Synopsis: In 1979, two FBI agents interview imprisoned serial killers in an attempt to solve ongoing cases.
What You Need To Know: Serial killers have been good to David Fincher — he reinvented his career with “Seven,” and arguably peaked it with “Zodiac.” So it’s fitting that, as he bounces back from HBO scrapping not one but two shows, “Utopia” and “Videocrazy” (the latter of which was well into production when the plug was pulled), he returns to the subject with this new Netflix series, which was once in development at HBO. Co-produced with Charlize Theron, and written and showrun by playwright Joe Penhall, who wrote the scripts for “Enduring Love” and “The Road,” it seems familiar and crime-procedural-y in premise, but we’re sure in Fincher’s hands it’ll be quite different, with a more psychologically realistic and gritty take on the genre than most (it’s based on fact, like “Zodiac”). Fincher’s eschewed the movie-star casting of some big shows here, with “Looking” and “Hamilton” actor Jonathan Groff, Fincher regular Holt McCallany and “Fringe” star Anna Torv in the leads, but they’re an appealing trio. Could this be the next “True Detective”? We wouldn’t bet against it.
Airdate: Summer seems like the best bet.
4. “I Love Dick”
Synopsis: A filmmaker moves with her husband to a college town in Texas, where she becomes enamored with a charismatic professor, Dick.
What You Need To Know: They have heavy hitters coming down the pipe in 2018, with new shows from David O. Russell and Matthew Weiner among others, but we have to say (and with a certain amount of confidence, given that most of the pilots have been on the service for a while) that we’re not all that enamored of Amazon’s 2017 line-up so far, for the most part: two F. Scott Fitzgerald shows of varying degrees of ropiness with “Z” and “The Last Tycoon,” Giovanni Ribisi vehicle “Sneaky Pete,” comedies “Highston,” “Jean-Claude Van Johnson” and “The Tick” and spy drama “Patriot.” But there’s one shining light among them, and it’s no surprise that it comes from Jill Soloway, creator of the streaming service’s greatest gem “Transparent.” She directed the pilot and is producing, but actually playwright Sarah Gubbins is the writer and showrunner on this adaptation of Chris Kraus’s seminal novel. If you’ve seen the pilot, you’ll know that it retains many of the strengths of “Transparent,” including the great Kathryn Hahn, but feels distinct as well. Kevin Bacon and Griffin Dunne star as well, with Bacon as the titular Dick, and assuming there’s no drop in quality, we’ll be there for every episode.
Airdate: This hasn’t been formally picked up to series, though we hear it’s all but certain to happen. That means that we likely won’t see the series until towards the end of next year, though.
3. “American Gods”
Synopsis: An ex-con is drawn into the orbit of the shady Mr. Wednesday before discovering he is actually the Norse God Odin, that all the ancient Gods exist but are passing off as mortal humans because no one believes in them any longer and plotting against the new, thriving Gods such as Technology and Media.
What You Need To Know: Some TV packages are basically made of “yes!” and “American Gods” might just have the most air-punching lineup of all. Based on the terrifically entertaining and mordant novel by Neil Gaiman, it’s a pointed modern-day fable which will star a perfectly cast Ian McShane as the venal but charismatic Mr. Wednesday, amongst a mouthwatering cast including veterans Gillian Anderson, Emily Browning, Crispin Glover, Kristin Chenoweth, Corbin Bernsen, Cloris Leachman, Peter Stormare and Jeremy Davies, plus relative newcomer and former British soap star Ricky Whittle. Oh and, er Dane Cook. And behind-the-camera, too, the talent is outstanding: The co-creators/showrunners are Bryan Fuller, the brains behind “Hannibal,” and Michael Green who is the emblematic writer of 2017 having also written or co-written the screenplays for the next Wolverine movie “Logan” (alongside director James Mangold and “Godless” writer Scott Frank), Ridley Scott‘s “Alien: Covenant” and Denis Villeneuve‘s “Blade Runner: 2049,” as well as Kenneth Branagh‘s daffy-looking remake of “Murder On The Orient Express.” It’s with the relatively untested Starz network, but the project had been in production at HBO for some time prior to that, and directors of the caliber of David Slade, Vincenzo Natali and Floria Sigismondi will no doubt give its droll, macabre storyline the appropriate visual flair, too.
Airdate: Early 2017.
2. “Top of the Lake: China Girl”
Synopsis: Back in Sydney four years after the New Zealand-based events of season 1, detective Robin Griffin investigates a wholly new Hong Kong-connected case which involves the body of a girl that washes up on Sydney’s Bondi Beach.
What You Need To Know: With the exception of a certain returning classic which has been gone so long it feels like a new show (spoiler: it’s at number 1), we’ve listed only new as opposed to returning shows here. But we’re making one other exception for Jane Campion and Gerard Lee‘s return to their superb, self-contained 2013 show partly because it will have been four years since it last aired, and partly because it was so self-contained: Season 2 will only really feature crossover in terms of Elisabeth Moss‘s terrific character (the role that brought her her first Golden Globe) with all else being new, even the setting. Not only that, but it features new cast member Gwendoline Christie (“Game Of Thrones“) and the reunion of Campion with megastar Nicole Kidman, with whom she has not worked since making masterpiece “The Portrait Of A Lady” 20 years ago. Mainly, though, our enthusiasm derives from the fact that co-writer and producer Campion will also direct some of the episodes, with Ariel Kleiman, director of sorely underseen Vincent Cassel film “Partisan,” taking others (season 1 co-director Garth Davis had a scheduling conflict and will not return). Frankly, if Campion were directing a webseries based on the phone book starring a dead pigeon, Tori Spelling and head of cabbage, it would still land firmly inside our top 10 most anticipated anythings, of any year.
Airdate: None announced as yet, but season 1 debuted in its entirety at Sundance and the Berlinale before a March release via the Sundance Channel, so we can hope…
1. “Twin Peaks”
Synopsis: Harry, I have no idea where this will lead us, but I have a definite feeling it will be a place both wonderful and strange.
What You Need To Know: The coffee will be damn fine and hot, too, but the owls will not be what they seem when David Lynch favors us with his first substantial project in a decade (“Inland Empire” was 2006) and returns to his dazzling, bewitching, for some of us character-forming cult television phenomenon, “Twin Peaks.” Teaming pretty much the entire original cast (including, most importantly, Kyle MacLachlan as Special Agent Dale Cooper) with a star-spattered array of new additions including Monica Bellucci, Jim Belushi, Ashley Judd, Caleb Landry Jones, Balthazar Getty, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Laura Dern, Naomi Watts, Amanda Seyfried, Tim Roth, Tom Sizemore, Ernie Hudson and about 40% of the rest of SAG, apparently, the show will be a 25-years-on continuation of the original, as opposed to a reboot or remake, for which thank God, or David Lynch and returning co-creator and co-writer Mark Frost. There is always an element of trepidation when something canonical gets a new installment, but Lynch is one of our few outright filmmaking geniuses, and the heightened, sizzling alternate universe he and Frost created in the original show is simply not one that feels dated in the slightest. And since his and Frost’s creation is surely a foundational document for the current era of Peak TV, it feels only right that it is coming back (to Showtime), with no little fanfare, in 2017 when we need its surreal, skewed, beautiful, whimsical, fucked-up, oddball humanity more than ever. We await breathlessly, log in hand, patch on eye, slice of cherry pie on the table — it has been way, way too long.
Airdate: None yet, because the people at Showtime are heartless sadists who enjoy watching us hyperventilate with anticipation.
Of course, we’re barely still scratching the surface of what’s set to come in the year ahead, and that’s even excluding those that will start filming in the near future, but likely not debut until 2018, shows like Amy Adams-starring HBO Gillian Flynn adaptation “Sharp Objects”; the Daniel Craig-starring adaptation of Jonathan Franzen’s “Purity” from director Todd Field on Showtime; Danny Boyle’s “Trust” on FX; and Cary Fukunaga’s “Maniac” starring Jonah Hill and Emma Stone on Netflix, which is apparently still a ways off. Former Fukunaga project “The Alienist” at TNT, now helmed by “London Spy” director Jakob Verbruggen and starring Daniel Brühl and Luke Evans, is reportedly targeting late 2017, but we think that might be a stretch given that it hasn’t shot yet.
Also coming and looking intriguing are AMC’s Antarctic period horror “The Terror,” based on Dan Simmons’ book and starring Ciarán Hinds, Jared Harris and Tobias Menzies; pleasing-looking DC Comics comedy “Powerless” with Vanessa Hudgens and Alan Tudyk on NBC; Drew Barrymore/Timothy Olyphant Netflix comedy “Santa Clarita Diet,” which bows in February; the Judd Apatow-produced comedy “Crashing” starring stand-up Pete Holmes; and Lord/Miller time travel comedy “Making History” starring Adam Pally and Leighton Meester on Fox.
We’re also getting a slew of new Amazon shows, including John Krasinski as “Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan”; superhero spoof “The Tick”; and action-comedy “Jean-Claude Van Johnson”; plus Christina Ricci-starring Zelda Fitzgerald biopic “Z”; F. Scott Fitzgerald’s “The Last Tycoon” with Matt Bomer, Lily Collins and Kelsey Grammer; Giovanni Ribisi vehicle “Sneaky Pete”; and spy dramedy “Patriot”; while Netflix and Marvel’s “Dimly Lit Corridor Punch-Up Hour” gets three new iterations in “Iron Fist,” “The Punisher,” and team-up show “The Defenders.” The streaming giant also launch comedy “Girlboss” from the creator of “Pitch Perfect”; YA-ish drama “13 Reasons Why” starring Selena Gomez (and directed by, of all people, “Spotlight” helmer Tom McCarthy); “Black Mirror”-ish sci-fi “Kiss Me First”; and the Neil Patrick Harris-starring reboot of “A Series Of Unfortunate Events.”
Elsewhere, there’s also Josh Hutcherson starring in a Rogen & Goldberg-produced sci-fi comedy “Future Man” for Hulu; Tarsem directing long-delayed “Wizard Of Oz” riff “Emerald City” for NBC; “24: Legacy,” a reboot of the real-time drama with “Straight Outta Compton” star Corey Hawkins stepping into Jack Bauer’s shoes; AMC period drama “The Son” starring Pierce Brosnan; a “Training Day” spin-off starring Bill Paxton on CBS; and more-intriguing-than-you’d-think “Archie” rejig “Riverdale” on the CW. Anything else coming up that we’ve missed? Let us know in the comments.