LINE OF DUTY
Jed Mercurio’s gripping police-procedural series is due to return for its sixth season before the end of March with further tales of AC-12’s ongoing struggle against corruption in the UK police force — corruption which may or may not trace back to the officer in charge of the anti-corruption unit. The cast regulars are all returning, while Scottish actor Kelly Macdonald (“Trainspotting,” “Giri/Haji”) is signed up as Detective Chief Inspector Joanne Davidson, whom Mercurio has described as “the most enigmatic adversary AC-12 has ever faced.” As always, details of the storylines have been kept tightly under wraps, but it’s a good bet that, somewhere down the line, there will be one of Mercurio’s trademark breathtaking twists.
Netflix’s Eighties-themed sci-fi phenomenon had just begun production on season four when COVID-19 shut down production in March last year. Filming picked up again in October, and hopes are high that we should see new episodes before the end of the summer. A teaser trailer released early last year has already reassured fans that beloved sheriff Hopper (David Harbour) is still alive (although trapped in a Russian gulag), but we don’t have much else to go on. And there’s a lot of unanswered questions: Will Eleven get her powers — lost in the climactic battle with the Mind Flayer in last season’s finale — back? Where did the Byers family (plus Eleven) go when they moved away from Hawkins? Is there even a gang anymore, with Eleven and Will gone? Finding out should be fun.
The most critically acclaimed show of 2019 should (hopefully) return this year — having been delayed, like so many series, by the COVID-19 pandemic. Jesse Armstrong’s painfully funny show based on the intrigues and intimacies of the dysfunctional Roy family, headed by media and hospitality mogul Logan (Brian Cox), is one of the sharpest satires around. And with Logan’s son Kendall (Jeremy Strong) outing his dad as “a bully and a liar” at a press conference in the season two finale, sparks should be flying from the beginning of the new season.
THE PURSUIT OF LOVE
Period dramas remain a hugely popular genre for TV and film, as evidenced by the recent success of Netflix’s “Bridgerton.” Amazon — already home to the hugely popular “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” — is bringing this adaptation of Nancy Mitford’s 1945 novel to the small screen, helmed by Emily Mortimer, better known as an actress. It’s the story of two cousins, Linda and Fanny, (played by Lily James and Emily Beecham) from an upper-class English family, and is set in the interwar period of last century. Early shots of the production look sumptuous, and with Andrew Scott (“Sherlock,” “Fleabag”) and Dominic West (“The Wire,” “The Affair”) also on board, it seems like the cast have the acting chops to match.
BETTER CALL SAUL
The brilliant “Breaking Bad” prequel will return for its sixth and final season this year and co-creator Peter Gould told the Hollywood Reporter that its last hurrah will make viewers see “Breaking Bad” in “a very different light.” The award-winning story of how Bob Odenkirk’s ex-con-turned-lawyer Jimmy McGill morphs into his alias, the sleazy Saul Goodman, has been one of the best dramas around for years now, and fans will be hoping that Jimmy and Kim Wexler (Rhea Seehorn) get a fitting send off.
LORD OF THE RINGS
Reportedly the most expensive series of all time — with Amazon committing a production budget of $1 billion for its projected five-season run — this series is not (wisely) a re-telling of the story presented so brilliantly by Peter Jackson in his award-winning film trilogy of the 2000s, but is set in the Second Age of Middle-earth before the events of those films (and before the events of J.R.R. Tolkien’s epic fantasy novel with which it shares its title). There will certainly be familiar characters, however. Morfydd Clark has already been cast as Galadriel, one of three elves given a ‘ring of power’ (she was memorably portrayed by Cate Blanchett in Jackson’s movies), while British actor Robert Aramayo (who played a young Ned Stark in season six of “Game of Thrones”) will play the series’ lead character Beldor.
The action-packed Spanish crime drama remains one of Netflix’s most-popular shows, but it too is coming to an end in 2021 with its fifth and final season. Season four ramped up the tension and the blood shed to new levels as the gang of thieves (who all use their home cities as aliases) took on the Bank of Spain, and in season five, according to creator Alex Pina, “The war reaches its most extreme and savage levels, but it is also the most epic and exciting season.”