We’re halfway through 2014, and let’s be honest: there haven’t been a lot of great, break-out new series, save for January’s True Detective. I love The Leftovers, but it’s premiere ratings were middling, AMC’s new fare hasn’t struck a nerve, FX’s Tyrant is not getting a ton of buzz, and Showtime’s Penny Dreadful will never become a Zeitgeistian hit. Fargo was amazing, but ratings were only so-so, and it hasn’t even been renewed for a second season yet. We need another Game of Thrones, another Breaking Bad and another Walking Dead. Save for True Detective, and maybe The Strain later this month, the biggest hits in 2014 were mostly the biggest hits in 2013.
So, maybe it’s time to look ahead to next year and at the new crop of new cable dramas (and one comedy) for the next, huge break-out hit. Here are 10 possibilities, and the ten shows I’m most excited about in 2015.
10. Ballers — The half-hour comedy series, honestly, sounds like Entourage set in the pro sports world, but I can’t resist the cast: Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson is the lead, a retired football player, in a sitcom that will explore the lives of a group of former and current football players. Rob Corddry will co-star in the series, produced by Mark Wahlberg and Dwayne Johnson, with a pilot directed by Peter Berg (Friday Night Lights, The Leftovers) and written by Stephen Levinson (Entourage).
9. Roadies — This is a personal preference, if only because one of my favorite all-time directors, Cameron Crowe, is coming to television (Showtime) to explore what he knows best: the life of touring musicians and their groupies. That’s essentially what the semi-autobiographical Almost Famous was. Along with producer J.J. Abrams, Crowe is turning that concept into a weekly series. What’s not to be excited about?
8. The Walking Dead Spin-Off — We still don’t know that much about The Walking Dead spin-off, except that it’s not actually a spin-off, it’s a companion series. Here’s everything we do know so far.
7. Marvel’s Daredevil — Agents of SHIELD hasn’t exactly crushed it for ABC, but the next small-screen adaptation in the Marvel world (after this winter’s Peggy Carter series) has a decent showrunner in Michael DeKnight (Sparactus) and a strong cast in lead (Charlie Cox), love interest (Rosario Dawson), and villain (Vincent D’Onofrio, who will play Kingpin). There will be a certain Marvel slickness, and certainly some formula, but if the 10 episodes of Daredevil can be as good as the best 5 episodes of Agents of SHIELD, it should do just fine for Netflix.
6. MaddAddam — The post-apocalyptic series based on Margaret Atwood’s book trilogy is being brought to HBO by Darren Aronofsky. I’ll let Robo Panda do the honors in describing the book series:
The MaddAddam trilogy takes place in the mid-21st century, following the lives of the remaining survivors — some human and some genetically engineered — of a viral pandemic started intentionally by titular character Crake (née Glenn) in the first part of the trilogy in an attempt to wipe out everyone but his genetically-engineered tribe of “Crakers”.
Since it’s HBO, we fully expect them to include the mating rituals of the Crakers, in which the men wave their erect blue penises around and a female chooses several of her favorites for a week-long orgy. Oryx & Crake was weird, you guys.
Aronofsky, Atwood, blue penises, and HBO could hardly be a better combination.