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40 Most Anticipated TV Shows of 2019

From a revival of ‘Deadwood’ to the return of ‘Stranger Things,’ a fresh take on Picard and more, here are the shows we can’t wait to binge this year

photographs in illustration: Helen Sloan/HBO; Aimee Spinks/BBCAmerica; Netflix; Philipe Antonello/HULU; Warrick Page/HBO

If the constant deluge of programming in the Peak TV era is starting to make viewing feel like a chore… snap out of it! (To quote, well, not a TV show.) The beauty of the streaming age is that there’s something — many things, in fact — for everybody, available at any time of day, whenever you want to escape the real world and drop into another.

Maybe that world is the lawless and dusty hills of 1870s South Dakota, where everyone carries a gun and has a musical command of the word “fuck” (Deadwood). Maybe it’s the misty cliffs of tony, modern-day Monterey, California, where secrets hide in multimillion-dollar mansions overlooking the Pacific (Big Little Lies). Maybe it’s the coke-fueled chaos of Wall Street circa 1987 (Black Monday) or a world we’ve never seen before in a galaxy far, far away (The Mandalorian).

Whatever your fancy, Peak TV creators can deliver it. Often, they give you something you didn’t even know you wanted. In addition to a host of returning favorites (Thrones, Killing Eve and so many more), this year’s crop of shows features a mockumentary about vampire roommates living in Staten Island (What We Do In The Shadows), a dishy dive behind the scenes of network morning shows (Top of the Morning) and the prolific Ryan Murphy’s take on politics (appropriately, The Politician). Plus, there are big-name directors (Patty Jenkins! Ava DuVernay!) and actors (Rockwell! Clooney! Streep!) galore.

Admittedly, the choices can be a little overwhelming. But that’s what we’re here for. This list highlights the 40 shows out of 40 billion that we’re most excited to see over the next 12 months. Charge your devices, stock up on snacks and turn off your screen-time notifications; it’s gonna be a big year.

Abbi Jacobson and Ilana Glazer in Season Five of 'Broad City.'

Cara Howe/Comedy Central

‘Broad City’ Final Season (Comedy Central, January 24th)

Ciao, Abbi and Ilana. Broad City aims to go out on top in its fifth season, with Abbi Jacobson and Ilana Glazer as the BFFs who carry each other through the haze of their twenties, from the highs (pegging, going to Whole Foods on drugs) to the lows (most everything else). Season Four got dark and political, with a whole episode dedicated to post-election sexual dysfunction. Glazer and Jacobson began this story as their homemade series of YouTube shorts before they had any idea how big it would blow up; it will be a pleasure to see them ride it all the way to the finale. RS

Heléne Yorke and Drew Tarver are siblings to a pop star in 'The Other Two.'

Jon Pack/Comedy Central

‘The Other Two’ (Comedy Central, January 24th)

Comedy Central is pairing the final season of Broad City with one of the shows the network hopes might help fill that Ilana-and-Abbi-shaped hole in our hearts. Drew Tarver (Bajillion Dollar Propertie$) and Heléne Yorke (Masters of Sex) play young adult siblings whose lives have never gone anywhere, even as their 13-year-old brother ChaseDreams (Case Walker) becomes a massive pop star overnight. Former SNL head writers Chris Kelly and Sarah Schneider have penned the new buddy comedy, with some complicated family dynamics thrown in for fun. AS

Ellie Kemper in 'Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt.'

Eric Liebowitz/Netflix

‘Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt’ Final Season (Netflix, January 25th)

Tina Fey and Robert Carlock close out the story of their plucky heroine Kimmy (Ellie Kemper), in the final season (technically the second half of Season Four) of a groundbreaking show that delicately balanced horrific trauma with comedy. (Always a strange fit on NBC, it looks more at home on Netflix.) There’s an episode with a Sliding Doors-style timeline looking at how everyone’s life would be if Kimmy had never been kidnapped. Kemper heads the returning cast, along with Jane Krakowski, Carol Kane and Tituss Burgess. RS

Chris Pine in 'I Am the Night.'

Clay Enos/TNT

‘I Am The Night’ (TNT, January 28th)

Wonder Woman star Chris Pine and director Patty Jenkins re-team for this six-part miniseries that evokes the stylized noir of L.A. Confidential. Based on a memoir (whose co-author, Fauna Hodel, also contributed to the script), it boasts true-crime bona fides that tie a young woman’s search for her birth family to a notorious Hollywood gynecologist who may or may not have been the Black Dahlia killer. Jenkins knows how to bring out the best in Pine, tapping into the squirrelly energy that lurks beneath his ordinary leading-man looks. Whatever road she wants to lead him down, we’ll follow. MF

Natasha Lyonne (right) co-created and stars in 'Russian Doll.'

‘Russian Doll’ (Netflix, February 1st)

Orange Is the New Black‘s Natasha Lyonne co-created (with Amy Poehler and director Leslye Headland) this Groundhog Day-meets-quirky-indie set in New York. She plays a video game designer who keeps dying after her 36th birthday party, then resurrecting in the same spot earlier in the same evening. It’s been a while since Lyonne had a great showcase of her own; looks like she just went out and wrote herself one. AS

Maya Erskine and Anna Konkle play themselves as 13-year-olds in 'Pen15.'


‘Pen15’ (Hulu, February 8th)

Welcome to middle school circa Y2K: Maya Erskine and Anna Konkle play two friends coping with adolescence in the era of NSync, AIM and “Teenage Dirtbag.” They’re adult comedians playing themselves as 13-year-olds, surrounded by a cast of actual kids, in a cross between Big Mouth, Eighth Grade and Freaks and Geeks. Both alumnae of Man Seeking Woman, Erskine and Konkle will get a chance to shine in this 10-episode Hulu comedy produced by the Lonely Island team, suffering through crushes, cliques, chat rooms and leg-shaving as a lovable pair of all-American rejects. RS

Mary J. Blige in 'The Umbrella Academy.'

Christos Kalohoridis/Netflix

‘Umbrella Academy’ (Netflix, February 15th)

Netflix’s history with comic-book properties is shaky (sorry, Daredevil, Iron Fist and Luke Cage), but we’re cautiously (very) optimistic for this new series about a family of misfit superheroes — all orphans born by different mothers and then adopted by a billionaire — who have to get their shit together in time to stop the end of the world. The cast includes Ellen Page, Mary J. Blige, Black Sails‘ Tom Hopper and Mindhunter standout Cameron Britton, among others. If that’s still not enough to whet your appetite, consider that the show is based on the comic book by My Chemical Romance’s Gerard Way, who serves as a producer and had a strong hand in putting together the soundtrack. MF

Scott Foley and Lauren Cohan (foreground) co-star in 'Whiskey Cavalier.'

Larry D. Horricks/ABC

‘Whiskey Cavalier’ (ABC, February 27th)

You will notice precious few shows, new or old, from the traditional broadcast networks on this list. That’s because the Big Four have mostly retrenched from trying anything bold or stylish, particularly on the drama side, in favor of police procedurals, Chicago shows and whatever else they believe won’t scare away what’s left of their dwindling audience share. Occasionally, though, the networks still try to have fun, and we’re hopeful this spy series starring Scott Foley and The Walking Dead’s Lauren Cohan is both fun and well-executed enough to remind us of the better days for ABC and friends. AS

Pamela Adlon plays Sam Fox in her vaguely autobiographical series 'Better Things.'

Suzanne Tenner/FX

‘Better Things’ Season 3 (FX, February 28th)

Pamela Adlon’s heavily autobiographical series was one of TV’s very best and most emotionally rich shows in both of its first two seasons. It returns for a third with Adlon and most of her friends, but without the show’s disgraced co-creator Louis C.K. — and we’re guessing that’s for the best. If there was any question who was the driving creative force on the series, the new episodes should handily put it to rest. AS

Aidy Bryant and Lolly Adefope in 'Shrill.'

Allyson Riggs/Hulu

‘Shrill’ (Hulu, March 15th)

Aidy Bryant has been poised for a while to be the next SNL regular to break out. This comedy based on the memoir of journalist/comedian Lindy West could be her chance. Co-written by West, Bryant and Love alum Ali Rushfield, it features Bryant playing a plus-sized woman who wants to improve her life — and doesn’t give a damn about losing weight. AS

Idris Elba is a DJ in 'Turn Up Charlie.'

Nick Wall/Netflix

‘Turn Up Charlie’ (Netflix, March 15th)

Idris Elba is serious about his side gig as a DJ — he was just announced as part of this year’s Coachella lineup. In Turn Up Charlie, Stringer Bell takes to the wheels of steel as a London DJ who gets a new job as a manny helping to raise his best friend’s daughter. Elba himself created (with Gary Reich) and executive-produced the eight-episode Netflix comedy, also starring Piper Perabo. It shines a light on his music vocation (he just DJed a royal wedding and spoke out about his craving to do a collabo with his Cats co-star, Taylor Swift), but it’s yet another chapter in Elba’s quest to prove himself the coolest man alive. RS

Sandra Oh as Eve in Season Two of 'Killing Eve.'

Aimee Spinks/BBCAmerica

‘Killing Eve’ Season 2 (BBC America, April 7th)

Sandra Oh and Jodie Comer return for a second season as, respectively, a messy but clever spy and a childlike but ruthless assassin, who compete to see who’s more obsessed with the other. The first season, created by Fleabag’s Phoebe Waller Bridge, was one of 2018’s most exciting surprises, alternately hilarious and terrifying. And Oh landed both an Emmy nomination and a Golden Globe statuette for her work. What will this group do for an encore? AS

Sam Rockwell will play Bob Fosse and Michelle Williams his wife, the dancer Gwen Verdon, in 'Fosse/Verdon.'

Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP/Shutterstock; Marion Curtis/Starpix/Shutterstock

‘Fosse/Verdon’ (FX, April)

What do you get when the creative teams of Hamilton and The Americans join forces? Not a hip-hop Cold War spy thriller, but a star-studded miniseries about the decades-spanning collaboration (professional and romantic) between director and choreographer Bob Fosse (Sam Rockwell) and Broadway dance legend Gwen Verdon (Michelle Williams). As if that description didn’t offer enough excitement, the teaser that aired during the Golden Globes was pretty thrilling, too. AS

Emilia Clarke and Kit Harington in 'Game of Thrones.'

Helen Sloane/HBO

‘Game of Thrones’ Final Season (HBO, April)

Bow down to TV’s last great water-cooler show. We’ve only got six more episodes of the HBO fantasy epic to marvel at and argue over, as David Benioff and D.B. Weiss will present a conclusion to George R.R. Martin’s sprawling story (while Martin himself still struggles to finish the penultimate book in the series, let alone start writing his own version of the ending). Will the Night King overrun Westeros? Will Jon Snow and Daenerys ever figure out they’re kissing cousins (and will they care if they do)? And are six episodes — even movie-length ones — enough to adequately say goodbye to Tyrion, Arya, Sansa, Brienne of Tarth, Bronn and the rest of the gang? Let the spectacle — and endless debates — begin. AS

Bill Hader and Henry Winkler in HBO's 'Barry.'

Jordin Althaus/HBO

‘Barry’ Season 2 (HBO, Spring)

Bill Hader is back as Barry, the angst-ridden hitman who decides he wants to turn over a new leaf, end his life of crime and take acting classes in L.A. Except over the course of the excellent Season One, Barry learned he can’t quite leave the murder racket behind. Hader was superbly dark and poignant the first time around, in the role of his life (so far). Also returning: his acting teacher Henry Winkler, who keeps the Fonzarellissance going. RS

Ian McShane and Timothy Olyphant reprise their roles for the new 'Deadwood' movie.

Warrick Page/HBO

‘Deadwood’ (HBO, Spring)

The profanely poetic Western has long been TV’s great unfinished masterpiece, even though HBO promised not one, but two reunion movies to conclude the story when they abruptly canceled the series in 2006. Thirteen years later, we’re lucky enough to get one. Creator David Milch has brought back most of the surviving cast, led by Timothy Olyphant and Ian McShane, for a story that will hopefully provide a more fitting end for all the hoopleheads and cocksuckers we’ve waited so long to see return to the thoroughfare. AS

Tiffany Haddish will voice Tuca, left, and Ali Wong will voice Bertie in the new animated series.


‘Tuca And Bertie’ (Netflix, Spring)

Take the animator from BoJack Horseman (cartoonist Lisa Hanawalt), add two of the biggest comedic talents to emerge in the last few years (Tiffany Haddish and Ali Wong), apply them all to a winningly goofy premise — two thirtysomething “bird-women” who live in the same apartment building strike up a friendship and have adventures in the big city — and you have a no-fail recipe for a weirdly wonderful new series. Haddish voices Tuca, described by Netflix as a “carefree toucan,” while Wong takes the role of Bertie, an “anxious songbird.” (Note to BoJack fanatics: Raphael Bob-Waksberg is an executive producer alongside Hanawalt.) Come this spring, we’ll be watching like. . . hawks. (Sorry.) MF

Tony Hale and Julia Louis-Dreyfus (foreground, left to right) will bring 'Veep' to an end this season.

Colleen Hayes/HBO

‘Veep’ Final Season (HBO, Spring)

The end of Veep? How are we supposed to function without Jonah, a.k.a. the Jolly Green Jizz-Face, One Erection, Benedict Come-In-His-Own-Hand or Tall McCartney? Veep signs off with a Season Seven campaign where Julia Louis-Dreyfus’ Selina Meyer makes one more run for the White House, surrounded by her deep bench of D.C. cranks, from Kevin Dunn’s Ben to Anna Chlumsky’s Amy to Timothy Simons’ Jonah. Veep’s bleak vision of politics might have gotten out-bleaked by reality — if the previous season felt out of sorts, that might have been because it was filmed right as the 2016 election was going down. But count on Louis-Dreyfus and her crew to rise to the occasion. RS

Natasia Demetriou as Nadja and Matt Berry as Laszlo in 'What We Do In The Shadows.'

Byron Cohen/FX

‘What We Do In The Shadows’ (FX, Spring)

Taika Waititi and Jemaine Clement’s mockumentary about inept vampire roommates was one of 2014’s funniest and most surprising films. Now they’ve reunited for this spinoff about another trio of bumbling members of the undead, this time living in Staten Island and struggling to get along with each other or fit into the modern world. We’re placing our bets now: The “energy vampire” played by Mark Proksch will be everyone’s favorite ridiculous character of 2019. AS

David Harbour and Millie Bobbie Brown in Season Two of Netflix's 'Stranger Things.'

Courtesy Netflix

‘Stranger Things’ Season 3 (Netflix, July 4th)

The Eighties kiddie sci-fi caper seemed like a delightful one-off at first, yet the second season lived up to it, with Millie Bobby Brown expanding her role as Eleven, the alien girl who fell to earth. Season Three returns to the kids of Hawkins, Indiana, in the summer of 1985. Winona Ryder (who at this point in the timeline is about to see herself onscreen in Lucas) is joined by Cary Elwes and a couple of celebrity legacies, Jake Busey and Maya Thurman-Hawke. Look forward to hijinks at the town’s brand-new Starcourt Mall. And we already know there will be a Fletch-themed episode, so order up a Bloody Mary and a steak sandwich. RS

Ellen Page co-stars as Laura Linney's daughter in the new 'Tales of the City.'

Matt Baron/REX/Shutterstock

‘Armistead Maupin’s Tales of the City’ (Netflix, 2019)

Armistead Maupin’s Tales of the City novels have come to the screen before, in the 1993 PBS miniseries and the lesser Showtime sequels. The 10-episode revival — dubbed the “next chapter” — picks up with Laura Linney and Olympia Dukakis reprising their Nineties roles. Linney’s Mary Ann returns to San Francisco, 20 years after she left, to reunite with daughter Ellen Page and ex-husband Paul Gross, not to mention her zany landlady (Dukakis). Tales has an all-queer writing room and overlapping stories set in the LBTGQ community. Keep an eye out for High Maintenance’s May Hong, Looking’s Murray Bartlett, Zosia Mamet and Molly Ringwald — along with RuPaul’s Drag Race winner Bob the Drag Queen. RS