With the new year comes a new crop of new shows. With all the buzz that surrounds new series as they launch, it’s easy to overlook a number of programs are about to make their returns as well.
While September is the traditional time for returning hits, that is no longer the ONLY time for a season to start. From superhero fare to award-winning dramas, here’s our list of 12 Mid-Season Returning Series You Need To Watch in 2016.
12 The 100 (The CW)
Returns: January 21, 2016
The CW is known for a traditional style of programming. It targets a very particular demographic and, truthfully, that often results in very similar series. The 100 is the exception to the rule.
Yes it may be a teen-driven drama but it also takes place in the future and provides a lot of action. That is a big differentiator. Regardless, it’s a fun show and it is a nice change of pace from the usual fare.
Season 3 of the drama returns to where it all began; as a mid-season entry. With 13 episodes in its first season and 16 episodes in its second, the show doesn’t get bogged down in filler. Letting the series run for a shorter amount of episodes has really helped it and season 3 looks like it could be just as fun of a ride.
11 It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia (FXX)
Returns: January 6, 2016
While Seinfeld may no longer be on the air, we luckily still have the cast of It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia to keep the uncomfortable situations coming.
After getting its start on FX in 2005, the series was eventually shuttled off to FXX to help launch the spin-off network. Now entering its eleventh season and with over 100 episodes produced, the comedy is still going strong.
The series has also helped launch comedy stars in Charlie Day, Kaitlin Olson, Rob McElhenney and Glenn Howerton. It helps that veteran comedy star Danny DeVito has been with the cast since season 2 and brings his own unique style to the series.
10 Galavant (ABC)
Returns: January 3, 2016
When ABC first announced Galavant we all thought it was a bizarre joke. It was musical comedy set in the medieval era that looked over the top. Yet that was the point and, shockingly, the music was really catchy.
The fact the series actually was enjoyable largely lies with its creator Dan Fogelman, who was behind Crazy, Stupid, Love. Granted he’s also the man behind ABC’s mediocre alien comedy The Neighbors, so you see why people were skeptical.
The truth though is that Galavant is a fun, short series. Also of note is that it actually does rather well in the ratings so ABC had every reason to renew it for 2016. As for what to expect, we’d hope for more of the same because that kitschy nature is what drew fans into the mix in the first place.
And yeah, the music.
9 American Crime (ABC)
Returns: January 6, 2016
Yes, we have a glut of anthology series either airing already or coming soon. The difference with American Crime is that it happens to be a very good anthology series. Given it was written by 12 Years A Slave scribe John Ridley (who won an Oscar for the screenplay), that shouldn’t come as a shock.
Last year, the series centered on a couple’s brutal attack, which left the husband dead and the wife severely injured. The show followed the repercussions of the attack through the eyes of both the family of the victims and the family of the accused.
Starring Oscar winner Timothy Hutton and Emmy winner Felicity Huffman, the series also starred a strong ensemble and procured ten Emmy nominations, including a win for Regina King. This year, most of the cast will return to tackle a new story set in a private school, revolving around a sexual assault.
This is a gripping series that can be hard to watch, but that’s the point. Ridley and his team don’t sugar-coat anything, nor should they, and the payoff is undeniable.
8 Silicon Valley (HBO)
Returns: April, 2016 (Expected)
Silicon Valley came along when HBO really needed a hit. Coincidentally, it also came at a time where audiences really needed a fresh comedy. That type of combination has worked well for both sides and it's easy to see why.
Valley owns its unique nature. The show isn’t afraid to play up its geeky tech roots, because that’s who the audience is. Yet it has also found a home with general pop culture viewers who can recognize strong writing.
Veep and Silicon Valley are examples of smart humor succeeding on a weekly basis. Paired with Game of Thrones, this is one powerful combination they may be unmatched anywhere on TV.
If you’re not watching Valley, you have at least four months to catch up on its 18 episodes. Trust us; it will be well worth your time.
7 The Americans (FX)
Returns: March, 2016
If you don’t watch The Americans, the odds are someone you know does. We’d venture even further and say that person raves about it to the point that you’ve vowed to check it out but never did. That, in a nutshell, is the problem with the series.
It is one of the best shows on TV you’re not watching. Guided by co-leads Keri Russell and Matthew Rhys, the FX drama about sleeper Russian spies in the USA during the Cold War has moments of brilliance.
Yet three seasons in, it may not be easy to lure new fans. If you do choose to binge on the 39 episodes that have already aired you’ll quickly understand why the show’s March return is a red-letter day for its devoted audience.
6 Agent Carter (ABC)
Returns: January 19, 2016
We need more female superheroes on-screen and on TV, so when ABC revealed it was digging into its Marvel connections with Agent Carter, fans got excited.
The first season, which aired in early 2015, was a fun limited run ride that was carried by the charming Haley Atwell. Other than moving the show from New York to Los Angeles, season 2 is promising not to change too much around.
The new episodes will send Carter, along with Chad Michael Murray’s Agent Jack Thompson to Los Angeles where in the wake of World War II, the stakes are even higher. In addition, both Dominic Cooper and James D’Arcy will be returning as Howard Stark and his loyal butler Jarvis.
Fans will also see a number of familiar faces join the ensemble, including Lotte Verbeek (Outlander) as Jarvis’s never before seen wife, Enver Gjokaj (Dollhouse) as Carter’s new boss and Kurtwood Smith (Robocop, That 70’s Show) as a character brand new to the Marvel Universe.
5 Veep (HBO)
Returns: April, 2016 (Expected)
Few shows on TV have the ability to make audiences laugh out loud anymore, but this is one of them. Veep mixes the improvisational talents of its cast, including Julia Louis-Dreyfus as Vice President Selina Meyer and mixes it with sharp, funny political satire to great effect.
The series, which just dethroned Modern Family at the Emmys, really hit its stride last season. The addition of Hugh Laurie as Selina Meyer's pick for “veep” in the presidential election only strengthened what may be the best ensemble on TV.
HBO has a long history of successful comedies and it may have taken a little longer for Veep to break through to the mainstream, but it has finally made its mark.
4 House Of Cards (Netflix)
Returns: March 4, 2016
The best thing and the worst thing about House of Cards is that we get all the episodes at once. While it’s nice to binge through the show, there’s something special about Kevin Spacey’s performance that sets the series apart and we wish we could savor it over the course of a few months rather than a few days.
Spacey’s a two-time Oscar winner and he brings all of that talent to the dastardly Frank Underwood. No matter how much more despicable the character gets, the more intriguing he becomes to us as viewers. We just can’t stop watching and every year the show knows that and keeps pushing those limits.
Cards has the same type of Breaking Bad anti-hero appeal. We know it can’t end well for Underwood, but no matter how evil he is, a part of us still pulls for him. The series is the original “streamer” that helped jump-start the cord-cutting revolution and as long as its cast wants to keep coming back, viewers will as well.
3 Better Call Saul (AMC)
Returns: February 15, 2016
AMC’s Breaking Bad was a one-in-a-million show and fans were bummed when it went off the air. Yet the show’s spinoff Better Call Saul has proven to be every bit as entertaining.
A prequel series, the drama centers on Bob Odenkirk’s Emmy-nominated performance as Saul Goodman and shows how he morphed into the slimy lawyer that got mixed up with Walter White (Bryan Cranston) and company. Saul was arguably the first big cable hit of 2015 and it's easy to see why.
Odenkirk is a talented actor and with Bad alum Jonathan Banks also returning, they made a powerful two-some. Sharply written and exquisitely acted, Saul was able do what many spinoffs before it had trouble with; capturing the magic of the original.
The series broke through at the Emmys, in the ratings and with audiences… no wonder everyone is excited for it to return.
2 The X-Files (Fox)
Returns: January 24, 2016
The truth is still out there.
Yes, The X-Files may have last aired a new episode in 2002, but it still counts as a returning series. In fact it probably counts as one of the most anticipated projects of 2016.
Of course, this being The X-Files, it’s hard to discuss the plot because Fox is (understandably) keeping it very close to their vest, but here is what we do know. Original stars David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson will both be returning alongside Mitch Pileggi, William B. Davis and Annabeth Gish. Series creator Chris Carter will again oversee and executive produce the limited run event.
The X-Files will get a nice re-introduction as well as Fox will debut the first of six new installments following the NFL’s NFC Championship game on Sunday January 24th. It will then air the second part on Monday January 25th and stay in that Monday slot for the duration.
1 Game Of Thrones (HBO)
Returns: April, 2016 (Expected)
Do we even have to explain why Game of Thrones is on this list? It’s Game of Thrones!
The reigning Best Drama winner at the Emmys, Thrones is arguably one of the two most talked about shows on TV at the moment (along with The Walking Dead). Between “White Walkers” and “The Kings Watch,” last season provided viewers with a sensory overload of action and intrigue.
Of course the only question anybody has at this point is whether or not fan favorite Kit Harrington will return as Jon Snow. Or did the conflicted lone wolf really meet his end at the conclusion of last year’s finale? When a show’s finale takes on that level of buzz and conversation, you know it has infiltrated the pop culture zeitgeist.
Regardless, we know two-time Emmy winner Peter Dinklage, Emilia Clarke and Lena Headey are set to return as the battle for the Iron Throne rages on.
Which shows on our list are you excited about? Did we miss any of your favorites? Hit the comments and let us know.
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