8 Essential TV Shows

1. red dwarf
They smoked us a kipper and they’re back for breakfast!

Having successfully
negotiated a couple of
lengthy hiatuses and
the move to a new
channel, Rimmer,
Lister, Kryten and the
Cat are riding high on
the wave of 2012’s
excellent series X, and
back for not one but two new six-part series on
Dave. The 12 episodes that’ll be shared between
Red Dwarf XI (due in 2016) and Red Dwarf XII
(2017) are shooting either side of Christmas.
“There was an argument from UKTV that
things would be cheaper if we did 12 because
costs and things could be spread across both
series,” explains writer, director and Red Dwarf
co-creator Doug Naylor, speaking to SFX mere
days before the first live studio recording in
mid-November. “I found myself saying yes,
okay, there is time to do that, but then when
you’ve written seven or eight you go, ‘Oh my
god, why didn’t I say it had to be six!’”
Naylor says the new series episodes will pick
up soon after series X left off, but won’t get too
hung up on serialisation. “They’re all selfcontained
episodes. There are [overall] story
things but not a real arc because we don’t know
yet which will be the six episodes that go out in
XI and which will go out in XII.”
So are there any dangling plot threads from
the previous 10 series that the new episodes
will pick up? “There are various things, but
you’ve got to be careful that you’re not just
appealing to the die-hards,” Naylor says.
“There were areas we looked at very hard
and thought, ‘God, you’re going to have to
spend half the show explaining the backstory
before you can get on with the comedy,’ so
we’ve tried not to do that, so it’s accessible
to both hardcore fans and more casual viewers
as well.”
But surely the revelation that Rimmer’s dad
was actually the gardener must have changed
things slightly?
“It’s made no difference to him whatsoever,”
Naylor laughs, “aside from him feeling slightly
confused for a bit. But then remarkably he just
returns to exactly who he was before.
“In a sitcom you don’t want the characters to
mature, you don’t want them to learn anything,
because when you have growth, it generally
means they’re not as funny because they’re
usually funniest when they’re at their most
flawed. Most sitcoms don’t survive as many
series as we’ve done and I think one of the
reasons is we haven’t allowed the characters to
mature much. Because they’re still hugely
emotionally damaged, we’ve managed to
survive!” Richard Edwards

2. preacher
God? It’s me, Jesse…Get set for the road trip of horror

While many still
mourn the
cancellation of
Constantine, another
adaptation of a DC/
Vertigo supernatural
horror hit is making
its way to TV in the
form of Preacher.
Based on the fan fave comic book by Garth
Ennis and Steve Dillon, the show chronicles
the adventures of Jesse Custer, the titular
holy man (played by Dominic Cooper), who
finds himself possessed by a most unholy
creature. With his hard-nosed ex-girlfriend
Tulip O’Hare (Agents Of SHIELD’s Ruth
Negga) and best friend Cassidy (an Irish
vampire played by Misfits’ Joe Gilgun), Jesse
makes his way across an unforgiving America
on a quest to find God.
Producer Seth Rogen directs the pilot with
regular writing partner Evan Goldberg. In the
States, Preacher will screen on AMC, the
network responsible for The Walking Dead.
“Garth Ennis’s Preacher is, above all, about
great characters – something we look for in all
of our series,” says AMC president Joel
Stillerman. “The fact that it is also darkly funny,
has some great supernatural elements and
takes us on an incredible adventure is just the
icing on the cake.” Joseph McCabe

3. game of thrones
The brutal fantasy series ventures into uncharted territory

Heading into season
six it isn’t just Jon
Snow who knows
nothing – Game Of
Thrones viewers are
now equally oblivious.
HBO’s adaptation of
George RR Martin’s
Song Of Ice And Fire
series exhausted its published source material
at the end of season five meaning, for the first
time, even novel readers haven’t the foggiest
about what’s coming up.
Of course, with GRRM closely involved you
can expect the show’s trajectory to more or less
mirror upcoming novel The Winds Of Winter.
And there are still bits to catch up on from A
Feast For Crows and A Dance With Dragons.
New cast members include Ian McShane,
who will appear in a single episode and bring
“somebody back that you think you’re never
going to see again”. Bran, Hodor et al will
return North of the Wall after taking a year off.
Max von Sydow has been cast as the Three-
Eyed Raven, we’ll meet the rest of Sam’s family,
and the introduction of Euron Greyjoy hints
that we’ll be seeing plenty of the Iron Islands.
But what of Jon Snow? The Lord
Commander was betrayed and seemingly slain
by his own Night’s Watch brothers in the
season five finale, but with Red Priestess
Melisandre conveniently returning to Castle
Black hours earlier and actor Kit Harington
spotted filming in Belfast it’s safe to assume
that we haven’t seen the last of Ned Stark’s
bastard… Jordan Farley

4. west world
Forget Dismaland – this is the true theme park of your nightmares…
For a film with a relatively slim central premise – Yul
Brynner’s android gunslinger hunts down the guests at a
futuristic theme park – Westworld has proved
remarkably resilient. It spawned 1976 sequel
Futureworld and a short-lived CBS TV series in 1980,
while director Michael Crichton successfully
remodelled the idea of a theme park going wrong in
Jurassic Park. Now Westworld’s being retooled as an
all-new HBO series, co-created by Christopher Nolan’s
little brother Jonathan (Interstellar, Person Of Interest),
and overseen by one JJ Abrams.
HBO’s press blurb sums up this new take on a park
where punters can interact with lifelike androids as a
“dark odyssey about the dawn of artificial consciousness
and the future of sin,” while Nolan’s described it as “a
place where you can be whoever the fuck you want to be
and there are no consequence. No rules, no limitations.”
If that sounds like a deeper, darker take than the ’70s
version it’s also fertile sci-fi territory for the network
behind Game Of Thrones and The Sopranos. In typical
style, they’ve rounded up a truly A-list cast featuring
James Marsden, Thandie Newton, Evan Rachel Wood,
Anthony Hopkins, and Ed Harris inheriting Brynner’s
stetson. Expect this one to hit the target in spectacular
style. Richard Edwards

5. out cast
The creator of The Walking Dead exorcises his demons…

Based on the comic
book by Robert
Kirkman, Outcast is
poised to do for
demonic possession
what the writerproducer’s
The Walking Dead did for zombies. Life On Mars’ Philip Glenister plays Reverend
Anderson, a man of the cloth who “specialises
in exorcisms”.
“I suppose he’s the big fish in a small pond in
many respects,” Glenister tells SFX. “He has
flaws. He’s not your average reverend – he likes
a drink, he smokes, he swears quite a lot. We
find out that these exorcisms that he’s been
carrying out over the years slowly are coming
back to haunt him, since the arrival of Kyle.”
Glenister says the relationship between
Anderson and his supernaturally gifted new
partner – played by Gone Girl’s Patrick Fugit
– is key to the show.
“Kyle’s the new kid on the block. I always
say it’s like Rocky – I’m kind of the Burgess
Meredith character, the trainer. I start
resenting Kyle a little bit, because his
exorcisms seem to work. I realise I need him in
my life, and start resenting him at the same
time. That’s the clash or the conflict between
the two of them.” Joseph McCabe

6. legends of tomorrow
Team players! DC’s small screen universe explodes…

After overseeing
Arrow, executive
producer Marc
Guggenheim is now
responsible for the
most ambitious
superhero TV project
yet: Legends Of
Tomorrow. Featuring
an entire team of heroes and villains, the show
provides limitless opportunities to explore the
DC Universe.
“What’s fun about the concept,”
Guggenheim tells SFX, “is because it’s a team
concept we can rotate people in and out
depending upon what the actors want to
do and what our storytelling needs are. It’s
not going to be an anthology like American
Horror Story. But it’s going to have different
ideas. Time travel is the idea behind season
one. The next arc will have its own big idea
behind it.”
At the centre of season one’s time travel is
the man who brings the team together, Rip
Hunter, played by Arthur Darvill, no stranger
to the subject matter given his stint in Doctor
Who. Will Legends offer in-jokes for Whovians?
“We’re looking for the right in-joke,” laughs
Guggenheim. “But it’s Arthur Darvill in a time
travel show – it’s low-hanging fruit. We didn’t
want him to be Rory and we didn’t want him to
be the Doctor. We wanted him to craft his own
character, and he really has.” Joseph McCabe

7. daredevil
5 Things you need to know about the Man Without Fear’s second season

1. It’s war! Yes, prepare for total vigilante meltdown on
the mean streets of Hell’s Kitchen. The Walking Dead’s Jon
Bernthal will play Frank Castle aka the Punisher, Marvel’s
merciless, skull-chested antihero. New showrunner Marco
Ramirez frames season two as essentially “Daredevil Vs The
Punisher” so expect plenty of conflict between Castle’s
kill-spree mentality and Matt Murdock’s marginally more
liberal approach to urban renewal…
2. Another iconic character from the comic book pantheon debuts in season two.
France’s Elodie Yung plays sai-wielding assassin – and uneasy love interest –
Elektra Natchios, introduced as a mysterious figure from Matt’s past. Word is that
Elektra’s hired by criminal cabal the Hand to take down Daredevil after his defeat
of Wilson Fisk.
3. Need a fix of sardonic advice from a lethal blind man? You’re in luck. Scott Glenn
returns for three episodes as Matt’s mentor Stick.
4. Marco Ramirez is promoted to showrunner alongside fellow season one veteran
Doug Petrie. The pair replace the departing Steven DeKnight.
5. The first season explored the street-level reality of the Marvel Universe but season
two will edge even deeper into the shadows. “With the Punisher and Elektra we get
to test it and take it further and darker,” promises Petrie. Nick Setchfield

8. houdini and doyle
Solving supernatural crime with history’s secret team-up…

creator Sir Arthur
Conan Doyle and
escapologist Harry
Houdini did meet in
real life. They had a
shared interest in
spiritualism: Doyle
wanted to believe
communication with the dead was possible;
Houdini wanted to debunk it. They did not,
however, become the Mulder and Scully of
their day, investigating crimes with a spooky
element. Which is a shameful omission from
history that new ITV Encore series Houdini
And Doyle will put right.
From the creator of House, David Shore, the
series stars Stephen Mangan (Dirk Gently) as
Doyle and Michael Weston (House) as Houdini,
and could prove to be the perfect antidote to
buddy cop shows.
“A ghost is accused of killing nuns in a
convent,” says Mangan. “So Doyle goes to the
police – because this is right up his street – to
see if he can be part of the investigation.”
“I want to make sure that he’s not going
to propagate lies and take advantage of people
naive enough to believe in this stuff,” says
Weston of Houdini. “We confound each
other and annoy each other, yet we also
really need each other to feel like we’ve
proved our argument.”
Mangan smiles. “Plus you’re a


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