2018 was a colossal year for TV, and that reflected on all of us here at Consequence of Sound. As we launched the early phases of our growing television coverage, we were immediately struck by the colossal burden that attempting to cover broadcast and streaming television in this era puts on a viewer. FOMO doesn’t even begin to cover it; we live in a time of honest-to-Christ overwhelm when it comes to picking shows.
It doesn’t help that so, so much of what’s on TV right now is absolutely fantastic. No matter your genre or stylistic preferences, there are probably several shows you’re obsessed with right now, and as you’ll soon read, there are a new deluge of debuting shows set to occupy even more of your time. Some of the biggest showrunners and filmmakers working today have projects coming out through various streaming services. Venerated documentarians will bring their craft to the limited series format. The medium will continue to re-tell real life, using the past in order to understand the present in new and essential ways.
Yet not everything will be so unfamiliar. We’ll get to return to Hawkins, and say hello to some of our favorite young adventurers. We’ll bid farewell to a number of beloved shows, including one of television’s absolute biggest. We’ll enter a dimension as vast as space and as timeless as infinity, and not for the first time either. Whatever you want to watch, rest assured that 2019 will have something you know you’ll love, and a mess of other shows just waiting to be discovered, sitting right at your fingertips.
Release: January 24th via Comedy Central
Why We’re Excited: All good things come to an end, and while Ilana Glazer and Abbi Jacobson will forever be friends, we will have to wave goodbye to them. Yep, after five seasons, the incredible Comedy Central series is coming to an end. But, before we reach for the tissues, we’ll have 10 whole episodes to get through, which should be more than enough time to adjust to their departure. Not really, but we’ll deal. Maybe. On the plus side, the two have worked out a deal with Viacom to produce three new programs for the future: Mall Town USA, Platinum Status, and Young Professionals. Three phoenixes out of the ashes? Yas. ::sobs:: Queen.::sobs:: –Michael Roffman
Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
Release: January 25th via Netflix
Why We’re Excited: It’s been confirmed that the upcoming fifth season of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt will be the show’s last, marking one of the first times that Netflix has allowed one of its series to conclude at a logical point, rather than a) far too soon or b) several seasons past its necessary lifespan. Instead, co-creators Tina Fey and Robert Carlock will say goodbye to Ellie Kemper‘s scrappy, endearing, hopelessly behind-the-curve heroine with the show’s now-signature mix of pitch-black comedy and genuine, unironic optimism. Plus, we get to spend a few more episodes with Titus Andromedon. How can we say no? —Dominick Suzanne-Mayer
One Day at a Time
Release: February 8th via Netflix
Why We’re Excited: Raise your hand if you thought that one of Netflix’s buzziest series of recent years would be a laugh track-heavy sitcom about a family dealing with the tough lessons of everyday life. Now put ’em all down, you liars. What co-showrunners Gloria Calderon Kellett and Mike Royce have done with the ’80s sitcom in its reboot is nothing short of miraculous, doing what All in the Family (also a Norman Lear-affiliated project) did several decades ago and turning the traditional TV sitcom into a way to play out some of our most difficult dialogues, from gun ownership to mental illness to PTSD to the pressures of cultural assimilation for immigrants in America. We’re sure that the upcoming third frame will be no less hard-hitting, in its charming, TGIF-invoking kind of way. —Dominick Suzanne-Mayer
The Umbrella Academy
Release: February 15th via Netflix
Why We’re Excited: Fans of My Chemical Romance will get a nice Valentine from Gerard Way this year with The Umbrella Academy. Based on the singer’s Eisner award-winning comics and graphic novels, the complex series follows a group of children who were inexplicably born to random, unconnected women who showed no signs of pregnancy, only for a handful of them to be adopted by a billionaire who raised them to save the world as part of the titular group. Got all that? It’s a little messy of a pitch — and that’s only half of it — but we’re intrigued nonetheless, especially based on the cast alone, which includes Ellen Page, Tom Hopper, and Mary J. Blige. Consider us enrolled. –Michael Roffman
Release: February 20th via IFC
Why We’re Excited: It’s been over two years since the incredible second season of Bill Hader and Fred Armisen‘s mockumentary series. Of course, this isn’t any average show. Each season is essentially a collection of major productions, and the top-notch quality proves that time, effort, and dedication goes into each and every parody. Needless to say, the wait was worth it as the two have one hell of a season three waiting for us. In addition to tackling more recent docs like Wild Wild Country and Marina Abramovic: The Artist is Present, the next run of mocks will get some A-list support from 2018 Comedian of the Year John Mulaney, Cate Blanchett, Michael Keaton, Owen Wilson, and Michael C. Hall. Can’t wait.–Michael Roffman
Release: March 15th via Hulu
Why We’re Excited: Lindy West’s acerbic 2016 memoir was fast-tracked for TV production, and it’s easy enough to see why. West’s book balances a razor-sharp sense of humor with genuine insight about what it’s like to be an unrepentant, unashamed plus-sized woman getting on with her life in a world custom-built to remind her constantly of her own alleged failings. Aidy Bryant steps in as West’s proxy for the Hulu series, as a struggling journalist attempting to take care of everyone from herself, to her ailing parents, to an endless parade of unbearable boyfriends. Bryant is one of SNL‘s most engaging comic discoveries of recent years, and we’re hoping that Shrill gives her the breakout platform she deserves. —Dominick Suzanne-Mayer
Jane the Virgin
Release: March 27th via The CW
Why We’re Excited: It would be unfair to suggest that The CW heads this year into some dark days. The network that dares to defy () has of late made a habit of also denying the idea that ratings matter when you’ve got a critical darling on your hands, championing shows like Crazy Ex-Girlfriend (ending this spring) and the daffy delight that is DC’s Legends Of Tomorrow (currently on a well-earned mid-season hiatus) even when the viewership numbers aren’t mindblowing. Exhibit A: Jane The Virgin, Jennie Snyder Urman’s tender, thoughtful telenovela, equal parts hilarious and heartrending, at times swooningly romantic and others refreshingly, even distressingly frank. The entire cast is superb, but when Jane has moved on, we’ll most miss Gina Rodriguez’s winning, series-anchoring performance, and can only comfort ourselves with her burgeoning movie career — that, and her status as the new Carmen Sandiego. Jane the Virgin has long been one of TV’s most reliable pleasures, and we’re much mistaken if it won’t remain that right on through to the end of this final season. —Allison Shoemaker
What We Do in the Shadows
Release: March TBD via FX
Why We’re Excited: Ever since Taika Waititi‘s 2014 original hit theaters, we’ve been waiting to sink our teeth into a sequel. For awhile, Waititi and co-writer Jemaine Clement had been teasing of a followup involving the werewolf gang, but we’re admittedly stoked that we get even more story with a series. Granted, the show won’t have the principal cast from the film, but the brain trust is behind the scenes, and if we’re being frank, Waititi has yet to really let us down this far into his career. Besides, what’s to worry about when you’ve got Matt Berry of Garth Marenghi’s Darkplace involved. If there’s anyone who knows how to make spooky silly, it’s that guy. Seriously, seek out Garth Marenghi’s Darkplace. –Michael Roffman
Release: April TBD via FX
Why We’re Excited:
Let’s divide this one into two sections, shall we?
READ THIS CHUNK IF YOU HAVE NO IDEA WHO BOB FOSSE AND GWEN VERDON ARE, DON’T GOOGLE, JUST READ THIS: Michelle Williams and Sam Rockwell are doing a series for FX. They are two of the best actors alive, taking their talents to television’s most reliable hitmaking network (apologies to HBO, but it’s true). If you need information beyond this, I don’t know what to tell you. Just trust me. This will be worth your time.
READ THIS CHUNK IF YOU KNOW EXACTLY WHO THE FUCK THEY ARE: I don’t need to sell you, but please, let’s try to keep the fact that this series centers on Fosse, one of the most notable choreographers and directors in the history of theater (and a great filmmaker to boot), and Gwen Verdon, one of Broadway’s greatest dancers, from those who might shy away if they knew that musicals were involved. Genius often comes with a cost, so expect a lot of darkness here—some of it probably communicated in dance, as the network has confirmed that some of Fosse’s visceral choreography will be used—but a lot of tenderness, too. Executive producers include Steven Levenson (Dear Evan Hansen, Thomas Kail and Lin-Manuel Miranda (Hamilton), Nicole Fosse, Rockwell, Williams, and Joel Fields (The Americans), among others. Into it.
Release: April 7th via BBC America
Why We’re Excited: In a year flush with great television, Killing Eve still set itself apart from the crowd as one of 2018’s best shows, to say nothing of its best debut. Phoebe Waller-Bridge (whose black comedy Fleabag will also return on Amazon Prime later this year) finds dramatic and comic tones unlike anybody else working on television right now. After all, she took one of the more generic crime procedural setups imaginable (a low-level MI-5 operative finds herself embroiled in a cat-and-mouse game with a globe-trotting assassin) and turned it into a sandbox for Sandra Oh and Jodie Comer, who turned that premise into a minefield of bloody, brilliant, psychosexual mind games. This can’t return soon enough. —Dominick Suzanne-Mayer