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8 most anticipated drama TV shows of 2024, ranked

Get ready because there are exciting drama series coming in 2024. Popular shows in this genre will return, like The Bear, which will premiere its third season on FX and Hulu before year’s end. When it comes to new shows, premiere dates for some of them are not yet set in stone. But with a few, you can already mark your calendar for the day that the first episode or even the entire season will be available to stream.

While the most anticipated drama TV shows of 2024 are new series, there’s one exception: True Detective has had a five-year gap between season 3 and the latest fourth season. As an anthology series with a brand-new cast every season, it’s almost like a new show. Several of these shows are based on popular movies, books, and even a video game, and they all feature high-profile talent, both in front of the camera and behind it.

8. Death and Other Details (January 16)

Mandy Patinkin sitting at a desk, hands clasped in front of him in a scene from Death and Other Details.

Homeland’s Mandy Patinkin returns to the small screen with another Agatha Christie-inspired murder mystery series to join the growing list. He is Rufus, a detective with whom a young woman named Imogene (The Flash’s Violett Beane) must befriend when she becomes a suspect in a murder. Rufus is brilliant at his job and might be Imogene’s only hope at proving her innocence. But there’s one issue: She can’t stand him. With the setting of a luxury ocean liner deep in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea, the intensity is enhanced: there’s literally nowhere to go and no one else to lean on.

Given the success of shows like FX’s A Murder At the End of the World and movies like Knives Out and Glass Onion, Death and Other Details will appeal to the same subset of viewers who love a good, old-fashioned murder mystery. Patinkin is always electric on screen, and with this being his surprisingly first role playing a detective, there are high expectations that he’ll hit it out of the park.

Stream Death and Other Details on Hulu. 

7. Mr. & Mrs. Smith (February 2)

A man and a woman look disheveled and dirty in a scene from Mr. & Mrs. Smith on Amazon Prime Video.
Amazon Prime Video

Sure, the most exciting thing to come out of the lackluster 2005 movie Mr. & Mrs. Smith was the birth of “Brangelina” when the two leads, Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie, began dating after filming. But given that these two high-profile A-listers starred in the film, there’s a strange curiosity about the upcoming series centered around the same story and characters.

As a spy comedy drama, Mr. & Mrs. Smith stars Donald Glover and Maya Erskine (Andor) as the titular characters, married assassins John and Jane Smith, who have now taken on new jobs working as spies for a mysterious organization. With the incredible supporting cast that includes Parker Posey, Wagner Moura, John Turturro, Alexander Skarsgård, Sarah Paulson, and Ron Perlman, Mr. & Mrs. Smith is at the top of many watch lists for 2024. The entire eight-episode season will be released at once, making it a perfect weekend binge-watch.

Stream Mr. & Mrs. Smith on Prime Video.

6. Avatar: The Last Airbender (February 22)

A young boy in an orange suit holding a stick with an arrow drawn on his forehead, an igloo in the distance in a scene from The Last Airbender.
Robert Falconer / Netflix

Following the success of the mid-2000s animated series of the same name, this is a live-action version of the story. Avatar: The Last Airbender, also called Avatar: The Legend of Aang, tells the story of Aang (Gordon Cormier), the last surviving Airbender. In a world where people can bend water, earth, fire, or air, he is the only person left who can bend all four elements. He seeks to bring peace between the Asian and Indigenous American-inspired world where everyone is at war.

Also starring Daniel Dae Kim (Lost), Ken Leung (Star Wars: The Force Awakens), and Paul Sun-Hyung Lee (Kim’s Convenience), Avatar: The Last Airbender is an action-adventure fantasy drama that brings a familiar story to life. Fans of the animated show will be excited to watch, while this live-action version could introduce a whole new generation to the story.

Stream Avatar: The Last Airbender on Netflix. 

5. The Penguin (TBD)

The Penguin sitting at a table in the dark, his hands clasped together in a scene from the series.
Warner Bros. Discovery

Colin Farrell wowed with his transformation as DC Comics villain The Penguin in The Batman, so it’s no surprise a limited crime drama series was developed around the character so fans could get more of the disfigured crime boss. Farrell will reprise the role for the series, which serves as a spin-off of the movie and focuses on Penguin’s rise to power as one of the foremost leaders in Gotham City’s criminal underworld.

The Penguin takes place right after the events in The Batman and will also star Cristin Milioti as Sofia Falcone, daughter of the late crime boss Carmine Falcone who is fighting Penguin (aka Oswald “Oz” Cobblepot) for power. There’s no official premiere date for The Penguin yet, but it’s expected to launch by late 2024 with eight episodes.

Stream The Penguin on Max. 

4. True Detective: Night Country, season 4 (January 14)

Two women standing together with winter coats looking at something in a scene from True Detective" Night Country.

After a long five-year wait, fans finally get a new season of anthology crime drama True Detective. It’s expected to be worth the wait with Jodie Foster heading up the cast and a thrilling story that takes the intrigue all the way to Alaska. When eight men working in a research center suddenly and mysteriously go missing, it’s up to Detective Liz Danvers (Foster) and Evangeline Navarro (Keli Reis) to figure out what happened. Through their investigation, they discover there’s a lot more going on in this seemingly quiet town than they realized, and they confront some personal demons.

True Detective is known for its A-list talent, with Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson, Rachel McAdams, Colin Farrell, Vince Vaughn, and Mahershala Ali and Stephen Dorff all leading previous seasons. With a similarly impressive cast, True Detective: Night Country, as season 4 is known, is poised to be one of the year’s biggest hits.

Stream True Detective: Night Country on Max. 

3. A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms: The Hedge Knight (TBD)

A knight leading a brigade on horses in a scene from Game of Thrones.

HBO is squeezing every last bit of content out of George R.R. Martin’s works, including House of the Dragon, the Game of Thrones prequel series that returns for its second season in summer 2024. But there will also be A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms: The Hedge Knight, which tells the story of the young and naïve Ser Duncan the Tall and his squire Egg. The squire might seem harmless, but fans of the books know he eventually becomes the future king Aegon V Targaryen, grandfather of Aerys II (“The Mad King”) and great-grandfather of Daenerys.

Taking place a century before the events in Game of Thrones (and a century after the events in House of the Dragon), A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms: The Hedge Knight will likely have the same look and feel as other Game of Thrones series (both existing and to come) along with the same delicious mix of betrayals, struggles for power, and violence.

Stream A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms: The Hedge Knight on Max. 

2. The Boroughs (TBD)

Hopper being escorted by Enzo in the prison on Stranger Things, other men following behind.

With Stranger Things set to end in late 2025 or early 2026 with its fifth and final season, creators the Duffer Brothers are already prepping for a new show to fill that hole. The result is The Boroughs, which centers around a group of people from a retirement community in New Mexico who come together to fight supernatural threats.

Sound familiar? Created by Jeffrey Addiss and Will Matthews, who developed the TV series version of The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance, The Boroughs might sound a lot like Stranger Things with an older cast. But the Duffer Brothers, who serve as executive producers, have a knack for creating a winning formula with a perfect combination of drama, horror, heart, and humor. With the four men working together, The Boroughs might very well become the next Stranger Things.

Stream The Boroughs on Netflix.

1. Fallout (April 12)

A man with a cowboy hat and no nose in a scene from Fallout.
Prime Video

If you’re familiar with the post-apocalyptic video game Fallout, you likely have the drama series of the same name on your radar to watch this year. Fallout has the potential to become the next The Last of Us. Developed by Westworld’s Lisa Joy and Jonathan Nolan, Fallout follows the same storyline as the video game. It’s set in the future when a one-day nuclear war has effectively wiped out all of humanity. All that’s left are survivors living in underground bunkers called Vaults and mutated creatures roaming the wasteland that was once Earth.

Lucy (Yellowjackets’ Ella Purnell), a young woman who grew up in the Vault, decides to venture outside into the dangerous wasteland above. But she quickly realizes that she has literally been sheltered her entire life and has no idea how terrifying the dangers that lie outside are and what challenges she’ll face in achieving her missions.

Stream Fallout on Prime Video.

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