The 14 New TV Shows We’re Most Excited to See in 2018

Including the latest series from Matthew Weiner, JJ Abrams and Ryan Murphy

(Clockwise from top left) The Assassination of Gianni Versace, Waco, Castle Rock, Black Lightning, LA to Vegas and Grown-ish are among 2018's most promising new shows. Sources: FX, Freeform, Paramount Network, Fox, Hulu, The CW
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If you didn’t spend the holidays catching up on all the TV you missed last year, or at least the 10 best shows of 2017, you’re out of luck, because the wave of new 2018 shows is already upon us.

With Netflix prepared to spend as much as $8 billion on original content this year, TV output is expected to surpass the 500 or so scripted series (and more than 750 unscripted series) released in 2017. And while Peak TV leaves seemingly no time to fit any new shows into your schedule, these 14 upcoming series are worth keeping an eye on this year. (Last year’s rundown of most anticipated shows included many of last year’s best new shows, including The Handmaid’s Tale and Big Little Lies.)

Note that this list includes new series only, not returning shows (I’m particularly thrilled for the return of Atlanta or the final seasons of Veep and The Americans) nor revivals that are expected to make big waves, such as Roseanne and American Idol, which will soon be coming to ABC.

Here are the 14 new series you should watch this year, in order of their premieres:

LA to Vegas (Fox, Jan. 2)

Fox’s new comedy about the crew for a low-budget airline and its passengers who take a roundtrip flight from Los Angeles to Las Vegas each weekend is as entertaining as its marketing campaign, which included spoofs of in-flight safety videos. Dylan McDermott isn’t known for comedy, but his hysterical turn as Captain Dave is the actor’s best work since The Practice.

Grown-ish (Jan. 3, Freeform)

TV schedules used to be crammed with successful comedy spinoffs in the ’70s and ’80s, but there have been few fewer attempts since Joey bombed a decade ago. However, this new Black-ish offshoot, which follows oldest daughter Zoey (Yara Shahidi) as she begins her freshman year of college and bonds with an unlikely group of students, could be a standout. The show will also feature cameos from Black-ish cast members like Anthony Anderson and Tracee Ellis Ross.

The Chi (Showtime, Jan. 7)

Lena Waithe, who won an Emmy for writing one of last year’s best episodes (Master of None’s “Thanksgiving”), has created this compelling drama about a group of people living in Chicago’s South Side. While the show, which is Showtime’s strongest freshman series since Billions, doesn’t officially debut until Sunday, it’s already available to watch via Showtime’s on-demand and streaming sites.

Black Lightning (The CW, Jan. 16)

Cress Williams stars as Jefferson Pierce, a former superhero—he has the power to harness and control electricity—who retired to focus on his family and work as a high school principal. Now, he’s pulled back into his former profession as a local gang threatens his community, and his family. While this is The CW’s fifth superhero series (though the network won’t air more than four at once) it’s a refreshing chance of pace from the others. For starters, it’s not set in the same universe as those are, and Black Lightning’s stakes are far more personal.

The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story (FX, Jan. 17)

Ryan Murphy’s follow-up to The People v. O.J. Simpson delves into another famous ’90s crime: the shocking 1997 murder of fashion icon Gianni Versace (Edgar Ramirez) on the steps of his Miami mansion by Andrew Cunanan (Darren Criss); Penélope Cruz costars as Versace’s sister Donatella. The series examines how law enforcement’s indifference to Cunanan’s nationwide killing spree—all of his victims were gay—allowed the body count to rise. Like People v. O.J., expect this one to be another critical and commercial success for Murphy and FX.

Waco (Paramount Network, Jan. 24)


@jasonlynch jason.lynch@adweek.com Jason Lynch is TV Editor at Adweek, overseeing trends, technology, personalities and programming across broadcast, cable and streaming video.
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