1. Mr Robot
In its first season, Mr Robot was one of the most compulsively entertaining shows on television. Creator Sam Esmail managed to where his influences on his sleeve (particularly Fight Club) while remixing them into something that was new. It even made hacking look dramatic. Elliot, played by Rami Malek, became TV’s newest outsider, and the show was filled with the spirt of anarchy. Season two brought everything back down Earth. While it was still gorgeous to look at (Esmail directed every episode) the story seemed to dwell on having the audience guessing instead moving things along. With this in mind, season three has got a lot riding on it, but if anyone can bring back the magic of Mr Robot, it’s Esmail.
2. Stranger Things
Stranger Things was the show of 2016, and unlike its nearest rivals: Westworld and Atlanta, Stranger Things second season will be released this year, over the Halloween weekend no less. Having Stranger Things on this list may actually be a waste of a space, since everyone is going to watch it regardless of what lists like this tell them. Still, season two is going to be huge. Monster as big as Hawkins huge. The return of Eleven huge.
Last season Arrow did the impossible. After bursting on to screens in a frenzy of murder and green leather, Arrow’s first two seasons made it, arguably, the best superhero show on TV. Then everything went crazy: The League of Assassins were the forefront of a dull third season, and the less said about Olicity, and magic in season four the better. In most cases shows never fully right themselves after such a huge dip in quality. Arrow did just that, with a fifth season that functioned as a deep dive into Oliver Queen’s character, and the completion of his ten-year journey. That means that season six is a clean slate. Will Arrow continue this uptick in quality, or will it bring the magic back?
You can imagine the pitch meeting at the CW, a network that was doing great business thanks to its superhero shows, IZombie, and Jane the Virgin. What about a noir tinged teen melodrama based on the Archie comics? As ideas that span from normal to the Young Pope, Riverdale was somewhere in the middle. The 13-episode first season made this insane idea work like gangbusters. The first episode took most of the typical storylines of a teen drama and got them out the way early. The rest of the season was a beautifully made whodunnit, with tongue firmly in cheek. The question is, can season two achieve the same success? Will the novelty of this idea wear off?
5. American Horror Story
Quality of plot is not a going concern for American Horror Story, it would rather shock, disgust, and challenge our sensibilities with whatever sex, death, and gore it can get away with on television. The latest season is a little different. Taking the Presidential election as the backdrop for the season, American Horror Story has jettisoned the supernatural elements in order to examine the fear and chaos at the heart of America. Does it always make complete sense? No. Is it ridiculously entertaining? It might just be.