This article was originally published at ComicBook.Com on February 9, 2017.
The phrases “peak TV” and “golden age of television” have been thrown around for a long time now. It seems like each year the variety and quality of shows available to us, both on networks and through streaming services, couldn’t improve upon their current standards. That seems true right up until they do, at least. 2017 is already off to a great start and it would be foolish to suggest that 2018 and beyond don’t hold even better gems for the small screen.
So while it may be impossible to define when we will actually hit “peak TV” if we ever really do, it is possible to pick a peak month of the year. That’s coming sooner than you think in 2017. While we might all be forced to wait until summer for the return of Game of Thrones, the collection of shows continuing or debuting in March are simply unbeatable. Whether you’re a fan of genre TV or someone who keeps their eyes tuned for the next Emmy winning performances and scripts, March is bound to be the best overall month for TV in 2017.
Return of the Best TV of Today
You lead with your strongest argument and March sees the return of what may be the holy trinity of modern TV dramas: The Americans, Better Call Saul, and Fargo. The Americans has gone from an exaggerated Cold War spy thriller to something that feels a bit too close to reality sometimes. That shift hasn’t hurt the show though. It has always been driven more by its characters than its plotting, and that’s to its benefit. The story of this Russian family in the Virginia suburbs of D.C. is fast-approaching its conclusion and drawing comparisons to the tragedy of Breaking Bad. Whether it can pull off that finish has yet to be seen, but all signs from the past 4 seasons point to the answer being yes.
Speaking of Breaking Bad, its spinoff Better Call Saul has done a remarkable job of differentiating itself over its own first 2 seasons. With added humor and an entirely different personality in control, this is still a story of good intentions crumbling from dark desires, but one that stands on its own. Showrunner Vince Gilligan has always set himself apart by crafting some of the best cliffhangers on television and last year was no exception. Jimmy McGill is on the verge of success and complete destruction, and it’s anyone’s guess as to what might happen next. Even knowing the ultimate outcome, Better Call Saul still manages to be edge of your seat entertainment.
Fargo presents the biggest wildcard. As an anthology the two seasons so far have only brushed past one another in the slightest of mentions and a few overlapping characters. They all take place within the same cohesive universe, but what happens one year doesn’t indicate what will come next. Showrunner Noah Hawley draws strength from the tone, style, and themes of the Coen Brothers many movies instead. It’s possible to see their influence in every aspect of the show and it has made the past two seasons feel like a single piece. Whatever the plot, if Hawley can attain the same heights he did in season two, then Fargo is bound to be the most critically-acclaimed show on television once more.
The Most Exciting New Shows on TV
What’s TV without something new though? March will see the continuation of two the springs hottest debuts and give all of us a clearer view of how they’ll settle into our personal DVR rankings. HBO will be continuing its new series Big Little Lies. This one is most notable for its cast, one that could only have been attained with an HBO-sized budget. Reese Witherspoon, Nicole Kidman, and Laura Dern are all headliners who could hold down series of their own, and they’re bound to shine as an ensemble. If the scripts are half as stuffed with black humor and tension as previews suggest, then we may be in for some real tour de force performances from them as well.
The more fascinating continuation comes in the form of Legion on FX. This is a series that is already receiving rave reviews and that some have suggested might even exceed its showrunners other ongoing concern: Fargo. While it is based in X-Men lore, Legion is focused primarily on being a character-driven piece that toys with the nature of reality and how its cast struggles with mental illness. It’s a challenging conceit that takes advantage of every tool TV provides, including an incredible sound mix. Even competing against the likes of other shows we’ve mentioned, Legion is bound to continued standing out in March.
The Biggest and Best Comics Adaptations
Let’s get real though, we’re called ComicBook.Com for a reason and how could we not be psyched about the huge variety of comic book adaptations on television throughout all of March. In addition to Legion, we’re looking at shows from Marvel, DC, and Image properties. You can start with the biggest of them all and think about The Walking Dead. Season 7 will build to its conclusion throughout March, promising another massive cliffhanger and more awfulness of all sorts from Negan. It’s hard to guess what the showrunners have in store to top the end of season 6, but it has to be something big.
In less depressing territory, both the Marvel and DC universes will continue to grow. The great array of shows on CW, including The Flash, Arrow, and Supergirl, will also be working on finishing their current seasons with plenty of new adventures and guest stars. Marvel will be introducing a brand new live-action hero on Netflix in the form of Flynn Jones’ Iron Fist. That ought to be exciting as it will complete the quartet of the promised Defenders mini-series. Both universes are still expanding with no obstacles on the horizon.
And there you have it. No matter what you watch TV for, March is bound to be a month of unique treats. Between FX and AMC’s many returning shows there is more prestige television than you can hope to watch on any given night. A variety of new shows are bound to please viewers seeking new styles and ideas, especially with Legion. And the continued adaptation of comics properties are bound to please fans of genre TV. Whatever angle you approach March from, it’s clearly a great month to be stuck to the couch.