Decades after his father suffered a psychotic break while his family was snowbound in the Overlook Hotel, an adult Danny Torrance (Ewan McGregor) uses his gift of extrasensory perception to help a young woman (Kyliegh Curran) evade the True Knot, a cult that feeds off psychic ability. Doctor Sleep is based on Stephen King’s 2013 book of the same name, a sequel to his 1977 novel The Shining.
Directed by: Mike Flanagan
Written by: Mike Flanagan
Starring: Ewan McGregor, Rebecca Ferguson, and Kyliegh Curran
Doctor Sleep director Mike Flanagan had a formidable task ahead of him. His adaptation of Stephen King’s sequel novel needed to reconcile the differences between director Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining and King’s original book. Among the more notable changes in Kubrick’s version was that the Overlook Hotel survives. In the book, it burns down. Flanagan sought King’s blessing to depict the Overlook in Doctor Sleep, which King granted. The Overlook set was built using the blueprints from Kubrick’s film. Whether it still burned down and Danny revisits it in visions or it somehow survived intact remains a mystery.
The title refers to Danny’s nickname. Now working at a hospice, he’s able to use his “shining” to comfort people near death, sharing their feelings and thoughts. It's an ability that leads to patients calling him “Doctor Sleep.”
Doctor Sleep was put into production quickly following the success of 2017’s It, another Warner Bros. King adaptation. With $327 million in domestic box office revenue, It is the highest-grossing horror film of all time.
Ewan McGregor read both of King’s novels to prepare for the role of Danny Torrance, who survived his father’s rampage at the Overlook and is now struggling with post-traumatic stress and alcoholism—but he read them out of order. "I read, funnily enough, Doctor Sleep first and then have gone back to The Shining since then,” he said. “I haven’t completed The Shining, I’m still dipping into it as we go along.”
Doctor Sleep will revisit at least two other characters from The Shining. Carl Lumbly will portray Dick Halloran, the caretaker of the Overlook who was killed by Jack Torrance in the film and was portrayed by Scatman Crothers. He survived in the novel. Alex Essoe will play Wendy Torrance, a role originated by Shelley Duvall in Kubrick’s film. It’s not known whether Jack Nicholson, who portrayed the unhinged Torrance family patriarch, will have any involvement in Doctor Sleep.
Warner Bros. will release Doctor Sleep in theaters on November 8, 2019.
Once again, Valentine’s Day is upon us—a day when the phone lines at any restaurant worth its weight in conversation hearts are as jammed up as the Hallmark aisle at your local grocery store. Who needs that hassle? Why not spend the night in, binge-watching some of your favorite romantic comedies instead? Here are 40 fun facts to get you started.
1. Pretty Woman was originally much darker.
Buena Vista Pictures
Screenwriter J.F. Lawton’s original script, which was titled 3000, wasn’t a love story—and it didn’t have a happy ending. Instead of a rom-com about two very different people finding love, it was a grittier tale about two damaged individuals who spent a week together that ends in tears and zero hope for a balcony-set reunion scene.
2. When Harry Met Sally...'s Harry and Sally were modeled after Rob Reiner and Nora Ephron—except for the falling in love part.
Rob Reiner divorced fellow director Penny Marshall in 1981 after 10 years of marriage. When he met with Nora Ephron in the mid-'80s, he pitched a number of ideas for movies, including a comedy based on his dating experiences. Ephron agreed to write it after extensively interviewing Reiner. The two had many discussions about how men and women view sex, love, and relationships differently.
3. Titanic's most iconic line was improvised.
When Leonardo DiCaprio first got up on the end of the ship in Titanic, he improvised the line, “I'm the king of the world!” Cameron liked the line so much that he kept it in the movie. Though the line would go on to be parodied countless times—including at the Oscars—it landed at #100 on the American Film Institute's list of the greatest movie quotes.
4. William Goldman wrote The Princess Bride for his daughters.
William Goldman, who wrote the novel The Princess Bride in 1973 and penned the screenplay, toldEntertainment Weekly in an oral history of the movie, "I had two little daughters, I think they were seven and four at the time, and I said, 'I’ll write you a story. What do you want it to be about?' One of them said 'a princess' and the other one said 'a bride.' I said, 'That’ll be the title.'"
5. Truman Capote wanted Marilyn Monroe to star in Breakfast at Tiffany's.
Marilyn Monroe’s advisor and acting coach, Paula Strasberg, said she shouldn’t play a “lady of the evening,” and Monroe took her advice. Capote said Paramount Pictures “double-crossed me in every way” when they cast Audrey Hepburn instead. The outspoken author also proclaimed the movie to be the “most miscast film I've ever seen.” Over time, Capote would go on to say that Tuesday Weld or Jodie Foster would be good choices to play Holly Golightly in a remake.
6. Andie and Duckie were supposed to get together at the end of Pretty in Pink.
Paramount Home Entertainment
Originally, Pretty In Pink ended with Andie (Molly Ringwald) and Duckie (Jon Cryer) ending up together. But that changed when Cryer was cast. “Molly dropped the bomb that she would’ve been fine with the original ending if Robert Downey Jr. had played Duckie, but since it was me, she just couldn’t see it,” Cryer said on the film’s 2006 Everything’s Duckie DVD edition. “It was like, ‘Wow, so I’m that unattractive?’ Thanks, Mol!”
Though director Howard Deutch wanted Cryer to play Duckie, he seemed to later regret it. “What I learned was that there are no rules, in the sense that life isn’t fair,” Deutch said in You Couldn’t Ignore Me. “Duckie should have the girl and it was all built for that and it was designed for that. And I could have ended that way, had I not f*cked with one thing: I cast Jon Cryer.”
7. Ghost turned Demi Moore into the highest-paid actress at the time.
By the time Ghost was released, Moore was already famous for her roles in St. Elmo’s Fire and About Last Night..., but she wasn’t considered a bankable star. After the unexpected $200 million domestic gross of Ghost, she hit box office gold with atrifecta of other huge hits: 1992’s A Few Good Men ($141,340,178), 1993’s Indecent Proposal ($106,614,059), and 1994’s Disclosure ($83,015,089). If you add up all of Demi’s film grosses, it comes out to more than $1 billion. In 1995, she was paid an unprecedented $12.5 million to take her clothes off in Striptease. The film wasn’t a huge hit, and a few years later she traded Hollywood for Idaho.
8. Before The Philadelphia Story, Katharine Hepburn spent a few years as "box office poison."
It's hard to believe given her legendary status today, but after a string of flops in the 1930s, Hepburn was considered "box office poison." That was an official designation, by the way; a 1938 survey of theater owners labeled her as such, along with such luminaries as Fred Astaire, Greta Garbo, Mae West, Joan Crawford, and Marlene Dietrich. (The theater owners weren't wrong about those stars' movies not being big sellers, though perhaps it wasn't very nice of them to publish a list like that.)
9. Some people walked out of the first American screening of Four Weddings and a Funeral.
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios Inc.
It was in Salt Lake City, Utah. The 30-person, Mormon-filled town council left the theater after witnessing the version of the opening scene with Charles saying "f**k." It was Hugh Grant’s first time seeing the entire film and he thought the walk-outs were a bad sign.
10. Say Anything's Lloyd Dobler was based on Cameron Crowe's neighbor.
The writer-director was having issues writing the leading man, but became inspired when he met his Alabama neighbor, Lowell Marchant. “He was this friendly guy with a crew cut who just wanted to meet everybody he could,” Crowe toldEntertainment Weekly. “He knocked on the door and said, ‘Hello, I’d like to introduce myself. I’m Lowell Marchant. I am a kickboxer, and I’ll be living here for a little bit. Are you aware of the sport kickboxing? It is now a major sport covered by ESPN.’ I’d tell [executive producer James L. Brooks], ‘The character’s not coming, and there’s this f***ing guy down the way who keeps knocking on the door and he’s a kickboxer.’ And Jim’s looking at me like, ‘And you’re wondering what to write?’”
11. Andie MacDowell's drink of choice in Groundhog Day was familiar to writer/director Harold Ramis.
Rita drank sweet vermouth because it was Ramis’s wife’s favorite.
12. Hugh Grant's blue door in Notting Hill was writer Richard Curtis's blue door.
The exterior of Will Thacker's (Hugh Grant) home in Notting Hill—including the blue door—was once owned by screenwriter Richard Curtis. After the movie came out, the home's new owners—annoyed by all of the fans who came to visit the location—painted the door black. After it was sold again, the door was painted back to blue.
13. Viggo Mortensen almost played Jake Ryan in Sixteen Candles.
Viggo Mortensen and Molly Ringwald kissed during the audition, which made the future The Lord of the Rings star Ringwald's pick to play her love interest. “He made me weak in the knees," she told Access Hollywood. "He really did.” When the two co-starred in the movie Fresh Horses, Mortensen told Ringwald that he always thought he didn’t get the job because of his kissing.
14. Woody Allen's original idea for Annie Hall was completely different.
Although Annie Hall is now heralded as one of the most influential and inventive romantic comedies of all time, director and co-writer Woody Allen’s original mission was not to make a relationship picture. Allen and his writing partner, Marshall Brickman, instead conceived of the story as a general exploration of the main character’s life and psyche, which was to to be filled with romantic, mysterious, and fantastical subplots in equal parts.
The project, reflecting protagonist Alvy Singer’s persistent malaise, was first titled Anhedonia, a somewhat archaic psychiatric term referring to the inability to feel joy. The first cut of the movie ran about 140 minutes—almost 50 minutes longer than the final version.
15. Sleepless in Seattle referenced "The Soup Nazi" two years before Seinfeld did.
TriStar Pictures, Inc.
When a writer in Meg Ryan's office was pitching a story and talked of a man that “sells the greatest soup you have ever eaten” while simultaneously doubling as “the meanest man in America,” he was talking about Ali “Al” Yeganeh, the proprietor of Soup Kitchen International. For what it’s worth, Yeganeh is from Iran, not Germany.
16. Steve Carell lost 30 pounds for The 40-Year-Old Virgin.
Though Judd Apatow was originally "nervous about it, because I don't think comedians wanting to look good is ever good for the comedy," he gradually realized that Steve Carell being "ripped" was a good idea. Because it helped establish that Carell's character, Andy, was only a virgin because he’s shy and nervous, not because of his looks.
17. A whole bunch of teens are name "Amélie" because of the movie.
Assuming, in this case, that correlation equals causation. In 2000, the year before the movie came out, there were 12 babies in England and Wales given the name Amélie. The number shot up to 250 in 2002, and by 2007, there were around 1100 new Amélies per year. The number has held steady ever since. The trend was similar in the U.S., with Amélie not among the 1000 most popular names until 2003, when it suddenly leapt to 839th place and rose from there.
18. The title of 10 Things I Hate About You was inspired by the co-writer's high school boyfriend.
During a Q&A with 10 Things I Hate About You screenwriters Karen McCullah and Kirsten Smith, McCullah revealed that, “The title is based on a diary entry I made in high school,” she explained. “I had a boyfriend named Anthony that I was frequently unhappy with. I made a list called 'Things I Hate About Anthony.' When Kirsten [Smith] and I decided to write this, I went through all of my high school diaries to bone up on the angsty memories, and when I told her about that list, she was like, ‘That’s our title.’”
It turns out her ex-boyfriend likes the movie. “Anthony is very proud of that fact,” McCullah said. “We’re still friends today. And every now and then I’ll get a random phone call in the middle of night: ‘My nephew doesn’t believe that this title is about me. Tell him.’ On the phone, I’m like, ‘Yes, I hated Anthony in high school.’”
19. Richard Linklater, Ethan Hawke, and Julie Delpy knew Celine and Jesse would see each other again while filming Before Sunrise.
“I always said that the movie was a litmus test for how you view romance,” Richard Linklater told The New York Times in 2004. “Some people would go: ‘It’s so clear. They will never get back together.’ People were so sure.” He said the viewer’s interpretation depends on their romantic history. Apparently Linklater, Julie Delpy, and Ethan Hawke are romantics—they knew Celine and Jesse would come back together.
20. Cameron Crowe believed Friends was a rip-off of Singles.
Cameron Crowe was asked by Warner Bros. Television to turn Singles into a TV series about “a group of six 20-something roommates searching for love.” Crowe decided not to do that. When Friends, a Warner Bros. show, debuted in 1994, the show was so familiar looking to Crowe that he had his lawyer look into it. Apparently, just enough of the details were changed that it wouldn’t be an easy lawsuit.
21. Cher used Sonny Bono's family as a reference for Moonstruck.
Cher, who is part Armenian and part Cherokee, didn’t know how Italian families worked. “I didn’t come from that kind of family. I really didn’t relate exactly to it, but I had a sense of it, like a distant sense of it,” she toldGood Morning America. “Not like something that you can relate to first hand. I’ve known some families like that and I got feelings of it. After a while I thought I might be able to do this.”
But her Moonstruck family reminded her of her ex-husband’s family. “It kind of reminded me of Sonny’s family,” she told the Los Angeles Times. “Everybody eating and talking and shouting—but you have such good times.”
22. One of the biggest stars in the world shared billing with an unknown actress in Roman Holiday.
Gregory Peck already had 18 films and four Oscar nominations under his belt when he was paired with Audrey Hepburn, a newcomer who’d had small roles in a handful of movies but nothing substantial. Given his status, it’s no surprise Peck’s contract called for solo top billing in the credits. But shortly after shooting began, Peck called his agent and said Hepburn’s name should appear with his above the title. The agent: “You can’t do that.” Peck: “Oh, yes I can. And if I don’t, I’m going to make a fool out of myself, because this girl is going to win the Oscar in her very first performance.” So maybe he was being pragmatic more than generous, but still. Stand-up guy, that Peck (and a bit of a prophet, too).
23. Meg Ryan didn't have a computer before making You've Got Mail.
"I got my first computer when I did that movie," Meg Ryan toldVanity Fair. "I think that the company gave us a computer."
24. Clueless is part of an unofficial trilogy.
Paramount Home Entertainment
Amy Heckerling is well known for her forays into coming-of-age stories; the first was her directorial debut, the beloved 1982 comedy Fast Times At Ridgemont High. Clueless came in 1995 was followed up with the Jason Biggs-fronted Loser in 2000, Each comedy not only centered on teens, but also aimed to capture the adolescent zeitgeist of its era in a way that made them accessible and cool to all ages. Obviously, some worked better than others.
25. Actress Ali MacGraw pushed producer Robert Evans to cut Harold and Maude's love scene.
Of course, her Paramount boss husband tried to oblige. Director Hal Ashby furiously objected, saying, “That’s sort of what the whole movie is about, a boy falling in love with an old woman; the sexual aspect doesn’t have to be distasteful.” About the less-than-explicit scene, Being Hal Ashby author Nick Dawson wrote, “Ashby wanted to show the beauty of young and old flesh together, something that he knew the younger generation, the hippies, the heads, the open-minded masses would dig, but Evans said it would repulse most audiences, so it had to go.” In the end, Ashby won by sneaking the footage into the film’s trailer.
26. Love Actually's airport opening and closing was shot with hidden cameras.
The footage of passengers being welcomed and embraced by loved ones at Heathrow Airport that bookends Love Actually was shot on location with hidden cameras for a week. In the film's DVD commentary, writer-director Richard Curtis explains that when something special was caught on camera, a crewmember would race out to have its subjects sign a waiver so the moment might be included in the film. This was a fitting production device, as Curtis claims that watching the love expressed at the arrival gate of LAX is what inspired him to write the ensemble romance in the first place.
27. Jack Black didn’t want to be in High Fidelity.
Jack Black nailed his role as High Fidelity's hyperactive and pathologically insensitive record store employee Barry—which, in fact, John Cusack and company wrote with him in mind—but the actor initially had no interest in playing the part. It was director Stephen Frears who managed to save the day, pursuing Black until he eventually agreed to join the cast.
28. Meet The Parents inspired a cat toilet-training product.
Jo Lapidge and her husband, Terry, came up with the idea for Litter Kwitter—a toilet-training tool for cats—after seeing Meet the Parents. (Litter Kwitters come with plastic rings you put over the toilet seat. Gradually the hole in the rings gets bigger until the rings aren’t needed at all.) On set, though, the cats weren’t actually trained to use the toilet.
29. Julia Roberts turned down the lead in While You Were Sleeping.
Roberts was already flying high from the major success of Pretty Woman five years earlier, so the actress seemed like a solid pick for another charming romantic comedy about two very different people brought together by unexpected circumstances. Fortunately for Sandra Bullock, she turned down the role.
30. Julia Roberts also turned down the lead in Sleepless In Seattle.
In a 2014 interview with InStyle, the Oscar-winning actress shared that she had been "offered Sleepless in Seattle but couldn't do it," adding that, "[Meg Ryan] and Tom Hanks are just such a jewel of a fit in that. I guess what they did for that moment in time is sort of what Richard [Gere] and I were doing across town (in the 1990 film Pretty Woman), you know?"
31. Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind might not be fiction much longer.
In 2014, scientists reported that they’d successfully manipulated mice’s memories, or at least the emotions associated with those memories. See, we form the informational part of our memories—the facts and events—in the hippocampus neighborhood of the brain. The emotions connected to them—how we feel about those facts and events—are stored down the road in the amygdala. Scientists messed with some mice’s amygdalae and basically reversed how they “felt” about prior lab experiences, changing an unpleasant association into a pleasant one, and vice versa.
The scientists were quick to point out that while this could be useful in erasing a person’s negative emotions about something in their past (for PTSD sufferers, for example), it would be a bad idea to actually make them forget that these events had happened. Which means they must have gotten the message of Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.
32. Cameron Diaz had concerns over the "hair gel scene" in There’s Something About Mary.
Cameron Diaz was concerned that the audience would be too disgusted over the physical gag to laugh, which could possibly ruin her acting career. With those concerns in mind, another version of the date scenes was shot without anything in her hair. Once the viewers at a test screening heartily laughed at the scene with Ted’s product in Mary’s hair, Diaz was okay with it.
33. Ben Stiller also had problems with the hair gel scene.
Ben Stiller couldn’t figure out how his character wouldn’t feel what was hanging on his ear, and even went so far as to suggest that it be written somewhere that Ted had somehow lost sensitivity in his ear. He was told to stop thinking about it.
34. The epic fight scene between Hugh Grant and Colin Firth in Bridget Jones’s Diary wasn’t choreographed.
You can thank the two actors for the hilarity of the iconic scene. In a Vulture article about the greatest fight scenes in movie history, writer Denise Martin recalled the improvised spar, writing, “No stunt coordinators. No elaborate choreography. Just a perfectly realized wimp brawl between two upper-middle-class Englishmen coming to awkward fisticuffs in front of a Greek restaurant.”
35. Ghost’s success made romantic films more viable.
Summer tentpoles Die Hard 2 (starring Demi Moore’s then-hubby Bruce Willis), Total Recall, and Dick Tracy failed to claim a slot in the top five year-end box office, but romantic comedy Pretty Woman did. Like Ghost, Pretty Woman was yet another female-loved film that made a lot of money ($178 million domestic). “The success of Ghost and Pretty Woman has revitalized the romantic comedy, a genre that in recent years had become less appealing to Hollywood studios intent on making blockbuster action-adventure films,” read a 1990 article in The New York Times. In Ghost’s wake, The Bodyguard, Jerry Maguire, and Titanic all became huge hits for the romantic drama genre.
36. My Big Fat Greek Wedding broke a lot of records.
My Big Fat Greek Wedding made $241,438,208 in U.S. theaters, making it the highest-grossing romantic comedy in history, over $58 million ahead of What Women Want (2000). It's also the highest-grossing movie since at least 1982 to never be number one during any box office weekend. With a gross revenue (theater and home video sales) of approximately $369 million off of a $5 million production budget, it's also one of the most profitable movies ever made.
37. The script for Juno was "deeply personal" for Diablo Cody.
Fox Searchlight Pictures
The Oscar-winning screenwriter based the story for Juno on her own life and wanted to tell a story that was “different” from the rest of Hollywood movies. “Juno is like a personal, emotional scavenger hunt for me," Cody toldThe Telegraph. "I dragged so many of my own experiences into it that I'm shocked the movie is so coherent. I managed to get every person, quirk, and object that has meaning in my life into the script. I wanted to make it deeply personal. I didn't want it to be generic."
38. The ending of Legally Blonde was changed because of test audiences.
Initially, Legally Blondeended with Reese Witherspoon and Luke Wilson kissing on the courthouse steps, then cutting to Elle Woods and Vivian forming a “Blonde Legal Defense Club.” Test audiences were too invested in what happened to Elle’s life to like that conclusion.
39. Chasing Amy was originally going to be a PG-13 movie set in high school.
The studio initially suggested to Kevin Smith that he make Chasing Amy as a PG-13 high school movie. Smith thought about it for a time and wrote some scenes. Ethan Suplee was going to play one of the main characters, but then Smith changed his mind. "A week later, I was like, 'No,'" Smith told The A.V. Club. "Then the movie [Mallrats] tanked, and that sealed the deal. It was just like, that's the last movie I make that doesn't have anything on its mind."
40. Brian Grazer came up with the idea for Splash while driving down the Pacific Coast Highway.
One night, while driving down the Pacific Coast Highway near Malibu in 1977, Brian Grazer—then 25 years old—thought about what it would be like to meet a mermaid and fall in love. For seven years, he was turned down by most Hollywood studios until he revised his pitch for Splash to be more of a love story between a man and a mermaid. Lowell Ganz and Babaloo Mandel, who penned Ron Howard’s Night Shift (1982), and Bruce Jay Friedman (Stir Crazy) were the credited screenwriters for Splash. The script was nominated for a Best Original Screenplay Oscar.
Tiffany Haddish and Octavia Spencer in Self Made: Inspired by the Life of Madam C.J. Walker.
Last year, Apple TV+ and Disney+ entered the streaming wars, meaning that when it comes to deciding which new TV show to watch, there are now more choices than ever. Ryan Murphy’s Netflix deal includes a few new shows, and because Disney owns both Hulu and FX, so the streaming network is regularly airing FX series.
High-profile celebrities continue to gravitate toward prestige TV, too (welcome back, Bryan Cranston and Nicole Kidman), where this year we'll see them starring in book adaptation limited series and movies-turned-TV series. While there are dozens of new series we're eagerly looking forward to this year across all platforms—conventional and streaming—here are some of the most anticipated shows of 2020, including a few that have already started airing.
1. AJ and the Queen
Release date: January 10
Netflix’s new “Queen”-titled show has nothing to do with The Crown, but everything to do with working it. RuPaul stars as Ruby Red, a drag queen who travels across country with a 10-year-old stowaway named Amber Jasmine (AJ). RuPaul and Sex and the City’s Michael Patrick King created the show, executive-produced, and co-wrote several of the episodes. Throughout the 10 episodes, guest stars include Sex and the City’s Mario Cantone, Mary Kay Place, Jane Krakowski, and cameos from former RuPaul’s Drag Race contestants.
2. Star Trek: Picard
Release date: January 23
Finally, Patrick Stewart’s Jean-Luc Picard gets his own series, on CBS All Access. The show takes place in the 24th century, 20 years after the events of 2002’s Star Trek: Nemesis. Star Trek alums Jeri Ryan, Brent Spiner, and Jonathan Frakes reprise their roles, and Picard’s joined by new character Number One, an adorable pitbull.
Release date: February 3
Between 1989 and 2001, McDonald’s offered a Monopoly game in which customers could win prizes, ranging from free food to millions of dollars. However, HBO’s six-part true crime docuseries—from Mark Wahlberg’s production company—explores how an ex-cop committed “fast food fraud” and how no one legitimately won the money.
Release date: February 6
For the first time in her lengthy career, Rosario Dawson headlines a series. She plays Allegra Dill, a woman investigating the murder of her sister in a Texas town. Mr. Robot’s Sam Esmail returns to USA network to produce the southern noir anthology, which is based on the eponymous novel.
5. High Fidelity
Release date: February 14
Twenty-five years after Nick Hornby’s titular book was published and 20 years after the John Cusack film adaptation, High Fidelity returns—on Valentine’s Day, no less—as a Hulu series. This time, Hi-Fi cast member Lisa Bonet’s daughter, Zoë Kravitz, takes over the lovesick, music-loving Rob character. Dolemite Is My Name’s Da’Vine Joy Randolph fills in for Jack Black as the friends navigate dating in Brooklyn instead of Chicago.
6. The Good Lord Bird
Release date: February 16
Joshua Caleb Johnson and Ethan Hawke in The Good Lord Bird.
William Gray, SHOWTIME
From Blumhouse Productions, this new Showtime series is based on James McBride’s 2013 award-winning fictional novel about real life abolitionist John Brown, who in 1859 raided an arsenal at Harpers Ferry, West Virginia in order to initiate a slave revolt. Ethan Hawke produces and plays Brown; Daveed Diggs plays Frederick Douglass, and Wyatt Russell plays U.S. Army Officer J.E.B. Stuart.
7. Year of the Rabbit
Release date: February 19
Veep writers Andy Riley and Kevin Cecil created this dark comedy series that originally aired last year on England's Channel 4. This winter, the show hits America on IFC, and stars FX’s What We Do in the Shadows star Matt Berry as the drunken and bearded Detective Inspector Rabbit. He and his team comically investigate murders during Victorian England and satirize terms like patriarchy and how people shouldn’t call a dead body “beautiful.”
Release date: February 21
Hot off his Oscar-nominated Jimmy Hoffa role in The Irishman, Al Pacino stars as a Nazi hunter in 1977 New York City. Jordan Peele executive produced the Amazon Prime series, which also stars Logan Lerman, Carol Kane, Josh Radnor, Lena Olin, and Dylan Baker.
9. Amazing Stories
Release date: March 6
Kerry Lynne Bishé stars in the reboot of Amazing Stories.
Steven Spielberg’s two-season 1980s anthology series gets reimagined for Apple TV+, with Spielberg returning as one of many executive producers. Each episode will be based on fictional stories of wonder and will feature actors like Ed Burns and the late Robert Forster.
10. The Plot Against America
Release date: March 16
The Wire’s David Simon returns to HBO and re-teams with frequent collaborator Ed Burns for this limited series. Based on the 2004 Philip Roth novel, The Plot Against America reimagines an America in which Charles Lindbergh beats FDR in the 1940 presidential election and American turns toward fascism. The timely six-part miniseries stars Winona Ryder, John Turturro, and Zoe Kazan.
11. Little Fires Everywhere
Release date: March 18
Celeste Ng’s 2017 award-winning novel, about two disparate families living in a Cleveland suburb, gets the Reese Witherspoon limited series treatment for Hulu. The actress and producer stars as affluent mother Elena Richardson, and Kerry Washington—who also produces—stars as struggling mother Mia Warren. The title refers to both literal and metaphorical fires.
12. Self Made: Inspired by the Life of Madam C.J. Walker
Release date: March 20
Octavia Spencer stars in Self Made: Inspired by the Life of Madam C.J. Walker.
When Madam C.J. Walker died in 1919, she was known as the richest black woman and richest self-made businesswoman in America, having amassed almost $1 million. The Netflix limited series, based on A'Lelia Bundles's On Her Own Ground, follows Walker (played by Octavia Spencer), who made her money selling cosmetics and hair care products to black woman. Tiffany Haddish, Carmen Ejojo, Blair Underwood, Garrett Morris, and Bill Bellamy also star, and Spencer executive produces with Kasi Lemmons and LeBron James.
13. Mrs. America
Release date: April 15
The 1970s saw a rise in women’s lib, but not every woman was on board for progress, especially Phyllis Schlafly. In the FX on Hulu miniseries Mrs. America, Cate Blanchett plays the anti-feminist activist, who was against ratifying the Equal Rights Amendment (it still hasn’t been ratified in every state). The rest of the all-star cast includes Rose Byrne as Gloria Steinem, Uzo Aduba as Shirley Chisholm (the first black woman elected to Congress and the first woman to run for president for the Democratic party), Tracey Ullman as The Feminine Mystique writer Betty Friedan, John Slattery as Schlafly’s husband, and Margo Martindale as Bella Abzug, one of the founders of the National Women’s Political Caucus. Captain Marvel’s Ryan Fleck and Anna Boden co-executive produce with Blanchett.
14. Penny Dreadful: City of Angels
Release date: April 26
Showtime’s Penny Dreadful creator John Logan and producers Sam Mendes and Pippa Harris spin off their macabre show and set it 40 years later in 1930s Los Angeles. Game of Thronesstar Natalie Dormer plays a demon, Nathan Lane plays a LAPD officer, and Daniel Zovatto plays the LAPD’s first Mexican American detective, which taps into the era’s racism and supernatural theme.
Release date: May 31
Based on the 2013 sci-fi film co-written and directed by newly-minted triple-Oscar winner Boon Joon Ho and based on a French graphic novel Le Transperceneige, Snowpiecer the series, which will air on TNT, is set seven years after Earth has become a frozen post-apocalyptic wasteland. Wealthy and poor people are stuck on a perpetually moving train. Instead of Chris Evans and Tilda Swinton, the show stars a large cast that includes Daveed Diggs, Jennifer Connelly, The Americans’s Alison Wright and Sean Bean.
16. The Undoing
Release date: May
In this six-part dramatic HBO miniseries—based on the novel You Should Have Known by Jean Hanff Korelitz—Nicole Kidman re-teams with Big Little Lies creator David E. Kelley and stars as a successful New York therapist whose life unravels when she discovers her husband (Hugh Grant) might have been responsible for a murder. Emmy-winning director Susanne Bier directs and executive produces with Kidman and Kelley.
17. Genius: Aretha
Release date: May
Tony Award winner and Oscar-nominated actress Cynthia Erivo (Harriet, The Outsider) steps into the Queen of Soul’s shoes in the latest eight-episode installment of National Geographic’s ongoing Genius series. This marks the first time the program will feature a woman—the other two seasons focused on Picasso and Einstein—and the first time Aretha Franklin’s estate has authorized a scripted series about the late icon's life.
Release date: May
Ryan Murphy’s first produced and distributed Netflix show will focus on Hollywood in the 1940s; Murphy has called it his “love letter to the Golden Age of Tinseltown.” The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story Emmy winner Darren Criss executive produced the series and stars alongside Patti LuPone, Jim Parsons, Mira Sorvino, Samara Weaving, Rob Reiner, The Politician’s David Corenswet, Dylan McDermott, and Holland Taylor.
19. The Falcon and The Winter Soldier
Release date: August
Sebastian Stan and Anthony Mackie reprise their Bucky Barnes/Winter Soldier and Sam Wilson/Falcon roles, respectively, in this six-episode Disney+ series. The show picks up after Avengers: Endgame and is part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Captain America: Civil War’s Helmut Zemo (played by Daniel Brühl), Emily VanCamp, and Wyatt Russell round out the cast.
Release date: September
In 1976, Louise Fletcher won an Oscar for portraying the evil Nurse Ratched in the film adaption of Ken Kesey’s 1962 book One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. (The film won in all five major Oscar categories.) The medical-pro-of-nightmares returns via Netflix in the form of an origin story, with Sarah Paulson playing the murderous Nurse Ratched. Ryan Murphy and Michael Douglas (who won an Oscar for producing the original film) executive produce, while Sharon Stone, Finn Wittrock, Cynthia Nixon, Don Cheadle, Vincent D’Onofrio, Rosanna Arquette, and Judy Davis also star.
21. Impeachment: American Crime Story
Release date: TBD
Not that impeachment. Ryan Murphy explores the more than 20-year-old Bill Clinton/Monica Lewinsky scandal, with Sarah Paulson starring as Linda Tripp, Beanie Feldstein as Monica Lewinsky, and Clive Owen as the impeached President Clinton.
22. Space Force
Release date: TBD
In 2019, Donalf Trump signed into existence the sixth branch of the military: Space Force. Greg Daniels, creator of The Office and co-creator of Parks and Recreation, saw an opportunity to form a Netflix comedy around the idea. Daniels enlists The Office’s Steve Carell, John Malkovich, Parks and Rec’s Ben Schwartz, Fred Willard, and Noah Emmerich; Carell will also produce.
23.The Haunting of Bly Manor
Release date: TBD
In 2018, Mike Flanagan had a hit with his Netflix horror series The Haunting of Hill House, based on Shirley Jackson's 1959 novel. This year, Flanagan continues his literary ghost story anthology. The Haunting of Bly Manor, based on Henry James’s 1898 novella The Turn of the Screw, sees a few Hill House cast members return: Henry Thomas, Victoria Pedretti, Kate Siegel, Katie Parker, and Oliver Jackson-Cohen. Pendretti plays a governess who looks after two children at Bly manor. She, of course, begins to see ghastly things.
24. Central Park
Release date: TBD
This summer Loren Bouchard, creator of Bob’s Burgers, brings a star-studded animated musical comedy to Apple TV+. The show’s about a group of workers who attempt to save New York’s Central Park. Josh Gad, Leslie Odom Jr., Daveed Diggs, Tituss Burgess, Kristen Bell, Stanley Tucci, and Kathryn Hahn supply the voices.
Release date: TBD
Phoebe Waller-Bridge poses with a handful of awards at the 71st Emmy Awards in 2019.
Frazer Harrison/Getty Images
Fresh off her many, many award wins for Fleabag, Phoebe Waller-Bridge returns with a new comedic show, this time for HBO. Emmy-winner Merritt Wever (Nurse Jackie, Unbelievable) plays Ruby, a woman who starts an adventure with old flame Domhnall Gleeson. Instead of starring, Waller-Bridge plays a supporting role and executive produces with longtime collaborator Vicky Jones.
26. Your Honor
Release date: TBD
Based on Israeli series Kvodo, Showtime’s Your Honor follows a New Orleans judge (played by Bryan Cranston), whose son gets involved in a tricky hit-and-run. Cranston executive produced the 10-episode legal thriller alongside The Good Wife and The Good Fight’s Robert and Michelle King. Michael Stuhlbarg, Hope Davis, Carmen Ejogo, and Margo Martindale co-star.