1. Returning seasons of Black Sails, Game of Thrones, Orphan Black, Les Revenants(?) – The previews for the new seasons look and/or sound great so far. (The exception is Les Revenants, which due to French TV’s laid-back approach to TV series-making, may or may not premiere its new season in the U.S. during 2015.)
It looks as though Black Sails is going to delve quite a bit into Captain Flint’s mysterious past, which may help to make him less of a one-note baddie. Game of Thrones is certainly going to be spending a bunch of time in the Kingdom of Dorne. I’m very excited to see that, as this part was shot on location in and around Seville, Spain, where I was born. And I’m ready for anything Orphan Black wants to throw at me.
2. Wolf Hall – This adaptation of Hilary Mantel’s historical novel set in Tudor England (to be broadcast on PBS’ Masterpiece Classic) is high on my list of most-anticipated shows of 2015. Sorry, fans of The Tudors, but I really disliked that show. While it brought some terrific actors to our attention, such as Maria Doyle Kennedy, Natalie Dormer, James Frain and Henry Cavill, I found it totally missed the mark in bringing the characters from history to life.
The protagonist of the story, Thomas Cromwell, was a man of low birth and unlimited ambition. By telling the well-worn story through his eyes, Mantel made it seem fresh and new. I like to describe the book as “Game of Thrones from Varys’ point of view.” I’m hoping the series captures that exact vibe.
The cast is amazing, headed by Mark Rylance as Cromwell, and Damian Lewis as Henry VIII. Got high hopes for this one.
3. Poldark – I adore the original series based on Winston Graham’s historical adventure novels. So I groaned when I heard they were remaking it.
However, I followed the series’ Twitter account while it was in production, and I have to say what they posted–including stills–looked very impressive. The cast, headed by Aidan Turner, looks pretty good. It was a delightful surprise to find out Robin Ellis, the original Ross Poldark, will have a minor role as Reverend Halse.
If nothing else, I will enjoy the breathtaking scenery of Cornwall, England, where the series takes place.
4. The Last Kingdom – This is another historical mini-series from the UK, this time about Alfred the Great. This is a period of history rarely depicted in fiction, so it will be nice to see a series that doesn’t cover the same old, same old.
5. Sharknado 3 – Just in case anyone thought this list was getting too hoity-toity. YES, I love Sharknado movies, and I’m not ashamed to admit it. I’m ready to live-tweet as soon as the new sharknado starts spitting out sharks on our hapless heroes. You better believe it, baby.
6. 12 Monkeys – There seems to be a lot of fan resistance to this upcoming Syfy show based on the 1995 Terry Gilliam time-travel film (which, it must be remembered, was itself a remake of the French short film La Jetee). But it sounds very promising.
My major concern is it’s from Syfy, which seems to do better with shows and movies that are deliberately bad. So I’m a trifle skeptical, but still willing to give it a shot.
7. Westworld – OMG. This HBO series based on the Michael Crichton novel has an incredible cast: Anthony Hopkins, James Marsden, Jeffrey Wright, Ed Harris, Thandie Newton and Evan Rachel Wood. If the series is bad, it won’t be the actors’ fault.
More whining about remakes from fans, but if the resulting series is good, I couldn’t care less.
8. The Spoils Before Dying – The odds are pretty good that you missed The Spoils of Babylon, the Funny or Die-produced series that parodied the TV mini-series of the 1970s and 1980s. Starring Tobey Maguire, Kristen Wiig, Tim Robbins, Will Ferrell and Haley Joel Osment, it is HI-LA-RI-OUS. If you grew up on stuff like Rich Man, Poor Man, Lace, and series based on Judith Krantz and Jackie Collins novels, you will love it, too. Look for it, it’s worth it.
I’m hopeful that this sequel will be just as funny.
9. Flesh and Bone – This mini-series from Starz is set in the ballet world and is about the pain and sacrifice a dance career requires. I love ballet but haven’t yet found a series about it that’s really compelling. The people involved in making it are all connected to ballet in some fashion, so I’m hoping this one becomes the exception to the rule.
10. 11/22/63 – The premiere date for this series, which will be streamed on Hulu, is still listed as TBA, but I’m fiercely hoping it will be this year. Based on the Stephen King novel about a man who travels through time to stop Lee Harvey Oswald from assassinating President Kennedy, this is my favorite King novel in years–maybe even decades. The book is exciting, suspenseful, and deeply emotional. If they do the adaptation right, it should be every kind of awesome.