will clear your mind and rid you of your troubles? If so, Son of Zorn is exactly what you’ve been waiting for. Releasing on FOX September 11, this comedy takes something strangely familiar (an animated character named Zorn, defender of Zephyria and conqueror of the tribes of Agon – having callbacks to Thundercats yet?) and mashes its world with our own, creating a raunchy, gory, topsy-turvy universe we are all totally unprepared for. If you’re a fan of animated adventures, retro TV shows, you’ll love this comedic romp with Cheryl Hines, Johnny Pemberton, Tim Meadows, and Artemis Pebdani. But brace yourself: Zorn has no filter and nothing is off limits for the writers of this show. You’re in for a lot of hilariously offensive humor!
12. Designated Survivor
Miss the days of 24 and its kindred action-packed politically-driven dramas? Stop missing them and watch the premiere of Designated Survivor, set to release September 21. Starring Kiefer Sutherland (best known from his work on 24), Maggie Q (Nikita, Live Free or Die Hard), and Natascha McElhone (The Truman Show, Californication), this series is about a catastrophic terrorist attack committed in the United States wherein a long line of presidential successors are murdered. A low level cabinet member (played by Sutherland), the designated survivor of the attack, is called upon to take office.
While the series looks incredibly interesting and allows us to see through the eyes of a politician forced to take up duty in the name of his country, it poses some questions and threats that American citizens ought to think about (especially given the current global political climate). ABC will air a series that we should all be thinking about as election day approaches.
11. Shots Fired
FOX isn’t exactly known for their empathetic stance on human rights violations and hate crimes; in fact, most social rights-minded viewers tend to keep arms length from FOX as they know the network is likely to offend and sometimes blatantly manipulate facts to support their message. That’s why we were all really surprised and a bit skeptical when executives announced their upcoming series Shots Fired. The series, starring DeWanda Wise (recently from How to Tell You’re a Douchebag), Edwina Findley Dickerson (from Get Hard and If Loving You is Wrong), and Julian Brittano (Bring Out the Lady and House of Cards), centers around a North Carolinian African-American police officer that kills a white teenager in the line of duty, triggering a media firefight and public uproar. Sounds like it could spell trouble, right? That’s why it’s worth the watch. FOX is attempting to diversify their network and become more inclusive and understanding; it’s always good to see a network showing progress and corporate evolution!
10. The Good Place
First previewed at San Diego’s Comic Con, this Michael Schur comedy (who also wrote for Parks and Recreation, Brooklyn Nine-Nine, The Office, and Saturday Night Live) is all about second chances – and why people don’t always deserve them. Starring Kristen Bell (Forgetting Sarah Marshall, Veronica Mars) and Ted Danson (Cheers, Saving Private Ryan), this comedy is about a young woman (played by Bell) who dies and goes to “the good place” (aka heaven, or whatever other version of it you/your religion chooses to prescribe to); only problem is, she was meant to go to “the bad place.” Oops. Now she’s got a second chance to prove she belongs in “the good place” after all. The series was said to be strongly influenced by the works of J. J. Abrams and, specifically, Lost. We’ve got a lot of exciting and hilarious expectations for this NBC comedy set to release September 19!
9. Emerald City
It’s almost strange how much attention the wonderful wizarding world of Oz has gotten in the past decade and a half. After Gregory Maguire published his book Wicked, about the origin stories of Glinda the Good Witch and Elphaba, the Wicked Witch of the West, we got a Broadway musical spin-off. Since then, we’ve had a terrible James Franco movie to add into the universe, bold references in other shows like Once Upon a Time, and even a seasonal theme park built around the story (check out the Land of Oz attraction in Beech Mountain, NC; it’ll blow your mind). However, we’re about to see Oz like we’ve never seen it before.
Coming this September, we’ll get to see the land of Oz in a light we’ve never yet been afforded. Starring the beautiful, young Adria Arjona as our beloved Dorothy and the spectacularly talented Vincent D’Onofrio as The Wizard, we can already tell that this version of Oz is going to be more stark and fantastical than we’ve ever seen it before. But be warned; it doesn’t look like this is an Oz for the kids.
8. Downward Dog
If you have a dog, you’ve likely caught yourself narrating for them occasionally, as if they were voicing their thoughts vicariously through you. Our bonds with our dogs are something special, something entirely incomparable to any human relationships we have.
While we work and go about our days, we often catch ourselves thinking about our dogs: what are they doing? Are they thinking about me? While Secret Life of Pets answered some of those questions for kids, Downward Dog is the more adult answer.
A witty combination of humor from Modern Family and the heartfelt sentimentality of movies like Marley & Me, this comedy for young adults, dog lovers, cat haters, or awesome combinations of all the above, this show is about a young woman and her dog struggling to balance love, happiness, and life. Come early 2017, expect to see Allison Tolman star in this Michael Killen comedy we can all relate to.
Are you a fan of science fiction with a twist of the fantastical? Do you dig historical fiction? Do you spend most of your TV time watching mysterious science fiction shows like Doctor Who, Lost, or other experimental shows? Boy, have we got the perfect autumn show for you. Abigail Spencer (Madmen, Rectify), Matt Lanter (Disaster Movie), and Malcolm Barrett (Better Off Ted, Dear White People) star as an unlikely trio of time travelers who are chasing down criminals to protect our history. Sounds eerily similar to Doctor Who in a lot of ways, but don’t worry – this isn’t looking to be a cheap rip off of a cult classic. There are just enough bold differences to make this series an amazing way to spend our chilly autumn nights in preparation for the next visit from the Doctor. The highly anticipated series will be on NBC and releases this October 3.
Okay, Taboo isn’t a fully fledged episodic series; rather, it’s a mini-series that’ll run it’s story across nine episodes. Syndicated by FX and slated to release sometime yet this year, the series is about the true historical character James Keziah Delaney and the shipping industry he built in the early 1800s (you may have heard of it: the East India Trading Company ring any bells? Even if you’re entirely ignorant of your global history, it should ring bells from the Pirates of the Caribbean movies). Sounds sort of interesting, right? Those of us that enjoy our history lessons and historical dramas are already hooked. But those of you who need a bit more enticing? Delaney is played by Tom Hardy (best known for his starring roles in The Dark Knight Rises, Bronson, and Mad Max: Fury Road), not to mention some of his spectacular costars Leo Bill (28 Days Later) and Oona Chaplin (Quantum of Solace).
5. The OA
Not much is known about this elusive TV series, but we know that there are great things coming. This is Brit Marling’s first show since Babylon, which was a TV mini-series anticipated to be a total hit back in 2014 but never seemed to really take off (Marling is also known for her work on Another Earth and The East- she’ll also be starring in the show, while also writing it). While production studios have been good about keeping the storyline under wraps, as well as any pertinent details that could spoil the plot, the cast has been released and we know we’ll be seeing Will Brill (best known for his work in Not Fade Away and King Kelly), Patrick Gibson (What Richard Did, The Passing Bells), and novice film actor Ian Alexander. Netflix will be releasing the series later this year, and we’re all very eager to learn more about this enigmatic show.
4. Luke Cage
We know you’re into the superhero fandom that’s overwhelmed the United States and most of the world; who isn’t? Especially when you’ve got such a diverse, complex, and intricate universe as Marvels to marvel at Netflix’s original Marvel series, including Daredevil and Jessica Jones, have been overwhelmingly successful for very different reasons – and Luke Cage promises to continue the tradition. While Daredevil wooed audiences with its gritty take on forgotten New York inhabitants and Jessica Jones enthralled a growing audience with its strong female cast and bold writing decisions, Luke Cage promises to change the dialogue of white washing and minority casting with this inclusive and diverse storyline centered around the marginalized small business owners of Harlem. If you’re hesitant to watch the series (set to release September 30), just watch the trailer; by the end of the two minutes, you’ll be marking the release date on your calendar.
3. American Gods
Based on a best selling Neil Gaiman novel, American Gods promises to be an amazing series. Slated to release on Starz early 2017, the story revolves around a recently released convict named Shadow Moon who, unfortunately, loses his wife before earning his freedom. He finds intrigue, mystery, and terrifying adventure with an enigmatic character named Wednesday. Sounds a bit out there, but we can almost guarantee it’ll be a hit. Neil Gaiman also wrote the stories behind such cult classics as Hypaspace and Neverwhere; producer Bryan Fuller was behind the hits Dead Like Me, Hannibal, and Pushing Daisies; and the series features a star-studded cast including Emily Browning (Sucker Punch, The Uninvited), Ricky Whittle (The 100, Hollyoaks), Dane Cook (Dan in Real Life, My Best Friend’s Girl), and Ian McShane (Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, Snow White and the Huntsman). If you’re a fan of experimental science fiction and independent superhero dramas, you’ll love American Gods!
Pretty much anything starring the talented Donald Glover is worth watching but this should definitely be topping your list, even if you’re not a fan of his amazing humor in shows like Community, sick raps under the pseudonym Childish Gambino, or insightful videography within his music videos. Releasing very soon, this September 6, Atlanta is written and produced by Donald Glover and is about two cousins (Glover and Bret E. Benson, better known from his time on The Haves and the Have Nots and Fatal Attraction) struggling to balance passions for their musical art with economical necessity. The talented rappers work in the Atlanta music scene (big surprise, we know) and work to balance their estranged personal relationship with their professional ambitions. Anyone working in a competitive artistic industry can certainly relate, not to mention all the other young adults trying to make ends meet for themselves and their families.
J. J. Abrams has done it again. If you’re into science fiction, westerns, or just really well written drama, you’re bound to love Westworld. Like some twisted sci-fi daydream combination of Firefly, The Truman Show, The Magnificent Seven, and The Village, this series based on a Michael Crichton novel is bound to tickle your fancy and beg some big metaphysical questions. J. J. has teamed up with Lisa Joy (wife of Jonathan Nolan and sister in law of Christopher Nolan), who is best known for her work on Pushing Daisies and Burn Notice, to produce this series about a fabricated world and its populates which were all made as a theme park for clients who want to experience the “wild-west.” It’ll star Evan Rachel Wood, Thandie Newton, Anthony Hopkins, Ed Harris, and James Marsden, and we can expect its release on HBO on October 2.