Note: This piece was written by Nikhil Taneja (@tanejamainhoon) for Huffington Post. An edited version of the piece can be found here: https://goo.gl/Eol0aX
2015 gave us the peak of what is being called ‘Peak TV’ with more great TV shows to watch than we could ever find time to, with streaming media like Netflix, Amazon and Hulu jumping into the mix that was already being dominated by cable TV channels like HBO, Showtime, AMC, FX and Starz (even as network TV struggled to make an impact). Even Indian creators (like TVF) and studios (like Y-Films) jumped on to the series bandwagon and gave us some fun shows to watch on the internet – and for free!
But the greatest thing about 2016 is that not only are we going to get more great *new* shows from all the above platforms, but we’ll also get more exciting new seasons of returning shows that blew our minds in 2015. Except for Fargo and Master of None (my favourite Drama and Comedy each in 2015), most of last year’s exciting shows are coming back so this may just turn out to be the greatest TV year EVER.
So here’s the ultimate guide to the 75 MOST AWAITED TV SERIES OF 2016 (Fiction). If you agree/disagree with the list or the order of the list or still think there are shows I missed out (although there are some that have been left out on purpose) do give a shout out in the comments. In any case, I’d love to know what your order is. Check ’em out:
THE 30 MOST AWAITED NEW SERIES OF 2016
- ROADIES: Because Cameron Crowe is writing and directing this TV series for Showtime and it is produced by JJ Abrams and it stars Luke Wilson and IT NEEDS TO RELEASE ALREADY.
- THE UNTITLED WOODY ALLEN SERIES: Because obviously.
- VINYL: Because HBO has got Martin Scorsese and Terrence Winter together to make a show about sex, drugs, and rock and roll.
- THE NIGHT MANAGER: Because TOM HIDDLESTON and HUGH LAURIE are coming together in a spy series adapted from a John Le Carre novel… I repeat, TOM HIDDLESTON AND HUGH LAURIE!
- LOVE: Because Judd Apatow is getting back to his TV roots with this show about modern love on Netflix and it’s going to be amazing.
- LEGION: Because the creator of Fargo, Noah Hawley, has been tapped into for creating an X-Men side-quel so this is obviously going to be better than any other superhero TV series out there.
- THE GET DOWN: Because Baz Luhrmann is making a Netflix musical show about rap in the Bronx in the ‘70s!
- AMERICAN GODS: Because Hannibal creator Bryan Fuller has come on board to adapt this fan favourite Neil Gaiman novel for Starz and it promises to be epic.
- PREACHER: Because Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg have adapted this badass comic book and one can only hope it’s not anything like The Green Hornet because it stars Dominic Cooper.
- TABOO: Because Tom Hardy is starring in and producing this drama series set in the 1800s and it is being made by his frequent collaborator Steven Knight (who directed him in Locke).
- THE DEUCE: Because David Simon, of The Wire fame, is making a drama about the porn industry in the ‘70s starring Maggie Gyllenhaal and James Franco so get ready for some Boogie Nights.
- WESTWORLD: Because it’s an HBO show created by Jonathan Nolan and JJ Abrams and has a cast that includes Anthony Hopkins, Ed Harris, James Marsden, Thandie Newton and Evan Rachel Wood!
- BASKETS: Because Louis CK is producing a show that stars Zach Galifianakis.
- ATLANTA: Because Donald Glover is coming back with a comedy after Community about the rap scene.
- LUKE CAGE: Because after Dardevil and especially Jessica Jones, just really cannot wait for this.
- LEGENDS OF TOMORROW: Because before The Defenders come together for Netflix, a superhero-ish team up’s happening over at DC with Arrow and The Flash heroes and villians including Firestorm, The Atom, White Canary, Heat Wave, Captain Cold and more joining hands!
- 11/22/63: Because JJ Abrams is producing this Stephen King adaptation about an alternate history plot where James Franco goes back to prevent the assassination of JFK!
- SON OF ZORN: Because Phil Lord and Chris Miller are back at Fox again after The Last Man on Earth with a new live action/animated hybrid comedy starring Jason Sudeikis.
- AMERICAN CRIME STORY: Because it’s about the OJ Simpson trial and Cuba Gooding Jr plays OJ and John Travolta plays Robert Shapiro and DAVID SCHWIMMER plays Robert Kardashian!!
- FULLER HOUSE: Because nostalgia.
- LUCKY MAN: Because Stan Lee has created this Brit superhero TV series and it stars James Nesbitt as a man who can control ‘luck’.
- BILLIONS: Because if Damian Lewis and Paul Giamatti are coming together for a Showtime series, you know it’s going to be brilliant.
- ANGIE TRIBECA: Because Steve Carell has created and is producing this cop comedy and it stars Rashida Jones, who is back on TV again after Parks and Recreations.
- STRANGER THINGS: Because Winona Ryder is making a comeback with a Twin Peak-esque psychological thriller for Neflix.
- SCHOOL OF ROCK: Because even though it’s for Nicklodean, Richard Linklater has created it so I’m going to watch it.
- INSECURE: Because the star of the blockbuster internet series, The Misadventures of an Awkward Black Girl, Issa Rae, has created this for HBO, so Lena Dunham better expect competition.
- THE GIRLFRIEND EXPERIENCE: Because Steven Soderbergh has shown that he can create the heck out of a TV series with The Knick and he’s adapting his own movie here so it promises to be super.
- THE YOUNG POPE: Because Paolo Sorrentino is making a TV series (!) and it stars Jude Law and it has something to do with ‘Youth’.
- CLASS: Because Doctor Who is getting a YA spin off and Steven Moffat is return as producer!
- EMERALD CITY: Because Tarsem Singh is directing a NBC series that promises to give a dark twist to the world of ‘Wizard of Oz’ and no one could have thought of all those words in the same sentence.
THE 25 MOST AWAITED RETURNING DRAMA SERIES OF 2016
- NARCOS: Because there has never been any other show with such scale and ambition attempted so far, and the makers of Narcos pulled it off in Season One like only the cartels could!
- ROBOT: Because with this show, which won the Best TV Drama at the recent Golden Globe Awards, creators Sam Esmail gave us the ultimate f**k you to this generation’s obsession with technology, in a twisted, warped, incredibly gripping way.
- THE AMERICANS: Because as the most consistently outstanding and most criminally underrated TV show of the last three years, the cold war spy drama is a cable TV classic that should not be missed.
- GAME OF THRONES: Because somehow, every year, the show manages to raise the stakes and manages to beat every expectation the millions of fans have around the world.
- MANHATTAN: Because as the second most criminally underrated show of the last couple of years, Manhattan is just as consistent in being brilliant as The Americans is, and is about an even more intriguing plotline: the making of the atomic bomb.
- BETTER CALL SAUL: Because not only did the Breaking Bad showrunners get back Saul Goodman in this spinoff, they also got back Mike Ehrmantaut and that gave us 2015’s most inimitable friendship.
- AGENT CARTER: Because where Marvel’s other TV shows are tonally reminiscent to Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy, Agent Carter has been a refreshingly sassy hero, who is, for once, a heroine.
- THE MAN IN THE HIGH CASTLE: Because the alternate history world that the show resides in paints a truly compelling – and frightening – picture of how our lives could have been had WWII been lost.
- SENSE8: Because with Sense8, the Wachowski siblings pulled off the world’s first truly global TV series, spanning four continents, trying to address the question of ‘identity’ across each.
- FORTITUDE: Because as Christopher Nolan had shown us with Insomnia, there is no better way to do a psychological thriller than to set it in the cold, dark, isolated Scandinavian setting.
- FEAR THE WALKING DEAD: Because the show’s season one proved there is more to fear when the world is on the verge of losing (to zombies) than when it’s already lost.
- MARCO POLO: Because it is one of Netflix’s most vivid, visually arresting, epic and criminally underrated shows, rivaling Game of Thrones in scope and spirit both.
- DAREDEVIL: Because the show gave us Marvel’s first thumping TV win and laid the foundation for the gritty Hell’s Kitchen setting that’s more DC than Marvel.
- HUMANS: Because just like Black Mirror predicted, even in the future it’s not robots we need to be afraid of, but humans.
- THE FLASH: Because neither Marvel nor DC have managed to make a superhero show that’s as much fun as this is – this show is what ‘comic’ books had intended their adaptations to be.
- SUITS: Because even in its fifth season, Suits managed to be just as exciting and entertaining as its initial run… and perhaps making Harvey Specter more human could be the arc to watch out for.
- BATES MOTEL: Because before there was Wayward Pines, there was – and is – Bates Motel, the origin story of Pyscho’s Norman Bates, which is just as creepy, atmospheric and unpredictable in tone and as good in writing.
- THE LEFTOVERS: Because no one writes about life and loss like Lost writer, Damon Lindelof.
- THE KNICK: Because if TV is an art, no one can paint it like Steven Soderbergh can and that’s the most compelling reason to watch this show.
- THE LAST KINGDOM: Because while the ‘UK’s sprawling series about Brits vs Nordics may not be its answer to Game of Thrones, it was still immensely watchable TV all the same in its season one.
- TRANSPARENT: Because Jeffrey Tambor.
- WAYWARD PINES: Because this is the first thing after The Sixth Sense that Manoj N. Shyamalan produced where he actually gave answers, which happened to be creepier than the question.
- DEUTSCHLAND 83: Because German citizens got the short end of the stick at the end of WWII and this cold war spy coming of age took us into their world that we never knew of.
- BLOODLINE: Because Ben Mendhelson is this generation’s most watchable character actor.
- EMPIRE: Because besides the heavy hitters in its cast, this show has had more plot in every episode of its two seasons than Mad Men had over 8 seasons… it’s a true network achievement!
THE 15 MOST AWAITED RETURNING COMEDY SERIES OF 2016
- MOZART IN THE JUNGLE: Because in this Golden Globe-winning comedy, Jason Schwartzmann and Roman Coppola have cast Gael Garcia Bernal and indie sensation Lola Kirke to make an ode to New York through the world of symphony orchestras.
- CASUAL: Because Jason Reitman is the only director today whose understanding and critique of modern love is just as sharp as Aziz Ansari’s in Master of None (which is yet to be renewed for season 2, unfortunately).
- RED OAKS: Because David Gordon Green has recreated the world of John Hughes through this teenage coming-of-age in the ‘80s throwback show.
- THE LAST MAN ON EARTH: Because Will Forte has teamed up with Chris Miller and Philip Lord (of 21 and 22 Jump Street Fame) for a post-apocalyptic comedy so how could it not be gold?
- CATASTROPHE: Because though season two proved to be a dampener, there is enough to like in the adult romantic comedy for couples who don’t look like Brangelina.
- TOGETHERNESS: Because just like all things by Duplass Brothers, this indie dysfunctional family comedy is also lovely as it’s about everything and nothing.
- BALLERS: Because it is from the guys behind Entourage and it looks, feels, walks and talks like Entourage but in sports and it stars Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson.
- SILICON VALLEY: Because if the Big Bang Theory made geeks cool, Silicon Valley made the nerds hot… property.
- MARRIED: Because in its second season, the comedy showed that you don’t necessarily need to be adults to be married, or at all, really.
- YOU’RE THE WORST: Because in its season two, handling a tricky topic like depression in such a superlative manner proved that the best laughs come from the darkest situations.
- VEEP: Because there are more memorable one-lines in Veep than there are comedy shows on TV.
- SURVIVOR’S REMORSE: Because it is not ‘Sports Entourage’ but ‘Sports Fast and Furious’ – it’s all about family, at the end of the day.
- FRESH OFF THE BOAT: Because as an Asian ‘Malcolm in the Middle’, FOTB is a fresh take on fitting in even when you stand out.
- BROAD CITY: Because girls can be ‘bros’ too, and if there ever was a show for girl bros, this is it.
- NEW GIRL: Because no matter how the good or bad the writing gets in different episodes, that cast is the craziest comic ensemble on TV right now.
THE 5 MOST AWAITED RETURNING INDIAN SERIES
- PERMANENT ROOMMATES: Because the first Indian fiction series on the internet and also the most popular has announced its season two with a ‘Cooooool’ poster. Sumeet Vyas’ Mikesh and Nidhi Singh’s Tanya return in what promises to be an even funnier season with quirkier characters, with Biswapati Sarkar’s brilliant writing.
- BANG BAAJA BAARAAT: Because the most popular Y-Films original series of 2015 directed by Anand Tiwari and counting Sumeet Vyas (Mikesh!) among its writers, about a mental wedding of Ali Fazal’s Pawan with Angira Dhar’s Shahana, and a cast that comprised theater and film legends, has also put out a teaser at the beginning of the year promising a season 2 but with no date announced. (Though I obviously know *exactly* what is happening here since I’m, *ahem*, the Associate Producer of the series #selfplug)
- PITCHERS: Because though there is no news yet about plans for Pitchers Season 2, there is no doubt that it will return with another season, seeing how ‘Tu Beer Hai’ has become the stuff of legend and Naveen Kasturia’s famous speech has gone viral on YouTube… and because we are yet to be told what exactly is going to happen with Naveen’s startup!
- BAKED: Because Delhi University Shenanigans have never been depicted in such a fun, ‘misadventurous’ way than what the three mad flatmates managed to show with their late night delivery service and it’s about time we find out what else the show has to deliver in its season two (though no date has been announced).
- MAN’S WORLD: Because though Man’s World season one was a complete season in itself, its theme of gender equality got it many laurels and love from the internet and it remains to be seen whether it will flip the world again in its season two. (Please note: There is no other exciting original fiction series out there so far – and even by viewcount – and hence I have had to #selfplug twice. Hopefully 2016 will have MOAR work by everyone and from everywhere!)
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Note: This interview first appeared in Huffington Post on January 21, 2016
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