TV preview: top shows to look out for in 2016

A crucial Rebellion, a new Fall, another Catastrophe – the most promising new and returning TV shows will push the envelope while offering something for every taste

VINYL Sky Atlantic, February
If you're making a drama about the 1970s New York music scene, what better man to have on your creative team than Mick Jagger. This 10-part drama is a collaboration between Jagger, Martin Scorsese and Terence Winter (Boardwalk Empire, The Wolf of Wall Street).

With the Scorsese signature style of impeccable period detail (New York iconic hotspots have been painstakingly recreated) and an unreliable narrator, it tells the story of an American record executive in the 1970s trying to save his label and find the next new sound. And there will be plenty of Stones music.

With this new five-part series, RTÉ promises a "drama, not a history lesson", which will be some relief from the history lessons that are sure to come at us thick and fast in 2016. Rebellion is based on fictional characters and "personal stories intertwined with political events" over three weeks during Easter 1916. Written by Colin Teevan, who scripted RTÉ's Charlie, and starring Sarah Greene, Charlie Murphy, Brian Gleeson and Ruth Bradley, Rebellion makes for promising viewing. Robert Redford's SundanceTV acted as co-producers of the drama, which is also set to air in the US. National fervour will be stirred.

Sky Atlantic, TBC
While you had to be a little forgiving of last season's narrative arc, which was more of a narrative dodgy ECG, the writing in each individual episode of Girls is charged and hilarious, so its worth seeing Hannah Horvat's bare-naked lady adventures out to the end. Last season ended with misleading finality: everyone was growing up. This will be the penultimate season.


RTÉ, January
While we await the glory days of personality transformation shows, and while beauty is still measurable by callipers, let's remember all that chowing down last month, safe in the knowledge that Celia from next door wouldn't be asking you to join the local Operation Transformation community group until at least mid-January. (Don't be hurt – She's just being inclusive. You're lovely the way you are.)

BBC, summer
Next summer, Brendan O'Carroll will be unshackled and the BBC will air a one-off live edition of Mrs Brown's Boys. Says O'Carroll: "When I heard the BBC were letting us go fully live I thought, they've lost their minds. I'm seriously delighted about this. As Mrs Brown's Boys started in the theatre, it gives us a chance to show the TV audience LIVE what we really do. Put the kids to bed early!" And so, one half of the nation will continue to be baffled at the other half's delight.

Sky 1, January
If you like a TV show with an unlikely superhero, Sky 1 is launching Lucky Man, the first UK television drama from comic book legend Stan Lee. James Nesbitt stars as DI Harry Clayton, a cop from Central London's notorious Murder Squad who is given an ancient bracelet that grants the wearer the ability to control luck. But at what cost? That sort of thing.

Sky Atlantic, April
"Can't quite get into fantasy myself," a friend once said. "It's just some fake creatures in a fake world looking for some fake thing." That was before everyone assured her Game of Thrones is different because it's filthy. After last season's finale of carnage and devastation, and the shocking deaths of beloved characters, maybe you needed that year to compose yourself. The show is now in uncharted waters, moving away from the plot of the George RR Martin's books and into the pages of books as yet unpublished and even unwritten.

BBC, January 1st Just as 2015 ends with a new season of the brilliant, brooding Bond-ready Luther, 2016 will be only a pup when the BBC treats us to a one-off drama with its other much-loved, sartorially satisfying detective. This time the drama is set, not in modern day, but in late Victorian times. Steam trains, top hats and frock coats? Oh my. Aficionados of the old-timey Sherlock Holmes will find their need for authenticity thoroughly satisfied.

BBC, May 8th
The hunt for a replacement messer for Jeremy Clarkson's slot has turned up the reliably giddy Chris Evans. This, the 23rd season of Top Gear, will be the first without Clarkson, James May and Richard Hammond. (If you're a stickler for an original line-up, the trio have recently signed a contract with Amazon to produce a new series.)

The identity of Evan’s cohost remains Stig-like, but presenters such as Zoe Ball, Jodie Kidd and Holly Stamos have all been linked to the job in an apparent effort by the BBC to soften the show’s famously laddish image. How cunning.

Channel 4, TBC
This is more a message of hope rather than a guarantee of a third series. The most refreshing thing on TV, an accidental love story that has forever changed the lives of women named Muireann. No word on season three yet, but with rave reviews and a cliff- hanger like that, they couldn't leave us dangling for long.

If there's a Jamie Dornan- shaped hole in your life after 50 Shades, he is back this year in his other sexual psychopath incarnation. Don't get confused.

Amazon Prime, TBC
An Amazon original series, this Golden Globe-winning show is a compassionate look at love and intimacy in the lives of a messy Jewish family in LA. Maura Pfefferman (Jeffrey Tambor) comes out as a transgender woman later in life, triggering the release of an endless array of family secrets. The tone is perfect, the characters moreish. I definitely did not watch it all in one sitting.

Comedy Central, February
Whereas everyone in Girls cares a lot about everything, these two ladies are resplendent in their having no cares to give. In a giant step away from the more idyllic side of "Women in the City" shows, these girls live New York lives of sitting on the footpath eating pizza – gloriously silly and hilarious. And Hillary Clinton recently posing with the stars for their Instagram? Yas Queen.

If Netflix on your laptop in bed (what?) is the only game for you, there is the promise of 31 new shows in 2016. Bloodline, Daredevil, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, Orange Is the New Black and Narcos will all receive new seasons, and new originals have yet to be announced. Let's never get out of bed again.