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The 5 most anticipated TV performances of 2024, ranked

Although the major streaming services are off to a somewhat slow start for the year, there’s no shortage of great shows on the horizon. We’ve already picked the five most anticipated movie performances of 2024, and it’s now time to do the same for TV.

It’s no coincidence that four of our five selections came from an HBO or Max show. The Idol notwithstanding, HBO has a very strong track record and an ability to recruit some of the biggest actors in Hollywood to crossover from the movies. That’s why these are the five most anticipated TV performances of 2024.

5. Jodie Foster in True Detective: Night Country

Jodie Foster in True Detective: Night Country.

Jodie Foster almost always delivers a great performance, but she’s rarely been given the spotlight she’s about to have as the lead character in the fourth season of HBO’s True Detective. The new season, which is called True Detective: Night Country, features Foster as Detective Liz Danvers, the partner of Detective Evangeline Navarro (Kali Reis) in the Alaskan police department.

This season, Danvers and Navarro will be called upon to solve the most difficult case of their careers as they investigate the disappearance of multiple people from a research station in Alaska. This is also Foster’s first leading TV role since 1975, and it looks like she picked the right show to star in.

True Detective: Night Country will premiere on HBO and Max on January 14.

4. Tobias Menzies in Manhunt

Tobias Menzies as Edwin Stanton in Manhunt.
Apple TV+

The Crown‘s Tobias Menzies played an absolutely reprehensible villain on Outlander, and he’s been a valuable supporting actor on numerous projects. But in Apple TV+’s Manhunt, Menzies takes on a leading role as Edwin Stanton, the Secretary of War for President Abraham Lincoln.

In the aftermath of Lincoln’s assassination at the hands of John Wilkes Booth (Anthony Boyle), Stanton is so outraged that he personally leads the manhunt to capture Booth. According to the show’s description, this pursuit will put Stanton’s sanity to the ultimate test. That should be really interesting to see play out when the miniseries arrives later this year.

Manhunt will premiere on Apple TV+ in 2024.

3. Colin Farrell in The Penguin

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

It takes a lot of makeup to make Colin Farrell look like Richard Kind, but it worked for Farrell’s take on the Penguin in The Batman. Farrell’s performance as Oswald Cobblepot was one of the highlights of that film, and he’ll certainly have a lot more scenery to chew when headlining The Penguin.

The early intel on this series is that it’s a crime drama set in the middle of Batman’s Gotham City, as Oz makes his move to take control of the criminal underworld. It’s too soon to say if the writing for the series can live up to that promise, but we have faith that Farrell will remain very entertaining in the role.

The Penguin will premiere on Max in 2024.

2. Kate Winslet in The Regime

Kate Winslet in The Regime.

Nearly three years ago, Kate Winslet starred in HBO’s Mare of Easttown in a role that led to her first Emmy Award for Best Actress in a Limited Series. And it’s entirely possible that Winslet may win another Emmy for her next HBO miniseries, The Regime.

This is a very different show than Mare of Easttown, and it’s more of a political satire than a drama. Winslet portrays the chancellor of a European country that is under autocratic control. But no matter how hard her character tries to hold on to her power, the entire regime slowly begins to descend into chaos. When dictators fall from power, it tends to end badly for them. Although the chancellor’s odds of survival don’t look very good, Winslet just might wow everyone all over again with this show.

The Regime will premiere on HBO and Max in 2024.

1. Robert Downey Jr. in The Sympathizer

Robert Downey Jr. in The Sympathizer.

After an arresting turn last summer in Oppenheimer, Robert Downey Jr. is coming back to TV in a big way later this year in The Sympathizer. Most actors would be satisfied by playing a single role, but for this project, Downey portrays five different characters, including a film director, a congressman, and even a CIA agent.

Downey is all over this show, and he’s not even the main character. That honor belongs to Hoa Xuande’s unnamed North Vietnamese spy, known as the Captain. Xuande’s character encounters the various incarnations of Downey throughout the show, even while questioning whether he remains loyal to his old country or his new one. This could be a breakout series for Xuande, but Downey’s multiple characters have made this our most-anticipated TV performance of 2024.

The Sympathizer will premiere on HBO and Max in 2024.

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