1. “Z: The Beginning of Everything” - Amazon, Jan. 27
A “bio series” focused on Zelda Sayre, later Fitzgerald — of the F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald Fitzgeralds — the Fitzgerald many have found the more compelling of the two.
Adapted by the team of Nicole Yorkin and Dawn Prestwich (“The Killing”) from Therese Anne Fowler’s historical novel, the series is unusually convincing both for an American period piece and for a biopic, that most treacherous of dramatic forms.
Christina Ricci, the former Wednesday Addams, may not be the first actress you’d imagine to play the belle of 1918 Montgomery, Ala.; physically, she doesn’t resemble Zelda at all, but she has spirit to burn, a fierce intelligence and in her mid-30s is both completely credible as a rule-bending, skinny-dipping, cigarette-smoking, party-loving teenager and not too young to play the character through the rest of her short, fabulous, finally circumscribed life.
The series promises to take the couple from their meeting in Montgomery to the New York high life into which Scott’s early success catapulted them — to expatriate Paris and on into a world that eventually had no use for them. With Christina Bennett Lind as Zelda’s childhood pal Tallulah Bankhead; David Strathairn, always a bonus, as the exasperated Judge Sayre; and David Hoflin as the eventual author of “The Great Gatsby,” “Tender Is the Night” and “The Last Tycoon,” which is also being adapted as an Amazon series. — Robert Lloyd
2. “24: Legacy” - Fox, Feb. 5
Can Fox’s iconic “24” survive a 25th hour?
That’s one of the most intriguing questions facing viewers at the start of the new year when Fox reboots with “24: Legacy,” putting a new spin on the premise of a thriller playing out in real time.
The “24” brand has been absent since the 2014 finale of limited series “24: Live Another Day.”
Back is the explosive opening title, the “events unfold in real time” introduction, the on-screen running clock and the breakneck pace.
Not back is Kiefer Sutherland, the heart and soul of the series with his portrayal of Jack Bauer, the world-weary spy who saved the world several times. (Sutherland is now trying to run the country as a low-level Cabinet member unexpectedly promoted to president of the United States in ABC’s freshman drama “Designated Survivor.”)
This version of “24,” which debuts Feb. 5 following the Super Bowl, stars Corey Hawkins, best known for playing Heath on “The Walking Dead” and Dr. Dre in the film “Straight Outta Compton.” Hawkins plays Eric Carter, an Army Ranger and leader of a raid on a terrorist cell. Now the survivors of that cell are out to track Carter and his fellow warriors in an effort to secure a weapon stolen during the raid that will unleash an attack on America.
Fox is taking a huge risk with “24: Legacy,” replacing a veteran star like Sutherland with a relatively unknown African American actor. No other characters from the original series — at least in the first few episodes — are present (What, they couldn’t even bring back Chloe?). Though there will be a few familiar faces, including Miranda Otto and Benjamin Bratt, the supporting cast is largely new — and culturally diverse.
Still, many of the elements that helped make “24” a hit — car and foot chases; double- and triple-crosses — are front and center.
It will be interesting to see if the show’s devoted fans will keep the show ticking beyond this season. — Greg Braxton
3. “Detroiters” - Comedy Central, Feb. 7
Sam Duvet and Tim Cramblin are admen, but with none of the style, savvy or skills of Don Draper and Roger Sterling. The old friends and Detroit locals, played by real-life old friends and Detroit locals, and show creators Sam Richardson (“Veep”) and Tim Robinson (“Saturday Night Live”), are low-budget ad execs — full of small ideas and big aspirations. Cramblin Advertising was once respected for its weighty accounts with Delta and Budweiser, but since the low-achieving Tim took over for his father (who went insane), the firm specializes in late-night TV ads for local hot tub kings and shady accident attorneys.
The two strive to regain the agency’s glory by landing their first big account with Chrysler, but somehow their campaign ideas (“Jesus Chrysler, What a Car!”) keep missing the mark. The 10-episode series follows the duo’s quest to land a big one, even if the awkward buddies with “Loser” practically printed across their out-of-date Gap polo shirts have no idea how to get there.
“Detroiters” also features guest spots by Keegan-Michael Key, Michael Che and Malcolm Jamal-Warner, among others. The show’s executive producer, Jason Sudeikis, also costars as the hard-to-please Chrysler VP. The absurdly funny chemistry between him and Richardson and Robertson and the show’s clever references to the Motor City’s culture and scenery make the series a wonderfully quirky ride through advertising’s not-so-sexy underbelly. —Lorraine Ali
4. “Big Little Lies” - HBO, Feb. 19
If you thought the “Real Housewives” of Bravo took drama and passive aggressiveness to new, petty heights, HBO’s limited series “Big Little Lies” takes the histrionics to a murderous level.
The seven-episode series follows three mothers of grade-schoolers in an elite community. The dark side of parenthood emerges as those seemingly “perfect lives unravel to the point of murder,” according to the official release. The series, based on Liane Moriarty’s bestseller, stars Reese Witherspoon, Nicole Kidman and Shailene Woodley — uh, “True Detective” who?
Like the book, the miniseries will have its share of humor. The trailer includes a snarky jab from Witherspoon’s character to another mother about, well, another mother. “She’s not a nanny, she’s a mom. She’s just young, like you used to be.” But, unlike the book, the TV adaptation is set in wealthy Monterey, Calif., not an Australian suburb. All the episodes are directed by Jean-Marc Vallee (“Wild,” “Dallas Buyers Club”) from scripts by David E. Kelley. Rounding out the cast are Alexander Skarsgard, Laura Dern, Adam Scott, Zoe Kravitz, James Tupper and Jeffrey Nordling. — Yvonne Villarreal
5. “Feud” - FX, March 7
Ryan Murphy has probably done more than anyone in Hollywood to bring the anthology series into vogue.
In 2017, he will build on the success of “American Horror Story” and “The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story” with “Feud.” The first season dramatizes the notorious if somewhat misunderstood rivalry between screen legends Joan Crawford and Bette Davis. Based partly on the script “Best Actress” by Jaffe Cohen and Michael Zam, the eight-episode “Feud” goes behind the scenes of “What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?,” the 1962 film that both women hoped would revive their flagging careers but which ultimately became a camp classic. Davis earned an Oscar nomination, much to Crawford’s irritation.
Future seasons will explore other epic personal grudges. “Feud” is poised to burnish Murphy’s reputation as a latter-day George Cukor, a storyteller known for showcasing female performers. The series will reunite him with several favorites, including Jessica Lange, who follows in Faye Dunaway’s footsteps portraying Crawford (though it remains to be seen if she’ll reach the over-the-top heights of “Mommie Dearest”).
Murphy regulars Sarah Paulson and Kathy Bates will play two other classic stars, Geraldine Page and Joan Blondell. New to the Murphy oeuvre is Susan Sarandon, who, in a bit of note-perfect casting, will appear as Davis. Much like “The People v. O.J. Simpson” used the most sensational trial of the ‘90s to examine still-relevant themes of police corruption, gender, race and celebrity, “Feud” will likely go beyond the catfights and expose enduring truths about women, aging and Hollywood. — Meredith Blake
6. “The Handmaid’s Tale” - Hulu, April 26
Margaret Atwood’s never-out-of-print novel of a near-future American dystopia becomes a miniseries. Though written in 1986, its imagining of a right-wing theocratic totalitarian patriarchy feels germane to a moment in which reproductive rights are under attack and when — here and abroad — the religious beliefs of some are used to circumscribe the civil liberties and, indeed, the humanity of others.
Elisabeth Moss plays Offred, a “handmaid” whose job is to bear children for a ruling-class couple who can’t. (Pollution and STDs have wreaked havoc on reproduction.) It is also, in a timely way, a text on the normalization of weirdness: “This may not seem ordinary to you now,” the book’s Offred is told of her new duty, “but after a time it will. It will become ordinary.”
Already filmed once in 1990 by Volker Schlöndorff with a screenplay by Harold Pinter, the miniseries promises suspenseful action in its trailer. And though the novel is subtler than a brief synopsis makes it sound, it wouldn’t be hard to turn it into a sort of feminist “Logan’s Run.” But Moss is an actress who cuts facets into a role like a master jeweler, and any opportunity to watch her work is worth taking. Also in the cast: Samira Wiley, Joseph Fiennes, Yvonne Strahovski, Ann Dowd and “Gilmore Girl” Alexis Bledel, far from Stars Hollow. — R.L.
7. “Twin Peaks” - Showtime, May 21
The last time “Twin Peaks” was on the air, George H.W. Bush was president and bingeing was something you did with food, not television.
But grab a slice of cherry pie and a damn fine cup of coffee because the beloved cult series returns May 21.
The original series, set in the small town of Twin Peaks, Wash., followed Special Agent Dale Cooper (Kyle MacLachlan) as he investigated the brutal murder of homecoming queen Laura Palmer. Premiering in 1990, the series became an unexpected cultural sensation, with viewers hooked on the central mystery, oddball characters (e.g. the Log Lady) and off-kilter humor but was canceled after two seasons following a sharp ratings decline.
Despite its short life span, “Twin Peaks” continues to influence other TV shows, from “The Killing” to the upcoming “Archie” adaptation, “Riverdale.”
Details about the much-anticipated revival are elusive, but here is what we do know: The series will be 18 hours, with a two-hour premiere, and is entirely directed by Lynch, who also wrote the series with co-creator Mark Frost.
Lynch rounded up several key members of the original cast — most notably MacLachlan, who reprises his role, Sherilyn Fenn as Audrey Horne, Madchen Amick as Shelly Johnson, and Kimmy Robertson as Lucy Moran.
The ensemble will also include a number of Lynch veterans who are technically new to the “Twin Peaks” universe: Laura Dern, Naomi Watts and Robert Forster. —M.B.
8. “I’m Dying Up Here” - Showtime, June 4
As HBO’s “Vinyl” was to classic rock, this newcomer is to the 1970s comedy boom around L.A.’s Sunset Strip. Created by Dave Flebotte (“Masters of Sex”) and executive produced by standup veteran Jim Carrey, “I’m Dying Up Here” examines the transition in comedy from setups and punchlines to something more idiosyncratic and personal.
The show is loosely based on the William Knoedelseder 2010 book of the same name that explored the rambunctious history of the Comedy Store. It occupies the same world when careers were born by an invitation to sit next to Johnny after a set on “The Tonight Show,” but unlike the vanquished HBO show the series doesn’t fixate on stand-ins for the famous names.
Instead it centers on a group of young comedians, including real-life Comedy Store regulars like Andrew Santino and Al Madrigal along with Ari Graynor (“Whip It”), Clark Duke (“Greek”) and Oscar winner Melissa Leo, whose performance as the owner of the Goldie’s offers a strong foundation. Focusing on the often dark and desperate quest for fame and the weird addictive alchemy that results when a well-crafted joke lands, the series should resonate with hardcore comedy fans. — Chris Barton
9. “Veep” - spring, HBO
10. “Game of Thrones” - summer, HBO
Nasty women with high political aspirations will rule in 2017 or at least on some of HBO’s most popular returning series.
Two very different shows — the fantastical drama “Game of Thrones” and the political satire “Veep” — left us with opposite scenarios in 2016: a woman occupying the highest governing seat in the land and one taking leave of it.
Now the question as to how those women deal with that power, or the loss of it, makes Season 7 of “GoT” and six of “Veep” two of the most anticipated returning shows of 2017.
In “Veep,” Selina Meyer (Julia Louis-Dreyfus) became POTUS after the elected president resigned, but it was short-lived. Last season, up for reelection, she lost, to another woman.
The big question is how the incompetent, narcissistic and ill-informed Meyer will deal with her post-election-loss spiral and transitioning back to life outside the White House. Either way, it’ll surely mirror the reality of the real-life election of 2016.
It’s been a long, hard and disgustingly muddy road for the women of Westeros, but in the seventh season, they’re finally poised to seize power from the men who’ve demeaned, abused and locked them up.
Cersei Lannister’s (Lena Headey) on the throne in King’s Landing. Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke) is poised to challenge her, as is Sansa Stark (Sophie Turner), who’s amassing another army. All are fierce and ready to rule. There will be dragons. The new year is looking up. —L.A.
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