6. The Spoils of Babylon
The Spoils of Babylon is an upcoming American comedy miniseries by Saturday Night Live veterans Andrew Steele and Matt Piedmont, directed by Piedmont (Casa de Mi Padre), and starring Tobey Maguire, Kristen Wiig, Tim Robbins, Jessica Alba, Val Kilmer, Haley Joel Osment, Michael Sheen, and Will Ferrell. It’s doubtful that any other sitcom on the small screen will be able to rival the star-power of this IFC mock-miniseries. The show is intended to be a spoof of the epic-scale TV events prevalent on American network television in the 1970s and 80s such as The Thorn Birds and Rich Man, Poor Man. Spoils of Babylon comes from the Funny or Die production house, and premieres at 10 p.m. ET Jan. 9 on IFC.
Chozen is FX’s newest animated comedy from Eastbound & Down creators Danny McBride and Jody Hill, and Archer creator Adam Reed. The show, following a gay rapper who just got out of prison, was created by former Eastbound writer Grant Dekernion (who will also write and rap the songs on the show), and features the voice cast of Saturday Night Live star Bobby Moynihan (in the lead role of Chozen), Michael Peña, Method Man, Hannibal Buress, Kathryn Hahn and Nick Swardson. Chozen, is the first new show added to the FX lineup, and is sure to be a daring conversation-starter. Chozen premieres Monday, January 13 only on FX.
4. The Strain
With a fresh series order, and production now underway, FX has begun marketing Guillermo Del Toro’s upcoming vampire horror television series The Strain. It was created by del Toro and Chuck Hogan, based on their incredible novel trilogy of the same name, and stars Corey Stoll, David Bradley, Mia Maestro, Sean Astin, and Kevin Durand. Carlton Cuse will step in as showrunner with a pilot written and directed by del Toro who remains onboard as an executive producer. There might already be too many vampire stories on television, but this series places special emphasis on the biology of vampires as parasitic creatures, and the life cycle and physical adaptations of a human-turned-vampire are covered in gruesome detail. The thirteen-episode first season of The Strain will start airing next July.
It’s been almost a decade since Queer as Folk went off the air; Showtime’s groundbreaking series for its subject matter, was a huge hit in closeted teenage boys’ basements from 2000-2005 – and now HBO is looking to follow up with a successor. Andrew Haigh, who wrote and directed the smash indie-hit Weekend, is onboard as executive producer and will direct the majority of the episodes. The series follows a group of gay friends living in the SF area and stars actors Jonathan Groff (Glee), Murray Bartlett and Russell Tovey (Being Human) among others. Looking is being compared to Girls for obvious reasons, and without airing one single episode, it has already received critical slack for whitewashing the LGBT San Fran Bay area – but let’s not jump the gun. If Looking is anywhere as good as Haigh’s Weekend, we just might have a contender for best new series of 2014.
2. True Detective
HBO’s upcoming crime drama True Detective (a series I will be reviewing in the new year), is without a doubt our most anticipated new show of 2014. Nic Pizzolatto penned the project with Cary Fukunaga (Sin Nombre, Jane Eyre) who’s on board to direct all eight instalments. The show stars Woody Harrelson and Matthew McConaughey as a pair of detectives who investigate a set of murders in Louisiana in 1995. True Detective’s first season will follow the 17-year hunt for the serial killer with following seasons replacing the cast and story, much like the format used in the hit series, American Horror Story. Based on the early buzz, McConnaughey is an easy favorite to win many TV awards next year. True Detective debuts Sunday January 12, on HBO.
1. The Red Road
After leaving a remarkable impression on the first season of HBO’s Game of Thrones, Jason Momoa returns to cable TV with The Red Road, a new original dramatic series for the Sundance Channel about the fraught relationship between a Native American community and their non-Native neighbors. Set in a fictional town in New Jersey, Momoa stars as the prodigal son – a tribal outlaw who teams up with the local sheriff (Martin Henderson) to investigate a crime that has shocked both of their worlds. Julianne Nicholson, Lisa Bonet (Momoa’s real-life wife), Tom Sizemore and Allie Gonino round out the cast. Slated for six episodes, the hour-long edgy drama was created by Aaron Guzikowski, the acclaimed screenwriter of this year’s critically aclaimed thriller Prisoners. If that isn’t enough reason to watch, The Read Road’s pilot is directed by the incredible James Gray (We Own The Night, The Immigrant). The Red Road launches in February, exclusively on the Sundance Channel.