2017 is in full swing. We’re well past the point where every other ad slogan you saw screamed about the possibilities of a new you. A slimmer, happier, more accomplished you, one free of flab and toxins and bad habits. That fraudulent notion of the detox was everywhere, promising a simultaneously cleanse of both your soul and your colon.
There is still one useful place you can apply the insidious ‘detox’, however: TV viewing.
A combination of end-of-year exhaustion, festivities and time off work can often lead to weakness of resolve when it comes to television. Turkey comas and lunchtime drinking made us susceptible to the sort of shows that we wouldn’t ordinarily watch. It may have started small – an involuntary Come Dine With Me marathon here, a few too many This Mornings with Phil and Holly there. Before you knew it, you were regularly watching Michael McIntyre’s Big Show from start to finish and wondering where it all went wrong.
We’re here to help. Clear out the rubbish and replace it with healthy, sustaining TV drama. Below are 22 new, nutrition-packed shows to sprinkle atop your lives like freeze-dried Goji berries on your Bran Flakes.
Don’t worry if a few of these have already started (or finished!) bingeing is all part of the process. Dig in.
The Gifted (Fox)
The next live-action X-Men TV series out of the gate will be The Gifted. It was written by Burn Notice‘s Matt Nix, and X-Men film franchise veteran Bryan Singer shot the pilot. The show will follow a family with mutant children going on the run in a world where Sentinels exist. Stephen Moyer (True Blood) and Amy Acker (Angel) play the parents in said family.
Another Marvel show, this one featuring a gang of alien-human hybrids. Anson Mount (Hell On Wheels), Serinda Swan, Iwan Rheon (Game Of Thrones) and Ken Leung (Lost) star.
“After the Royal Family of Inhumans is splintered by a military coup, they barely escape to Hawaii where their surprising interactions with the lush world and humanity around them may prove to not only save them, but Earth itself.”
Midnight, Texas (NBC)
This new fantasy show from the mind behind True Blood stars François Arnaud (The Borgias) as psychic Manfred Bernardo, who decides to settle down in the small town of Midnight, Texas, where he forms a new kind of family with the rest of the inhabitants living there. They just happen to be a bunch of supernatural types who treat Midnight like a haven for weirdness, so he fits in rather well. Werewolves, vampires, angels and ghosts are all part of Midnight’s rich tapestry, but trouble is never far away…
Big Little Lies (HBO/Sky Atlantic)
Based on Liane Moriarty’s bestselling novel of the same name, Big Little Lies is a seven-part series that starts by introducing us to best friends and stay-at home mums Madeline Mackenzie (Reese Witherspoon) and Celeste Wright (Nicole Kidman), who live picture-perfect lives by the seaside and send their toddlers off to school every morning with a spring in their step. But when a single mum (Shailene Woodley) suddenly arrives in the community and enters the pair’s orbit, their idyllic lives start to unravel and murder is soon on the cards.
Aired in February
David Fincher’s new Netflix show Mindhunter will be set in 1979, and revolve around two fictional FBI agents who set about interviewing serial killers that have already been caught in an effort to get to the bottom of their current, unsolved cases.
The source book for the show, Mind Hunter: Inside The FBI’s Elite Serial Crime Unit, follows the work of John E. Douglas, a special agent in the FBI, who dealt with some of the world’s most famous serial murderers. Douglas notoriously pursued some of America’s worst killers, developing a lot of the profiling techniques that are still used today. In fact, Jack Crawford in Thomas Harris’ The Silence Of The Lambs and Will Graham on Hannibal are both based on Douglas.
Drops in October
Taboo (BBC One; FX)
Tom Hardy and his dad came up with the character of James Keziah Delaney, an early nineteenth-century adventurer described as part Bill Sykes, part Hannibal Lecter, part Marlow from Heart Of Darkness, who returns to his London home after years in Africa. They took the idea to Ridley Scott and Peaky Blinders creator Steven Knight, and the result is Taboo.
An eight-episode BBC miniseries, Taboo stars Hardy, Oona Chaplin and Jonathan Pryce. It’s a muscular, grimy period story with a supernatural tint. Cor.
Aired in January
A Series Of Unfortunate Events (Netflix)
Netflix has done a bang-up job of adapting Lemony Snicket/Daniel Handler’s expansive run of Unfortunate Events children’s books into a TV series led by Neil Patrick Harris. Given more space than the 2004 Jim Carrey-starring feature film, the show can afford to spend longer in Snicket’s inventive, macabre world and stay more faithful to the books’ unusual tone.
This one is that rare thing: a much-loved series of books adapted into an equally adored series. Fans shouldn’t miss it.
Dropped in January
Riverdale (The CW; Netflix UK)
A darker-than-expected take on the Archie Comics source material, Riverdale’s gone for eeriness and atmosphere, which has led to Twin Peaks comparisons aplenty. It’s the high school story of Archie, Jughead, Veronica and the gang, starring a collection of promising newcomers. This teen drama comes written by Archie Comics’ Chief Creative Officer Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa and has Greg Berlanti of Arrow, The Flash and Supergirl executive producing.
Started in January
Training Day (CBS)
Antoine Fuqua’s 2001 crime thriller about a rookie cop and a crooked older partner starring Denzel Washington and Ethan Hawke has been reshaped for this television sequel. Set 15 years after the original film, the CBS series stars Justin Cornwell, Bill Paxton(RIP), Julie Benz and more, and comes executive-produced by Fuqua and Jerry Bruckheimer. Gotham’s Danny Cannon directed the pilot, from scripts by Castle’s Will Beall.
Started in February
24: Legacy (FOX)
The first Jack Bauer-free 24 spin-off, Legacy stars Corey Hawkins as war hero Eric Carter, who spends twelve real-time hours attempting to stop the largest terrorist attack on American soil with the help of the CTU, headed up by Miranda Otto’s Rebecca Ingram.
Original 24 writers Joel Surnow and Robert Cochran head up the new show, which has the usual explosive action minus the usual Kiefer Sutherland.
Aired in February
Action comedy Powerless is set in the world of DC comics but as the title suggests, focuses on non-super-powered folk like Emily Locke (Vanessa Hudgens), director of Research and Security for a subsidiary company of Wayne Enterprises. Alan Tudyk and Danny Pudi also star in the series, which comes created by Ben Queen.
Started in February – cancelled in May
A Marvel Comics adaptation set in the world of the X-Men. Fargo’s Noah Hawley is back collaborating with FX on this eight-part first season starring Dan Stevens (The Guest, Downton Abbey). Based on the comics of the same name, Stevens plays David Haller/Legion, a mutant diagnosed with schizophrenia. Joining Stevens are Aubrey Plaza, Rachel Keller, Jean Smart and more.
Aired in February
American Gods (Starz; Amazon Prime Video)
Speaking of that rarest of achievements, a cult book being adapted into a TV series its original fans love, Bryan Fuller and Michael Green’s American Gods seems to be heading in exactly that direction. Each step of the way, from casting announcements to concept art to the first episodes, the fan response to the American Gods TV show has felt overwhelmingly positive.
You can see Ian McShane play Mr Wednesday opposite Ricky Whittle’s Shadow Moon, Emily Browning’s Laura, Gillian Anderson’s Media and a host of other ‘of course it’s them’ casting decisions in this gloriously sprawling, diverse story about the old gods and the new.
Started in April
Marvel’s Iron Fist (Netflix)
Game Of Thrones’ Finn Jones plays Danny Rand aka Iron Fist in the last of the originally planned four standalone Marvel/Netflix superhero series (Jon Bernthal proved so popular as The Punisher in Daredevil season two, he’s getting one as well). Run by Scott Buck, Iron Fist is the story of Rand, a billionaire Buddhist monk and martial arts expert who grew up in a monastery after being orphaned at the age of ten. Expect a combination of spiritualism and iron-fist power-charged action.
Dropped in March
The Handmaid’s Tale (Hulu/Channel 4)
Margaret Atwood’s 1985 feminist dystopian modern classic The Handmaid’s Tale has been adapted into this ten-episode series for Hulu by Empire and The L Word’s Ilene Chaiken.
Mad Men’s Elisabeth Moss plays Offred, a young woman trapped into the role of ‘Handmaid’ in a theocratic society designed to subjugate women. Joseph Fiennes, Yvonne Strahovski and Max Minghella also star.
Started in May in the UK
Star Trek: Discovery (CBS All Access; Netflix)
There couldn’t very well be a list of TV shows eagerly anticipated by Den of Geek this year that didn’t include the new Star Trek series. So here it is. Discovery, a thirteen-part prequel set roughly a decade before The Original Series, lost Bryan Fuller as a showrunner last year, leaving Gretchen J Berg and Aaron Harberts in the top jobs with help from Akiva Goldsman.
The Walking Dead’s Sonequa Martin-Green plays lead Rainsford, the lieutenant commander of the USS Discovery, with Hong Kong action film star Michelle Yeoh playing the captain of the USS Shenzou. Doug Jones also stars (hooray! We love Doug Jones).
Starts in late summer/early autumn
Yes, technically more a returning show than a new show, but as it’s been away for over twenty-five years it feels new. The plot for the Twin Peaks revival has been kept firmly under wraps, but expect the unexpected, and a cast of 217 including 38 returning names from the original run. After some contract wobbles, Lynch and Mark Frost are still the showrunners, with the former directing all eighteen episodes.
Started in May
The Man In The High Castle fans should enjoy this, a new adaptation of Len Deighton’s alternate history thriller SS-GB. Bond writers Neal Purvis and Robert Wade have adapted the novel, which imagines a version of the past in which Axis powers won the Battle of Britain, into a five-part miniseries starring Sam Riley, Kate Bosworth, Aneurin Barnard and more.
Acclaimed German director Philipp Kadelbach calls the shots on a slick, stylish political story.
Aired in February
Britannia (Sky, Amazon US)
One for fans of The Last Kingdom and the excellent Vikings here. A new collaboration by Sky and Amazon (for which read: big budget), Britannia is a period drama that goes back further than corsets and carriages, all the way to the age of the Druids and the Roman invasion of Britain as-was in 43AD.
David Morrissey plays legendary Roman General Aulus in the series, with Kelly Reilly playing Celt princess Kerra, with Spectre screenwriter Jez Butterworth among the writing crew.
Marvel’s The Defenders (Netflix)
It’s hard to have missed the flurry of casting announcements and teases for Marvel’s new Netflix Hell’s Kitchen superhero ensemble show, which is set to welcome the joint powers of Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage and Iron Fist (see above).
Buffy’s Douglas Petrie and Marco Ramirez are showrunning this megamix series, which, alongside leads Charlie Cox, Krysten Ritter, Mike Colter and Finn Jones, will also see guest appearances fro Elodie Yung, Rosario Dawson, Scott Glenn, Simone Missick, Deborah Woll and Carrie-Ann Moss. We’d wager Marvel and Netflix have left some cameos out of the publicity to keep a few surprises in store…
In The Dark (BBC)
A Danny Brocklehurst (Ordinary Lies, The Driver, Exile) drama is always worth watching, even more so when Ripper Street’s MyAnna Buring is attached. Buring plays detective Helen Weeks in this “characterful, darkly funny” series “with themes relevant to our times”. In The Dark is a forthcoming BBC drama adapted from the best-selling crime novels by Mark Billingham (who, incidentally, used to play one of the Sheriff of Nottingham’s dim guards on Tony Robinson’s Maid Marian And Her Merry Men).
Starts: still to be confirmed
His Dark Materials (BBC)
With little word on how this project has been developing since it was first announced towards the end of 2015, including the BBC adaptation of Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials on this pick of 2017 TV favourites may be a tad optimistic, but we’re sure you’ll forgive the over-excitement. The very talented Jack Thorne (National Treasure, The Fades, Glue, Harry Potter And The Cursed Child) is adapting Pullman’s fantasy trilogy for Bad Wolf Productions, run by former Doctor Who heads Jane Tranter and Julie Gardner, who have big plans for this one. More news as it arrives.
Starts: still to be confirmed