Dramatic TV series we can't wait to return in 2017
Now that 'Stranger Things' is officially coming back, 2017 is shaping up to be the most binge-worthy year yet.
If you thought the slate of award-winning dramatic television was overwhelming this year, you're going to want to seriously clear your calendar for 2017. In addition to some welcome familiar stories, we'll also have the premiere of a series more than 25 years in the making. All in all, it's adding up to 12 months of couch surfing that will delight, thrill and downright terrify.
Below are just a handful of the dramatic series we're keeping an eye on as the calendar rolls ever faster toward 2017.
'Stranger Things' | Season 2 | Sometime in 2017
To absolutely no one's surprise, Netflix announced this week that its breakaway hit of the summer "Stranger Things" will return for a second season in 2017. The beloved horror-drama, praised for its nostalgia-themed 1980s soundtrack and pop culture references, teased its return with a unique trailer featuring the titles of all nine episodes of Season 2.
"I'm sure those titles will be heavily talked about and dissected in the next year," Canadian executive producer Shawn Levy told The Hollywood Reporter. "It gives our greatly enthusiastic audience something to chew on."
According to Levy, series creators Matt and Ross Duffer (who are also twin brothers) are using Season 2 to escalate the unusual events that unfolded previously, while also staying loyal to the tone and heart of that attracted fans in the first place. In what's surely good news for cinephiles, he added that the Duffers are leaning on the magic behind such classic sequels as "Aliens," "Terminator 2" and "Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back, in building the second season.
"We're going to remember what brought us to this moment, which is to say the characters, but we are exploring new dark forces at play." Levy cryptically shared.
While no release date has been set for next year, Netflix did let slip that Season 2 will take in place in the fall of 1984.
'Homeland' | Season 6 | January 2017
After several seasons of international hopscotch that took the cast and crew of "Homeland" from Tel Aviv to Berlin and Cape Town, the critically beloved drama is finally coming home. Season 6 will take place in New York City, in a post-election America going through a presidential transfer of power.
“The entire season will take place between Election Day and Inauguration Day," showrunner Alex Gansa revealed during a panel discussion. "It’s an interesting time; a transition and transfer of power is happening. In that 72 days, we’re hopefully going to tell an interesting story."
The series, based on a hit television show from Israel, will pick up with Carrie Mathison, played by American actress Claire Danes, living in Brooklyn with her young daughter and working at a nonprofit foundation. As fans can likely guess, all is not well with her after the traumatic events of past seasons.
“This idea of atonement is still playing," Danes told the audience at the Film Society of Lincoln Center’s Women of "Homeland" event. "She’s accrued a lot of guilt over the years and she’s still wrestling with that."
As for the fate of fan-favorite Peter Quinn, who was gravely injured at the end of Season 5, producers are taking a cryptic approach on his return. "If he should live, it will not be in any way, shape or form the way he has lived to date," Gansa hinted.
'Game of Thrones' | Season 7 | Summer 2017
The penultimate season of HBO's "Game of Thrones" will return sometime in summer 2017 for just seven precious episodes. The series, which has traditionally premiered in the spring, is moving its launch window to the summer to accommodate a filming need due to inclement weather.
"We're starting a bit later because at the end of this season, 'Winter is here' – and that means that sunny weather doesn't really serve our purposes anymore," American showrunners David Benioff and Dan Weiss shared.
To capture the harsh conditions descending upon the fictional Seven Kingdoms, the filmmakers confirmed that primary shooting will take place in Northern Ireland (where Star Wars: Episode VIII recently wrapped), as well as in Iceland and Spain. While plot details are being kept secret, we do have a few guesses. Fans can likely expect a severe row to develop between Jaime and Cersei, the rise of Littlefinger as a main villain, and the return of the mysterious red priestess Kinvara, played by rising Israeli star Ania Bukstein.
'Outlander' | Season 3 | Sometime in 2017
The third season of "Outlander," based on the popular books by American author Diana Gabaldon, is gearing up for an international shoot that will take the cast and crew from Scotland to Jamaica and across the Atlantic to colonial America.
"[It’s] exciting creatively, but really hard in terms of production," executive producer Ronald D. Moore told the Radio Times. "Normally by the third and fourth season of a show it’s basically a machine – this is the police station, this is an apartment, this is the bridge of the Enterprise – you’re familiar with using those sets. But with this it’s like you’re doing a whole new series every year."
In addition to series regulars like Scottish actor Sam Heughan and Irish actress Caitriona Balfe, Starz has also announced Australian actor David Berry in the critical role of Lord John Grey. With such a cast and international production, producers are hopeful the series catches on with Emmy voters, who earlier this year bestowed the series with only two technical nominations. Even George R.R. Martin, the creator "Game of Thrones," was outraged at the snub.
“‘Outlander' was robbed,” the author wrote to a fans on his website. “All three leads were amazing … especially Tobias Menzies in his double role as Frank and Black Jack.”
'Twin Peaks' | Season 3 | Early 2017
The first of two new seasons in the "Twin Peaks" franchise will start in early 2017 on Showtime. The dramatic thriller, emerging from a 25-year absence, will once again involve the unusual residents of the fictional town of Twin Peaks, Washington. According to co-creators David Lynch and Mark Frost, the new seasons will continue the story started by the beloved '90s show and will not be a reboot.
"It is not a remake. The story continues," Frost told TV Line. "The seeds of where we go were planted where we've been."
In addition to bringing back series regulars like American actors Kyle MacLachlan, David Duchovny, the show will also include Alon Aboutboul, a celebrated Israeli actor known for "The Dark Knight Rises," "The Blacklist" and "Dig," as well as two former Bond girls, Italian actress Monica Bellucci ("Spectre") and French actress Bérénice Marlohe ("Skyfall"). All told, some 217 actors are listed on the cast list for the upcoming season's 18-episode run.
And for those who still have an original "Twin Peaks" soundtrack floating around somewhere, you'll be happy to know that series composer Angelo Badalamenti is back to score some new haunting themes.
"The characters change – physically," Badalamenti said in a recent interview. "They are not quite the same, but the music transcends age. It’s got beauty, but with darkness and sadness."
MORE FROM THE GRAPEVINE: