2018 could be the year of Amazon, with lots of exciting shows coming in the next twelve months (and beyond). In the Peak TV wars, Amazon have stood as a respectable opponent to the likes of network TV, cable and streaming services, but their offerings have never quite set the town on fire like their competition at Netflix. Whereas they have made waves with Emmy winning critical and commercial darlings like Stranger Things, The Crown and House of Cards, Amazon’s success has been more muted, with shows that delight the critics but never storm ahead of the zeitgeist. Content like Transparent and Mozart in the Jungle have their fans – and the awards to back it up – but it’s clear that their strategy could use a shift.
This year, they made the surprise move of rejecting all of their comedy pilots and have moved into commissioning series by big name talents like Wong Kar-wai, Matthew Weiner and Amy Sherman-Palladino. In an effort to keep up with the major budgets and high-concept hooks of Netflix and HBO, Amazon have even gone so far as to greenlight a new take on Lord of the Rings, although that won't happen for a few years.
As it is, 2018 looks set to be a fascinating one for Amazon's television division. They've tightened up their slate, canceling a massive amount of shows like The Last Tycoon and Z: The Beginning of Everything, and have some major names in the pipeline that could potentially make them a must-subscribe service. We’ve compiled a list of the biggest, most exciting shows to check out in the coming year.
These shows are ones that are set to or expected to premiere in 2018. All dates are subject to change and are accurate at the time of writing. Some of these shows are probably more likely to air in 2019, but we’re nothing if not hopeful for an earlier premiere. We also haven’t included shows that are still in the very early developmental stages, although Amazon certainly have a fascinating array of series in the pipeline there.
Homecoming and Jack Ryan (This Page)
Sam Esmail made a splash with USA's Mr. Robot, making a star of its leading man Rami Malek, but now he's moving to Amazon with a show that will see none other than Julia Roberts make the jump to TV (something that's worked out pretty well for her movie star counterparts Nicole Kidman and Reese Witherspoon). Homecoming, based on the Gimlet Media podcast that starred Oscar Isaac and Catherine Keener, is described as "a psychological and political thriller that centers on a caseworker at a secret government facility (Roberts) and a soldier eager to rejoin civilian life." The show will also star Bobby Cannavale (Boardwalk Empire) and Stephan James (Selma).
Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan
Clancy's most iconic character has been played by everyone, from Alec Baldwin to Harrison Ford, Ben Affleck and Chris Pine, but the latest actor to pick up the mantle of the CIA analyst is The Office star John Krasinski. This series has been in development since 2015, with Lost showrunner Carlton Cuse at the helm. With multiple novels and spin-offs to mine for material, there’s no danger of this iteration of the franchise running out of ideas.
This could be the big action hit Amazon's TV division needs, and is a notable step away from their more traditional comedy and prestige drama efforts. The pilot is being directed by Morten Tyldum (Passengers) and the show will co-star Abbie Cornish and Peter Fonda.