The 20 New TV Shows We're Most Excited for in 2018

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The 20 New TV Shows We're Most Excited for in 2018

Now that we’ve reflected on the best TV shows, performances, episodes and characters of 2017, it’s time for us to look ahead—and 2018 is full to the brim with highly anticipated new TV shows. Limiting the number of titles to 20 was tricky business, but the series below are a smorgasbord of formats, genres and networks. From superheroes and science fiction to family dramas and murder mysteries, Paste is here to help you plan your viewing schedule in 2018. Set those DVRs!

Philip K. Dick’s Electric Dreams
Network: Amazon
Premiere date: January 12

“The future is still human,” declares the enthralling first trailer for Amazon Prime’s sci-fi anthology Electric Dreams. The streamer’s Philip K. Dick-assisted answer to Black Mirror has two things that other show doesn’t: a cast so stacked that it will drop your jaw, and an optimistic vision of the future. The latter quality, in particular, is sorely needed nowadays. Electric Dreams is based on the short stories of mega-influential science-fiction author Dick, whose 1968 novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? appears to have inspired its title. The anthology’s 10 individual stories will be brought to life by an all-star team of actors, including (deep breath) Anna Paquin, Terrence Howard, Greg Kinnear, Steve Buscemi, Janelle Monáe, Essie Davis, Bryan Cranston (also an EP on the series), Richard Madden, Mireille Enos, Timothy Spall, Tom Brooke, Geraldine Chaplin, Jack Reynor and many more. Amazon’s synopsis notes that “each story in the anthology will question what it means to be human in uniquely ambitious, grounded, yet fantastical worlds.” Early glimpses of the show have featured the usual touches of techno-anxiety, but also an unmistakable sense of wonder at what’s to come. As we move into an increasingly uncertain future, there is solace to be found in Electric Dreams. —Scott Russell.

Black Lightning
Network: The CW
Premiere date: January 16

Along with Marvel’s Luke Cage, on Netflix, and Ryan Coogler’s forthcoming Black Panther film, The CW’s latest foray into the superhero genre—this one based on the DC Comics character—signals the growing recognition that more inclusive stories are also more compelling ones. Brought out of retirement by the rise of a local gang, Jefferson Pierce, also known as Black Lightning (Cress Williams), returns to crime fighting, but it’s the series’ attention to the effect this has on his family that piqued our interest; in a landscape saturated with comic book characters, twists on convention are the main way to stand out. With showrunner Salim Akil, his fellow co-creator Mara Brock Akili (Girlfriends), and superhero savant Greg Berlanti as its guides, Black Lightning is poised to kick The CW’s distinctive programming up yet another notch. —Matt Brennan

Network: Comedy Central
Premiere date: January 17

Co-created by its stars Matt Ingebretson and Jake Weisman, this hilarious new series takes the dull slog depicted in Office Space and the corporate shenanigans of Better Off Ted and moves them into much darker places. The two leads play drones in a monolithic company who, despite their existential despair, still have an ugly drive to succeed and move up the chain of command. Their own failings are equaled by the desperate actions of their co-workers, especially the higher-ups, played with devilish glee by Lance Reddick (The Wire), Adam Lustick and Anne Dudek. This isn’t an effort to reinvent the workplace comedy, just to reveal its seamy, smelly underbelly. —Robert Ham

Network:   Starz  
Premiere date: January 21

If there’s one actor (who’s not James Franco) playing multiple characters that we need to see in 2018, it’s J.K. Simmons. The Whiplash Oscar winner is the core of Counterpart, finally starring in a TV show of his own after previously appearing on Law & Order and as a member of HBO’s Oz ensemble. Starz’s original espionage thriller follows Howard Silk (Simmons), a low-level member of a Berlin-based United Nations spy agency who discovers that his organization is safeguarding a portal to an alternate dimension, from which emerges a badass, bizarro Howard known only as “Prime.” As one would expect, Starz says that the show “explores themes of identity, fate and lost love, posing the eternal question, ‘What if our lives could have been different?’” If the series can spin dark, meaningful magic out of those ideas, then all the better, but if not, we’ll still tune in just to see the formidable Simmons pulling double duty as mild-mannered government cog Silk and his ass-kicking, one-liner-spitting doppelgänger. Counterpart comes to us from The Jungle Book screenwriter Justin Marks, and Morten Tyldum (The Imitation Game) directed the premiere—we’re glad we won’t have to wait much longer to see it. —Scott Russell

Network:   HBO  
Premiere date: January 22

Steven Soderbergh’s return to the small screen after his virtuosic turn as director/editor/cinematographer for The Knick is a high-concept series that plays with the elements of storytelling. The story is already available as an iOS app that you navigate through, looking at the murder mystery from the perspectives of the various characters (played by Sharon Stone, Garrett Hedlund and Paul Reubens, among others) and with lots of background info that helps deepen and enrich the experience. By the time Mosaic hits HBO this month, you might already know every last turn of the plot, but in Soderbergh’s capable hands, it will surely remain a one-of-a-kind experience. —Robert Ham

Altered Carbon
Network:   Netflix  
Premiere date: February 2

In this dystopian future, human bodies are just “sleeves” for your consciousness, and when the body dies, the individual is re-sleeved. Richard K. Morgan’s 2002 cyber-punk novel won the Philip K. Dick Award, and has now been adapted into a TV series, premiering on Netflix in February. Hamilton fans will recognize Renée Elise Goldsberry starring opposite Suicide Squad’s Joel Kinnaman, while Game of Thrones fans will appreciate the fact that the pilot is directed by Miguel Sapochnik. Originally optioned as a feature film, showrunner Laeta Kalogridis is hoping for Netflix’s first sci-fi hit. —Josh Jackson

Here and Now
Network:   HBO  
Premiere date: February 11

I’m no True Blood diehard, and American Beauty hasn’t aged terribly well—and not only because it stars the disgraced Kevin Spacey. But on the strength of Six Feet Under, one of the finest dramas ever to air on American television, there’s no new Alan Ball project I’m not eager to see. With Here and Now, starring Tim Robbins and Holly Hunter (Oscar-worthy in 2017’s The Big Sick) as the heads of a sprawling, multi-ethnic family, Ball returns to his bread-and-butter: kinship and its discontents. (In a Six Feet Under-style twist, one of the family members even begins seeing things.) Color me excited. —Matt Brennan

Seven Seconds
Network:   Netflix  
Premiere date: February 23

Look, I liked The Killing. Even when everyone was mad at the show at the end of the first season, I still liked it. Now executive producer Veena Sud is back, this time with a story adapted from a Russian movie. The 10-episode series follows the aftermath when a white cop critically injures a black teenager. Regina King, who just ended a stellar run on American Crime, and Russell Hornsby star as the parents of the teenager, and if the series is anything like The Killing, I expect many red herrings along the way. —Amy Amatangelo

Good Girls
Network: NBC
Premiere date: February 26

Retta, Mae Whitman and Christina Hendricks. Do you need to know more? These lovely ladies starred in three of my favorite TV series—Parks & Recreation, Parenthood and Mad Men, respectively. Now this dream team star as three best friends who decide to rob a grocery store. What could go wrong? Pretty much everything. Do you need more reason to be excited? It’s from executive producer Jenna Bans, who has worked on both Grey’s Anatomy and Scandal, which means the show will have the right mix of humor and drama. I’m ready to treat myself. —Amy Amatangelo

The Looming Tower
Network:   Hulu  
Premiere date: February 28

At a wedding before the 9/11 terror attacks, Osama bin Laden reportedly quoted the Quran 4:78: “Wherever you are, death will find you, even if you are in the looming towers.” Based on Lawrence Wright’s non-fiction book of the same name, The Looming Tower, a 10-part miniseries on Hulu, looks at the events leading up to 9/11, particularly the failure of U.S. intelligence agencies to share information that might have prevented them. Executive producers include documentarian Alex Gibney (Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief, Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room) and screenwriter Dan Futterman (Capote). The pilot is filled with the types of characters Gibney has made a career of profiling, like Jeff Daniels as the womanizing FBI special agent in charge and Peter Sarsgaard as an arrogant CIA analyst. It’s a side of one of our nation’s biggest tragedies that we don’t often see. (Disclosure: Paste Movies contributing editor Shannon M. Houston is a writer on The Looming Tower.) —Josh Jackson

Network: NBC
Premiere date: March 13

You had us at Jason Katims. The man behind Friday Night Lights and Parenthood returns with a show about high school teacher (Josh Radnor) who takes over his school’s struggling theater department. I know what you’re thinking. I’m thinking it, too. Yes, it sounds an awful lot like Glee. But Friday Night Lights wasn’t really about football, and Rise won’t really be about high school musicals. Katims doesn’t do over-the-top camp. What he does do is make us cry and make us care. The show’s other producer is Jeffrey Seller, who helped bring a little musical called Hamilton to Broadway. Plus, I have inside information I’m sure most of you don’t. I’ve listened to the Moana soundtrack at least 1,000 times (a low estimate, if I’m being honest) and Auli’i Cravalho, the voice of Moana, is amazing. She blew us away with her Oscar performance last year. Now we’ll get to see her on a weekly basis. —Amy Amatangelo

The Terror
Network: AMC
Premiere date: March 26

If you love Planet Earth and horror as much as I do, there’s going to be a lot to love in Arctic expedition anthology The Terror. Based on a non-linear novel and executive produced by geriatric loose cannon Ridley Scott, this 1840s-set, Jared Harris- and Ciarán Hinds-starring madness already chills me to the bone. Besides, nothing gets me going like some Northwest Passage exploration. Nothing. —Jacob Oller (Photo: Aidan Monaghan/AMC)

Network: ABC
Premiere date: March 27

Revivals are all the rage. And at first I was a little wary, but Will & Grace has taught me to be open-minded. Even though I’m still annoyed they forgot Grace had a child, I’m totally okay with Dan (John Goodman) being alive and well in the nine-episode return of Roseanne. Never have we needed the groundbreaking series more. In the decades since the show’s 1988 premiere, Roseanne became more of a cult of personality and people forgot what made her famous in the first place. When Roseanne was at its heyday, the show was gloriously funny and poignantly satirical. The entire cast is returning—even both Beckys (Sarah Chalke, who took over for Lecy Goranson, will play a woman who hires Becky to be her surrogate). Roseanne has even returned to using Roseanne Barr, her original credited name. I’m choosing to trust in the genius of those who brought the show to us originally. I’m ready to laugh again. —Amy Amatangelo

Little Women
Network: PBS
Premiere date: May 13

There is not a book I love more than Little Women or an adaptation I haven’t seen. I owned the dolls as a child (you can still find them at my parents’ house), and every time I read the story or watch the movie, I have a renewed optimism that maybe this time [redacted] will choose [redacted]. Maybe this time [redacted] won’t die. Hope springs eternal while I’m watching the March clan. Set during the Civil War in Massachusetts, I cannot wait for this three hour Masterpiece miniseries to revisit something so beloved from my childhood. —Amy Amatangelo

Network:   HBO  
Premiere date: Spring 2018

Bill Hader’s first big foray outside the fold of his former SNL buddies is this HBO series, co-created with Silicon Valley producer Alan Berg. Barry follows a former Marine turned hitman who falls in with a ragtag group of wannabe actors in Los Angeles. While there’s only a teaser trailer to go by, the show looks to give Hader a much-needed showcase for his comic chops that doesn’t require him to do an impression or fall into a goofy voice. And the rest of the cast—including Stephen Root, Henry Winkler, and The Good Place’s D’Arcy Carden—should give him the right kind of support for what will hopefully be a star turn. —Robert Ham

Network: Paramount Network
Premiere date: Spring 2018

Heathers TV Land 2018.jpg
The rules have changed considerably since writer Daniel Waters and director Michael Lehmann released their beloved teen satire in 1988. Projects like Riverdale and 13 Reasons Why and, just frankly, life, no longer make it believable that high schools are solely run by preppy rich kids with concealed eating disorders and falsified perfections. In today’s social-media savvy world, where uniqueness is coveted just as much as conformity, everyone from every clique could be the bully or the victim. And that’s what make the Heathers revamp so enticing. The new series, which premieres on Paramount Network (née Spike) later this year, stars a bunch of new faces—plus O.G. Shannen Doherty—who still look like they could kill you with Corn Nuts. —Whitney Friedlander (Photo: Paramount Network)

Network:   Starz  
Premiere date: Spring 2018

Sweetbitter 2018.jpg
In 2016, Stephanie Danler published a best-selling book about a 22-year-old who comes to New York, lands a restaurant job and is thrown into the world of drugs, gossip, lust and, well, chaos. Maybe it’s because as the responsible oldest child in my family my 22nd year was nothing like that, that I found the book such an intriguing read. Danler wrote the pilot script, which should help to ensure that not much gets lost in translation from page to screen and that the book’s lush and vibrant celebration of the senses remains in tact. —Amy Amatangelo (Photo: Alfred A. Knopf)

Sharp Objects
Network:   HBO  
Premiere date: Summer 2018

Sharp Objects 2018 Main.jpeg
As far as I’m concerned, Big Little Lies Season Two is already on the calendar: Its director, Jean-Marc Vallée, returns to HBO this summer to helm this eight-part adaptation of Gillian Flynn’s debut novel. Scripted by Flynn (Gone Girl) and Marti Noxon (UnREAL), Sharp Objects follows journalist Camille Preaker (Amy Adams) as she investigates the murders of two young girls in her hometown. As if the blistering black humor and even blacker drama of the writers’ and director’s prior screen work weren’t enough to sell me on Sharp Objects, the supporting cast includes Chris Messina and two masters of suburban upset, Elizabeth Perkins and Patricia Clarkson. Enough said. —Matt Brennan (Photo: HBO)

Marvel’s Cloak & Dagger
Network: Freeform
Premiere date: Fall 2018

While there are definitely shows coming sooner that I am excited about, Freeform’s first Marvel offering (and Marvel’s second live-action teen offering), Cloak & Dagger, is the one I’ve found myself looking up repeatedly since its pick-up was first announced, eager for any new details about when it will be dropping and what it will look like in a way I haven’t been for any TV show since Agent Carter (the only other show to come close is Freeform’s second live-action Marvel joint, the comic New Warriors). Cloak & Dagger’s premise—in its broadest strokes, a black teen boy and a white teen girl discover not just that they have superpowers, but that those powers are stronger when they are together—carries more socially conscious real-world weight than Marvel’s film universe generally does, making the show likely to be nearer in tone to Netflix’s stable (the moody and dramatic first trailer supports this). At the same time, Cloak & Dagger—like New Warriors’ lead, the Unbeatable Squirrel Girl—is a less well-tread property than almost anything Marvel that has adapted (other than, maybe, Runaways), and so will have more opportunities to establish its own voice and mythology without feeling beholden to a dug-in fan base, which is a really cool opportunity in a market already so saturated with comic-book properties it feels increasingly like we’ll never get new stories again. I know fall is still ages away, but Olivia Holt (Tandy) and Aubrey Joseph (Tyrone): I am ready for you. —Alexis Gunderson

Miracle Workers
Network: TBS
Premiere date: TBD

With Full Frontal with Samantha Bee, Angie Tribeca, People of Earth and Search Party, TBS has emerged as an idiosyncratic comedy powerhouse, and we’re eager to see what’s next. At the top of the list is Miracle Workers, from Saturday Night Live’s Lorne Michaels and the underappreciated Man Seeking Woman’s Simon Rich. Described as “a Heaven-set workplace comedy,” with Daniel Radcliffe as the angel in charge of human prayers and Steve Buscemi (replacing Owen Wilson) as his neglectful boss, God, the series’ premise is perhaps too reminiscent of NBC’s brilliant The Good Place for its own good, but with TBS’ imprimatur, and Michaels’ and Rich’s comic pedigree, we’re confident that Miracle Workers will continue the network’s winning streak. —Matt Brennan (Photo: Thomas Kronsteiner/Getty Images)

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