Here are 19 great TV shows to look out for in 2019
PUBLISHED: 11:48 30 December 2018
It looks like there's going to be lots of reasons to stay tethered to the sofa in 2019 as a whole host of new and returning drama hits the small screen. From Game of Thrones to Les Miserables, Line of Duty to Peaky Blinders, The Crown to Stranger Things, it's going to be a great TV year.
A new year means many things: a host of new resolutions you’ll break within a week, miserable weather without the pay-off that Christmas is round the corner and a credit card bill the size of the national debt…BUT…there will also be a host of new TV treats to look forward to. Hooray!
We look at 19 TV shows to look forward to in 2019
1) Les Misérables, BBC1: My colleague and I can – and sometimes do – sing the entire score from LM at the drop of a hat. It is one of my favourite musicals of all time, I love it with a passion deeper than the deepest ocean and therefore I felt slightly conned that the BBC’s new version of Victor Hugo’s classic won’t include Susan Boyle belting out I Dreamed a Dream. Swiz. Still, I suppose Hugo didn’t write his epic novel imagining how Simon Cowell would feel about it. This lavish new adaptation will be brought to the screens by brilliant bodice-buster Andrew Davies and promises to take the story back to its roots.. “I thought the musical was a travesty, personally,” says Davies. Do you hear the people sing, Mr Davies? By ‘people’, I mean me and Rowan and by ‘sing’ I mean ‘honk’.
* Best song in Les Miserables: One More Day. This is not up for debate.
2) Adult Material, Channel 4: Written by Skis and The Smoke’s Lucy Kirkwood, this four-part mini-series will star Sheridan Smith (who I keep thinking about from the documentary about her, where she was sharing chips with her dog and letting the dog lick her fingers and…ew) as Jolene, an actress in pornographic films and mother-of-three whose friendship with a woman on set leads to a complex examination of her work and home life.
* Does Jolene share chips with her dog? Don’t get me started.
3) Elizabeth is Missing, BBC1: It’s an unforgettable thriller – the BBC is working on an adaptation of Emma Healey’s best-selling novel of 2014 about Maud, who has dementia and is trying to unravel the mystery surrounding her friend’s disappearance. With a script written by Andrea Gibb, of Swallows and Amazons fame, the cast is yet to be announced.
* What does the BBC say about it? “Part detective story, part portrait of a fracturing mind, Andrea Gibb’s witty, sensitive adaptation of Emma Healey’s novel brings this first-hand account of experiencing dementia to life.”
4) Line of Duty, series five, BBC: AC-12’s top trio are back and the “person of interest” they’re after is being played by Stephen Graham. Has Steve recovered from his balaclava man-related injuries? Is ACC Hilton the bent copper? What’s happened to Maneet? Has Kate had enough of being undercover? Why did Jamie go rogue? We’re hoping series five will have the answers.
* So is Hastings corrupt, or what? Surely not. It’d be like finding out Father Christmas isn’t real.
5) Game Of Thrones, season eight, Sky Atlantic: Send a raven: GOT returns in April for its eighth and final series and for fans, it’s going to be a tearjerker. There have been theories that the Night King will destroy King’s Landing in the final season when the White Walkers attack, hints that the Mother of Dragons is killed off and suggestions that there will be some epic battles and big casualties. But frankly, we know nothing. Night gathers, and now my watch begins. And it’s going to be EPIC: each episode cost more than $15 million.
* Winter has come: Yes, we know. Change the record.
6) Shipwrecked, E4: Seven years after it sank into obscurity, the reality show which involved a Battle of the Islands between two teams, the Sharks and the Tigers, is back. The format used to involve a new contestant arriving every week and deciding which team to join in order to battle for part of a big prize fund (this later became a prize for just one person).
* So what’s new, pussycat? This year there will be “hidden traps” on the island. Blimey.
7) Peaky Blinders, season five, BBC1: The epic tale of the Shelby family will continue in 2019 with our hero Tommy now Labour MP for Birmingham South with two mistresses and a new child to his name. So now that the Shelbys have entered the corridors of power, extended their empire into America and are waiting for the beginning of the 1930s, what lies in store? All we do know is that Steven Knight has mapped out his criminal family saga to the bitter end and that it will finish as World War Two starts. Which means there’s plenty more smoke and trouble to come.
* Will Tom Hardy be back? Sadly, we don’t think so. But never rule him out…
8) The Crown, season three, Netflix: Olivia Colman and Tobias Menzies will take over as the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh as series three and four are filmed back to back, meaning we’ll have less of a wait between series three and four. The two series will cover the years from 1964 to 1976 which means we’ll see the relationship between the monarch and prime minister Harold Wilson , the decolonisation of Africa and the Caribbean, Prince Charles’ coronation as the Prince of Wales and the birth of Prince Edward. All go, then.
* How much does Olivia Colman look like the Queen? It’s genuinely eerie…
9) Fargo, season four, FX: Chris Rock will star in season four of Fargo and this time, the anthology show will be set in Kansas City in 1950 and focus on two crime factions, one black and one Italian who have “struck an uneasy peace” to control the underworld which includes trading their eldest sons. Rock’s character raises his crime rival’s boy while they raise his son. And then the Italian mob boss dies on the operating theatre during a routine surgery…
* Who do you think was right at the end of series three – Gloria or Varga? #teamgloria
10) Stranger Things, season three, Netflix: We’ll be travelling back to 1985 and although the portal to the Upside Down is now sealed off and the Hawkins lab has been closed to good, mysterious things are still happening in Indiana, particularly at the new Starcourt Mall. Just imagine if THAT had been built on top of some kind of dreadful netherworld filled with horrific monsters? The cast we know and love are all back, plus some new faces including Maya Hawkes and Cary Elwes.
* What should we look out for? LOTS of trilogy references. Look out for Back to the Future, in particular.
11) Homeland, season eight, Channel 4: Poor old Carrie, can things get any worse? Having been captured by Russian national Yevgeny Gromov and then released as part of a prisoner exchange, Carrie can barely function. There’s going to be a significant time jump from series seven, so hopefully Carrie will be back on her meds and back on track – that said, we were under the impression this was the last ever series, but Claire Danes has refused to be drawn, saying the show’s future is “totally uncertain”.
* Who do we feel most sorry for in Homeland? Carrie’s sister Maggie, who is DONE with her sibling’s endless catastrophising.
12) His Dark Materials, BBC One: I am so excited for this. Philip Pullman’s trilogy is being adapted by Harry Potter and the Cursed Child’s Jack Thorne and Oscar winning Tom Hooper. The series will travel through all three of Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials books – Northern Lights, The Subtle Knife and The Amber Spyglass – with Dafne Keen as Lyra and Lin-Manuel Miranda as the charming adventurer Lee Scoresby. Weaving philosophy through a fairytale, these are gorgeous stories, so let’s hope the adaptation does them justice.
* What animal would your daemon be? I did an online quiz. It says it would be a hawkmoth. I wanted a wolf.
13) What We Do in the Shadows, FX: Another thumbs up from Briggs, this is a TV series based on the 2014 vampire mockumentary film of the same name which was fabulous. Thor: Ragnarok director Taika Waititi will partner with his long-time collaborator Jemaine Clement, who wrote, co-directed, and starred in the film, to create the 10-part TV series which follows three vampires who live together: Laszlo (Matt Berry), Nadja (Natasia Demetriou), and Nandor (Kayvan Novak) — the former two are husband and wife. Also living with them is a fourth vampire named Colin Robinson (Mark Proksch), who’s an “energy vampire.” Instead of blood, he sucks the energy out of his victims by boring them to death with mundane anecdotes and bad jokes. The main action is put into motion when our central three vampires receive notice that an ancient leader vampire named the Baron is coming to pay them a visit from abroad, purportedly to see how conquering America is going. Amazing.
* What aren’t we? Swearwolves.
14) Sex Education, Netflix: Remember how awkward the birds and the bees chat with your parents was? Relive it all over again in this British comedy in which teenage virgin Otis (Asa Butterfield) is given his sex education by his sex-therapist mother (Gillian Anderson). He then sets up his own clinic with his friend Maeve (Emma Mackey) for classmates to pass on the information.
* How are babies made? Ask your mother.
15) Gold Digger, BBC1: Gold Digger: Julia Ormond will star in new BBC One drama Gold Digger which tells the story of a woman falling in love with a much younger man and the effect it has on her already damaged family. Mother first, wife second, woman last. Julia has spent her whole life putting the needs of others before herself. Gold Digger tells the story of the wealthy 60 year old as she falls in love with Benjamin, a man 25 years her junior. As the series progresses the impact their unconventional relationship has on her family is explored and the secrets of their past are revealed. Has Julia finally found the happiness she’s always deserved? Or is Benjamin really the gold digger they think he is?
* Are we rooting for Julia? Yes. Yes we are.
16) Our Planet, Netflix: A new eight-part series marking the first time BBC natural history veteran David Attenborough has worked with the streaming service will see him continue his ecological crusade. “We need the world to pay attention,” he says. The show will capture the world’s most diverse wildlife in jaw-dropping high definition.
* What does Sir Dave say about Netflix? “In 1952, you made an appointment with television and shaped your evening around that. But the way that television is used now is transforming. The mere fact you’ve got these various devices for catch-up television is comforting in a way, because you can dial up a programme that you heard someone talking about.”
17) Orange is the New Black, Netflix: OITNB has shed light on the untold stories of diverse women throughout its critically acclaimed run and this last series will be no exception. Piper has been granted early release and this series will follow her life on the inside with the odd visiting order to see Litchfield’s inmates.
* Is orange the new black? No, apparently the colour for 2019 will be “Spiced Honey”.
18) Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, Netflix: Females are strong as hell. It’s the end of Kimmy’s journey and our heroine has been tackling toxic masculinity head-on. The hour-long finale will give viewers a Sliding Doors take on what would have happened if Kimmy was never kidnapped and held in a bunker in the first place. Let’s hope we wave goodbye to her with lots of friends around her doing all the things that make her happy (which considering as a lot of things make her happy, should be easy).
* Best line from Titus: “I’m pretty but tough, like a diamond. Or beef jerky in a ballgown!”
19) The Dark Crystal: Age Of Resistance, Netflix: It’s a prequel to the strange cult film from 1982, The Dark Crystal, and will see the events that lead to the conflict between the malevolent Skeksis (vulture/human hybrids) and the last survivors of the elfin-like Gelfling race over the titular Dark Crystal, which maintains the equilibrium of the planet Thra. The action will be based on three Gelfling who discover the secret behind the power of the Skeksis and try to rally a rebellion. Puppets will star, a la Jim Henson.
* What were the original Skeksis modelled on? I’m glad you asked: the seven deadly sins.