Anyone who’s paid attention to TV over the last few years knows that there are quite a few shows coming this year. That increased supply comes with an increased demand for storytellers who can help make those series stand out from the overwhelming wave of new content becoming available every week.
Many shows have turned to established filmmakers as contributors, some of whom are returning to TV after getting their starts there. There are plenty of developments to come in 2019, but there are already a number of promised director/series combos on the horizon.
These new collaborations represent an intriguing cross-section of the TV world in general. These directors are coming to shows across broadcast, cable, and streaming. Some are taking an ambitious leap and directing entire seasons, while others are taking the lead on pilots and helping to set the tone for the rest of the series.
After directing the first two episodes of the OWN series “Queen Sugar,” DuVernay is taking all four parts of the upcoming Netflix limited series “The Central Park Five.” Based on the conviction of five teenagers wrongfully accused of attacking a woman on one night in April 1989, the series will span the length of time from their arrest through their 2014 exoneration.
After a career resurgence with “Wonder Woman,” Jenkins is reteaming with Chris Pine for “I Am the Night,” a TNT limited series. Jenkins will take half of the six-part season — based on a true story set on the fringes of the Black Dahlia investigation aftermath — with Carl Franklin also directing an episode here as well.
Waititi directed a handful of episodes of “Flight of the Conchords” before teaming up with Jemaine Clement to co-direct the 2014 vampire mockumentary “What We Do in the Shadows.” This year’s TV adaptation won’t feature either as actors, but Waititi directed the pilot, co-written by Clement. Waititi is also part of the announced list of directors for “The Mandalorian,” which will premiere on Disney+, the streaming service expected to launch in late 2019.
The writer/director is no stranger to TV, working on over a half-dozen series in this decade alone. In some cases, she’s even helped kick off TV series, as with Tig Notaro’s Amazon show “One Mississippi.” In 2019, she’ll be back in the chair for a pilot episode, this time on the Kathryn Hahn-starring “Mrs. Fletcher,” the latest HBO series adaptation of a Tom Perrotta novel.
After nabbing an Oscar in 2003 for her short film “Wasp,” Arnold went on to become a Cannes mainstay with entrees like “Fish Tank” and “American Honey.” Now she’ll be taking over for Jean-Marc Vallée, directing an entire season of the HBO smash hit “Big Little Lies.” Arnold previously directed episodes of the Jill Soloway shows “Transparent” and “I Love Dick.”
Leaving features behind to launch a website devoted to rare and restored cinematic discoveries, Refn’s also found time away from making movies to direct ten episodes of “Too Old to Die Young.” The Amazon show, expected sometime in 2019, will follow members of a Los Angeles criminal organization as they make their way through their own seedy world and possibly venture into others.
Perhaps you’ve heard of him. Though his front of camera work has made him a household name, Clooney’s latest foray into TV will see him pulling double duty as both a member of the ensemble and a director on the upcoming Hulu adaptation of “Catch-22.”
After directing one of last year’s biggest cinematic sensations in “Crazy Rich Asians,” Chu was behind the camera for the pilot of the new Freeform series “Good Trouble,” a spinoff of the network’s long-running drama “The Fosters.”
Leder’s already a towering figure in TV directing, helping to shepherd “The Leftovers” to greatness two decades after leaving her mark on “E.R.” Now, after hopping back to features for the Ruth Bader Ginsburg biopic “On the Basis of Sex,” Leder is looking to add another chapter to her television career by directing the still-as-yet-unnamed morning show drama for Apple, set to star Reese Witherspoon, Jennifer Aniston, and Steve Carell.
After becoming one of the most exciting sci-fi storytellers in the film world with “Ex Machina” and “Annihilation,” Garland is looking to capture some of that same spirit in TV form. His tech-centered thriller “Devs,” starring Sonoya Mizuno and Nick Offerman, is scheduled to come later in the year.
The last few years have been a TV tune-up for Araki, who’s worked on “13 Reasons Why,” “Riverdale,” and (the criminally underrated) “Red Oaks.” Now the filmmaker will begin his fourth decade as a director with the ambitious project “Now Apocalypse,” a Starz series set through the vision of one young man’s experiences in a (possibly conspiracy riddled) Los Angeles. Araki will direct all 10 episodes of the season, which will debut at this year’s Sundance Film Festival.
Originally tapped to direct the entire season, Saulnier ended up as the listed director on a pair episodes for “True Detective” Season 3. Saulnier’s most recent film “Hold the Dark” (featuring recent HBO stars Jeffrey Wright and Alexander Skarsgård) debuted on Netflix last September.
After “Bachelorette” and “Sleeping with Other People,” Headland has directed episodes of “SMILF” and the bookending chapters of last year’s “Heathers” reboot. This year, she’s taking half of “Russian Doll,” a Natasha Lyonne-starring Netflix series that also has Jamie Babbit and Lyonne on the season’s director list.
Robespierre was part of the fantastic rotation of indie filmmakers who worked on the dearly departed Hulu show “Casual.” This year, Robespierre is back on another of the streaming service’s shows, directing on the upcoming Lindy West adaptation “Shrill,” starring Aidy Bryant. “Newlyweeds” director Shaka King will also direct a pair of the season’s six episodes.
After leaping onto the international scene with “Lore,” Shortland has followed up that success with 2017 Sundance entry “The Berlin Syndrome” and the director’s chair for the upcoming planned Black Widow solo movie. Before then, she’ll be part of “SMILF” Season 2, which will also feature directorial contributions from Kerry Washington and series creator Frankie Shaw.
Aside from his 2016 Nick Cave documentary “One More Time with Feeling,” “Mindhunter” Season 2 will be Dominik’s first time in the director’s chair since “Killing Them Softly.” The season will also feature Carl Franklin and David Fincher on its director roster, after Asif Kapadia and Tobias Lindholm each took a pair of episodes in Season 1.
The filmmaking duo behind “This is the End” and “The Interview” have previously dipped their toes in the TV waters for AMC’s graphic novel adaptation “Preacher” and the Hulu show “Future Man.” The pair are back in the ’80s groove with the Showtime dark comedy “Black Monday,” which tracks the lead-up to the infamous Wall Street crash of October 1987.
After trading off directing duties of Lonely Island movies with fellow “SNL” alum Akiva Schaffer, Taccone is following up directing the pilot for “The Last O.G.” by stepping in for the first two episodes of this year’s TBS show “Miracle Workers.”
One of Demange’s last high-profile TV gigs was as the director of the shrewd Charlie Brooker reality TV/zombie mashup “Dead Set.” Following forays into film with “’71” and “White Boy Rick,” Demange will be heading up the pilot for “Lovecraft Country,” a Jordan Peele and Misha Green-produced adaptation of Matt Ruff’s 2016 historical sci-fi/horror novel set in Jim Crow-era America.
Prolific documentary director Berlinger will have another busy year in 2019, this time at the helm of two different projects on serial killer Ted Bundy. The first, a four-part series featuring conversation tapes with Bundy on death row will come to Netflix in January. His scripted feature film, “Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile,” based on the experiences of Bundy’s longtime girlfriend, will also premiere at this year’s Sundance Film Festival.
In a nice bit of series-related symmetry, Vogt-Roberts will return to the FXX show “You’re the Worst” for a trio of episodes in its farewell season. Vogt-Roberts directed the pilot and will handle the last three episodes of Season 5 before series creator Stephen Falk takes over duties for the show’s finale.
Smith has excelled working as a director on stories that exist just beyond our familiar reality. After “Buster’s Mal Heart” and a few standout installments of the HBO series “Room 104” (the Orlando Jones episode is still the stuff of nightmares), she’s taking the directorial reins of “Hanna,” the upcoming Amazon adaptation of the 2011 Joe Wright film of the same name, starring Mireille Enos and Joel Kinnaman.
“Burning Sands,” McMurray’s debut feature about hazing at a fraternity, was a 2017 Sundance entry and made for a quick Netflix scoop-up. To follow it up, McMurray delivered “The Final Purge,” the last film installment of the franchise before it, too, ventured to TV. Now, McMurray is on the director list for the upcoming CBS All Access reboot of “The Twilight Zone,” which began production last October in Vancouver.
“Everything Everything” was Meghie’s first main studio effort in 2017, after debuting “Jean of the Joneses” at SXSW the year prior. Now, Meghie will be part of the new TV adaptation of “The First Wives Club,” which last year moved from Paramount Network to its new home at BET.
After a long career in music videos and directing ’90s comedies like “Billy Madison” and “Half Baked,” Davis has built a solid third act directing episodes of TV comedies like “Crazy Ex-Girfriend,” “Younger,” and “You’re the Worst.” She’ll add the genre- and format-bending NatGeo series “Valley of the Boom” to the list later this month.
Part of last year’s first season of “Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan,” the director of “The 33” is taking an executive producer role on “Proven Innocent,” the upcoming ABC drama about a group of lawyers trying to overturn wrongful convictions. Riggen directed the pilot, which is set to premiere on February 15.
Kelly’s Sundance debut in 2016 “Other People,” ended up in an Independent Spirit win for Molly Shannon. He and fellow former “Saturday Night Live” head writer Sarah Schneider are the co-creators behind the Comedy Central series “The Other Two,” premiering January 24.
Showtime’s upcoming ’90s Boston crime drama “City on a Hill” has a number of directors in its executive producer ranks. James Mangold, Barry Levinson, and Ben Affleck (on whose idea the show is based) are joined by Cuesta, who directed the pilot. The series, starring Kevin Bacon and Aldis Hodge, is slated to premiere later this year.
After directing features including “Celeste and Jesse Forever” and “The Age of Adaline,” Krieger has become an increasingly popular choice to help get series off the ground. After being behind the camera for the pilots of “Riverdale,” “You,” and “The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina,” Krieger is back for the first episode of the Syfy graphic novel adaptation “Deadly Class.”
“Men in Black” director Sonnenfeld was one of the driving forces behind the Netflix adaptation of “A Series of Unfortunate Events.” After directing eight episodes over the first two seasons, he’s returned for the series’ penultimate episode, which wrapped on January 1. Sonnenfeld also currently serves as an executive producer on the Amazon series “The Tick.”
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