2019 is shaping up to be one of the most significant years yet for TV.
Apple are set to launch their new streaming service, having already signed a deal with Oprah Winfrey. It will also broadcast projects from La La Land director Damien Chazelle and Reese Witherspoon.
Meanwhile, Disney is launching its rival to Netflix and Amazon – among the offerings from Disney Plus will be new stories from the Marvel and Star Wars universes.
Launch dates and details for many of the new series still aren’t public. But there’s also plenty to look forward to from the traditional broadcasters and other streamers.
Here are a few shows to watch out for:
Game of Thrones series 8 (Sky Atlantic)
“When you play the Game of Thrones, you win or you die,” predicted Lena Headey’s Cersei Lannister during the show’s first season. She wasn’t exaggerating. Several series later, the show is metaphorically littered with the bodies of characters who have fallen along the way. Now millions of fans are desperate to discover who will finally sit on the Iron Throne, and rule the fantasy land of Westeros. The journey there promises to be an epic one.
Line of Duty Series 5 (BBC One)
The nerve-shredding, Bafta-winning police corruption drama was already one of TV’s biggest hits before its creator Jed Mercurio delivered 2018’s most-watched drama Bodyguard. Now even more viewers are likely to be drawn to his other huge BBC success, Line of Duty, which follows the investigators of AC-12, the police anti-corruption unit which polices the police. Sure to be filled with plot twist upon plot twist, joining as a guest star this year is Stephen Graham.
His Dark Materials (BBC One/HBO)
Novelist Philip Pullman’s fantasy, set in the world we know and many other parallel universes, has already had the big screen treatment with the first book filmed as The Golden Compass. This TV adaptation, set out over a far longer timeframe, promises to give the story the space it needs to fully pay justice to the complex and compelling narrative, as a young girl called Lyra sets out on a journey that starts in an Oxford college and which has implications for an entire universe.
Years and Years (BBC One)
The latest drama from Russell T Davies of Doctor Who, Queer as Folk and A Very English Scandal fame follows the Lyons, a family living in Manchester. The cast includes Emma Thompson as a celebrity turned politician in the story which begins on a fateful night in 2019 and then follows what happens to them over the next 15 years.
The Big Bang Theory (Channel 4)
The comedy, which initially followed a pair of scientists and their actress neighbour, has grown into a global hit with its cast reportedly commanding million dollar per episode salaries. Its final episode is due to air later this year. But Big Bang fans need not despair. Its spin-off, Young Sheldon, while not as wildly successful as Big Bang, is expected to continue for a good few seasons yet.
The Crown series 3 (Netflix)
The third series of Netflix’s drama picks up the story of the royal family in the mid 1960s. Olivia Colman and Helena Bonham Carter take over from Claire Foy and Vanessa Kirby as Queen Elizabeth and Princess Margaret. While the years covered are perhaps less tumultuous than the Monarch’s earlier years, the quality of writing and some of Britain’s best acting talent are likely to ensure the series continues to attract viewers and awards.
ITV’s historical drama, which stars Jenna Coleman as Queen Victoria and Tom Hughes as Prince Albert, is now in its third series, and remains popular with viewers here and in the US. Among the themes being explored in this run of episodes is developing tension in the marriage of the royal couple.
Fans were devastated when the cop comedy was cancelled by Fox in 2018 after five seasons. So they were of course delighted when, shortly after, the show was revived by NBC. And its sixth season will kick off in the US later this month. Its opening episode will reveal the resolution of the season five cliffhanger. However, show regular Chelsea Peretti, who plays Gina Linetti, has said she’ll only appear in a handful of episodes this season.
Love Island (ITV 2)
The phenomenally successful show where singletons look for love at a sun-kissed villa, is for many, TV’s most talked about programme. It’s already spawned a number of international spin-offs, and such is its success and popularity, tens of thousands are now applying for each new series.