Bob Odenkirk as Saul Goodman
Ursula Coyote—AMC
By James Poniewozik
December 29, 2014

Better Call Saul (AMC)

Bob Odenkirk as Saul Goodman
Ursula Coyote—AMC

Walter White’s bus-bench lawyer Saul Goodman (Bob Odenkirk) provided much of the comic relief in Breaking Bad. Seeing if he can carry a series as the lead will be his biggest case yet in this prequel.


Bloodline (Netflix)

From left: Ben Mendelsohn as Danny Rayburn and Kyle Chandler as John Rayburn in Bloodline
Netflix

Netflix has gone to Washington, DC (House of Cards), prison (Orange Is the New Black) and Mongolia (Marco Polo); now it’s off to the Florida Keys for its own take on the dark family soap, with Friday Night Lights‘ Kyle Chandler.


The Comedians (FX)

Billy Crystal
Tibrina Hobson—FilmMagic

Comedy veteran Billy Crystal is paired up with much younger performer Josh Gad in the story of a comedy veteran paired up with a much younger performer. It’s a stretch, but they just might pull it off!


Empire (Fox)

Following on ABC’s Nashville and Starz’s Power, Fox launches a much-anticipated music business drama with Terrence Howard as an ailing hip-hop mogul trying to decide who will inherit his record label.


Fresh Off the Boat (ABC)

Forrest Wheeler as Emery, Ian Chen as Evan, Randall Park as Louis, Hudson Yang as Eddie and Constance Wu as Jessica
Kevin Foley—ABC

Adapted from the memoir by star chef Eddie Huang, this midseason comedy promises an irreverent coming-of-age story about the son of Taiwanese immigrants.


Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell (BBC America)

Bertie Carvel as Jonathan Strange and Eddie Marsan as Mr. Norrell
BBC America

In this adaptation of the 2004 Susanna Clarke novel, magic returns to 19th-century Britain through the efforts of two rival sorcerers. The book was eerie and transporting; I can’t wait for the miniseries to apparate.


The Last Man on Earth (Fox)

One of the most curious projects announced for this broadcast network season is a futuristic comedy with Will Forte by his lonesome on a vacated planet–or maybe not, as the show has already cast Kristen Schall and January Jones. (Hey, it’s not like they named it Last Human on Earth.)


The Late Show With Stephen Colbert (CBS)

Stephen Colbert
Mark Sagliocco—FilmMagic/Getty Images

After David Letterman ends an era in late night, we finally get to see the host rip off that formidable mask of irony. A (Colbert) nation will now get to find out what’s underneath.


The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore (Comedy Central)

Larry Wilmore
Comedy Central

Jon Stewart’s dry-witted “senior black correspondent” takes over Stephen Colbert’s old timeslot with a panel discussion show that he says will focus on the underdog. No word on whether he gets to keep Colbert’s eagle.


Scream Queens (Fox)

Emma Roberts
Taylor Hill—FilmMagic/Getty Images

He did comedy (Glee), he did horror (American Horror Story); now, with Emma Roberts and Halloween vet Jamie Lee Curtis, Ryan Murphy will try his first horror-comedy. (The unintentional horror-comedy of Nip/Tuck doesn’t count.)


Togetherness (HBO)

The stressed -out parents of young kids add yet further complications to their lives when her sister and his best friend move in with them and strike up a friendship. If nothing else, it has to be better than those Sprint “framily” ads.


Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt (Netflix)

Ellie Kemper
Steve Sands—GC Images/Getty Images

Considering NBC’s recent history with launching new comedies, the fact that the network decided this Tina Fey–written show an escapee from a doomsday cult (Ellie Kemper) sounds like an endorsement to me. Another endorsement: Netflix has already signed on for two seasons.


Untitled Rock and Roll Drama (HBO)

Mick Jagger
Fiona Goodall—Getty Images

You’d think that if Martin Scorsese, Mick Jagger and Boardwalk Empire‘s Terence Winter had enough material to get HBO to commit to this series about the NYC music scene in the 1970s, they’d have enough to think of a name. For now, I’m calling it Exile on Mean Streets.


Westworld (HBO)

J.J. Abrams
Jason LaVeris—FilmMagic/Getty Images

We know very little about this J.J. Abrams dystopian drama except that it’s adapted from the ’70 movie about theme park robots gone wild, and that the teaser promos are creepy as hell. Maybe Stephen Hawking was right about artificial intelligence being the end of all of us.


Wolf Hall (PBS)

Mark Rylance as Thomas Cromwell
PBS

Powerful, oversexed and big on appetite, Henry VIII was a TV antihero before there were TV antiheroes–as Showtime realized with its oft-ridiculous The Tudors. Hilary Mantel’s novel, focusing on one of his crafty political counselors, may provide better fodder for fleshing the king out.

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