So what’s shakin’ on the old tube this month, you ask? NBC re-introduces a cult sitcom yanked back from the brink of cancellation; Showtime’s got a snazzy period piece set in the coke-fueled world of high finance; Comedy Central pulls back the curtain on a new project from a pair of esteemed Saturday Night Live expats; Team Wonder Woman reunites on the small screen; and Fox drops the latest in live-musical, Broadway-to-your-living-room presentations. Here’s what you’ll be watching on TV as we ease into 2019. (For your best streaming options, go here.)
Black Monday (Showtime, Jan. 20th)
October 19th, 1987 — a day that will forever live in fiscal infamy. Wall Streeters were all but leaping out of windows in the wake of the biggest crash in the history of stock trading, but a handful of outsiders with a cockeyed view of the market were sitting pretty. This slick new period piece takes a comical look at how these misfits elbowed their way into the world of high-stakes finance, retrofitting the classic rags-to-riches story for the era of pinstripe suits and daytime cocaine use. Don Cheadle leads a sturdy ensemble including Andrew Rannells, Regina Hall, Paul Scheer and Casey Wilson, each of them slightly more unhinged than the last.
Brexit (HBO, Jan. 19th)
At the time, Britain’s decision to leave the European Union felt like a sea change too massive for anyone to control. Not so, suggests this made-for-TV movie starring Benedict Cumberbatch as Dominic Cummings, who the trailer introduces as “the man behind Brexit.” The keen political operator scurried around the legislative fringe in the weeks prior to the momentous vote, shoring up support for the controversial measure through a combination of data-driven metrics, old-fashioned horse trading and just an teeny-tiny bit of manipulation. In other words: Meet the gent behind one of the worst political decisions in recent memory, non-U.S.A. division.
Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Season Six (NBC, Jan. 10th)
Fox ordered this crowd-pleasing cop comedy to hand in its gun and badge back in May; anyone will tell you, however, that you can’t keep a good precinct down. Before anyone could say “jimmy-jab games,” the show had found a new network home. Chelsea Peretti’s receptionist Gina, the self-proclaimed human embodiment of the red-100 emoji, will indeed be making her final departure this season. But everyone else from this stellar sitcom, from Andy Samberg’s maverick detective to Andre Braugher’s stone-faced commander, will be reporting for duty once more. There will be plenty of slow-mo power-walks to go around.
Deadly Class (Syfy, Jan. 16th)
To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before obsessives have been keeping an eye on this new action series ever since star Lana Condor was tapped to portray a teen assassin. She’s just one of the students at the King’s Dominion Atelier of the Deadly Arts, an underground high school in San Francisco where the next generation of world-class killers-for-hire cut their teeth. If you thought your teen years were difficult, just try mastering the art of fending off masked bodyguards with samurai swords while trying to gut open a target.
I Am the Night (TNT, Jan. 28th)
In the late Forties, teenager Fauna Hodel (India Eisley) makes a beeline for Los Angeles, hoping to unearth some secrets about her absent parents’ shadowy past. In typical noir fashion, her investigation launched her into a deadly mystery linking the Black Dahlia killings, gynecology and the seedy underbelly of Tinseltown. But the main headline on this miniseries has been the reunion of Wonder Woman collaborators Patty Jenkins (who directs several episodes/serves as executive producer) and star Chris Pine, who shows up as the requisite hard-nosed journalist. We have high hopes for this one.
The Other Two (Comedy Central, Jan. 24th)
They say everyone gets 15 minutes of fame, but what of the unlucky few that get someone else’s 15 minutes? Two self-involved adult siblings (Drew Tarver and Heléne Yorke) yearn for the spotlight, so when their 13-year-old little brother Chase (Case Walker) effortlessly attains overnight viral stardom, they’re ready to blow a fuse. Until, that is, they realize that the family gene pool could be their way onto the A-list. This new sitcom comes from SNL veterans Sarah Schneider and Chris Kelly — expect some sharp digs at showbiz-related desperation.
The Passage (Fox, Jan. 14th)
There’s a smell of Logan in the air on this futuristic drama series, or maybe that’s just the cloud of infectious microbes spreading a deadly virus through humanity. The race is on to devise a cure; a last-ditch effort requires a child for a test subject in some highly unethical trials. Enter Brad Wolgast (Mark-Paul Gosselaar), the federal agent tasked with retrieving and transporting the “package,” better known as Amy (Saniyya Sidney). So there’s a little bit of superhero smash-’em-up, a sleek modern sci-fi, the high-octane action scenes of a thriller — it’s fun for the whole genre-fanatic family!
Project Blue Book (History, Jan. 8th)
Josef Allen Hynek (The Wire and Game of Thrones alum Aidan Gillen) earned his title as the Godfather of UFO-ology across three clandestine, government-sanctioned studies stretching from the Forties through the Sixties. It was in the last of these three, codenamed “Blue Book,” that he got closest to a genuine encounter with extraterrestrials. Could it be the bona fide article, these little green men he endeavored to meet? Or has post-Cold War paranoia warped his mind beyond reason and reality? Either way [dramatic pause] … you’ll want to believe. [Cue spooky theremin solo]
Rent (Fox, Jan. 27th)
The latest in Fox’s ongoing series of live musical broadcasts goes a bit edgier than usual, ratcheting up the sex and drugs for a time capsule of New York in the thick of the AIDS plague. Love, loss and disease touch a group of modern bohemians including rocker Roger (X Factor contestant Brennin Hunt), filmmaker Mark (Grease alumnus Jordan Fisher), dancer Mimi (musician Tinashe) and jack-of-all-trades Angel (drag queen Valentina). If nothing else, you’ll never forget how many minutes are in a year.
True Detective, Season 3 (HBO, Jan. 13th)
It’s been a minute, but the most stone-faced show on TV hasn’t gone anywhere. (And anyway, time is a flat circle, so ….) Creator Nic Pizzolatto has rounded up fresh talent — Green Book star Mahershala Ali; Green Room director Jeremy Saulnier — for what sounds like the most intricate season yet, jumping around three different chronologies in the Ozarks and focusing on a crime involving two missing children. Specifics have been kept under wraps, but judging from the trailer, there are some angry hillbillies, grieving parents and the sort of existential angst that you only get from law-enforcement officers with guilty consciences.