Just when you thought you’d seen the best premium TV the world has to offer, along comes 2016.
As the world waits for the return of The Walking Dead, House of Cards and Game of Thrones, networks around the world have been producing a formidable collection of prestige dramas, champagne comedies and nail-biting thrillers.
Here’s The New Daily’s list of the top 20 TV shows to look out for in 2016.
Warning: trailers contain content that may be offensive to some readers.
The Man in the High Castle
An examination of Cold War politics and the role of a subversive resistance, this adaptation of Philip K. Dick’s 1962 novel of the same name presents an alternate reality where Germany and Japan emerged the victors of World War II.
Created by comedy kingpins Louis C.K., Zach Galifianakis and Jonathan Krisel, Galifianakis plays clown school dropout Chip Baskets; down on his luck and chasing his dream of becoming a professional clown.
This series follows Lost star Josh Holloway as he navigates the politics and alliances of an alien-infested Los Angeles in a bid to help his family survive. Rebels and collaborators hide behind everyday faces, turning the act of playing politics into a survival instinct.
A special six-episode miniseries of one of the most popular sci-fi series ever made, join Fox Mulder (David Duchovny) and Dana Scully (Gillian Anderson) as they return to a world of alien conspiracies, unexplained mysteries and sexual tension.
Created by Jonathan Nolan – regular collaborator with brother, Christopher – and Lisa Joy (producer and writer on Burn Notice), visitors to a western-themed fun park fall afoul of the artificial intelligence of the park’s murderous androids.
Seth Rogen (This Is the End, Knocked Up) produces, writes and directs for this TV adaptation of the cult comic of the same name. Playing host to a supernatural creature, a disenfranchised preacher walks the earth with his newfound powers in search of God, drawing friends and making enemies along the way.
A crucible examination of the 1970’s New York music industry; sexy, dark, dangerous and all rock’n’roll. Created by Terence Winter (Boardwalk Empire, The Sopranos, Wolf of Wall Street), produced by the Mick Jagger and with Martin Scorcese stepping in to direct the debut episode, expect Vinyl to be the next prestige drama to dominate pop culture.
If you ever wondered what is was like for Harry Potter to attend college, this series is for you. Quentin Coldwater (Jason Ralph) discovers love, honour, lust and temptation as he studies to become a magician.
You, Me and the Apocalypse
What do you do when the end of the world is nigh? You grab some friends and watch it on TV! Sharp writing, characters as lovable as they are flawed, and lashings of dry, dark humour help track this breakdown of society in the last 34 days of humankind.
The original Devil spawn, Damien (of The Omen movie series), is now grown up and being guided through life by unseen forces, under the watchful gaze of protector, Ann Rutledge (Barbara Hershey). Will he hurtle headlong towards his inevitable nature or steer clear of the path of evil?
Rashida Jones (Park and Recreation) finally helms her own comedy series; this one created by comedy powerhouse husband and wife team, Nancy and Steve Carell. A spoof police procedural program in the style of The Naked Gun, expect cornball humour and one-liners flying faster than bullets.
Kirsten Bell and Ted Danson star in this new comedy series from Parks and Recreation creator Mike Schur. Eleanor (Bell) sets out to make amends for creating demons in her past by learning how to be ‘good’, finding help at the hands of Michael (Danson) with hilarious consequences.
Big Little Lies
Created by David E. Kelly (Ally McBeal, Chicago Hope, Boston Legal), Nicole Kidman and Reese Witherspoon hit the small screen as kindergarten mums who watch their idyllic lives swiftly unravel following a tragic turn of events.
From the historical savant mind of Peter Morgan – writer of prestige dramas The Queen and Frost/Nixon – this series stars Claire Foy (Wolf Hall, Crossbones) as a 25-year-old Queen Elizabeth II; newly married and coming to terms with her new place in the famous British monarchy.
The Night Manager
Master spy author John Le Carre shares writing credits on this spy thriller with David Farr (MI-5); the story of a hotel manager-turned-spy. The top tier cast includes Tom Hiddleston, Olivia Colman, Hugh Laurie and Elizabeth Debicki.
Donald Glover (The Childish Gambino, Community) wades through this fresh comedy as high-school dropout Earnest ‘Earn’ Marks; a budding rapper trying to climb to the top of an unforgiving music industry.
A group of plantation slaves plan their daring escape from a Georgian farm with the aid of sympathetic abolitionists. Produced by musician John Legend, the series comes at a poignant time, addressing race relations across the world.
If you liked The Wolf of Wall Street, you’ll love Billions. A story of power and wealth, US Attorney Chuck Rhoades (Paul Giamatti) has hedge fund manager and moonlighting criminal Bobby Axelrod (Damian Lewis) in his crosshairs.
The Girlfriend Experience
Based on Steven Soderbergh’s film of the same name, Riley Keough plays Christine Reade; a high-class escort who offers her clients an experience like no other. Featuring Soderbergh’s trademark detached style, you’ll find plenty of substance in this show’s sparse aesthetics.
For fans of Eastbound and Down, Danny McBride returns in this dark comedy about dueling vice principals, determined to gain a promotion over his fellow VP, played by Walton Googins (Sons of Anarchy). Who will stoop the lowest to reach the top?
Australian airdates and networks – including Stan, Presto, Netflix and Quickflix – are yet to be announced. Stay tuned to The New Daily for more details.