TV in 2024: the most anticipated shows to watch

A look at the top new and returning series coming up in the next year

Ambika Mod and Leo Woodall playing Emma and Dexter in 'One Day'
Ambika Mod and Leo Woodall star in Netflix's 'One Day'
(Image credit: FlixPix / Alamy Stock Photo)

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One Day

Were you ambivalent about the prospect of the new adaptation of David Nicholls's novel "One Day"? "I don't blame you," said Carol Midgley in The Times. The film version in 2011 was dire, not least because Anne Hathaway was fatally miscast as Emma – the clever, unglamorous, working-class young woman from Yorkshire whose relationship with handsome, public school-educated Dexter is at the heart of the story. But this TV adaptation, which tells the tale in 14 episodes, is a triumph: "tender, funny, heartbreaking" and "gorgeously shot". It stars Ambika Mod and Leo Woodall as the two friends, who meet and almost sleep together on their final day at the University of Edinburgh in 1988. We then revisit the pair on the same day – 15 July – for the next 20 years, tracking "their career ups and downs, their romances, their miseries".

The series isn't perfect, said Barbara Ellen in The Observer. "The Em-Dex connection sometimes feels less sexual/amorous, more mutually needy emotional vampirism"; the decades "barely register bar a busy soundtrack and asides about mobile phones"; Emma's ethnicity is scarcely mentioned (the character was originally written as white). But it's "riveting and moving", and superbly acted: Mod and Woodall excel, and are brilliantly supported by the likes of Eleanor Tomlinson, Jonny Weldon and Tim McInnerny. "I ended up much more invested than I thought I'd be."

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"'One Day' has little new to say about love", and its portrayal of Emma and Dexter as total opposites attracting is perhaps a bit neat, said Dan Einav in the FT. "But what sustains it over 14 episodes is the intense, irresistible sense of fate that builds through the show. Only it doesn't lead where we might expect."

Tell Them You Love Me

"Louis Theroux is not one to shy away from a difficult story," and his latest film – made by his production company but not featuring him – is about the controversial relationship between a white American academic and an African-American man with severe disabilities, said Daniel Keane in the Evening Standard. Anna Stubblefield met Derrick Johnson in 2009 when his family contacted her, hoping that she'd be able to help Johnson – who had been born with cerebral palsy, and couldn't speak or walk or feed himself – to communicate. Soon, Stubblefield had him "talking" via a method called "facilitated communication", in which she would hold his arm as he pointed to letters on a keyboard. Their relationship became physical. She said they were in love – but his family claimed he was incapable of consenting to sex, leading to her being prosecuted for sexual assault. The documentary is strikingly balanced, but it is not for the "faint-hearted". 

The film doesn't sensationalise the story, said Carol Midgley in The Times. But it does leave you with questions. What did Stubblefield's children make of the affair? Does she still love Johnson? It's a "memorable" documentary, but not a very rigorous one. Still, its breadth is remarkable, said Leila Latif in The Guardian. "Beyond consent, disability and race there is space given to reflect upon the nature of language, the 'white saviour' complex, the purpose of justice and what constitutes unconditional love." It's a "hard watch" to be sure, but "also a vital one".

Out now, Sky

Masters of the Air

"Masters of the Air" is an "epic Second World War drama" with a host of movie stars in its cast, including Austin Butler and Callum Turner, said Rebecca Nicholson in The Guardian. Yet this nine-part drama, produced by Tom Hanks and Steven Spielberg at a reputed cost of $250 million, "has arrived quietly and politely", on Apple TV. Still, the buzz will surely grow from here on in, as this "is truly fantastic television". Serving as a companion piece to "Band of Brothers" and "The Pacific", it follows the men of the 100th Bomb Group of the Eighth Air Force, who from 1943 undertook a series of highly perilous daytime bombing missions over Germany from a base in Norfolk. 

This is "grand, traditional" TV that is so tense, you may have to watch through your fingers. "Masters of the Air" is "not perfect", said Anita Singh in The Daily Telegraph. Predictably, it creates the impression "that the Americans won the War, with just a little help from the Soviets in the final furlong"; but this is one of the best-looking dramas you could hope to see (with a cast that is sometimes ridiculously handsome). The unit suffered such devastating losses it became known as the "Bloody Hundredth"; and you get a distressingly clear picture of what it must have been like to be a gunner on a B-17 bomber under fire. But ultimately, it's the quiet moments before the missions that get you. The special breakfast the men dub "the last supper"; a pilot making the sign of the cross before saying, "Here we go". 

I found it a bit "syrupy and jingoistic", said Barbara Ellen in The Observer. But the aerial combat scenes are extraordinary: "sky ballets of death that place you with the men, inside the blood-spattered cockpits, breathing in their valour and terror".

The Artful Dodger

Are you in the market for "something escapist that will require little in the way of close attention or emotional investment", asked Lucy Mangan in The Guardian. If so, "walk this way" to Disney's sequel to Oliver Twist. At the end of Charles Dickens's novel, Oliver of course goes to live with nice Mr Brownlow while the Artful Dodger is sentenced to transportation to Australia for theft. This eight-part series picks up his story 15 years later. We find Dodger (Thomas Brodie-Sangster) now all grown up and making a name for himself as a trailblazing surgeon conducting gruesome operations in the penal colony of Port Victory. Then Fagin (David Thewlis) turns up among a shipment of convicts – "was he ever really going to let himself be hanged at Newgate?" – and blackmails Dodger into taking him on as his personal servant, and so their old partnership is resurrected. "Fast and great fun", the series has buckets of charm, and "a script that is admirably better than it needs to be". 

I'm afraid it didn't charm me, said Anita Singh in The Daily Telegraph. It's shot in the now ubiquitous style for period pieces – "hectic editing, a rock soundtrack" – and your tolerance for it will partly depend on your response to Brodie-Sangster's performance. I found him a "peevish smart alec". The tone is "light as gossamer", and it can be hard to care as the "plot twists its way along," said James Jackson in The Times. But the series has wit; Brodie-Sangster and Thewlis make a "fine double act"; and "it's all so breezy you barely pause to consider how unlikely the whole romp is". Out now; Disney+

Fool Me Once

Netflix is "starting the year off right" with "Fool Me Once", a limited series that sounds "absolutely thrilling", said Leah Marilla Thomas in Cosmopolitan. When ex-soldier Maya Stern (Michelle Keegan) sees her murdered husband Joe (Richard Armitage) on a secret nanny cam, she uncovers a deadly conspiracy that stretches deep into the past. "I already can't wait to find out what happened." Out now; netflix.com  

Criminal Record

This London-based crime drama will see Peter Capaldi ("Doctor Who") and Cush Jumbo ("The Good Fight") play two detectives with "different definitions of justice and the truth", said Ariana Brockington on Today. Out now; apple.com 

True Detective: Night Country

After three "(mostly) well-received" seasons of spooky investigative drama, said Alec Bojalad on Den of Geek, HBO's "True Detective" franchise is "going to try something a little new". Subtitled "True Detective: Night Country", Jodie Foster and Kali Reis will star as this season's "duo of mismatched detectives as they look into some icy murders in the perpetual darkness of rural Alaska". Out now; hbo.com 

Griselda

Created by the makers of "Narcos" and "Painkiller", we just know "this is going to be good", said Furvah Shah in Cosmopolitan. Prepare to see Sofia Vergara "as you've never seen her before" in Netflix's six-part limited series which is inspired by the real life story of Griselda Blanco, a Colombian "businesswoman turned drug lord" who became "The Godmother" of the criminal underworld of 1970s Miami. Release date: 25 January 2024; netflix.com 

Masters of the Air

Apple TV+'s upcoming mini-series from executive producers Steven Spielberg, Tom Hanks and Gary Goetzman is "one of 2024's most anticipated TV shows", said Ned Booth on The Playlist. "Masters of the Air" follows the men of the 100th Bomb Group (the "Bloody Hundredth") as they conduct "perilous bombing raids over Nazi Germany". Austin Butler, Callum Turner, and Barry Keoghan lead an ensemble cast in an adaptation based on Donald L. Miller's book of the same name. Release date: 26 January 2024; apple.com 

Mr and Mrs Smith

Harking back to the "origin story of Brangenlina", said Jack Needham in Stuff, the forthcoming "Mr and Mrs Smith" TV series on Amazon Prime Video is based on the same storyline as Pitt and Jolie's 2005 "spy caper". Donald Glover and Maya Erskine will star. Release date: 2 February 2024; primevideo.com 

Avatar: The Last Airbender

Based on the "hugely popular" animated series of the same name, said Lucy Ford in GQ, this Netflix live-action series "seeks to right the wrongs" of the "famously terrible" 2010 film "Avatar: The Last Airbender". It will star Daniel Dae Kim and "a whole host of newcomers". Release date: 22 February 2024; netflix.com 

Nightsleeper

The BBC's upcoming suspense drama is billed as a "real-time thriller", said Laura Jane Turner on Digital Spy. Set on a sleeper train travelling from Glasgow to London it will star Joe Cole ("Gangs of London") and Alexandra Roach ("The Light in the Hall"). Release date: "early 2024"; bbc.co.uk 

Bridgerton

"I'm truly shocked" that this show won't be out until next summer, said Leah Marilla Thomas in Cosmopolitan. It has been "sooooo long" since season two of "Bridgerton", and season three will be split into two parts. "Lady Whistledown would want me to exercise patience. So I will." Release date: 16 May (part one) and 13 June (part two); netflix.com 

House of the Dragon

The "Game of Thrones" spin-off will return for season two, said Josh Rosenberg in Esquire, and the first teaser revealed "all-out dragon warfare in Westeros". Release date: summer 2024; hbo.com  

The Bear

We're "hungry" for "The Bear" season three, said Kelly Woo on Tom's Guide, and FX has "received our order". That means we'll get "another helping" of Carmy, Syd, Richie, Sugar, Tina, Marcus and the rest of the gang again. Release date TBC; hulu.com (US) and disneyplus.com (UK) 

You

You "just can't get rid" of Joe Goldberg, said Lucy Ford in GQ, "stalkers are like that, after all". Coming back with a fifth and final season, "You", the series about a "stalker slash hopeless romantic slash murderer slash book enthusiast", will land back where it all started in New York City. Release date: TBC; netflix.com  

Emily in Paris

Your "favourite stylish expat" Emily Cooper, played by Lily Collins, will return to Netflix for the fourth chapter of her adventure, said Kaitlyn McNab in Teen Vogue. There is no official release date for "Emily in Paris" season four as yet, but Netflix confirmed that filming will take place in both Italy and Paris. Release date: TBC: netflix.com 

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