The 10 TV Shows We're Most Excited For In 2016

From Frank Underwood's second term to Anthony Hopkins' new sci-fi drama

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1 | House of Cards (Netflix, February)

For some, season 3 of House Of Cards was a disappointment. The Machiavellian scheming of Frank Underwood the careerist politician had been replaced with the compromised decision making of Frank Underwood the President and with it, much of the dramatic tension. Personally, we enjoyed it, playing out as it did like a darker, more cynical – dare we say it, more British - version of The West Wing. How will Frank fare now Claire (Robin Wright) has finally left him? It will be fun – and no doubt highly addictive – finding out.

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2 | The X-Files (Channel 5, February)

It hard to say which way this reboot of the cult 90's favourite will go, but let's looks at the positives. Gillian Anderson has gone from strength to strength in the eight years since Mulder and Scully's best-forgotten movie spinoff I Want To Believe, particularly her turn in the excellent police drama The Fall (also returning this year: see below). David Duchovny, meanwhile, has done very well for himself in Californication. In other words this is no desperate cash-in from two faded stars but, hopefully, the chance for a glorious second coming. We want to believe.

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3 | Vinyl (Sky Atlantic, February)

If the names Terence Winter (writer), Bobby Cannavale (star) and Martin Scorsese (director) mean anything to you when put together – and if they don't, watch Boardwalk Empire as soon as possible – then this HBO miniseries about New York's 1970s music scene ought to get you excited. And if that's still not enough, Mick Jagger is on board as an executive producer to make sure the whole thing is accurate – as far as Mick can remember it, at least.

4 | Westworld (Sky Atlantic, TBC)

In the original 1973 film and this HBO series based on it, 'Westworld' is the name of futuristic artificial intelligence theme park. Updating the source material for 2016 is Jonathan Nolan (who writes many of his brother Christopher's films) and J. J. Abrams, who produces. The real coup though? Sir Anthony Hopkins as the park's brilliant director. 

5 | The Walking Dead (Fox UK, March)

After a return to form with season 6 part A, we can now look forward to season 6 part B of Fox's relentlessly grim but never less than gripping zombie drama. The main reason to be excited this year? The long-awaited appearance of comic fan favourite and particularly nasty baddie Negan, played by Watchmen's Jeffrey Dean Morgan.

6 |The Night Manager (BBC 1, TBC)

A six-part based on a novel by John le Carré's – who spy novels inspired the films Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (2011) and A Most Wanted Man (2014) in recent years - The Night Manager follows a European hotel worker (and ex-soldier) who is recruited by intelligence agents to infiltrate an international arms dealer's network. Tom Hiddleston plays the lead, Hugh Laurie his criminal target and, best of all, Olivia Colman stars are an intelligence operative. With a pedigree like that we should be looking at a highlight for the year.

7 | Game Of Thrones (Sky Atlantic, April)

How dead is Jon? How blind is Ayra? How boring is Bran's storyline going to be now he's back? We, like you, have so many questions about Game Of Thrones season 6 – chief among whether it can return to the form of season 4 after a patchy season 5 – that this is indisputably the TV event of the year once again. It is know.

8 | Peaky Blinders (BBC 2, TBC)

The Brummie gangster saga that admirably aspires if occasionally stumbles short of HBO-esque stature is back, this time with the intriguing addition of Paddy Considine (Dead Man's Shoes) playing Tommy Shelby (Cillian Murphy) latest adversary, which also includes an 'international conflict'.

9 | Red Dwarf XI and XII (BBC, TBC)

Red Dwarf is in danger of turning into a real life version of The Simpsons – a once much-loved TV comedy that simply doesn't know when to die. And yet… maybe, just maybe we can trust Danny John-Jules (Cat) who described the forthcoming 11th and 12th series as 'old-school'. If they capture even some of the magic of the show's 90s heyday, we'll be happy.

10 | The Fall (BBC 2, TBC)

BBC cop shows are hardly in short supply but something about this one just works, whether it's Jamie Dornan's handsome but dead-eyed serial killer, Gillian Anderson's icy-cold but alluring cop or, more likely, the strange tension between the two of them. Don't get us wrong, we're glad this third season of The Fall will be the last – any more and it would surely outstay its welcome – but for now, it is the best in its genre and deserves a chance to bow out in style.