We eat your words

5 Biggest New TV Shows Coming In 2017

2016 was basically the Battlefield Earth of years and we should never speak of it again.

Guess what, though? It’s 2017 and that means everything isn’t terrible anymore. Doesn’t it? Please can it not be terrible? We’ve got some major new television to talk about. So if your plan is to blockade yourself in the living room using empty pizza boxes and hide on the couch until the apocalypse is over, I’d better tell you what’s going to be on the TV.


Today we’re talking about the five shows entering 2017 with the most buzz. The television networks are desperate for you to watch these ones, probably because they spent a plane full of cash making them.


1. Emerald City


NBC are betting big money on this ten episode reimagining of the Wizard of Oz. The colourful costumes and whimsical locals of the Judy Garland classic have been jettisoned. There’s a distinct earthiness to the footage that’s surfaced so far from the series. Harsh landscapes and a steampunk city are the backdrop for the 21st century Dorothy (here portrayed by Guatemalan/Puerto Rican actress Adria Arjona) and her adventures.

No sooner is Dorothy zapped to Oz than she’s embroiled in what looks like some slick political intrigue. The police car she was hiding in to escape the hurricane just crushed the Wicked Witch of the East and now the witches of the North and West want a word. Oh, and Vincent D’Onofrio’s Wizard of Oz, here reimagined as the anti-magic ruler of Emerald City, might also want a chat. This one will be all about a war between Technology and magic. It’s a big show for NBC, so expect to keep seeing it crop up in the coming weeks.


2. Riverdale

I don’t know anything about the Archie comics. He’s a red headed high school dude stuck in a decades old love triangle with two different girls? Am I close? Whatever the story was, it’s received the CW treatment. That means everyone in it is absurdly young and photogenic and there’ll probably be lots of soft fanservice for us all to enjoy. The nerd internet (which must still be about half the internet these days) has been getting hyped for this for nearly a year.

The short trailer released in December doesn’t give non-fans a lot to go on, but here’s what I’m getting from it. We’re in a small town (that would be the Riverdale the title refers to) and a murder just happened. This sets up a mystery, which I don’t think was part of the original comic book series. Either way, Archie and the rest of the High School characters are busy either looking conflicted, giving each other googly eyes or macking on each other at parties. If you’re a fan of the comics, you’re probably already planning to watch. If not, it might be worth a look to see what all the fuss is about.


3. A Series of Unfortunate Events

The book series that became a Jim Carrey movie has now become a Netflix show with Neil Patrick Harris in it. I like Neil Patrick Harris, he’s the best. A Series of Unfortunate Events was never a set of books I ‘got’ as a child, but Harris actually looks pretty funny here as the evil Count Olaf. He’s trying to steal the inheritance of the Baudelaire children in a world which resembles the lovechild of Wes Anderson, Tim Burton and Douglas Adams.

It’s a Netflix original show, which isn’t quite the guarantee of quality it used to be. Still, the trailer hints at a kind of absurd world played straight vibe, which is usually a blast. Getting the tone right will be tricky, but if it’s done well, it could be one of the funniest shows of the year. Aside from Harris, there’s a pretty good cast to get excited about here, too. Joan Cusack as Justice Strauss looks interesting (she doesn’t get enough credit for a lot of her roles), and Aasif Mandvi and Alfre Woodward are both reassuring additions in supporting roles.


4. Iron Fist

Marvel have reached into the back of their odd sock draw and pulled out another superhero story. Iron Fist – not the same as Iron Man, sorry if we got your hopes up – brings another superhero to New York in the fourth series of the fruitful Marvel-Netflix deal. We’ve had Daredevil, we’ve had Jessica Jones and we’ve had Luke Cage. Now it’s time for Danny Rand and the power of the Iron Fist.

If you’ve got your superhero bingo card ready, go ahead and check off ‘billionaire playboy’, ‘orphan’, ‘spiritual journey’ and ‘magic fighting powers’. Danny Rand has been missing for fifteen years, and suddenly returns home to inherit a super successful corporation. Some people get all the breaks, right? Our guess is he ends up fighting crime and doing superhero stuff. While Iron Fist has had a troubled journey from concept to completion, it should at least succeed at being good as a baseline. The Marvel machine is slick, and the trailer released at the tail end of 2016 looks like business as usual in the street level world they’ve created for Netflix.


5. Legion

There’s a lot of buzz around Legion, probably because it’s the first live action TV series based on the X-Men. Marvel and Disney have had solid success with their superhero TV projects, and now Fox are following suit. Legion is notionally based on the character David Haller, son of Charles Xavier (A.K.A Professor X), though overt connections to the movie franchise appear to be tangential at best. What we’re getting here feels more psychological and paranormal than the traditional X-Men.

Maybe traditional X-Men would have been the smarter road for Fox when building TV shows out of their comic book properties, but Legion at least looks interesting. From its trailer, David Haller’s life in a psychiatric hospital appears to be a jumping off point for a lot of weird, unexplained things happening. As a big X-Men guy, I’m not super pumped for this one, but if it’s pitching itself as Stranger Things meets mutants, I’m at least willing to give it a try. How about you?