January TV Looks Great and It’s Freaking Me Out
Warm weather is far away in some distant land closer to the equator and movie studios usually drop their biggest dregs in theaters (Monster Trucks, Rock Dog, XXX: The Return of Xander Cage) or finally get to releasing the good limited releases that technically came out a month earlier (A Monster Calls, Live By Night, Silence).
Keeping this in mind, it’s stunning how good premiering TV is looking for January of this fine (knocks on wood) New Year. Seriously, it’s like TV producers realized how low 2016 sunk and decided to reward us for making it through the year.
Here is a small preview of some of the most anticipated January TV shows:
Starting things off right is the long-awaited return of Sherlock on January 1. The fourth and maybe final season picks up with Holmes looking into a case involving the destruction of several images of late British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, while John and Mary Watson tend with the looming responsibility of parenthood.
Even on a bad day, Sherlock is one of the best spins on Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s super sleuth. Without spoiling too much, season four’s premiere could do with a little less soap opera and more mystery but it certainly sets the stage for an interesting rest of the season. If this is to be the last run we see of Sherlock thanks to Benedict Cumberbatch’s new gig as Doctor Strange, it makes catching this season all the more crucial and meaningful.
Sherlock returned January 1 on PBS Masterpiece at 9 p.m./ 8p.m. Central.
Maybe most mysterious is the new FX miniseries Taboo. Yes, a miniseries starring and created by Tom Hardy is now miraculously a thing and it looks bonkers. Hardy stars as James Delaney, a seemingly deranged man returning to Victorian London after years of travel to build his own shipping empire and seek vengeance against the rival East India Company for crimes committed against his family.
Hardy’s new series looks dark and wild, embracing the grittier side of merry old England, and I can not wait to see where it goes. Of course, it helps when you’re a great enough actor to make us want to watch anything you’re in.
Taboo premieres Tuesday, January 10 at 10 p.m., 9 p.m. Central on FX.
A Series of Unfortunate Events
Just a few days later, there’s nothing like a second chance with Netflix’s take on Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events. While the 2004 movie of the same name wasn’t very successful in bringing the hit young adult book series to life on screen, the new Netflix series looks to deliver.
Season one follows the Baudelaire Orphans — Violet, Klaus and Sunny — as they are put into the custody of their nefarious uncle, Count Olaf (Neil Patrick Harris) and the various wicked schemes they must thwart to keep him from getting his hands on their fortune.
Maybe TV will prove better suited to Snicket’s world of misfortunate and malice. Consisting of eight episodes, Unfortunate Events‘s first season will devote two episodes to each of the first four stories of the books — The Bad Beginning, The Reptile Room, The Wide Window and The Miserable Mill. And if they put in the work to translate Snicket’s unique tone of quirky self-consciousness and moments of genuine darkness, Netflix’s adaptation could be your next item of bingeful bliss.
All eight episodes of Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events will be available to stream Friday, January 13 on Netflix.
The Young Pope
Something that’s a bit more of a gamble is HBO’s The Young Pope. The Italian American series sees Jude Law as Lenny Belardo, the first American elected as pope in the not-too-distant future.
HBO isn’t exactly known for pulling their punches when it comes to subject matter and the promise of Jude Law stretch his wings in a morally ambiguous role sounds too tempting to pass up. Time will tell if this is the next show to solidify HBO’s reign or something closer to filler until Game of Thrones is back.
The Young Pope premieres Sunday, January 15 at 9 p.m., 8 p.m. Central on HBO.
And yet, the show premiering this month that I have the most incessant curiosity for has to be Riverdale. Based on the characters from Archie comics, Riverdale subverts what we know about the world of Archie and explores the secrets behind the titular suburb, including a fresh murder mystery at the heart of it all.
Look, I’m not convinced this show will be good. Even with veteran Archie scribe Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa heading the show, it looks like a pure distillation of CW-brand teenage angst. And, you know what? That’s kind of OK, because if this show may look like trash, it looks like the savory kind worth tuning in for.
Riverdale premieres Thursday, January 26 on The CW.