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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.

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