It is April and we are getting closer and closer to summer and the middle of 2016 (already!). We should get all our commissions to an end and prepare our beach bodies for the hottest period of the year.
Of course, some of us have other priorities and implicitly, other plans, which imply either procrastinating inside, instead of doing it on the beach, or working and having our best friend, the TV, on. It might be only April, but there is already an entire collection of new TV series to watch during the 3 month long summer break.
And we are not talking about the shows that are returning to our small screens – like Game of Thrones, Orphan Black and Penny Dreadful – but about actual new shows as fresh as loaf of bread out of the oven.
Old is the new… new
Do you remember having a favourite item, a book or a comic book, and imagining an entire universe around it? Like that time you made an entire empire of sea shells and you Darth vader figurine was a slight replacement for Aqua Man. This is how the new TV series are created right now.
Old ideas and concepts are taken – books, comics, movies, even actual events – and adapted to both suit the newer generations, while still pleasing the older ones. But being something old does not take away their originality – let’s face it! TV networks and producers rarely risk releasing something bad, especially when it comes to rebooting, because bad reviews and ratings can occur even to the best of the best – we are still not over Hannibal and Constantine.
Sugar and spice
If there is one type of TV series that never get old, that would be the detective one. One must note down all the names of the countless CSI series and there would still be a whole bunch of other shows involving investigations, conducted either by policemen, detectives or supernatural creatures.
And the sweet irony is that regardless of the beehive of detective series, we still can barely crack the codes and guess who the killer is. This is probably why we are so addicted to them and why they are still so extremely popular. On the other hand, series that explore the human inner self and its depths are something that people who really enjoy studying every micro expression and gesture, as well as every single detail from a show.
Now, we are going to present you the best TV shows that have aired this year so far and perhaps, you might pick something for your summer watch list.
13. Vinyl (HBO, 14 February 2014)
Created by Martin Scorsese, Mick Jagger and Rich cohen, “Vinyl” takes us the 1970s New York, where a music executive, Richie Finestra (Bobby Cannavale), attempts to make a career and bring back his label.
Yet the man who once loved music deeply and had an ear for talented singers now perceives everything as a simple business and a cow to milk.
The show is a pure Scorsese creation through its setting, dark themes, but still has a Jagger touch with the music and ambiance. The 70s setting is pure nostalgia for some, while a nice peek into the past for others. Also, some found similarities between “Vinyl”and “Breaking Bad”, which might be either a good thing or a bad one, depending on perspective.
12. DC’s Legends of Tomorrow (The CW, 21 January)
A spinoff of the series “Arrow” and “Flash”, “DC’s Legends of Tomorrow” gathers a group of superhumans turned into an army of superheroes.
The time traveler Rip Hunter (Arthur Davill) is the one who joins together Firestorm (Victor Garber), Atom (Brandon Routh), White Canary (Caity Lotz) and other to fight Vandal Savage (Casper Crump) and save the world.
Be it DC Universe or Marvel, people just love superheroes and all sorts of adaptations, be it movies or TV series. And if you are already a fan of the other CW – DC shows, there is no reason why you could not enjoy another one.
11. Billions (Showtime, 1 January)
New York is witnessing a cold war between U.S. Attorney Charles “Chuck” Rhoades Jr. (Paul Giamatti) and Bobby “Axe”Axelrod (Damian Lewis), a hedge fund manager.
While Chuck is a merciless damaged man, inhibited by his successful wife and father, Axel is a man whose dirty work and tactics are balanced by charity and generosity.
One can say that with shows such “House of Cards”, battle of powers are an exhausted subject, but “Billions” takes a different path and manages to bring something new on the small screen for lovers of realistic matters hidden to mere people.
10. Horace and Pete (louisck.net, 30 January 2016)
Inspired by the play “Abigail’s Party” and coming in like a wrecking ball is Louis C.K.’s web series, “Horace and Pete”. The short series has only 10 episodes that can be found on C.K.’s website.
The show is set in Brooklyn, New York, focusing on the bar “Horace and Pete”, which has been owned for a century by a pair of Wittel family members, all named Horace (Louis C.K.) and Pete (Steve Buscemi).
“Horace and Pete” is more of a personal project, that is not exclusively storywise shocking as it is unexpected. It blends theater, cinema and television all in one classical masterpiece debating family dynamics.
9. Hap and Leonard (SundanceTV, 2 March 2016)
Created by Jim Mickle and Nick Damici after Joe R. Lansdale’s novels, the 6 episode long TV series is set in the 1980s centred mainly on the title characters.
Hap Collins (James Purefoy) is a former convict and rebel, while Leonard Pine (Michael Kenneth Williams) is a Vietnam war veteran, seriously affected by his carreer, and together they make things go either more wrong or slightly less wrong.
Maybe a guilty pleasure, but who would not like a dark and funny show with a very interesting story line? Besides, a second season is presumed to continue the already 6 episodes with the story from the novel “Mucho Mojo”.
8. And Then There Were None (BBC One, 26 Decembre 2015)
Agatha Christie’s best sold novel is brought once more on our screens with this BBC adaptation. Starring Miranda Richardson, Charles Dance,Sam Neill, Aiden Turner and Douglas Booth, “And Then There Were None” follows a group of presumed killers gathered on an island.
Subsequently, one by one, they start dying in the same manner mentioned in the the nursery song the island was named after.
BBC usually makes the best book to TV series adaptation and this is a well known fact. Therefore, the first episode was viewed by more than 6 million people. The show was, though, criticised for deviating from Christie’s novel, but its unexpected originality aided in making the people continue watching an already very popular story, but with a new different touch.
7. Lucifer (Fox, 25 January)
The devil is here and he is not as we expected him to be. Originally a character in the DC comic books “The Sandman” and “Lucifer”, Lucifer (Tom Ellis) is the bored king of hell, who takes an extended vacation in Los Angeles.
His activities include being devilishly handsome and charming and helping LAPD Detective Chloe Decker (Lauren German) in fighting crime and catching criminals.
Although some might be disappointed in not finding another “Constantine” or “Supernatural”, “Lucifer” is far from being just another police procedurals show, purely because of the presence of the snarky Lucifer himself in the business. Maybe the character of Chloe Decker is not perceived very well due to being a little too generic, the rest of the show and the dynamics between the characters are just wonderful and very entertaining.
6. War & Peace (BBC One, 3 January)
Another BBC production, “War & Peace” recreates the 19th century Russian world introduced by Leo Tolstoy in his best selling novel.
Starring Paul Dano as Pierre Bezukhov, Lily James as Natasha Rostova and James Norton as Andrei Bolkonsky. Focusing on the Russian high society and the war between the Russian Empire and Napoleon, “War & Peace” tangles families and people in a fight for supremacy, money and love.
Leo Tolstoy’s novel is as beautiful as it is difficult to read and to truly understand its meaning and nuances. This TV series was created under the magic wand of BBC and comes as a handbook in the process of learning about Russian history and society.
5. Angie Tribeca (TBS, 17 January 2016)
Remember when we mentioned that there are too many police procedurals shows? Well… Steve Carell agrees, too and this is why he created a parody of such series.
Starring “The Office” and “Parks and Recreations” comedy actress Rashida Jones as the title character, Angie Tribeca, this series follows crime investigation conducted by LAPD in a funny manner.
Sometime we just want to laugh and fart and paternity jokes can get a little old. So why not enjoy the most popular type of series seasoned with the same humour from “The Office” and “Parks and Recreations”. The good news is that a second season was already announced for this summer.
4. The X-Files (Fox, 24 January)
Yes, those “The X-files” you might have heard about when you were very young. Bringing back David Duchovny as Fox Mulder and Gillian Anderson as Dana Scully after more than a decade, with more conspiracy theories and mysteries to solve and of course… more aliens.
“The X-Files” is the Edgar Allan Poe of the TV series. A classical piece, fans were longing after a revival or at least a movie adaptation for the old times’ sake. What they did get was a 10th season with only 6 episodes and a chance for an 11th. 14 years might have passed since the series originally ended, but nothing has changed – especially its magic.
3. Shadowhunters (Freeform, 12 January 2016)
Adapted after Cassandra Clare’s “The Mortal Instruments” teen novels, “Shadowhunters” is a fantasy series focused on Clary Fray (Katherine McNamara), a girl who is dragged from her ordinary life into a world in which people with angelic blood hunt demons.
But vampires, warlocks, werewolves and fairies are just mere passengers in Clary’s path to self-discovery.
This is the second official adaptation of Clare’s novels, the first one being the 2013 movie “The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones” with Lily Collins as Clary.
Because the movie was not a critics’ favourite and neither a fans’ favourite, it was decided to give the books another fair chance at screening and this is how “Shadowhunters” appeared. Also, having compelling actors, strong female leads and queer characters did do the story some justice.
2. American Crime Story: The People v. O.J. Simpson (FX, 2 February 2016)
American Crime Story takes the concept of its more famous predecessor, American Horror Story. Based on “The Run of His Life: The People v. O.J. Simpson” by Jeffrey Toobin, American Crimes Story follows the trial of sportsman O.J. Simpson, as he is accused of murdering his wife and her friend, and the implications of the Kardashian family in the entire situation.
The show stars “American Horror Story” alumni Sarah Paulson and “Friends” star David Schwimmer, as well as John Travolta, Cuba Gooding Jr. and Selma Blair.
The show’s first season has just ended on the 5th of April and a second one is already planned on exploring Hurricane Katrina, pointing out that its ratings were far from disappointing. It also scored very good results from critics and has wonderful in general reviews. The crew’s and entire behind the scenes team’s obvious experience is an important advantage and we can’t wait to see more from them.
1. Shades of Blue (NBC, 7 January 2016)
We all knew Jennifer Lopez loved acting, but this time we get to see her as a detective. Harlee Santos is not your ordinary female main character.
This NYPD officer is corrupt and has a secret she hid very well from her 17 year old daughter. But Harlee is suddenly put in a difficult situation involving financial problems, bribery and fighting corruption, while being one of the tainted.