If you’re not watching TV, what are you doing? Box watching is what evenings were made for, weekends give you ample time for and holidays cry out for. Only fools scroll through channels wondering what to fill their time with; these days we have targeted watching and there are a handful of shows each year which are essential viewing.
What do you mean you went for a cycle on Sunday? No-one is going to excitedly discuss theories about the route you took and what it means. But your mates, colleagues and everyone from your barber to the cashier at your corner shop will probably natter on about all of these shows next year.
What: The kind of series to get stuck into if you like superpowers but are sick of seeing superhero everything. It’s likely to be the breath of fresh air was to 2016’s mutant output. Set in the X-Men world, it follows anti-hero David Haller, who believes he is mentally ill, but happens to be the most powerful mutant in the world. Noah Hawley (Fargo) steers the ship and as Haller doesn’t know what’s real or not, neither does the audience, making for far more entertaining viewing than saving the world (again).
Who: Dan Stevens (Downtown Abbey, if your mother needs convincing) is Haller while Rachel Keller (Fargo) is the female lead. Aubrey Plaza (Parks and Rec) also features as Haller’s kooky AF friend Lenny.
When: Week beginning 6 February, FX
What: The fourth and last in Marvel’s Defenders street hero series, following Daredevil, Jessica Jones and Luke Cage. Billionaire Danny Rand returns to NYC after a plane crash in Asia 15 years prior. Presumed dead, he’s actually been training to be a kung fu master with special powers and, when faced with a long-destined enemy, he unleashes his Iron Fist.
Who: Finn Jones (Loras Tyrell in ) as Iron Fist, Jessica Henwick () as Colleen Wing, David Wenham (The Lord of the Rings:Return of the King, 300) as Harold Meachum.
When: 17 March, Netflix (all 13 episodes will be available – prime bingeing)
Star Trek: Discovery
What: Set ten years before the original Star Trek series, the new one promises new crews, new villains, new heroes, new worlds and, judging by the teaser, amazing CGI. The lead will be female and referred to as ‘Number One’ rather than captain, as the story is told from a perspective other than the USS Discovery’s captain to differentiate itself from what’s gone before. All 13 episodes of the first season will be available for bingeing on, with the story told over the entire season rather than individual episode storylines.
Who: s Sonequa Martin-Green is rumoured to be playing the lead, joined by Chris Obi (Snow White and the Huntsman, Ghost in the Shell), Shazad Latif (MI-5, ), and Mary Chieffo (Miss Dial) as Klingons.
When: May, Netflix
Better Call Saul (Season 3)
What: Slippin’ Jimmy and his understated brilliance is back for a third season which is said to tie a lot more into it the series which fathered it – Breaking Bad. Expect Gus Fring to make a return, playing an important role in turning Jimmy to his drug law ways – where, of course, we first met him as Saul Goodman. We’re also hoping to see the emergence of Hank, given that Jimmy and Mike are heading into the drug crime world, but we’ll have to tune in to see.
Who: The same cast as before (Bob Odenkirk, Michael McKean, Rhea Seehorn and Jonathon Banks) plus (hopefully) Giancarlo Espositi as Gus and Dean Norris as Hank.
When: Spring, Netflix
Stranger Things (Season 2)
What: turned our TV watching Upside Down this year and it’s probably going to do it again. Set one year further down the line, Will is back and desperate to return to normal even though he’s still suffering slug-related consequences from hanging out way too close to the demogorgon. Eleven is supposed to return in some capacity, but we don’t know how yet. Plus this season is one episode longer than the last (nine), which means we may be able to fit in some #justiceforBarb. Though the producers have said it will be darker than the last, so maybe not.
Who: The original cast (minus Barb), plus new faces including Sean Astin (The Lord of the Rings) and Paul Reiser (Aliens).
When: Late Summer, Netflix
Who: We’re not sure but presumably not Sean Penn…
When: TBC 2017, Netflix