The world of TV has never been so crowded and, at the same time, geeks have never had it so good. As saturated as the big screen is with superhero films and sprawling shared universes, that mentality has well and truly bled onto the small screen too.
So there’s a lot of comic-book adaptations coming up in 2016 from Marvel, DC and others, but genre TV is represented across the board with science-fiction, fantasy and horror represented at pretty much every network and cable channel in the US.
Here’s some of the geek TV that will be making its way to us from the US next year.
AKA Jessica Jones (Netflix)
Part of Netflix’s own connected slice of the MCU, there has been a lot of confusion over when we might get to see AKA Jessica Jones. It was originally set to follow Daredevil’s first season in 2015, but delays have seen it pushed back to an undetermined date, most likely in 2016.
Veronica Mars’ Krysten Ritter takes the titular role, a heroine who stops being a superhero and starts her own detective agency while suffering from PTSD. There, she begins to help other superpowered heroes, meeting eventual love interest Luke Cage (Mike Colter) in the process.
Carrie-Anne Moss (The Matrix), David Tennant (Doctor Who), Eka Darville (The Originals), Erin Moriarty, Wil Traval, and Rachael Taylor will also star in the 13-episode series.
There’s a lot to look forward to with this one, as it’s a rare female-led property from a studio so-far notable for their lack of diversity. It also strays from the norm in other ways, and will be therefore be an interesting cog in the machine.
Beyond (ABC Family)
ABC Family isn’t the first place you’d expect to find quality genre fare, with the network trying and failing to recreate the success of Pretty Little Liars for the past six years. They have, however, renewed Stitchers for a second season, and will try try again in 2016.
Beyond will follow a young man (Burkely Duffield) who awakes from a coma after 12 years and discovers he has supernatural abilities that connect him to a conspiracy. Jordan Calloway, Dilan Gwyn (Da Vinci’s Demons), Romy Rosemont, Michael McGrady and Jonathan Whitesell also star.
Heroes’ creator Tim Kring’s name is on this, as is Once Upon A Time In Wonderland’s Adam Nussdorf – giving you some idea of the tonal blend this might be going for.
A Carlton Cuse project with a Lost alumnus in the lead to boot, your reaction to USA’s Colony will likely depend on your experience with the former.
The 10-episode series is set in a near-future society in which Los Angeles is occupied by aliens. Some residents have chosen to live and collaborate with the visitors, while others fight against them and suffer the consequences of their rebellion. The show’s protagonists are a family torn between the two.
Josh Holloway will play former FBI agent and head of said family Will Bowman, who is forced to work with the new alien government, while The Walking Dead’s Sarah Wayne Callies has been cast as his wife Katie. Amanda Righetti, Pete Jacobson and Alan Neustaedter also star.
Carlton Cuse and Ryan Condal will write and executive produce the show, with Academy Award-winning director Juan Jose Campanella helming the pilot.
Containment (The CW)
Adding to Julie Plec’s CW mini-empire is Containment, an epidemic thriller that follows residents of Atlanta under quarantine after a mysterious and deadly disease threatens to wipe out humanity.
David Nutter, Matt Corman and Chris Ord join Plec as executive producers and showrunners, with ex-Vampire Diaries star Chris Wood and Farscape’s Claudia Black (coming off The Originals) starring alongside David Gyasi, Christina Moses, Kristen Gutoskie, George Young, Hanna Mangan Lawrence and Trevor St. John.
There’s an early Walking Dead vibe to this, with Plec’s involvement ensuring that we’ll care about these characters and their relationships with each other as much as we do the action and devastation going on around them.
Emerald City (NBC)
This one’s been in development for a while, passed on by NBC for the 2014-15 season but given a straight-to-series order one year later. The Wizard Of Oz-inspired show will be led by writer David Schulner (Do No Harm), with 10 episodes to air in 2016.
Straying from the original tale as much as we’ve come to expect from these kinds of properties, Emerald City will centre on a 20-year-old Dorothy (Adria Arjona) and her police dog companion, transported to a war-torn Oz where she finds her inner strength and becomes a bad-ass warrior.
Tarsem Singh (Mirror Mirror) will direct all 10 episodes of the show, with Shaun Cassidy joining as executive producer alongside Schulner. Oliver Jackson Cohen, Ana Ulara and Gerran Howell also star.
The Frankenstein Code (FOX)
This is a prime example of a title having only the most tenuous of connections to the subject matter, so don’t expect The Frankenstein Code to have anything to do with Mary Shelley’s original story.
The show stars True Blood’s Rob Kazinsky as a corrupt retired cop brought back from the dead by scientists in a new, much younger, body. Instead of just reverting back to his old ways, however, he is given a new more heroic sense of purpose.
Rand Ravich will serve as writer and executive producer alongside Howard Gordon (The X-Files) and Michael Cuesta on the project. Dilshad Vadsaria, Adhir Kalyan, Tim DeKay and Ciara Bravo also star.
This looks pretty naff, if we’re honest, but has the potential to be a fun mid-season distraction when it arrives in January. Rob Kazinsky is also very good in these kinds of roles, and it could well be the star vehicle he’s been looking for.
Falling Water (USA)
A supernatural thriller from late TV writer Henry Bromell, Blake Masters, Juan Carlos Fresnadillo and The Walking Dead’s Gale Anne Hurd, Falling Water has been in the works for years, with Masters and Bromell writing the pilot on spec before the latter’s death in 2013.
Now finally making it to screen for USA, the show will tell the story of three seemingly unrelated people who discover that they are in fact dreaming three parts of a single dream. One is searching for their missing girlfriend, another her son, and the third a way to talk to their catatonic mother.
David Ajala and AHS: Asylum’s Lizzie Brochere will star, but not much else is known about the project thus far.
Legends Of Tomorrow (The CW)
The CW is fast becoming DC superhero central, with a third spin-off for the rapidly-expanding Arrow and Flash universe coming at some point in 2016. Legends will be a superhero team-up show, rather than focussing on one hero as its predecessors have done.
The show will feature former Arrow characters Ray Palmer/Atom (Brandon Routh) and Sara Lance/White Canary (Caity Lotz), The Flash alums Captain Cold (Wentworth Miller), Heatwave (Dominic Purcell) and Firestorm (Victor Garber), and newbies Arthur Darvill and Ciara Renee as Rip Hunter and Hawkgirl, respectively. Phil Klemmer, formally of Tomorrow People, will act as showrunner.
Conflicting reports have the show airing in January or Spring 2016, but we do know for certain that there will be some groundwork laid in the first halves of both parent shows. They have to bring Sara back to life, for a start.
Perhaps a risky choice following the swift cancellations of the similar-in-tone Constantine and Forever in the previous season, FOX’s Lucifer is adapted from the DC/Vertigo comic-book by Neil Gaiman, Sam Kieth and Mike Dringenberg.
As fans of the comic will know, this incarnation of the Lucifer character (Tom Ellis) is a despondent Lord of Hell who resigns from his post and goes instead to Los Angeles to help the police catch and punish criminals.
Spartacus alum Lesley-Ann Brandt will play Lucifer’s demon-best friend Maze, with Lauren German occupying the show’s female lead as the LAPD detective who becomes fascinated with the titular antihero. D. B. Woodside (Buffy, Parenthood), Rachael Harris and Kevin Alejandro (Arrow) also star.
The pilot comes from Tom Kapinos with Sleepy Hollow’s Len Wiseman directing. Joe Henderson will serve as showrunner.
Luke Cage (Netflix)
Luke Cage is set to premiere on Netflix following the success of Daredevil and the upcoming AKA Jessica Jones, with the character making an appearance in the latter before starring in his own series.
The 13-episode season will centre on the titular character, played by Mike Colter, a wrongly imprisoned man who gains superhuman strength. In the comics, Cage is married to Jessica Jones, so we can probably expect those two stories to cross over more than others, but what Marvel really plans to do with its Netflix branch is anyone’s guess.
Cheo Hodari Coker will act as showrunner on the series, also writing the first two episodes.
TNT drama Lumen is a fantasy drama about a best-selling author (Wynn Everett) who disappears suddenly before a family find themselves trapped in the same alternate world that inspired the author’s work.
The world, of course, isn’t a particularly nice one, and the family get caught up in a war between rival mystical forces. There’s a mystery, there’s a battle between good and evil and there are secrets. TNT is reportedly lining it up for Sunday nights, where fellow-genre shows Falling Skies and The Last Ship sit now.
Sam Jaeger will play Michael, the stepfather of 16-year-old Charlie (C.J. Valleroy) and father of his own teen daughter (Zara Zoe). Simon Kassianides (Agents Of SHIELD), Fiona Shaw (Harry Potter), Christina Cole (Rosemary’s Baby), Nadja Bobyleva, Jon Brazier, and Sleepy Hollow’s Neil Jackson will also star.
Joe Johnston will direct the pilot, written by Chris Black.
The Magicians (SyFy)
Based on Lev Grossman’s book series of the same name, The Magicians will tell the story of a group of young New Yorkers who discover that the fantasy world of children’s stories is actually real.
John McNamara and Supernatural’s Sera Gamble penned the script, with Michael London and Janice Williams producing for SyFy. The show will film in New Orleans.
Stella Maeve, Hale Appleman, Arjun Gupta, Jason Ralph, Summer Bishil and Sosie Bacon have been cast as the leads.
Netflix has more hits than misses in terms of its original programming at the moment, and that of course means that we’re just getting more and more of it as time goes on. The streaming service, thankfully, has never been scared of genre projects, either.
Coming in 2016 is Montauk, a 1980s-set drama from twin filmmakers Matt and Ross Duffer (Wayward Pines), executive produced by Shawn Levy and Dan Cohen.
Eight episodes of the show have been ordered, and will centre on the titular town when a young boy seemingly vanishes. The residents begin to search for answers, uncovering government secrets, supernatural forces and one creepy little girl.
Winona Ryder will star as the mother of the missing boy, with David Harbour as the chief of police.
Of Kings and Prophets (ABC)
Originally set to air as part of ABC’s fall schedule, Of Kings And Prophets was pushed to mid-season at the last minute to be retooled and partially recast. In the process, the episode order was also cut.
The show is billed as a biblical saga, focusing on ambition, religion and betrayal from the perspective of a king, a prophet and a shepherd. The trouble it’s had during production does not inspire hope in the project, but a little extra time in development may actually help it in the long run.
Ray Winstone, Mohammad Bakri, Maisie Richardson-Sellers, Oliver Rix, Simone Kessell, James Floyd, Jeanine Mason and Nathaniel Parker will star.
Yet another comic-book adaptation coming in 2016, it was announced last year that The Walking Dead creator Robert Kirkman would be adapting Outcast for Cinemax with artist Paul Azaceta.
The source material is very new itself, following Kyle Barnes (Patrick Fugit) – a young man who’s been targeted by demonic possession from an early age. The series sees him on a quest for answers, which could lead to the end of the world. Philip Glenister and Gabriel Bateman will also star.
Kirkman will write the pilot with Adam Wingard directing, and serve as executive producer thereafter. It has been picked up for 10 episodes.
The much-anticipated screen adaptation of DC/Vertigo’s Preacher began as an HBO project back in 2008 before moving over to AMC with Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg at the helm as executive producer, and now also boasts Breaking Bad’s Sam Catlin as showrunner.
The 90s series, originally from Garth Ennis and Steve Dillon, follows Reverend Jesse Custer (Agent Carter’s Dominic Cooper), a minister who is losing his faith before he merges with Genesis – a spiritual force that compels others to obey his every command.
Through his adventures he’s joined by bad-ass girlfriend Tulip (Ruth Negga) and Irish vampire Cassidy (Misfit’s Joseph Gilgun), as they travel across America in search of God’s confession. Lucy Griffiths, Elizabeth Perkins, Ian Colletti, Tom Brooke, W. Earl Brown, Jamie Anne Allman and Derek Wilson also star.
AMC is of course in major need a new hit show following the end of Breaking Bad and Mad Men and, in light of Daredevil’s success, it’s possible that the violence and darkness of Preacher could easily find an audience there.
Shadowhunters (ABC Family)
The Mortal Instruments might not have been a major hit with cinema audiences, but that doesn’t mean it won’t catch on with ABC Family’s audience, primarily made up of the young women who made the book series such a success in the first place.
The series, much like the film, will follow unsuspecting Shadowhunter Clary Fray (Katherine McNamara), who discovers a brand new world of demons and angels on her eighteenth birthday. Dominic Sherwood has been cast as Jace, the primary love interest, and Alberto Rosende as Simon, Clary’s best friend Simon.
Interest in the show is high despite its origins and its home, and there’s little reason why it won’t see the same success as other YA fiction-to-TV properties such as The Vampire Diaries.
Emeraude Toubia, Maxim Roy, Jon Cor, Camille Belcourt, Matthew Daddario, Isaiah Mustafa (Nikita), Alan Van Sprang (Reign), Harry Shun Jr. and David Castro will also star.
The Shannara Chronicles (MTV)
MTV’s first foray into high fantasy, The Shannara Chronicles is a 10-episode adaptation of Terry Brooks’ book series and boasts Smallville creators Al Gough and Miles Millar as writers. It’s a completely different direction for the network, which could be a good or a bad thing for its success.
The show is set thousands of years after the end of civilisation, with the titular family empowered with ancient magic. It will be filmed in New Zealand, which bodes well for its visual appeal.
Austin Butler, Manu Bennett (Arrow), John Rhys-Davies, Brooke Williams (Spartacus), Daniel MacPherson, James Remar (Dexter), and Marcus Vanco will star.
Stay (ABC Family)
Another of ABC Family’s attempts to get in the genre TV game, Stay is a thriller from National Treasure director Jon Turteltaub and centres on a recently-widowed police detective who becomes stranded with his two daughters at a creepy hotel. The pilot was penned by Spenser Cohen, with Turteltaub directing.
The hotel, it goes without saying, has secrets and mysteries just begging to be solved, and the series will follow the family as they dodge the danger posed by their setting while also mending familial bonds.
An outlier in the superhero TV arena, there’s been a screen adaptation of Teen Titans for TNT in the works for a long time, and it may finally arrive in 2016. Its position as one of many shows on the air also means crossovers are a possibility.
The show would follow a group of young heroes led by Dick Grayson as Robin/Nightwing, with Barbara Gordon, Hawk, Dove, Raven and Starfire all characters that could theoretically appear alongside him. Oscar-winning writer Akiva Goldsman penned the pilot script with Marc Haimes, and both would serve as executive producers.
No solid casting news has arrived as of yet, but it’s worth noting ex-Vampire Diaries star Steven R. McQueen’s ongoing social media campaign for the role of Nightwing, which has been going on for years.
That’s your lot for the time being, but we’ll update this list as soon as more info arrives.