The best upcoming TV shows for 2018 - from Legion to Westworld

New TV shows 2018

Even as Krypton and The Terror continue to keep everyone talking stateside (we're still awaiting their release here in the UK), 2018's continual drip-feed of great telly shows no signs of giving up yet. Westworld season 2 is still on the horizon, after all, while second outings of Luke Cage, Legion, and A Series of Unfortunate Events are also not too far away. 

And that's not too mention every new show that Netflix has got cooking for later this year, from spooky sci-fi The Rain to the Emma Stone and Jonah Hill-helmed Maniac. Long story short; if you're looking for something to watch this year, you're practically swimming in choices. Below, you'll find the best upcoming TV shows for the rest of 2018, with all the info you need on where and when you can watch them. 

Counterpart season 1

Where and when can I watch it? Airing now on Starz (US), TBA (UK)

J.K. Simmons is the kind of character actor deserving of a show in which he stars as not one of, but both protagonists, and what we've seen so far of Counterpart proves that he's more than capable of pulling it off. Set in Berlin, it's a story of two alternate universes, and what happens when a mild-mannered, law-abiding citizen from one universe runs into his more rebellious doppelganger from the other. This is high concept sci-fi, then, but it's grounded by a spy thriller vibe, polished with snappy dialogue, and anchored by Simmons' enthralling presence[s] as two doubles from different worlds.  

The Alienist season 1 

Where and when can I watch it? Airing now on TNT (US), April 19 on Netflix (UK)

No, this isn’t a knock-off The X-Files clone, but another new and original series from TNT, with no extraterrestrials in sight. Instead, The Alienist follows criminal psychologist Dr. Laszlo Kreizler as he navigates the dark criminal underbelly of 1890s New York. Think Sherlock Holmes meets Ripper Street, and you get the idea. Judging from the amazing production value seen in the trailers and set photos so far, TNT has spared no expense in recreating The Alienist’s backdrop of late modern America, putting the show on firm footing as a psychological thriller decked out in all the resplendent opulence of a period drama.

Krypton season 1

Where and when can I watch it? Syfy (US) on March 21, TBC (UK)

What is it? As the name suggests, this is set in the Superman universe, although takes place 200 years before Kal-El is born. Oh, and it’s all set on Krypton before the planet is destroyed and our hero is sent to earth to become Clark Kent / Superman. It follows the life of Kal-El’s grandfather, Seg-El, who is dealing with the ostracising of his family within Krypton society. There’s a decent opportunity here for the DCEU to distance itself from the recent (sub-par) movies and tell an interesting story with some hot, up and coming actors. Equally, it could lack the talent required to spin a yarn on a par with most other modern TV shows. Let’s hope it’s the former.

The Terror season 1

Where and when can I watch it? AMC on March 26 (US), BT TV on April 24 (UK)

What is it? Another interesting, creepy, off-kilter offering for 2018, The Terror is an adaptation of Dan Simmons’ 2007 historical horror novel regarding Sir John Franklin’s lost, Arctic expedition to the Northwest Passage. In real life, Franklin’s two-ship navigation became ice-locked, resulting in the loss of the entire crew. In The Terror, there’s also disease, starvation cannibalism, and then the matter of the survivors being stalked across the Arctic by a monster. The book tells its story in a disjointed, non-linear fashion, and the TV show has been pitched as a kind of anthology to suit. 

A Series of Unfortunate Events season 2

Where and when can I watch it? Netflix on March 30

What is it? Following the bittersweet ending of Netflix’s first stab at A Series of Unfortunate Events, this second season will chronicle books five to nine of Lemony Snicket’s dark humoured series of children’s novels. Despite what some might have you believe, A Series of Unfortunate Events is not a TV show just for children. In fact, despite the pantomimey production (complete with the odd musical number), this is a black comedy series that demands your attention, especially as Netflix’s first season may have slipped under your radar earlier this year. A treat for those who like their fables delivered with a black humoured punch.    

Legion season 2 

Where and when can I watch it? FX on April 3 (US), Fox UK on April 17 (UK) 

How do you follow up on something as surreal, hypersonic, and outright hallucinatory as Legion’s first season? With much care and caution, I would imagine, but I’m so happy a second season is on the way, not least because it needs to address all of those burning cliffhangers from that masterful finale. Story details remain scarce for now, but with showrunner Noah Hawley still on board, you can expect more of season 1’s electric eccentricity running through the very lifeblood of this anticipated follow up. Oh, and because of the Disney-Fox acquisition, there’s the small possibility of Legion season 2 technically being a part of the MCU. A father-son reunion with Dan Stevens and Patrick Stewart, anyone? 

The Expanse season 3

Where and when can I watch it? Syfy on April 11 (US), UK TBC.

It's hard to sum up The Expanse in a few words, given its immensely ambitious plot, but the best generalisation I can come up with is "politics in space." That gorgeous galactic backdrop that got everyone hooked in the first place is merely the window dressing for a show that jumps 200 years into the future and questions how international relations might evolve once the international becomes interplanetary.

The action and visual punch is there for science fiction fanatics, and it looks like season 3 will be making good use of its bigger budget to raise those standards even further, but it's The Expanse's smart political narrative that is the real draw, not to mention the thing that keeps it standing head and tail above the rest of TV's sci-fi offerings. Season 3 can't come soon enough. 

Lost in Space season 1

 Where and when can I watch it? Netflix on April 13

What is it? The limits of Netflix's ballooning production budget knows no bounds, if the first trailer for Lost in Space is anything to go by. It's only about a minute long, and features nothing more than a family of space explorers dramatically boarding their ship, but it sports the visual opulence of a JJ Abrams fever dream, every frame glossed over with the kind of eye-pleasing sheen you'd expect from a major blockbuster movie. 

Lost in Space is an ambitious remake of a 1960's sci-fi series of the same name, which follows the Robinson family; a quintet of intergalactic colonists forced to survive the extreme conditions of a hostile planet after their ship is knocked off course. While everything looks bright and hopeful from an aesthetic perspective, don't expect a lighthearted space romp with a happy ending. Neil Marshall, known for his work on Game of Thrones, Westworld, and the upcoming Hellboy movie, is on board to direct a substantial number of episodes, and if he's respected for anything, it's for his knack in bringing major peril and heavy thrills to the small screen. 

Fear the Walking Dead season 4

Where and when can I watch it? AMC on April 15 (US), BT TV on April 23 (UK)

What is it? AMC’s big spin-off to The Walking Dead reaches its fourth season, and the transition from civilisation under siege to full-on zombie apocalypse is now complete. Kirkman and co have promised that 2018 will showcase the first crossover between Fear the Walking Dead and the main show its inspired by, with Lennie James crossing the fence to see fan favourite TWD character Morgan join up with Fear’s survivors in Atlanta, though the details of how that mash-up is possible (given that Morgan is very much a presence in The Walking Dead’s ongoing eighth season) are still unclear. 

After a bland and unpromising start, Fear the Walking Dead has been quietly improving with every new episode, and may well be on its way to becoming more a compelling show than The Walking Dead itself, given the downward trajectory of season 8 so far. With that in mind, now’s a good time to catch up on the spin-off’s previous seasons, as next year’s string of episodes have the potential to transcend Fear The Walking Dead into the new king of zombie shows.  

Westworld season 2

Where and when can I watch it? HBO (US) and Sky Atlantic (UK) on April 22

What is it? Essentially this second season will deal with the fallout from the events of the original Westworld. The Hosts have begun to take back the park from the Guests, and there will be heaps of bloodshed as the security teams attempt to regain control. We should also see a bunch of different environments, with the biggest hints from both the teaser trailer and the end of season 1 pointing to Samurai World. Sadly, it seems Robert Ford (Anthony Hopkins) is gone, and he was the best thing about Westworld 1, so it’ll be the job of Dolores, Maeve and Bernard to up their game, and make this second outing just as compelling. They’re more than capable, and if the writing is just as sharp this time around, Westworld should be one of the best shows you’ll see in 2018.

Luke Cage season 2

Where and when can I watch it?  Netflix worldwide on June 22

What is it? Better than Iron Fist and Daredevil season 2, but not quite as good as Jessica Jones or The Punisher, Luke Cage's first season was eight episodes of really great material plus an extra five that nobody asked for. It's a show that suffered the hardest from Marvel's insistence on a baker's dozen of episodes per season, with a last-minute side-story featuring Diamondback that was baggy, melodramatic, and wholly uninteresting. 

With Diamondback out of the way, season 2 will likely focus on Alfre Woodard's much more intriguing antagonist, Black Mariah, and Mike Colter is always fun to watch as the charismatic Power Man himself. The first trailer shows him sauntering forth from the debris of an exploded truck; if that's the kind of mission statement season 2 is hoping to deliver on this year, then bring it on. 

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