With another season comes another new set of shows. If you’re like me, you already watch way too many series, so it’s hard to find time for new ones. That being said, the lineup of new winter shows looks much weaker than fall’s new series, so I didn’t have much to choose from. Still, there were a few that caught my attention. Here are the seven I’m giving a shot this winter.
Looking for shows with diverse characters? Make sure to read the diversity statement on each show!
Wednesdays. Started at 10 ET/9 CT on Nov. 30.
Unlike most of the shows on this list, Incorporated is already halfway through its first season. The dystopian, sci-fi drama takes place in Milwaukee in 2074, when the world has been ravaged by climate change. After governments started to fall, corporations took control, governing areas known as Green Zones. Outside of the corporate territory are the impoverished Red Zones. The series follows Ben Larson (Sean Teale) as he infiltrates a corporation, working his way up so that he can save his former love Elena (Denyse Tontz). While the show echoes some common sci-fi and dystopian tropes, it has enough excitement and interest to stand on its own. Some of the actors put on strong performances, including Allison Miller, who excels in her role as Laura, wife to Ben and daughter to head of the corporation. The predictive exploration of climate change is also very well done and is thought-provoking in itself. If you’re tired of sci-fi and dystopian media, this might not be the show for you, but, five episodes in, I’m still loving it.
Diverse characters? The main cast has multiple actors of color, one of whom is a gay man. Given the show’s dystopian genre, there’s also a focus on social and economic class.
Wednesdays. Starting at 9 ET/8 CT on Jan. 4 (first episode premiered Dec.14).
As a fan of Empire, I was excited about Star — co-created by Lee Daniels, one of the men behind Empire — but after the first episode, I’m no longer sure. The series, about three young women who form a girl group, premiered its first episode in mid-December. With Daniels at the helm and actors like Queen Latifah and Lenny Kravitz on the cast, I had high hopes. The premiere had a few high points, including some of the music and the side plot involving a transgender character. But besides that, the show comes across as unoriginal and lacking substance. The story itself is already on very shaky ground, and the cast — besides Latifah, Kravitz, and Benjamin Bratt — doesn’t have the talent to keep it on track. I’m giving the show at least one more episode, but at this point I doubt Star can shine.
Diverse characters? The main cast is almost all nonwhite, and it has more than one transgender character. It’s probably safe to say that the show will include more diverse characters along the way.
Mondays. Starting at 9 ET/8 CT on Jan. 2. All episodes available for streaming online on Jan. 2.
If I’m being honest, the number one reason I’m watching Beyond is because the 10-episode first season will be available online the day of the premiere (stay tuned for a post about the series once I’ve binged it). The show’s premise isn’t entirely original: When Holden Matthew (Burkely Duffield) wakes up after being in a coma for 12 years, he learns he has unusual powers. He must adjust to what’s changed in his life — he was in high school before the coma, and now he’s 25 — and find out where his powers came from and what happened to him. The show has some interesting character potential; Holden must get to know his family all over again since they’ve aged 12 years. At this point, Beyond could be hit or miss, but it’s worth a shot.
Diverse characters? The main cast includes a few nonwhite actors, but it remains to be seen if much will be explored in the show as far as diversity is concerned.
Emerald City (NBC)
Fridays. Starting at 9 ET/8 CT on Jan. 6.
This fantasy series is a darker, stranger take on The Wizard of Oz. And I do mean it when I say darker. There are still aspects that are reminiscent of The Wizard of Oz, such as the twister in Kansas that brings Dorothy (Adria Arjona) and Toto to Oz, but the universe itself looks much larger. From the trailers alone, it’s clear that the series is embracing a more grim tone and a more epic scope. How grim, and how epic? Well, critics have made multiple comparisons to Game of Thrones. So far this looks like a well-acted and well-produced addition to TV’s range of fantasy series.
Diverse characters? The cast includes multiple characters of color, including the actress who plays Dorothy.
Thursdays. Starting at 9 ET/8 CT on Jan. 26.
If you’ve kept up with my TV posts, you know I watch a lot of CW, so it’s no surprise Riverdale is on my list. CW’s take on the Archie Comics characters kicks off with a murder, giving the show a darker and more mysterious tone than the comics. The drama focuses on a set of students at Riverdale High, many of whom are affected by the murder or scandals of their own. Earning comparisons to Dawson’s Creek, Gossip Girl, and Twin Peaks, it’ll be interesting to see where this high school murder mystery goes.
Diverse characters? The cast has some actors of color and the show includes at least one gay character.
Thursdays. Starting at 8:30 ET/7:30 CT on Feb. 2.
It’s getting hard to keep track of all the superhero-led TV shows nowadays, so I guess it’s no surprise that we have a new sitcom about what it’s like to be human in a world of heroes. This is DC Comics’ first TV comedy, starring Vanessa Hudgens as Emily Locke, who is just about to start her job at Wayne Security (Wayne, as in Bruce Wayne). The trailer — a mix of some funny and some not-so-great moments — pushes a “you don’t need powers to be a hero” theme, which is overdone, but with the show’s unique perspective, it has potential to work. It’ll be fun to see a comedic take on all the superhero action.
Diverse characters? The cast has a pretty typical balance for a workplace comedy.
Wednesdays. Starting at 10 ET/9 CT on Feb. 8.
Yep, it’s another comic-based show; this one, however, is from Marvel. Legion follows David Haller (Dan Stevens), who was diagnosed with schizophrenia in his youth and is now a patient at a psychiatric hospital. Haller soon realizes he is a mutant, wielding a variety of powers. I’m a big fan of comic-based series, but, more than anything, I’m interested to see how this series handles mental illness. Several characters in the main cast are patients or employees at the psychiatric hospital, so there’s potential to cover a lot of important territory. While Legion is based on a Marvel comic, it’s not quite a superhero show, so it has potential to be a kind of TV series all its own.
Diverse characters? The cast is mostly white, but the show’s biggest opportunity to explore diverse characters is the way it handles mental illness.
Note: This list doesn’t include shows from streaming services; otherwise, you better believe Netflix’s A Series of Unfortunate Events would be on here. It premieres January 13.
Want to find out how I like these shows? Stay tuned for monthly TV check-ins.