The Red Wedding. Walter White’s swan song. A Mad Man becoming well, madder. Yes, television in 2013 gave us some truly indelible moments that are seared into our collective consciousness and won’t soon go away. It’s no wonder 2014 is sweating bullets. Luckily, with the return of gold standards like Girls and Game of Thrones, the year in television is poised to be just as memorable. Oh, and just in case your old favorites aren’t enough, 2014 brings in some new recruits to make sure this year becomes the most talked (and tweeted) about year in television ever. Ahead, our most anticipated new shows of 2014.
Photo: Courtesy of IFC.
The Spoils of Babylon, January 9, on IFC
After his wonderfully offbeat Casa de mi Padre tanked at the box office, we feared Will Ferrell’s days of experimenting were over. Well, thankfully, IFC is bringing his sprawling, bizarre miniseries to life. Ferrell, who also produced, will introduce the episodes, which center around the drama-filled Morehouse family. The all-star cast includes Kristen Wiig, Tobey Maguire, Tim Robbins, Jessica Alba, Val Kilmer, and Haley Joel Osment, who can be seen hamming it up in the very strange first trailer.
Photo: Courtesy of HBO.
True Detective, January 12 on HBO
Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson are both gigantic movie stars. So the fact that the real-life bff’s would agree to do TV at the height of their powers, is a testament to Nic Pizzolatto’s gripping story of a pair of detectives who probe a gruesome murder in the dark heart of the Louisiana Bayou. The early buzz has been deafening, so believe the hype.
Photo: Courtesy of HBO.
Looking, January 19 on HBO
If Girls was the show that spawned a thousand think pieces, expect Looking to obliterate that number after its premiere episode. Why? Because HBO’s new comedy about a group of gay men trying to navigate their way through life and love in San Francisco is the first such series since Queer As Folk, and a whole lot has changed since then. Looking has watercooler written all over it.
Photo: Courtesy of Gramercy Pictures.
Fargo, TBD on FX
Normally, we don’t like our beloved classics remade or rebooted, but even we have to admit that turning the Coen bros. Oscar-winning pitch-black comedy Fargo, into a multi-episode police procedural, is a stroke of genius. So is casting Billy Bob Thornton and Bob Odenkirk, who seem perfectly suited to capture the familiarity, absurdity, humor and violence that made the 1996 movie an instant classic. It also helps that the Coen bros. are onboard as executive producers.
Photo: Courtesy of NBC.
Believe, TBD on NBC
It takes a lot to get us excited for a new network drama — like say, two visionary directors teaming up to bring us an adventure series about a wrongfully convicted felon who must protect a gifted little girl from the forces of evil. Well it turns out J. J. Abrams and Alfonso Cuarón are those directors, and Believe is that show.
Photo: via @johnmulaney.
Mulaney, TBD on FOX
Saturday Night Live
’s next breakout star might just be someone you’ve never heard of before, as writer John Mulaney spent most of his time on the show behind the camera, where he was responsible for creating a character named Stefon. Now
you know who he is, right? Anyway,with Lorne Michaels behind Mulaney’s new eponymous sitcom and a cast that includes Elliott Gould, Nasim Pedrad, and Martin Short, look for 2014 to be this talented comedian’s coming out party.
Photo: REX USA/Stewart Cook.
Tooken, TBD on FOX
Tina Fey could pitch us a comedy about a man and his pet cardboard box, and we’d still be all in. So what happens when she pitches us a comedy starring Ellie Kemper as a woman who escapes a cult and decides to start over in New York City? Our heads explode, that’s what.
Photo: Courtesy of St. Martin's Press.
The Leftovers, TBD on HBO
It’s been over three years since Damon Lindelof’s Lost unceremoniously bid farewell to viewers, but the legacy of one of the most polarizing shows in the history of television is never far behind Lindelof, who has since emerged as one of Hollywood’s primo blockbuster screenwriters. Now he returns to the small screen with The Leftovers, an adaptation of Tom Perrotta’s novel about a rapture-like event that wipes out most of the world’s population. Whether Lindelof can wipe away the sour taste he left in the mouths of Lost fans remains to be seen, but casting Justin Theroux and Liv Tyler as the leads is as good a start as any.
Photo: Courtesy of AMC.
Better Call Saul, TBD on AMC
No one knows quite what to make of this Breaking Bad prequel, which will be centered on everyone’s favorite sleazeball litigator, Saul Goodman. What we do know is that Bob Odenkirk is back to play the title role, Breaking Bad creator Vince Gilligan and writer Peter Gould are running the thing, and both Bryan Cranston and Aaron Paul have expressed interest in making cameos. It’s also said to be more comedy than drama, which only raises more questions about this year’s biggest wild card.
Photo: Courtesy of AMC.
Halt & Catch Fire, TBD on AMC
With Breaking Bad gone and Mad Men set to ride off into the sunset, AMC is in desperate need of another buzzy prestige drama to complement the ratings juggernaut that is The Walking Dead. Something tells us this 80s-set drama centered around the rise of the personal computer is ready to grab that torch and run with it.
Photo: REX USA/PicturePerfect.
Silicon Valley, TBD on HBO
Last summer’s The Internship wasn’t quite the tech world satire we were hoping for, which is why we couldn’t be more stoked about this single-camera comedy from Mike Judge, the man who brought us Office Space, which, to this day, has remained the gold standard for all workplace comedies. Look for the line “I believe you have my iPad” to become the catchphrase of the year.