Vinyl (SoHo, February 15)
Martin Scorsese has long had a thing for music. That Mick Jagger guy has too. Together, they've been trying to formulate a drama about rock'n'roll's bad old days of the 1970s for a decade or two.
Vinyl started out as a movie but mutated in recent years into a HBO television series, written by Terence Winter who does good American period decadence, as he's proved on both Boardwalk Empire and The Wolf of Wall Street.
Winter has used the likes of Fredric Dannen's American record biz expose Hit Men as his reference points, though the show mixes a fictional label, American Century, with actual rock history - the pilot episode features decent facsimiles of Led Zeppelin and the New York Dolls.
By the looks of the trailer, an actor playing David Bowie falls to Earth further into the season but no word as yet if there will be a Rolling Stones cameo (that may depend on the state of Mick Jagger's hideously ravaged portrait in the attic).
While one James Jagger, whose lips and thin frame look strangely familiar, plays a proto-punk rocker fronting a band called the Nasty Bits who gets the attention of a lowly American Century staffer played by Juno Temple whose - fun fact - father Julien Temple directed Sex Pistols movie The Great Rock and Roll Swindle as well as later docos about the period.
The show's Nucky Thompson or Jordan Belfort is American Century boss Richie Finestra played by that very New York actor Bobby Carnavale.
Olivia Wilde makes her shift back to television as his wife Devon, an ex Warhol model trying to have a family life in the burbs.
So that's a lot of potential for a rock'n'roll wild ride. Or at least for a show which does for cocaine what Boardwalk did for smuggled Canadian whiskey.
- Russell Baillie
Game of Thrones (April 25, SoHo)
It's not the Jon Snow 'is he dead or isn't he dead?' plot that has me counting down the days until April 25 (he's alive) but the fact that I spent all of 2014 reading A Song of Ice and Fire books to become a 'book reader' fan of Game of Thrones - for all of one season. Now it's back to square one where I have no idea what is going to happen.
Of course, a lot is going to happen. We know there will be a focus on the extended family of Theon Greyjoy, and Richard E Grant will appear as a theater troupe manager ... which sounds interesting. Hopefully there will be more Tyrion and Varys, more Bronn and Jaime, more Brienne and oathkeeper, more Arya and Jaqen H'ghar and no more rape scenes. Plus HODOR IS BACK!
Silicon Valley (April, Soho)
It's the perfect light relief after watching an episode of Game of Thrones. The first season was great and the second season was excellent so I'm expecting more funny stuff from Richard, Erlich, Gilfoyle, Dinesh, Big Head and Jared.
The second season finale was one of my favourite episodes of television in 2015 and left a nice little cliffhanger for the Pied Piper crew. You know their company is never going to really succeed but it's fun watching them try.
Luke Cage (April, Netflix)
Of any new show coming out this year, none has me more intrigued than Luke Cage. So far the Netflix/Marvel deal has proved a success, with Daredevil and Jessica Jones both turning out brilliantly and outshining the rest of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The third of the five-part franchise sees Jessica's indestructible love interest Luke Cage (played by Mike Colter) in Harlem recovering from events in Hell's Kitchen while also confronting his past and fighting to save the city.
Few plot details have been revealed and no release date set yet, but I am excited all the same. Netflix produced two of the best superhero shows of last year but two of the best new dramas, and it seems unlikely that Luke Cage should be any different. With a unique set of powers to spotlight, plenty of real life events to draw upon, hints of a more political story, plus it being another step towards the eventual Defenders crossover, it's highly likely we'll all be talking about this one throughout the year.
- Ethan Sills
I really wanted to write about the upcoming reboot of The X-Files for this. I am an X-Phile. I once taped an 'X' on my window in masking tape. The first website I ever visited was for The X-Files. I remember waiting for my dial-up internet to load Scully's face. Then I saw how horrible the early reviews were. Sample quote: "Nearly every scene seems stunted and out of any kind of dramatic rhythm". So I changed my mind. It's allowed. Here's my new pick, and I'm really excited about it. Welcome to Westworld:
Here's why I'm excited. It's from Christopher Nolan's brother, Jonathan. It's set in a futuristic theme park. Anthony Hopkins is in it. The trailer is insane and has creepy piano bits. It's from HBO. The villain is called 'Man in Black'. And just read this description: "A dark odyssey about the dawn of artificial consciousness and the future of sin." I love odysseys! I love AI! I love sin! I'm totally fully absolutely committed to being enthused about this show. At least until the early reviews are in.
- Chris Schulz
It's nothing short of a miracle that Preacher has been made. The source material, Vertigo's mid-90s comic, is a genius work of gleeful blasphemy, outrageous violence and jocular provocativeness. A cult comic can get away with unsavoury topics like torture, rape, inbreeding, bdsm and cannibalism in its brutal and unrelenting 75 issue attack on the most sacred foundations of the catholic church. But I gotta wonder how all that will sit with mainstream audiences.
Maybe it'll be watered down? Hard to see how. The basic premise has a disillusioned Texan preacher inheriting religious powers and setting off on an enraged mission of revenge to hold God accountable for all the atrocities and sins committed in His name throughout the ages. He's joined on this unholy quest by his hit-woman ex-girlfriend and an Irish vampire.
It sounds out there and it is. But this is barely scratching the surface or perversity found in the comics. I haven't even mentioned sadistic cops, secretive militant catholic organisations, the warring angels and demons or Arseface. Yes, Arseface...
The comic really is brilliant so I pray that showrunners Seth Rogen and creative partner Evan Goldberg have pulled off this adaptation. Because if they haven't, you better believe there will be hell to pay.
- Karl Puschmann
* What are you looking forward to? Post your comments below.