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Which New TV Shows Should You Be Watching In 2016?

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Which New TV Shows Should You Be Watching In 2016?

The New Year is all about forming new relationships and shucking off the bad ones from the previous year. We all know, in modern times, few relationships are more important than our relationships with our television/dvr/streaming service of choice. Keeping that in mind, few resolutions are more important than determining which of the dozens of premiering shows are worthy of joining the ranks of returning favorites such as New Girl, Better Call Saul, House of Cards, and Broad City. Allow us to be your relationship guru, guiding you in the direction of the winter’s most promising new programs and steering clear of those which can only hope to break your heart.

FEBRUARY

American Crime Story: The People Vs. OJ Simpson – Feb 2nd (FX)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J2-vm-L_dk4

What’s it about?

A ten episode limited series depicting the legal battle at the heart of O.J. Simpson’s “the trial of the century” from a myriad of perspectives. Based upon Jeffrey Toobin’s definitive account of the trial, Run of his Life: The People vs. O.J. Simpson, the show is probably the buzziest TV premiere of the winter.

Should you watch?

Yes. True crime has been all the rage with the likes of Serial, The Jinx, and Making a Murderer, gobbling up the public’s attention in the past year. American Crime Story boasts a stellar cast–John Travolta, Cuba Gooding Jr., David Schwimmer, Connie Britton–spinning out a true crime story so sensational that it couldn’t possibly be fiction. Water coolers will be turned back to 1995 and O.J. will be all anyone can talk about once more.

Animals – February 5th (HBO)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x_Cv1UYxXhI

What’s it about?

Animals is a half hour comedy chronicling the adventures of various animated creatures in NYC. The titular animals sound more like characters in Girls than members of Disney’s animated repartee so expect more jokes about Jonathan Franzen than song and dance numbers.

Should you watch?

Maybe. Literate adult animation comedies are having a moment. Alright, I suppose the existence of this show coupled with the acclaim heaped upon Netflix’s Bojack Horseman doesn’t constitute a moment, but Bojack is really good. Animals is created by brothers Jay and Mark Duplass, fans of their brand of low-key indie comedy will find a lot to like if they can get over the oddity of animated mice discussing dinner parties.

Vinyl – February 14th (HBO)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eI6Pg_lIB2M

What’s it about?

A 1970’s record executive in New York City attempts to save his label and find the next big thing. Expect drugs, groupies, Iggy Pop, and a lot of bad behavior–Rock n Roll style.

Should you watch?

At least the first episode. The early trailers were not too promising as they managed to hit ever single cliche associated with period rock n roll in the matter of a minute and a half. Still, created by Oscar-nominated screenwriter Terence Winter and executive produced by Martin Scorsese, the pedigree of the show is outstanding enough to warrant the viewing of at least one episode.

11/22/63 – February 15th (Hulu)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NXUx__qQGew

What’s it about?

Having seen Netflix’s massive success in producing original content, Hulu decided to get in the game with this nine episode miniseries based upon the Stephen King novel of the same name. 11/22/63 tells the story of a high school teacher who finds a portal in a local diner to the year 1958. He enters the portal with the design of preventing the assassination of John F. Kennedy and in the process preventing the whole string of 20th century upheavals which followed the President’s death.

Should you watch?

Yes. Hulu really, really, wants to play and to that end they attracted the talents of James Franco, Chris Cooper, Josh Duhamel, and Mr. King himself. 11/22/63 is one of the most thoughtful of King’s novels, exploring the vast political and emotional terrain of 50s America in an attempt to ascertain how we’ve come so far from the “leave the door unlocked” ethos of the time. Also, like all of King’s best work, it’s utterly thrilling.

MARCH

The Real O’Neals – March 2nd (Fox)

What’s it about?

A seemingly perfect suburban families uncomplicated lives are made more complex when their youngest son comes out of the closet.

Should you watch?

Honest explorations of sexuality are pretty rare on network television with gay caricatures rather than nuanced characters the norm. Unfortunately, the Real O’Neals doesn’t seem to be terribly interested in filling that void. Instead, typical sitcom hi-jinks seem the order of the day. O’Neals should be commended for thinking outside the box, but the lackluster execution will probably prevent the show from gaining a wide audience.

The Family – March 3rd (ABC)

What’s it about?

The Family explores the return of a female politician’s son who was presumed dead after disappearing a decade earlier. The politician is gearing up for a major campaign as suspicious emerge–is the son who he says he is?

Should you watch?

It depends. How do you feel about Shonda Rhimes? The Family is created by Jenna Burns, a member of the Shonda TV writing tree. The show also boasts the soapish tendencies and political thriller lite qualities which have made the Scandal creator the undisputed queen of network television. Shonda heads rejoice! All others, consider yourselves warned.

Of Kings and Prophets – March 8th (ABC)

What’s it about?

ABC’s third series debuting in March, Of Kings and Prophets, is a biblical saga based upon the Books of Samuel. The series follows the weary King Saul, ambitious prophet Samuel, and promising young shepherd boy David.

Should You Watch?

No. Very few books are harder to adapt effectively than the Bible. Wringing a season’s worth of television from sixty pages or so of text is hard enough and coupled with the nitpicking demands of your core audience and the familiarity of the source material and making dramatically compelling television becomes very difficult. What’s more is that ABC has had this project in development for years and Kings and Prophets has been helmed by a multititude of different writers. Too many cooks in the kitchen rarely makes for quality television.

Underground – March 9th (WGN America)

https://youtu.be/Y8lYFUb9SbE

What’s it about?

Underground chronicles the courageous attempt of a group of slaves to escape from the shackles of slavery in Georgia to freedom in the North by means of the Underground railroad.

Should you watch?

Viewers who found 12 years a Slave compelling and necessary viewing may find this serialized exploration of America’s original sin to be vital television. Others, however, may believe that the most reviled chapter of our nation’s history is too upsetting to constitute a regular viewing appointment. Regardless, WGN should be commended for tackling such a difficult subject on primetime television.

The Catch – March 24 (ABC)

What’s it about?

Shonda and ABC are determined to dominate television’s winter season. The Catch is the second ABC series with ties to Shonda released in March and the first featuring her direct involvement. The series follows L.A’.s top private fraud investigator who is herself defrauded by a fiance who makes off with millions of her money before the wedding. She embarks upon a private mission of revenge.

Should you watch?

Ehh. In the minds of this writer this show features a more interesting premise and better cast than the other Shondaized offering of the first half of 2016. Especially considering the show is based upon a treatment written by Kate Atkinson, a gifted novelist best known for Life after Life and her Jackson Brodie detective series. Still, The Catch promises to be the type of show you hang out with on lonely weeknights rather than the one you take home to meet your parents. Not much of a catch after all.

The Path – March 30th (Hulu)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WgtCSfOED6w

What’s it about?

Details are sparse about Hulu’s second dramatic offering of 2016, but we do know that it will tell the story of a man who joins a cult-like religious group only to suffer a crisis of faith.

Should You Watch?

Yes. The Path’s features one of early 2016’s most interesting premises in the exploration of odd religious faith. Fertile ground that HBO’s critical darling, The Leftovers, has mined to great effect over the past couple of months. Perhaps most interestingly, The Path features the return of one of TV’s greatest actors of the past decade–Breaking Bad’s Aaron Paul. I confess myself to be more than a little intrigued about what kind of story would tempt Jesse Pinkman back to the small screen.

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