With Game of Thrones nearing the end of Season 4, Mad Men's half-way to its final season and Better Call Saul way off in the distance, you might be wondering if there's anything on TV that's still worth watching. We've taken the hassle out of wondering what to watch and selected what we feel are the best new and returning TV shows for the year ahead.
Clive Owen. Steven Soderbergh. TV. That should be enough to tell you the level of quality that's surrounding The Knick. Set in Victorian-era New York, it follows surgeon Clive Owen as he unlocks the mysteries of the body and pioneers radical new surgical treatments. All the trailers make it seem like a bloody gorefest, mixed with fascinating visuals and lots of moustaches. Soderbergh's previous TV outing in the US was Behind The Candelabra, which swept the boards at the Emmys. We're expecting something dark, twisted and interesting from this.
Again, you've got another Hollywood heavyweight involved, this time in the form of Guillermo Del Toro. We posted a teaser for this some time ago and we're liking the look of it very much. New York is in the midst of a solar eclipse (where have we heard this before?), but instead of it producing people with superpowers, it's creating vampires. Kind of. We're expecting lots of icky horror and a well-written story from a true master of the genre. Keep an eye out for House of Cards Corey Stoll too.
HALT AND CATCH FIRE
It might be a bit of a strange name for a TV show, but we're very excited about this one. Set in Texas during the 1980's, it follows three computer experts who break away from IBM and form their own company. It's a simple enough idea, but personalities, people and greed get in the way. Think The Social Network set in the 1980's and you're somewhere along the right track. Lee Pace, who you may remember from criminally underrated Pushing Daises, stars alongside Frank's Scoot McNairy and newcomer Mackenzie Davis.
Created by the makers of Homeland, Tyrant looks like it could be just as controversial as Homeland, if not more so. It follows a young doctor who is the son of a Middle Eastern dictator living in the US with an American wife and children. When he returns to his homeland (see what we did there?) to attend his nephew's wedding, he becomes a divisive figure in his country and, sure enough, political chaos ensues. We're hoping it'll stay on course and not go off on one like Homeland did as the premise is very interesting.
MASTERS OF SEX
We were huge fans of the first season. Mixing the best parts of Mad Men with Orange Is The New Black and medical drama, Masters Of Sex followed the story of pioneering real-life sexologist Bill Masters. His career-defining research into the inner workings of sex is now considered one of the most far-reaching studies on the subject. It's not just all sex, however. With a cast made up of Michael Sheen, Lizzie Kaplan and Beau Bridges, Masters of Sex is a criminally underwatched show that deserves more following. One of the best kept secrets on TV.
THE ODD COUPLE
Matthew Perry's making a triumphant return to TV comedy with an adaptation of the classic Odd Couple. Joined by Reno 911!'s Thomas Lennon, it'll be interesting to see how this one pans out. Perry's also involved in writing the show and he's said that it's a lifelong dream to play Walter Matthau's character from the original film. This might seem like a case of Perry going back to the well, but to be honest, it's worth a shot. Studio 60 was cancelled in a fairly harsh manner so we doubt he'd be trying his hand at TV work again unless he really wanted it.
Following the story of Commissioner Gordon as a young detective working his way up, Gotham shows the origins of our favourite characters from the Dark Knight series. We'll see Penguin, Poison Ivy, Catwoman and a few others grow into the characters we all know. The pilot will be directed by Danny Cannon, who previously directed Sylvester Stallone's version of Judge Dredd and it'll star Southland / The OC's Ben McKenzie. Are we hopeful about this one? Well, if you're a fan of The Arrow and Smallville, this'll be right up your street. We're doubting it'll have the same hard-edge, reality-based action that the films had, but it's still looking good all the same.
UNTITLED HBO TV SERIES WITH MARTIN SCORSESE, MICK JAGGER AND TERENCE WINTER
We reported a while back that Martin Scorsese was teaming up with Mick Jagger and The Sopranos / Wolf of Wall Street's Terence Winter to write a TV show about a record company in 1970's New York. So far, Olivia Wilde, Bobby Canavale, Jack Quaid, Juno Temple, Max Casella and Andrew Dice Clay are known to be starring in this. This, we're particularly hopeful of. With Boardwalk Empire nearing its lifespan and Scorsese still keen to work with HBO, we could definitely see something interesting. Keep in mind as well that Scorsese is a part of 70's music history with his famous documentary about The Band's final gig, The Last Waltz. You know what's coming next...