Summer television is officially over with the the 2015 ratings period having kicked off on Sunday.
In the coming months, most of the top TV series will return to screens. Whether you are a Downton Abbey addict, a House of Cards fanatic or a Game of Thrones devotee, we have the dates you need to fill your calendar this year.
Here are the seven shows you can’t miss this year:(Warning: Spoiler alert for all of the following shows)
House of Cards – Season 3
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After having annihilated all of their foes – and several friends – the diabolical Frank and Clare Underwood have finally made it all the way to the White House. But having risen to top dog, Frank is about to learn that heavy is the head that wears the crown. He faces new and innumerable challenges from all sides to his reign – along with the past misdeeds of the Underwoods finally threatening to catch up with them and derail everything.
House of Cards season three will be released in its entirety on Friday, February 27
Downton Abbey – Season 5
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The award-winning British cast of Downton Abbey returns for its fifth season, this time set in late 1924 and 1925. The romance, relationships and drama continue as Lord and Lady Grantham try to marry off their daughter Mary Crawley and sort out Edith’s sordid affairs. This season also sees the introduction of Richard E. Grant’s character Simon Bricker, who takes a fancy to Lady Grantham. Expect the usual upstairs-downstairs shenanigans from the staff and family members.
Downton Abbey season five premieres on Network Seven in early 2015
Mad Men – Season 7 (part 2)
Mad Men returns for a final run of seven episodes that will bring the long-running series to a close. The final episode of ‘Part 1’ saw the firm survive the diabolical plotting of Teddy Chaough and the death of long-time senior partner Bert Cooper (who went out with this glorious song and dance number). As the plot pulls the characters closer to 1970, speculation is rife as to how to series will bring to an end the stories of Don, Peggy, Pete, Roger Joan and Betty. Whatever happens, in true Mad Men fashion, the series will follow its own path, in spite of audience expectations. Creator Matt Weiner has already declared for part two of season seven that “every episode will be like a finale”.
Mad Men season seven, part two premieres on Monday, April 5 on Showcase
Game of Thrones – Season 5
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HBO’s most popular series ever returns for its hotly anticipated fifth season. Following the explosive climax of season four, the political landscape of Westeros has changed forever. The death of Tywin Lannister has left the family in ruins and Tyrion on the run from King’s Landing. The arrival of Stannis at the wall has unleashed the diabolical Melassandra onto Jon Snow and the men of the Knights Watch. And Arya, now free from The Hound, is setting sail for Bravos, ready to begin her vengeance against the political elite of King’s Landing. With several new characters and locations revealed, season five promises plenty of excitement for TV’s biggest ever production.
Game of Thrones season five premieres on Monday, April 12 on Showcase
Fargo – Season 2
Season two of Fargo will feature a new story, characters and all-star cast, featuring Kirsten Dunst, Ted Danson and Patrick Wilson. The new season focuses on events occurring around 1979, when a young Lou Solverson (Patrick Wilson) returns home to North Dakota and begins to investigate a local gang and mob syndicate. Head of FX television network John Landgraf described the new series as “a big, sprawling, incredibly ambitious series” that will touch on big cultural issues of the 1970s whilst staying true to the offbeat spirit of the Coen brothers. It’s “a more comedic season, though at times, a very serious show”, Landgraf says.
Fargo season two will screen on SBS in mid 2015
True Detective – Season 2
2014’s breakout series returns with new characters, new mysteries and a whole new concept. This time the story will revolve around three law enforcement officers, from different cities in California, who are tasked with investigating the murder of a corrupt city official on the eve of a landmark transportation deal throughout the state. The three detectives soon discover their investigation has much broader implications than they imagined. The new season features an all-star cast, including Vince Vaughn, Colin Farrell and Rachel McAdams. The only remaining constant from the first season will be the presence of writer/creator Nic Pizzolatto. Given what he was able to do for the credibility of Matthew McConnaughey in season one, expectations are high for another dark masterpiece.
True Detective season two will premiere on Showcase in mid 2015
The Bridge – Season 3
The original Swedish/Danish production of this fabulous series returns in late 2015. This time, however, there will be no sign of Danish homicide detective Martin Rohde, fabulously played by Kim Bodnia in seasons one and two, he is having this season off and is expected to return in season four. This season is expected to focus on Swedish detective Saga Norén (Sofia Helin) and how she deals with the loss of Rohde, who was sent to jail for the murder of serial killer Lars Simonsen at the end of season two.
The Bridge season three is expected to return in late 2015