Listen, there’s a lot of television out there, and none of it plays by the rules anymore. Series take breaks that can last anywhere from a few months to a few years. Shows pop up on different channels than they last aired on, or they shift from TV to streaming. Limited series become ongoing programs, movies are broken up into miniseries, and everyone watches their favorite shows on their own schedule anyway.
So it may not seem all that important to note what pre-existing shows are coming back in 2019, but it is, in fact, absolutely vital. Maybe you didn’t realize “American Gods” was making an early year comeback, and you need to reactivate your Starz membership. Perhaps you thought “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” was still airing on Fox, when it’s actually over on NBC now. Maybe you forgot about shows like “Fleabag” and “Marvel’s Jessica Jones,” or didn’t realize so many series are ending this year.
Check out IndieWire’s 2019 TV preview below for all the returning shows you need to fit into your schedule, and make sure to read our list of new shows, as well. There’s a lot of television out there, and you need a game plan to make sure you get to every last episode.
“The Affair” Season 5 (Showtime, 2019)
“The Affair” has never been boring, that’s for sure, and after a tumultuous Season 4 which delivered massive twists — including the death of a major protagonist — the question became how, exactly, co-creator Sarah Treem would choose to wrap up the rest of the series. While at least one major player in the series is gone, Showtime has offered up a massive hint as to what to expect in Season 5: specifically, the future.
Casting Anna Paquin as the grown daughter of Alison (Ruth Wilson) and Cole (Joshua Jackson) means that at least a good chunk of “The Affair” will take place decades from now, when Joanie “returns some years in the future to a climate-change ravaged Montauk to piece together the truth about what happened to her mother” (per the press release). Can’t wait to see what the future looks like — at least, from “The Affair’s” point-of-view. — LSM
“American Gods” Season 2 (Starz, March 10)
Jasper Savage / Starz
After some post-Season 1 behind-the-scenes uncertainty — notably the departures of showrunners/executive producers Bryan Fuller and Michael Green, a budget trim, a production hiatus, and more — the critically-acclaimed Starz fantasy-drama “American Gods” is set to return for a long-awaited second season on March 10, 2019.
“A storm is coming,” as the upcoming season’s tagline reads, with former convict-turned-bodyguard Shadow Moon (Ricky Whittle) and his godly gang navigating through its eye wall. The end of the first season left audiences at a narrative pivot, with a Season 2 renewal banked, but a two-year gap between the seasons likely wasn’t anticipated. So it remains to be seen whether fans of the series will be just as hungry for its bizarre spectacle, when it returns in the early spring. The scripted drama, adapted from Neil Gaiman’s popular fantasy novel of the same name, hasn’t been entirely faithful to the book thus far, though it’s only roughly a quarter into the narrative. Therefore, what direction Season 2 will take is up for speculation, especially considering that Fuller and Green are no longer guiding the ship.
In April 2018, Gaiman teased in a 30-second video announcement: “Things are going to get darker, things are going to get more dangerous.” And an October 2018 teaser trailer revealed the obvious — that the allegorical battle between the old and new gods will continue, although with even more at stake. Despite the behind-the-scenes shakeup, much of Season 1’s key cast return, including Ian McShane as Mr. Wednesday, Emily Browning as Laura Moon, Pablo Schreiber as Mad Sweeney, Bruce Langley as Technical Boy, Orlando Jones as Mr. Nancy, Yetide Badaki as Bilquis, and more, all joining Whittle as Shadow Moon — a man on a journey through his own kind of wonderland. — TO
“Archer” Season 10 (FXX, 2019)
Adam Reed’s animated comedy is making another standalone season — this time, in space! Following up previous installments like “Vice,” “Dreamworld,” and “Danger Island,” “Archer: 1999” will be set 20 years in the past but look like it’s at least 20 years in the future. Archer (H. Jon Benjamin) is the co-captain of the USS Figgis, traveling through space alongside his ex-wife and co-captain Lana Kane (Aisha Tyler), a “possible being of pure energy” who doubles as the ship’s artificial intelligence (voiced by Jessica Walter), and a brutish alienoid named Pam (Amber Nash). The rest of the gang is along for this “Alien”-themed ride, as well, and considering this might be “Archer’s” last season — Reed said as much years ago, before slightly backing off the firm end date, and the show has not been renewed past Season 10 — here’s hoping the party is worthy of a prince. — BT
“Barry” Season 2 (HBO, Spring 2019)
The first season of HBO’s “Barry” had it all — critical acclaim, strong ratings, the ever-elusive buzz factor that helped earn the ears of awards’ voters and cultural commentators alike. But it left one big question hanging: What happened to Detective Moss? How Season 2 answers that cliffhanger could define whether or not the series can maintain its deft balance of harrowing honesty and outlandish comedy, as Bill Hader’s assassin-turned-actor keeps trying to put his bleak past behind him. The former “SNL” star has already promised a darker set of episodes, but that doesn’t mean it’s time to write off Gene Cousineau’s No. 1 lady just yet.
“Big Little Lies” Season 2 (HBO, Spring 2019)
What a difference a Meryl Streep makes. The first season of the gorgeous HBO mystery was conceived as a limited series and supplied a taut story and satisfying ending. Critics didn’t need to see more, and Liane Moriarty had only written one novel set in that world. But before one could exclaim, “Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again,” Streep did what she does best: inspire. Moriarty had the actress in mind when creating the character of Mary Louise, Madeline’s imposing mother-in-law. Suddenly, a second season didn’t just seem like a good idea; it was essential.
Plot details are scarce other than Mary Louise dropping in to become the mother of all demanding mothers in Monterey, but that’s more than enough to convince viewers to take a chance on the second season that was never supposed to happen. — HN
“Brooklyn Nine-Nine” Season 6 (NBC, January 10)
NBC swooped in to save the beloved cop comedy one day after Fox canceled “Brooklyn Nine-Nine,” ensuring the hijinks of the 99th Precinct will continue for many more Halloweens to come. The show will pick back up to provide much-needed answers to burning questions: Will the show look or feel different? Did Holt make Commissioner? How are Jake and Amy as newlyweds? Did Rosa and Alicia see each other again? And of course, did Cheddar recover from eating a Nakatomi Tower-shaped wedding cake made entirely of icing? And just like that cake, it’s expected that the upcoming sixth season will be all the sweeter for its near brush with TV death. — HN
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