10 Must-See TV Shows You Don't Want to Miss in 2024

10 Must-See TV Shows You Don't Want to Miss in 2024

9 min read

In case you missed it: 12 Must-See 2024 Movies.

Just so we're all clear: Stranger Things season 5 would totally be on this list, but given it just started production, it seems highly unlikely it will air in 2024. No biggie: Pop culture is nothing if not forever looking forward to the next big thing.

Also: 3 Body Problem was briefly included. The Netflix science fiction show is based on the book The Three-Body Problem, which I haven't read but have heard good things about. The subject matter is also timely, given everything going on with UAP/UFO disclosure right now (the story is about extraterrestrials).

But then I realized the showrunners are David Benioff and D. B. Weiss, otherwise known as the guys who ruined Game of Thrones because they wanted to go work on Star Wars (which thankfully didn't end up happening). It's cool that Netflix is giving them a second chance but that doesn't mean I need to.

Selections are ordered by release date.

True Detective: Night Country

HBO on January 14

This is the one show on this list that you can actually watch right now. I haven't dipped into Night Country yet but it's on my agenda for next week. The best thing about writing about pop culture is also the worst thing—there is always something new to watch.

Night Country stars Jodie Foster as a detective investigating the disappearance of eight men from an Alaskan research station.

If that sentence doesn't intrigue you, I can't help you. Close this page and go watch Jersey Shore reruns.

Night Country was filmed on location in Alaska and it shows. Just from the promotional stuff I've seen/watched, it feels like True Detective by way of The Thing. Remote, unsettling, and cold as balls.

The fourth season is intentionally setup as a dark mirror of the first season (e.g. the best and only truly great season). This is how showrunner Issa López draws the comparison: "Where True Detective is male and it’s sweaty, Night Country is cold and it’s dark and it’s female.”

Mr. & Mrs. Smith

Prime Video on February 2

Until I watched the trailer, I had zero interest in this series based on the 2005 film.

Mr. and Mrs. Smith—the movie—is infamous not for what it is but for what it begot, single-handedly ending Jennifer Aniston's and Brad Pitt's storybook romance. It directly led to the marriage of Pitt and Angelina Jolie, which also ended in divorce. If the film has a legacy, it's in the A-List dominos it toppled.

So it's kind of weird Amazon decided to make a TV series based on this movie. Other than the off-screen drama, what can really be said about it? On its own merits, the movie is enjoyable, but nothing about it begs for a sequel, much less a spin-off series.

The entire premise behind the Mr. & Mrs. Smith ... franchise? brand? ... is that these two insanely hot spies are trapped in a marriage of convenience and eventually their proximity to so much unfettered hotness drives them mad with desire, and then they have artful sex scenes in which curtains billow dramatically.

Donald Glover and Maya Erskine are attractive people, but they're not in the Pitt / Jolie ballpark.

All that said, the show seems to delve more into the interpersonal dynamic and less the raw sexuality—good call—and it genuinely looks intriguing. And also funny, which plays to the strengths of both leads.

Avatar: The Last Airbender

Netflix on February 22

I love the original, animated version of Avatar: The Last Airbender, but there is no escaping the fact that it originally aired on Nickelodeon. Said another way: Avatar is pretty damn goofy.

That's part of the charm, but I'm hopeful this second attempt at bringing the series to life will tamp down on the adolescent hijinks in favor of more mature storytelling. The risk, of course, is recreating the missteps of M. Night Shyamalan's 2010 film, a dour and ultimately soulless adaptation.

The fact that Paul Sun-Hyung Lee—most notable for his hilarious portrayal of Appa, the family patriarch in Kim's Convenience—was cast as Uncle Iroh is a clear step in the right direction. He also plays an X-Wing pilot who initially pops up during The Mandalorian, which just warms my nerdy heart.


Hulu on February 27

The Shogun trailer completely bowled me over.

I'm familiar with the book, in that I know it exists and that it concerns an Englishman coming to feudal Japan. That's both the beginning and end of my knowledge about the story. And, for at least 20 years, that was enough. But the trailer has me seriously considering reading the book immediately. That's how good it is.

You can't really judge the worthiness of something based solely on a trailer. They're literally commercials. Glossy, cinematic, high production advertisements. But really great trailers are art unto themselves.

Shogun looks epic in the best, truest sense of the word.


Prime Video on April 12

Despite costing an astronomical sum—nearly half a billion dollars... for one seasonThe Rings of Power is god-awful. I'm therefore suspicious of pretty much any high-profile project Amazon undertakes. Fool me once, but I won't be fooled again.

However. (There's always a 'however.')

This series, based on the long-running video game series of the same name, looks like it might actually be good. I know that's like, the faintest of endorsements, but like I said—Amazon burned me bad with The Rings of Power.

Fallout is a post-apocalyptic story about the survivors of a nuclear war that devastated the world in the 1950s. It's an alternate-reality story, but not really. There isn't much of a future once armageddon finally cools, and thus, no comparisons can be made to our own, very real timeline, as can be done with The Man in the High Castle, Amazon's other big alternate-reality sci-fi show. Time essentially stopped when the bombs fell, forever freeze-framing the world of the 1950s, even though the story takes place several hundred years later. This sets up an interesting juxtaposition of retrofuturism, blending the gee-whiz vibe of ray guns with the bleak survivalism of Mad Max.

I know basically nothing about the story at this point, or even if it borrows any of the plots from the games. I just know that Walton Goggins—Boyd Effing Crowder—plays a noseless ghoul, and that's basically enough to get me on board.

Bridgerton season 3

Netflix on May 16

On the surface, Bridgerton might feel a bit out of place here, lacking the laughs, intrigue, or explosions that characterize the other entries. If there is any violence to be had in Bridgerton, it is veiled, passive, and sheathed in silk. Despite that, Bridgerton remains one of my favorite active shows.

I've never got around to watching Downton Abbey, but I get the general gist of it. I think I'd probably like it. It strikes me as a less racy version of Bridgerton. Or, said another way—Bridgerton seems like a sexed-up version of Downton Abbey. Either way: I am less concerned with what a story is about and more with whether or not it's good. And Bridgerton is damn good. It's exquisite.

If you've watched the first two seasons and possibly the Queen Charlotte spin-off, you know what to expect. I have no real expectations for season three, but I'm hoping for more Daphne. She was such a crucial part of the first season—for obvious reasons—and it felt weird when she wasn't around like, at all, in season two. I guess in Bridgerton, once you're well and married, you're basically as good as dead.

House of the Dragon season 2

HBO in Summer 2024

The first season of House of the Dragon basically did the impossible: It restored my love of Westeros.

There's no sense beating a dead dragon, but it's gotta be said: The final season and a half (and maybe slightly more; my memory is hazy of the exact details, which is just my mind's way of protecting me) of Game of Thrones shit the bed so badly it ruined the entire show. Even the great seasons that preceded the ending, like season 3, were found guilty by association in retrospect.

I haven't watched a single minute of Game of Thrones since the conclusion. Which is unfortunate, as I invested a small fortune buying limited edition Blu-ray collections of every season (but the last, of course). I have House Stark, Lannister, and Targaryen banners hanging in my basement, for George's sake.

But damnit, House of the Dragon pulled me back in. And by back in, I mean I'm all the way back in. If we end up having another kid, I will fight to name them Daemon or Rhaenyra, depending on the gender bits. That's how far back in I am.

It's been two long years since the season one finale, which promised to hurl everybody into a giant bloody battle. Did I mention the dragons? This show is lousy with them and they're not just glorified show ponies. They have teeth and fire. Expect much rending and burning of flesh, in true Westeros style.

It's good to be back.

Dune: Prophecy

HBO in Fall 2024

Very little is yet known about this series, other than the barest of details. Dune: Prophecy takes place roughly 10,000 years before the events of the first Dune book (and therefore, also the movie).

I gotta pause here briefly to editorialize—this is how you do a proper prequel. My biggest gripe with basically all new Star Wars is that it takes place in the same 100-year window, and is therefore constrained by what came before and after. But like, this is all make-believe, in a galaxy far away and a long time ago, no less. There's debate about whether or not linear time is real or if everything is occurring at once, but fictional worlds have the most malleable and least-real time of all. To continue to artificially constrain stories like this makes no damn sense, apart from the fact that Stormtroopers only exist in this brief blip of time, and nostalgia doesn't transfer to old things with new faces.

Dune: Prophecy is about the Bene Gesserit, the science witches who conspire to create a messianic figure through careful DNA manipulation across centuries, which is quite possibly the most sci-fi conceit I've ever heard of. I'm not 100% sure where you can even go with such a story, especially since we know where it ends. But I'm primed and ready for its ambiguous Fall release date given a) the Bene Gesserit are easily one of the most fascinating groups in speculative fiction; and, b) this show is being developed by HBO.

The Sympathizer

HBO, exact date TBA

Here's how I imagine this show was pitched: The taut intrigue of The Americans + the high-wire act of Catch Me If You Can, with Robert Downey Jr. playing half the roles, ala Eddie Murphy in The Nutty Professor. The story is based on a book of the same name, which won the Pulitzer, and concerns a North Vietnamese spy in America.

It looks about as zany as you'd expect from that description, but it looks to balance the comedic elements with atmosphere and throat-tightening stakes. Color me very intrigued.

Star Wars: The Acolyte

Disney Plus, exact date TBA

Another year, another Star Wars TV show on Disney+. This one will look materially different from all the others though, because it occurs in an entirely different timeframe—100 years before The Phantom Menace.

Well, okay: Maybe it won't look that different. And 100 years isn't even very long. Yoda will already be old by this point in the timeline. (I put the probability of at least one Yoda scene at 70%.) I expect it will basically be Star Wars: The Pre-Prequels TV Show, with lots of solemn Jedi in brown robes grappling with the sudden, strange emergence of Dark Side energy harshing their mellow. The more I think about it, the more I'm picturing an adolescent version of The Phantom Menace, which is saying something as the movie had at least one fart joke.

The cast is mostly a bunch of young nobodies, though I can totally see Dafne Keen (aka X-23, the young Wolverine-girl from Logan) bring some Dark Side fury. And Carrie-Anne Moss is in it, though unfortunately I don't think black leather is part of the Jedi wardrobe.

If I don't sound overly excited about this, it's because I'm not overly excited about this.

When it comes to modern Star Wars, I've found it best to be cautiously optimistic. And so I am about The Acolyte. Not for nothing, but the fact that we are finally breaking away from the Skywalker Saga is a big freaking deal. We've had 40+ years of stories about Skywalkers and the people trapped by the tractor beam of their narrative. While I expect The Acolyte will look and feel like bog standard Prequels-era Star Wars, at least we'll get new characters and stories.

I'm hopeful The Acolyte will be something new and exciting, but if nothing else, it may finally open the door for something truly unique. Imagine a Star Wars set 200 years before The Phantom Menace. Crazy, right?