TV shows that will blow everyone away in 2017

It's a new year, which means new TV shows. It used to be that September and October were the time when all the big, new, flashy TV shows debuted, with the occasional "midseason replacement" to account for the bombs. But nowadays there are so many channels competing for eyeballs that high-profile series roll out all year long. Here's a look at some of the most exciting TV shows hitting the airwaves (or cable, or streaming) in 2017.

The Young Pope

In this co-production with European television networks, HBO goes behind one of the grandest and oldest organizations in the world: the Vatican. Jude Law stars in The Young Pope as Lenny Belardo, an American orphan raised by a nun (Diane Keaton) who ultimately becomes the leader of the Catholic Church, the spiritual leader of more than a billion people. Unlike the cool and chill Pope Francis of reality, Jude Law's pope is mean, conniving, and power hungry. It's like if Shakespeare wrote about present-day popes instead of ancient kings.

Emerald City

The dark and gritty reboot fad that has gripped the entertainment industry hits L. Frank Baum's Wonderful World of Oz books. No more cackling witches, blustery lions, doe-eyed Dorothys, and wacky-dancing Scarecrows. NBC's dark, ominous look at the land of Oz in decay is more like the nightmare-fueling Return to Oz than the 1939 movie musical version. Plus there's a little bit of Once Upon a Time's fairy tale revisionism and Game of Thrones' brutality and power struggles thrown in for good measure.

The Tick

This marks the third time that Ben Edlund's classic, darkly comic character has hit the small screen, following Fox's Saturday morning cartoon in the early '90s, and a short-lived live-action version in 2001. It would seem that they got it right this time with a very faithful adaptation lorded over by Edlund himself. Amazon made the pilot available for viewing last year, and enough viewers supported it that it got the full treatment. British comedy legend Peter Serafinowicz stars as The Tick, a man who might be insane or might actually be the superhero he purports to be (or both) defending the surreal, superhero- and villain-laden world of The City.

The Deuce

HBO has something lined up to fill New York in the go-go '70s-size void in its schedule left by the cancellation of Vinyl. It's just got a lot more porn in it. Air dates haven't been announced yet, but the premium network is set to air The Deuce, which looks to be a complex series about the rise of the porn industry, along with the crime and drug epidemics that ravaged New York in the disco decade, along with the early years of the AIDS crisis. And we can be assured it will be fascinating and handled adeptly because it was co-created by David Simon, the former reporter who created Homicide and The Wire. The cast is equally stacked, with James Franco, Maggie Gyllenhaal, and Wire vets Lawrence Gilliard Jr. and Chris Bauer.

Riverdale

If a person living in the year 2017 could have any complaint about Archie, it's that it's woefully out of touch. They're goofy comic books perpetually set in some kind of alternate dimension where it's always the 1950s and where beautiful girls fight over a dorky redhead guy who wears a big "A" on his sweater (and whose best friend is Jughead, whose schtick is eating hamburgers and wearing a crown). But Archie Comics have been experimenting over the past few years, settling on a weird series of paranormal and monster-based plotlines that are now coming to TV on, of course, the teen-and-monster-friendly environs of the CW. Riverdale is not goofy, it's not funny, and it looks really creepy and kind of awesome. (But Archie at least still has red hair, Veronica is still a self-centered sociopath, and Jughead still wears a little crown.)

24: Legacy

Jack Bauer may be gone (Kiefer Sutherland moved on to Designated Survivor), but that doesn't mean that terrorists aren't still threatening America. It's up to one very put-upon man to stop them in as little time as possible: exactly 24 hours. Fox is rebooting the can't-miss, nonstop action formula of 24, in which a whole season takes place over the course of a single day and plays like a really long but deeply compelling action movie. Subbing in for Sutherland is up-and-coming actor Corey Hawkins, who recently co-starred on The Walking Dead as Heath and in Straight Outta Compton as Dr. Dre.

Star Trek: Discovery

J.J. Abrams' wonderful Star Trek reboot movies have kept the Star Trek franchise living long and prospering on the big screen. On the small screen, it's a different story. It's where Star Trek was born in the '60s, became the biggest cult show ever through years of endlessly rerun syndicated episodes, was revived in the '80s with The Next Generation, and expanded its universe with Deep Space Nine, Voyager, and Enterprise. Bryan Fuller (Pushing Daisies, Hannibal) has helped bring Star Trek back to TV for the first time since Enterprise left the air 12 years ago. Well, sort of TV—Star Trek: Discovery will be the flagship original series on CBS All Access, a paid streaming platform. Details are scant, but we know that Sonequa Martin-Green (Sasha on The Walking Dead) will lead the cast as Lt. Commander Rainsford. This marks the first time a Star Trek series will be from the point of view of someone other than a ship's captain.

The Handmaid's Tale

Margaret Atwood's 1985 novel The Handmaid's Tale is one of the most acclaimed dystopian science-fiction novels of all time, and it was adapted for the screen once before, in 1990. But now it's being adapted into a series for Hulu, where the complex and harrowing story of human identity, feminism, sexuality, and politics has the room it needs to breathe. Elisabeth Moss (Mad Men) plays a woman once named June, who after the takeover of a brutal totalitarian regime, is now named Offred, as in Of Fred—because she's the property of a high-ranking officer named Fred (Joseph Fiennes). June is Fred's "handmaid," a euphemism for a sex slave, and is forced to bear children for Fred and his wife (Yvonne Strahovski).

American Gods

Most anyone who read Neil Gaiman's Hugo Award-winning 2001 novel American Gods was enthralled but would probably also admit that it seems like an unfilmable work. Sure, it would be, in the hands of pretty much anybody besides Bryan Fuller, who has helped bring the book to Starz. A mix of fantasy, religion, mythology, and history, American Gods depicts the interactions of the gods and fantastical creatures that all exist in America because generations of immigrants believed them into existence and brought them along to the New World. Among the gods are embodiments of Odin (the Norse All-Father), Czernobog (the Slavic goddess of darkness), Anansi (an African trickster God), Anubis (the Egyptian god of the dead), Kali (the Hindu goddess of time) … and Johnny Appleseed.

Twin Peaks

Cult filmmaker David Lynch's beloved series of 1990 and 1991 was one of the most original and inventive TV shows ever, quickly evolving from a thing about a murder mystery set into a small town into … whatever Twin Peaks was. It both delighted viewers and drove them mad with its hallucinogenic twists and turns and attention to detail. But there were still so many loose ends when the show left the air. The stylish drama launched the careers of Kyle MacLachlan, Lara Flynn Boyle, and many others, and fans have been waiting more than 25 years for another trip to the sleepy, creepy Washington town where things way creepier than murder are a way of life. Hopefully the Showtime revival will meet the intense demand.