We're deep into the era of "peak TV," and even the most dedicated viewer can have a hard time keeping track of the shows on in a single evening — let alone a single year. With old favorites returning for another run, promising new shows arriving all the time, and entire seasons arriving on a variety of streaming services, how can you keep up?
I've done my best to sort through every possible option and winnow it all down to the most interesting TV shows of 2016, so you can pick and choose the ones that most appeal to you. These shows have been listed in the order they'll premiere, and I'm only including shows with a set release date. As other great TV shows lock down their premiere dates, I'll update accordingly.
1. Game of Thrones (HBO, April 24)
Last year, the HBO fantasy series ended on a buzzy cliffhanger that guaranteed even the most jaded fans would tune in for another season. But while Game of Thrones remains one of TV's most durable hits, there's an intriguing new wrinkle to season six. The TV series has officially caught up with its literary source material, which remains unfinished, and author George R.R. Martin recently confirmed that the next book won't be published before the sixth season premieres. In short: For the first time ever, fans of the books don't know what's coming next.
2. Silicon Valley (HBO, April 24)
Silicon Valley might be the most stressful sitcom on television — but if you're willing to laugh and bite your nails at the same time, you'll find plenty to admire about it. The series, which follows a scruffy group of programmers (led by Thomas Middleditch) navigating the high-stakes world of the tech boom, keeps one-upping itself, as new allies and competitors arrive to give or claim millions of dollars from the show's hapless leads.
3. Veep (HBO, April 24)
HBO's terrific political satire (and reliable Emmy darling) suffered a blow when showrunner Armando Ianucci stepped down at the conclusion of last year's fourth season. Fortunately, the network locked down a capable replacement: David Mandel, best known for his work on Seinfeld and Curb Your Enthusiasm. Last year's season finale offered a cliffhanger that left the political career of Selina Meyer (Julia Louis-Dreyfus) in question, and by extension the fate of the United States — so it should be a blast watching Veep untangle this particular knot.
4. Penny Dreadful (Showtime, May 1)
Showtime's stylish horror drama can get bogged down in its own lurid plotting, but it has one undeniable asset: star Eva Green, delivering a powerful and deeply committed performance as a woman plagued by the devil himself. Penny Dreadful's mash-up approach to gothic horror means that legendary characters like Dr. Victor Frankenstein (Harry Treadaway), Mina Harker (Olivia Llewellyn), and Abraham Van Helsing (David Warner) have put in appearances; season three will add Dr. Jekyll (Shazad Latif) to the show's mix.
5. Person of Interest (CBS, May 3)
Person of Interest first premiered way back in September 2011, but CBS isn't exactly giving the sci-fi thriller a rousing sendoff for its final season: The remaining episodes will be burned off with pretty much no fanfare, with two episodes airing per week until the series finale airs. But the network's shoddy treatment of Person of Interest doesn't mean you should avoid toasting the show's final season, which sees stars Jim Caviezel and Michael Emerson taking The Machine on one last run.
6. Marseille (Netflix, May 5)
Having tackled American politics in House of Cards, Netflix swings to France for Marseille. Gérard Depardieu stars as a longtime mayor forced to go head-to-head with a charismatic former ally (Benoît Magime) who takes a run at him in a general election.
7. Preacher (AMC, May 22)
Having found a successful formula with The Walking Dead, AMC is doubling down on its investment in buzzy adaptations of bloody comic-book franchises with Preacher, which follows a violent, superpowered priest (Dominic Cooper), his ex-girlfriend, and a vampire on a quest to find and confront God. The Preacher comics were long thought too blasphemous and profane for anything but a totally bastardized adaptation, but an early screening of the pilot left fans buzzing that the series had arrived on the small screen, rather remarkably, with all that adults-only storytelling intact.
8. Wayward Pines (Fox, May 25)
Anyone who stuck with last year's "event series" Wayward Pines was treated to one of the most out-and-out bonkers stories to air on network television in recent years. The series — which follows a Secret Service agent who wakes up in a bizarre town full of creepy people and creepier mysteries — packed in as many twists as you'd expect from a show executive produced by M. Night Shyamalan. But the biggest twist of all may be the series' unexpected return for a second season, which takes on the challenge of picking up after last year's characteristically oddball ending. Wayward Pines' second season will also introduce several new protagonists, including a historian played by Djimon Honsou.
9. Feed the Beast (AMC, May 31)
We're in the midst of an unlikely David Schwimmer renaissance, and AMC's new dramedy Feed the Beast aims to pick up where American Crime Story: The People vs. O.J. Simpson left off. A loose adaptation of the Danish series Bankerot, Feed the Beast follows a hard-luck sommelier (Schwimmer) and his chef buddy (Jim Sturgess) as they attempt to open a restaurant in Brooklyn while dodging a gang of mobsters, whom they owe a considerable financial debt.
10. UnREAL (Lifetime, June 6)
Lifetime built its name on a series of gloriously cheesy made-for-TV movies, and until recently, it seemed fairly comfortable staying within that niche. But last year's new original drama UnREAL — which chronicles the behind-the-scenes production turmoil at a Bachelor-esque reality show — represented a colossal leap forward for the network, delivering a femme-centric antihero story that could go toe-to-toe with the kind of thing you'd see on the prestige networks. Season two introduces B.J. Britt as the new bachelor at the heart of the show-within-a-show, alongside an all-new cast of hopeful contestants for UnREAL's protagonists to manipulate.
11. Casual (Hulu, June 7)
TV doesn't exactly have a shortage of shows about middle-aged, middle-class white people navigating life and love — but if you're up for another binge-watch, Casual is one of the good ones. The first season established the foibles of the talented multigenerational cast: newly divorced Valerie (Michaela Watkins), as well as her mother (Frances Conroy), rakish younger brother (Tommy Dewey), and teenaged daughter (Tara Lynne Barr).
12. O.J.: Made in America (ABC/ESPN, June 11)
Yes, yes — another O.J. Simpson series. But even if you've devoured every episode of American Crime Story: The People vs. O.J. Simpson, you'll get a totally different experience out of O.J.: Made in America. The ambitious new series is a documentary, not a drama, and it takes a broader scope of Simpson's life and career, beginning with his childhood and ending with today, as he sits in prison after a 2013 conviction for armed robbery.
13. Orange is the New Black (Netflix, June 17)
Earlier this year, Netflix made a near-unprecedented decision to renew the prison dramedy Orange is the New Black for a fifth, sixth, and seventh season — and all before the fourth season had even premiered. What inspires that level of confidence in a TV series? It probably has something to do with Orange's continued commitment to telling deeper, smarter, more diverse stories than you'd find in any other series — and now that we know it will be around for at least a few more years, the show's creative team can start laying the groundwork for the seasons to come.
14. Roadies (Showtime, June 26)
A passion project from writer/director Cameron Crowe (who could really use a hit right now), Roadies promises a behind-the-scenes look at a rock band on tour, as told by the grunts who make the show happen. All the usual Cameron Crowe tropes are there — a sprawling ensemble cast, corny philosophizing, Pearl Jam — but at a time when so many prestige TV shows are built around damaged antiheroes, it's refreshing to see a network like Showtime push a series with such warm-hearted optimism.
15. The Night Of (HBO, July 10)
Still bummed about True Detective's laughable second season? You might be able to get your crime drama fix from The Night Of, an HBO miniseries based on BAFTA-winning British series Criminal Justice. The Night Of begins in the immediate aftermath of the murder of a young woman in New York City's Upper West Side, chronicling the various people who become involved in different aspects of the investigation and subsequent trial. Stars include John Turturro, Riz Ahmed, and Michael K. Williams.
16. Mr. Robot (USA, July 13)
If you're looking for evidence that a single TV show can change the face of a network, look no further than Mr. Robot — the twisty, stylish thriller that single-handedly obliterated USA's reputation for blandly disposable procedurals. Mr. Robot's second season aims to broaden the scope of the show's paranoid narrative, with protagonist Elliot (Rami Malek) adjusting to a new world order — and increasingly doubting his own sanity — in the wake of last year's climactic finale.
17. Stranger Things (Netflix, July 15)
Netflix's new original series is still largely shrouded in mystery — there's not even a trailer yet — but what we do know sounds intriguing. The story follows Joyce (Winona Ryder), a woman attempting to uncover what happened to a young boy who inexplicably disappeared. A Netflix press release reveals that the series will have supernatural elements, so it's probably safe to assume that Stranger Things will take the viewer to some pretty strange places over its eight-episode first season.
18. Ballers (HBO, July 17)
HBO's Ballers can succinctly but correctly be reduced to a simple summary: Entourage in the NFL. But while that description doesn't inspire a ton of confidence, and the series could certainly stand to aim a little higher, it does have one thing that no other TV show can offer: Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson on your TV screen every single week.
19. Vice Principals (HBO, July 17)
HBO's newest comedy, which follows a pair of vice principals gunning for the principal job at a midwestern high school, has two ideal leads for this kind of over-the-top comic premise: Danny McBride and Walton Goggins. Vice Principals was co-created by McBride and Jody Hill — and given that their previous HBO series was the no-holds-barred satire Eastbound & Down, you can safely expect a full season of raunchy one-upmanship.
20. The Get Down (Netflix, August 12)
Netflix continues to broaden its slate of originals with The Get Down, a period musical drama co-created by Baz Luhrmann and Shawn Ryan. The series follows a group of teenagers growing up in the 1970s, against a musical backdrop tracing the rise of disco and funk in the South Bronx. The young cast features a slew of promising unknowns, with talented characters actors like Giancarlo Esposito and Jimmy Smits playing supporting roles.
TV shows that have already premiered:
(Our original previews for each of these shows were published earlier this year. We've left those curtain-raisers untouched, but appended updates to each item.)
21. Man Seeking Woman (FXX, January 6)
It's not exactly difficult to find a sitcom that explores the travails of modern dating — but if Man Seeking Woman isn't the first, it's definitely the weirdest. In a series of vignettes, protagonist Josh (Jay Baruchel) sees his desperate search for a girlfriend thwarted by a series of surreal mishaps: an encounter with Adolf Hitler, a trip to hell, a misplaced penis. Almost by definition, Man Seeking Woman is uneven, but when it works, it hits an ideal combo of surprising and hilarious.
Update: It continues to fly under the radar, but Man Seeking Woman remains doggedly committed to its offbeat premise. The series will return for a third season in early 2017.
22. American Crime (ABC, January 6)
Between American Horror Story, True Detective, and Fargo, the anthology series has been on an unexpected but welcome comeback tour — and ABC's own variation, American Crime, has similarly high ambitions. The first season chronicled the aftermath of a murder in California. Season two shifts to Indiana to tell the story of a high schooler who accuses his basketball teammates of drugging and sexually assaulting him. It's sobering material, but a capable cast — including season one alums Felicity Huffman, Timothy Hutton, and Regina King, playing all-new characters — give American Crime the appropriate weight to match.
Update: Despite enormous critical acclaim for its second season, the ratings for American Crime remained perilously low. No word on whether it will return for a third.
23. Black-ish (ABC, January 6)
After a brief midseason break, the witty ABC sitcom returns for the back half of a second season that has deepened and expanded the show's exploration of modern blackness. Anthony Anderson and Tracee Ellis Ross are reliably hilarious in the lead roles, and the series generally manages to balance out its humor with sharp cultural insights.
Update: Black-ish is just a few weeks away from the end of its triumphant second season, with the season finale schedule to air on May 18. The series will return for a third season.
24. Todd Margaret (IFC, January 7)
David Cross' zany, densely plotted comedy series returns for an exceedingly unlikely third season, following a second season finale that saw the titular character unintentionally bring about the destruction of the planet. It's a tall order for a quasi-reboot, but Todd Margaret's structure is goofy enough to sustain any kind of narrative trickery — particularly with a ringer like Jack McBrayer joining the cast.
Update: Todd Margaret remained delightfully idiosyncratic in its third season, though the majority of fans will likely end up discovering it on Netflix. No word on a continuation, but given the length of the gap between seasons two and three, who knows if it might come back again someday?
25. Shameless (Showtime, January 10)
Showtime's long-running Shameless is one of the quietest hits on premium television, with five solidly rated, well-reviewed seasons under its belt. Season six revisits the Gallagher family shortly after Frank (William H. Macy) returns from his brief, ill-fated move to Costa Rica. The new season will introduce a love interest from Frank's past in Twin Peaks alum Sherilyn Fenn.
Update: Shameless is starting to look a little long in the tooth, but the show's talented cast continues to sell even the weaker material. The series will return for a seventh season, with a premiere date to be announced.
26. Colony (USA, January 14)
Last summer, USA redefined its brand with the excellent hacker thriller Mr. Robot, which showed infinitely more ambition and daring than fluff like Suits or Royal Pains. Colony clearly aims to be phase two of USA's aim to court a younger and more devoted TV audience, casting Josh Holloway (Lost) and Sarah Wayne Callies (The Walking Dead) in a dystopian sci-fi narrative about life in a police state run by alien invaders.
Update: Colony never attained the critical buzz that greeted Mr. Robot, but the sci-fi drama remains a solid performer in USA's growing stables of originals. The series will return for a second season in 2017.
27. Billions (Showtime, January 17)
Homeland star Damian Lewis returns to Showtime for another TV series that aims to capture the pulse of America's contemporary political climate. This time, Lewis is playing a shady hedge fund manager, opposite Paul Giamatti as a dogged attorney who wants to take him down.
Update: Reviews were mixed, but Billions' soapy, 1-percenter melodrama was a hit with Showtime subscribers. A second season will pick up on the cliffhangers left over at the end of the first, with a premiere date still to be announced.
28. Angie Tribeca (TBS, January 17)
Rashida Jones stars in this Police Squad!-esque cop show spoof about a tough-as-nails cop who plays by her own rules. TBS clearly believes that Angie Tribeca can attract a loyal cult following; the network will air all 10 episodes of the first season in a single, binge-watch-friendly bloc on January 17, with a second season set to premiere just a week later (on a more conventional weekly schedule).
Update: Angie Tribeca rode its goofy premise and insanely stacked list of guest stars to a fun, if disposable, first season. A second season is on the way, with a premiere date still to be announced.
29. War & Peace (Lifetime/A&E/History, January 18)
In a move that hearkens back to the days of event television, a trio of American networks will simulcast this BBC-produced miniseries adaptation of Tolstoy's epic historical novel over four consecutive weeks. The top-shelf cast is led by Paul Dano and Lily James, with supporting roles for actors like Gillian Anderson, Jim Broadbent, Stephen Rea, and Brian Cox.
Update: War & Peace may not have been the buzzy hit it was when it premiered in the U.K., but the event series was still a flashy coup for the U.S. networks that aired it.
30. Agent Carter (ABC, January 19)
ABC's unjustly underappreciated Marvel series finally returns for a second season. The terrific Hayley Atwell stars as Peggy Carter, onetime ally and love interest to Captain America, as she adjusts to life post-World War II while working for an early version of what will eventually become S.H.I.E.L.D. The second season moves the action from New York City to Los Angeles, but otherwise, fans can expect the same delightful mix of action, fashion, snappy dialogue, and retro-cool spy gadgets.
Update: Despite largely positive reviews, the ratings for Agent Carter's second season dipped well below the already mediocre performance of its first season. If this were any other series, it would already have been canceled — but given the overall strength of the Marvel brand, the series remains a toss-up, with no definitive word on whether ABC will renew or cancel.
31. Legends of Tomorrow (The CW, January 21)
The CW's latest expansion of its successful DC Comics-based superhero shows builds on characters introduced in Arrow and The Flash. The time-traveling sci-fi narrative loops in a number of lesser-known superheroes, including The Atom (Brandon South), White Canary (Caity Lotz), and Hawkman (Falk Hentschel).
Update: When compared to the TV shows that spawned it, Legends of Tomorrow is, to put it delicately, a bit of a mess. Fortunately, the time-hopping premise makes it an easy series to turn around when it premieres its second season, which will likely arrive sometime in 2017.
32. London Spy (BBC America, January 21)
Ben Whishaw, best known as the new Q in the 007 franchise, takes center stage in this limited BBC series about a man who discovers his new lover was actually a spy. The TV series, which was created by Child 44 novelist Tom Rob Smith and costars Jim Broadbent and Charlotte Rampling, has already aired to general acclaim in England.
Update: London Spy delivered on its promise: a tight, gripping drama with a terrific performance from Ben Whishaw.
33. Baskets (FX, January 21)
Zach Galifianakis takes on his first starring TV role in the characteristically offbeat comedy Baskets, which follows a failed professional clown who is reduced to accepting a job as a rodeo clown in his hometown. If you're not into Galifianakis' shtick, Baskets definitely won't change your mind, but fans will find plenty to laugh at in his sad-sack protagonist's various misfortunes.
Update: Baskets is exceedingly strange — and so off-putting in places that it seems like it was deliberately engineered to turn viewers off — but it attracted enough of a loyal following to earn a second season, which will premiere in early 2017.
34. Black Sails (Starz, January 23)
Starz has a lot of faith in its ambitious pirate drama; a fourth season has already been ordered, and the third is only premiering now. Black Sails offers a mix of fact and fiction, interlacing an original prequel to Robert Louis Stevenson's Treasure Island with real-life figures like Anne Bonny, Charles Vane, and Jack Rackham. This season promises to introduce one of the most notorious pirates of all: Blackbeard, played by Rome alum Ray Stevenson.
Update: Black Sails never gets the critical attention that greets its fellow prestige dramas, but if you're looking for a gritty high-seas adventure, the third season certainly delivered. No word on the formal premiere date for the (previously announced) fourth season.
35. The X-Files (Fox, January 24)
At this point, it would probably be faster to rattle off the cult TV shows that aren't being rebooted or revived for modern audiences — but the ahead-of-its-time The X-Files is unusually ripe for this kind of treatment. Though the TV show went off the air in 2002, it never really resolved its various mysteries in a satisfying manner (and a dismal 2008 movie sequel only made things worse). And with original stars Gillian Anderson and David Duchovny returning, alongside fan-favorite characters like Skinner and The Cigarette Smoking Man, this six-episode miniseries is a welcome chance to end one of TV's most beloved cult series on the high note it deserved.
Update: True to form, The X-Files delivered a short run that frustrated more than it entertained, ending on yet another cliffhanger designed to extend the franchise. Will it return? Everyone involved has expressed an interest in doing more, and X-Files fans are clearly gluttons for punishment — so yes, probably.
36. Crazy Ex-Girlfriend (The CW, January 25)
Don't be fooled by the dumb title — this musical comedy, which aired its first eight episodes last fall, is anything but a lazy cliché. As a young woman who abandons her life in New York and moves to California after a chance encounter with an ex, Rachel Bloom is phenomenally multifaceted, remaining intensely likable while embracing the characters' uglier side. And the musical interludes are perfectly calibrated, balancing catchy tunes and witty lyrics that also provide genuine insights into the characters.
Update: Ratings remain anemic, but overwhelming critical praise and a Golden Globe for star Rachel Bloom saved this terrific show from the bubble. A second season has been ordered; do yourself a favor and catch up on season one before it premieres.
37. The Magicians (Syfy, January 25)
Lev Grossman's sci-fi/fantasy novel gets the small-screen treatment in The Magicians, which offers a kind of adult-oriented mashup between Harry Potter and The Chronicles of Narnia. As the series begins, protagonist Quentin (Jason Ralph) is thrilled to begin a new life at a secret Hogwarts-esque school for magicians — only to discover that the real-life problems of adulthood can't be waved away by a wand.
Update: The Magicians couldn't always live up to its ambitions, but it's still a promising new fantasy drama, and arguably the most interesting series Syfy has going right now. A second season will premiere sometime in 2017.
38. Lucifer (Fox, January 25)
Lucifer is the rare TV show that managed to alienate two intensely opinionated groups before airing a single episode. One Million Moms launched a petition urging Fox not to air a TV series that casts Satan as a hero working alongside the L.A.P.D., eventually securing 130,000 signatures. Meanwhile, fans of this particular take on Lucifer — which originated in Neil Gaiman's brilliant comic series Sandman — are skeptical of what looks like a very, very loose adaptation of the source material. Will the TV show be any good? There are plenty of reasons to be skeptical, but either way, it'll be fascinating to watch the cultural sparks fly when it's actually on the air.
Update: Frankly, Lucifer is pretty dumb — but if it's your kind of dumb, here's some good news: The series will be back for a second season, with a premiere date yet to be announced.
39. Outsiders (WGN America, January 26)
WGN America continues to reshape itself into a home for top-shelf prestige television with Outsiders, a grim drama about a tight-knit family living off the grid in the Appalachian mountains. As the series begins, patriarch Big Foster (David Morse) declares war on a collective of police officers and businessmen bent on securing control of the mountain for lucrative redevelopment. Think Sons of Anarchy by way of Winter's Bone and you'll be in the right ballpark.
Update: Outsiders was exactly what WGN America needed: a well-received drama designed to put the network on the map. The series will return for a second season in January 2017.
40. You, Me, and the Apocalypse (NBC, January 28)
This oddball British import is a sci-fi dramedy with an unusually high concept: By the end of its 10-episode run, Earth will have been destroyed by a comet. From there, You, Me, and the Apocalypse jumps from location to location — Berkshire, New Mexico, Washington, D.C., and the Vatican — as we get to know the various characters who will somehow end up in a bomb shelter together by the end of the series. Stars include Rob Lowe as a priest and Jenna Fischer and Megan Mulally as a pair of escaped inmates.
Update: You, Me, and the Apocalypse didn't make much of a splash in the United States — but love it or hate it, it was never designed to last.
41. The Muppets (ABC, February 2)
ABC's much-discussed relaunch of The Muppets was correctly pegged as one of the biggest disappointments of the fall TV season — a crass, strangely cynical series that bore little resemblance to the characters longtime fans have come to know and love. But if you're one of the people who tuned out The Muppets this fall, it's worth giving it one last chance after the midseason break. The Muppets will return in a kind of "reboot," with Kristin Newman — a writer/producer with credits on shows like How I Met Your Mother, The Neighbors, and Galavant — taking over for departing showrunner Bob Kushell.
Update: Is it too late to save The Muppets? Ratings cratered in the back end of the season, and the show never quite pulled off that much-vaunted creative turnaround — but the concept remains promising enough that ABC may still end up giving the sitcom a second season.
42. American Crime Story: The People v. O.J. Simpson (FX, February 2)
Riffing on the format of Ryan Murphy's hit TV series American Horror Story for an anthological true-crime tale, creators Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski have assembled a formidable cast to tell a fictionalized version of one of the most infamous and polarizing trials in modern history. Cast members include John Travolta as defense attorney Robert Shapiro, Sarah Paulson as prosecutor Marcia Clark, and Cuba Gooding, Jr. as plaintiff O.J. Simpson.
Update: American Crime Story: The People vs. O.J. Simpson was a remarkable achievement — brilliantly told and beautifully acted, and packed with genuine insights. A second season hasn't been formally ordered, but the creative team has expressed interest in producing a second season chronicling the circumstances of Hurricane Katrina.
43. Madoff (ABC, February 3)
A special event airing over two consecutive evenings, Madoff casts Richard Dreyfuss as the infamous stockbroker behind the biggest Ponzi scheme in U.S. history, now serving a sentence of 150 years in prison. It's a story that will be very, very familiar to anyone who has followed the news cycle over the past decade, but those who can stomach an in-depth look at Madoff's crimes will find no shortage of drama to explore.
Update: Madoff, unfortunately, failed to say anything new or insightful about the family at the center of its narrative or America's greater financial crisis.
44. Animals (HBO, February 5)
HBO gets back into the quirky animated comedy game with Animals, a series of shaggy sketches centered on the problems of unusually chatty rats, cats, and pigeons attempting to survive in New York City. Animals' exceedingly loose format has enabled a who's-who list of modern comedians to make time to voice an animal: the first three episodes contain work from Aziz Ansari, Ellie Kemper, Adam Scott, Chelsea Peretti, and Nathan Fielder, among many others.
Update: Animals is engineered to be loose and digestible — and given those modest goals, it remains a treat for fans of low-key animated comedy.
45. The Walking Dead (AMC, February 14)
AMC's unstoppable zombie juggernaut continues to chug along with no end in sight. The zombie drama tested critics' patience by pretending to kill off a major character, but ratings have remained sky-high. And fans of the original Walking Dead comic-book series based have an extra reason to tune in for the back half of season six: the long-awaited introduction of Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan), the TV show's most notorious villain.
Update: Once again, The Walking Dead tested fans' patience with the questionable decision to end its season on a needless cliffhanger that ended up inspiring little more than groans of disappointment. Then again, poor creative choices have never hurt The Walking Dead before, so expect similarly massive ratings when the show returns in Fall 2016.
46. Vinyl (HBO, February 14)
Boardwalk Empire may be over, but Martin Scorsese and Terence Winter's creative collaboration continues to bear fruit. Their latest TV series follows an ambitious record executive (Bobby Cannavale) navigating the New York City music scene in the 1970s. Vinyl's extensive supporting cast also includes Olivia Wilde, Ray Romano, and Juno Temple.
Update: For a show that arrived with such lofty expectations, Vinyl turned out to be a major disappointment — a draggy, dour drama that plodded along with no real sense of momentum. The series will return for a second season, but with Scott Z. Burns taking over as showrunner from Terence Winter, in a clear attempt to pull the show out of its creative tailspin.
47. 11.22.63 (Hulu, February 15)
Hulu's newest and biggest original series is clearly designed for maximum buzz: A historical sci-fi thriller based on Stephen King's bestselling novel of the same name, produced by J.J. Abrams and starring James Franco. The series follows a time traveler (Franco) attempting to prevent Lee Harvey Oswald from assassinating President Kennedy. It's a hoary premise, but Stephen King worked wonders with it, giving the TV show a promising blueprint to make 11.22.63 shine.
Update: For a series with so much affiliated talent, 11.22.63 made a curiously small splash, but those who checked out it out found plenty to admire. The series, which was always planned as a limited event, will not return for a second season.
48. Better Call Saul (AMC, February 15)
Last year, AMC's Breaking Bad prequel/spin-off Better Call Saul overcame some very understandable skepticism to emerge as a top-notch drama in its own right. The second season promises to take Jimmy McGill (Bob Odenkirk) further down the road to corruption that eventually sees him remake himself as Saul Goodman, the sketchy-but-savvy lawyer who becomes one of Walt and Jesse's key allies in Breaking Bad.
Update: Over the course of its second season, Better Call Saul got deeper in its themes and more ambitious in its storytelling, fleshing out an ever-widening cast of supporting characters while teasing the possibility of at least one more Breaking Bad fan-favorite arriving. The series will return for a third season.
49. Broad City (Comedy Central, February 17)
Ilana Glazer and Abbi Jacobson's raucous sitcom turns New York City into a playground for the chaotic misadventures of two freewheeling 20-somethings. Though Broad City remains delightfully unpredictable on an episode-by-episode basis, we do know one thing about season three: Hilary Clinton will be popping up in a guest role.
Update: With 30 episodes of antics under its belt, Broad City remains remarkably and delightfully consistent. The series has already been renewed for two more seasons, and it's a safe bet Comedy Central will keep Abbi and Ilana around as long as they can.
50. Vikings (History, February 18)
History's Norse period drama often flies under the radar, but Vikings has achieved a devoted cult following on the back of its distinctive blood-and-grit visual style and intriguingly unconventional narrative rhythm. For the fourth season, History is doubling down on Vikings with a whopping 20 episodes — half to air now, half to air later this year. Let's hope they can maintain the show's overall quality at the accelerated pace.
Update: Vikings has quietly become an institution for History, and they have no intention of letting it go anytime soon. In addition to the remaining 10 episodes of season four, which will air later this year, Vikings has been renewed for a fifth season of 20 episodes, likely to air in 2017.
51. Love (Netflix, February 19)
Judd Apatow co-created this Netflix original, which follows a man (Paul Rust) and a woman (Gillian Jacobs) who befriend each other as they explore love and life in Los Angeles. It's a typically low-key Apatow premise, but his work tends to be most compelling when his characters are given room to grow, and it'll be interesting to see how that approach plays out in a binge-friendly 10-episode format.
Update: Love treads some fairly common ground — and there are plenty of other, similarly pitched shows that tackle the same kinds of subjects with far more depth and grace — but enough people bought in that Netflix is keeping it around. A second season, consisting of 12 episodes, will arrive sometime in 2017.
52. Girls (HBO, February 21)
I could try to sell you on Girls' extremely polarizing portrayal of millennial angst, but let's be honest: After four seasons, you probably know whether or not this is your kind of show. The new season will pick up after the flash-forward in last year's season four finale, which saw Hannah (Dunham) rejecting Adam (Adam Driver) in favor of a relationship with Fran (Jake Lacy).
Update: Girls is hardly the cultural lightning rod it was when it premiered in 2012, but the fifth season demonstrated a new maturity in the characters that extended to the overall storytelling. A sixth and final season will premiere in 2017.
53. Togetherness (HBO, February 21)
Girls' timeslot partner earns just a fraction of its ratings — but Togetherness offers an equally insightful look at a quartet of adults who are struggling to find happiness as they settle into middle age. Mark Duplass — pulling quadruple duty as co-creator, co-writer, co-director, and star — has assembled a terrific ensemble cast that also includes Melanie Lynskey, Amanda Peet, and Steve Zissis.
Update: Togetherness delivered a tremendously affecting second season, but never found its audience. HBO opted not to renew the series for a third season.
54. The Family (ABC, March 6)
The latest ShondaLand drama promises a soapy look at a ruthless gubernatorial candidate (Joan Allen), whose carefully constructed public image is rattled when her kidnapped son, presumed dead 10 years earlier, suddenly reemerges and rejoins her family. (One piece of advice: Don't watch the teaser, which tells you more than you want to know before you watch the pilot.)
Update: The Family continues to deliver plenty of soapy, implausible twists, with a plum leading role for Joan Allen. No word on a second season yet.
55. Hap and Leonard (SundanceTV, March 2)
Over the past few years, SundanceTV has quietly grown into one of the most reliable homes for top-notch TV dramas, and Hap and Leonard boasts a similarly promising pedigree. Based on novels by Joe Lansdale, the series follows the titular duo (played by James Purefoy and Michael K. Williams, respectively) in a twisty crime narrative set in 1980s Texas. The series is helmed by Nick Damici and Jim Mickle, who previously collaborated on the excellent Lansdale adaptation Cold in July, so they clearly have the right touch for this material.
Update: Hap and Leonard was a tiny little gem of a series, packing a compelling story and a series of strong performances into its brief six-episode first season. No word on a second season, though Joe Lansdale's novels provide plenty of untapped blueprints for more adventures featuring the titular duo.
56. The Americans (FX, March 6)
Every year, TV critics try to get people to watch The Americans, and every year, the ratings dip a little. So futile as it feels, here we go again: Watch The Americans. The FX drama, which follows a pair of deep-cover Russian spies (Keri Russell and Matthew Rhys) in America, gets deeper and smarter every season.
Update: True to form, The Americans has met with universal acclaim for its fourth season, with a large contingent of critics declaring it the best show on television. None of that praise has made a difference in the show's ratings, but a fifth season still feels like a likely prospect.
57. Damien (A&E, March 7)
A&E's Bates Motel, a likably daffy prequel series to Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho, gets a logical timeslot partner in Damien, which picks up where the 1976 horror classic The Omen left off. Bradley James stars as Damien, the adult son of the devil, with Barbara Hershey costarring as a Satan worshipper who aims to guide him further toward the dark side.
Update: Unfortunately, Damien turned out to be a misfire — a potentially intriguing concept undone by a botched execution. No word on a second season.
58. Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (ABC, March 8)
If you tuned out of Marvel's first big superhero drama during its rocky first year, it's time to tune back in. Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. has grown more confident with each season, and the front half of season three saw the show break format for its best-ever episode, which stranded one character on an alien planet for a gripping and emotionally fraught hour. The new run of episodes will pick up where the old ones left off, as the team squares off against both a sinister government mucky-muck (Powers Boothe) and a body-snatching alien threat.
Update: In the back half of its third season, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. has fully embraced its comic-book origins, spinning a twisty sci-fi tale with some intriguing implications for the greater Marvel Cinematic Universe. The series will return for a fourth season.
59. Underground (WGN America, March 9)
WGN America's Underground is a period drama centered on a group of slaves who resolve to flee a plantation via the Underground Railroad. It's a powerful narrative from an exceedingly dark chapter in American history, and Underground promises to explore it from every angle: the plantation owners, the people who sheltered the runaway slaves, and the people who did — and didn't — manage to escape.
Update: Midway through its first season, Underground is delivering a smart, well-calibrated spin on a fascinating chapter of U.S. history. The series will return for a second season.
60. Daredevil (Netflix, March 18)
Netflix's gritty take on the popular Marvel superhero returns for another batch of episodes with a couple of new fan-favorites in the mix. Élodie Yung will debut as the ultra-lethal assassin Elektra, who was previously played by Jennifer Garner on the big screen, and Jon Bernthal will debut as the Punisher, a brutal antihero whose goals seem to conflict with Daredevil's. And hey — given how closely interrelated Marvel's Netflix shows are intended to be, there's always a chance Luke Cage or Jessica Jones might pop in.
Update: In its second season, Daredevil remained Daredevil: a dark-and-gritty superhero series that flows more smoothly when you binge-watch it in a single, breathless chunk. No word on a third season, but at the very least, Matt Murdock will return alongside Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, and Iron Fist in the previously announced miniseries The Defenders.
61. The Path (Hulu, March 30)
Relatively little has been revealed about Hulu's The Path, which follows a man who converts to a controversial, cult-like religion — but the premise is intriguing, and its pedigree is unimpeachable. The series will star Aaron Paul (Breaking Bad), Michelle Monaghan (True Detective), and Hugh Dancy (Hannibal), with Kathleen Turner and Minka Kelly slated for supporting roles.
Update: The Path may be too grim and slow for some viewers' taste, but the central performances remain quietly mesmerizing. No word on a second season.
62. Empire (Fox, March 30)
Empire is nothing if not bold. In the first half of its second season, Fox's buzzy soap practically caused whiplash with the breakneck pacing of its myriad twists and turns — and even when it strained to make sense, it was hard to look away. The back half of the season promises more of the same, as Lucious Lyon (Terrence Howard) attempts to win back control of his record label.
Update: Empire isn't the buzzy mega-hit it once was, but its high-wire act continues unabated. Fox has ordered a third season, though no premiere date has been announced.
63. Fear the Walking Dead (AMC, April 10)
AMC's other zombie drama returns after an abbreviated freshman season last year for a full order of 15 episodes. Fear is a slower, denser series than the flagship Walking Dead, but an earlier place in the overarching timeline and a new Los Angeles location helps it feel fresh, and last season's ending — which implied that the survivors might be fleeing onto a yacht off the coast — could make for an intriguing new scenario.
Update: Fear the Walking Dead has taken its story to the high seas — and while it has attained neither the ratings nor the buzz of The Walking Dead, it's enough of a hit that AMC has already renewed for a 16-episode third season, which will air sometime in 2017.
64. The Girlfriend Experience (Starz, April 10)
Steven Soderbergh gives his chilly 2009 drama the small-screen treatment in this 13-episode adaptation, which follows a young woman who moonlights as an escort for rich and powerful men. Mad Max: Fury Road's Riley Keough takes over for original star Sasha Grey, leading a cast that also includes mumblecore staples Kate Lyn Sheil and Amy Seimetz.
Update: The Girlfriend Experience is a fascinating series, approaching its protagonist with a distance that's almost clinical. The series continues to air week-to-week, though Starz has also made the entire first season available for binge-watching on its official streaming app; no word on a second season.
65. Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt (Netflix, April 15)
You'd probably expect the story of a young woman (Ellie Kemper) resuming her life after 15 years as a captive to a cult leader to be a grim, harrowing drama. But Netflix's Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt took this difficult material and turned it into one of the cheeriest, most buoyant sitcoms to premiere in 2015. Netflix will drop all 13 episodes of season 2 on April 15, and the biggest challenge will be holding back from watching them too fast.
Update: Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt's second season recaptures the spirit of its first, delivering a terrific mix of warmth and biting satire (and packing in more than a few surprise celebrity cameos). A third season will premiere in 2017.
66. The Night Manager (AMC, April 19)
John le Carré's spy thriller gets a well-heeled miniseries adaptation courtesy of the BBC, with AMC nabbing the U.S. air rights. Tom Hiddleston, best known as The Avengers baddie Loki, stars as a British soldier sent on an undercover mission to take down a charismatic arms dealer (Hugh Laurie).
Update: All six episodes have already aired in the U.K., but The Night Manager has only just premiered in the United States. Still, the series has met with rapturous reviews on both sides of the pond, making it a must-watch for anyone who hasn't taken the plunge yet.
This article, originally published on January 8, 2016, was last updated on April 26, 2016.