Comic book series Daredevil returns to our screens this Friday, 18 March, but it’s far from the only show of its ilk coming to a TV or streaming device near you during 2016.
This week sees the return of Netflix Original series Daredevil, the streaming behemoth’s exceptional take on the Marvel comic of the same name.
Starring Charlie Cox as Matt Murdoch, the eponymous Daredevil, the show gives new, addictive life to the story of the blind lawyer-slash-superhero – a welcome reprieve after the god-awful Ben Affleck/Jennifer Garner vehicle of the early noughties.
This is Daredevil as it was meant to be told, and we couldn’t be more excited about it coming back. Especially as the latest trailer is basically – if you’ll forgive the momentary lapse into internet-speak – pure fire.
This season will introduce more Marvel characters – Elektra and Punisher – to round out the cast and offer up a new villain.
But Daredevil isn’t the only sci-fi/fantasy/comic book offering appearing (or re-appearing) during 2016.
Many have already cropped up, from Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD to Scorpion to iZombie – even The X-Files made a return this year.
Here’s a guide to the others:
Orphan Black Season 4 (14 April)
Sci-fi thriller Orphan Black returns to screens next month for its fourth season.
The show features Tatiana Maslany in an acting tour de force, playing a host of clones, and is chock-full of mystery, intrigue and tension. It explores the ethics and morality of cloning, and of controlling the creation of human life.
In Season 4, the Orphan Black action will pick up two months after the events of the Season 3 finale.
Containment (19 April)
Containment is new to The CW this year. From executive producer Julie Plec (The Vampire Diaries and The Originals), it’s a departure from her usual vampire fare.
After the outbreak of a deadly epidemic, the infected are locked into a massive urban quarantine. Families are separated and lives are put in peril.
It’s hard to know what to expect here – medical drama, cop drama or pre-zombie-apocalypse – but, whatever genre it falls into, this could be very much worth a look.
Game of Thrones Season 6 (24 April)
You’d be hard pressed to find someone out there who wasn’t even vaguely aware of the ins and outs of this HBO heavy hitter, but just in case…
Game of Thrones (GoT) is based on the George RR Martin novels of the same name, tracking noble (and less than noble) families as they fight their way around the Seven Kingdoms in the struggle for the Iron Throne.
The fantasy epic returns for its sixth season next month, departing even further from the source material as the HBO production team has now far outstripped Martin’s writing.
Silicon Valley (24 April)
Returning to screens for its third season on the same day as Game of Thrones comes back, its entirely likely that Silicon Valley will slip under the radar, which is a shame.
The show offers a satirical – but, really, not all that satirical – glimpse into the inner workings of the world’s tech epicentre, expertly skewering the Silicon Valley culture.
Following a group of young entrepreneurs as they attempt to break into and succeed in the saturated tech world, the show is funny, engaging and smart.
Preacher (22 May)
Based on the much-loved comic book series of the same name, Preacher is bringing its first season to AMC at the end of May.
Starring Dominic Cooper and Ireland’s own Ruth Negga, the series will hew closely to the source material. It follows Texan preacher Jesse Custer (Cooper) who, possessed by the offspring of an angel and a demon – and imbued with the power to command those who hear him speak – embarks on a journey to find God.
Finding its home on AMC – which airs The Walking Dead, and ran Mad Men and Breaking Bad – will ensure the show’s darker moments aren’t swept under the rug, and early reports from the world premiere at SXSW suggest the show is going to be a hit across the board.
Marvel’s Luke Cage (30 September)
A spin-off of last year’s fan-favourite Jessica Jones, Marvel’s Luke Cage features one of that show’s more likeable characters – the titular Luke Cage, played by Mike Colter – in the early days of his transition from unbreakable bar owner to hero.
Netflix is yet to release details of plot, other characters or scope, but the show is likely to follow in the footsteps of other Hell’s Kitchen alums Daredevil and Jessica Jones, bringing a dark realism to the otherwise bright and spandex-clad Marvel ‘verse.
Halt and Catch Fire Season 3 (TBD)
The well-liked Halt and Catch Fire is set in the 80s, and follows a host of characters playing on the fringes of – and aiming to take advantage of, and even subvert – the Silicon Prairie PC revolution driven by IBM and others.
While a specific date is yet to be announced for the AMC show’s return, it’s expected to drop this summer.
Humans Season 2 (TBD)
Humans – a series produced by Channel 4 and AMC – is based on hit Swedish sci-fi drama Real Humans.
Depicting a near-future in which artificial intelligence and robots are fully integrated with humanity, Humans forces us to ask ourselves tough questions about what that integration could mean.
No date has been announced for Season 2, but it’s slated for this year.
Jessica Jones Season 2 (TBD)
Another Marvel Netflix Original to add to the list, Jessica Jones followed on from Daredevil and took things to an even darker place.
The show received significant plaudits for its no-holds barred depiction of the fallout from rape and prolonged mental abuse, making typical tights-and-capes superheroing seem very shallow by comparison.
No Season 2 date has been confirmed by the streaming giant – not even whether we can expect it to drop this year – but, based on the Daredevil–Jessica Jones gap last year, this should (hopefully) crop up some time in October.
Starring Aubrey Plaza (Parks and Recreation) and Dan Stevens (The Guest), Legion will focus on David Haller (Stevens), son of Professor X, who is beginning to realise that the voices in his head may not just be voices in his head.
This marks the first time Marvel has had direct, hands-on control over the X-Men cinematic franchise since FOX bought the rights, and will see Marvel and FOX pairing up to bring it to the screen. (This is a similar set-up to Deadpool, which may indicate what we can expect in terms of faithfulness to character and story.)
Still a bit up in the air, this is rumoured to make an appearance in 2016.
Mr Robot Season 2 (TBD)
Mr Robot was critically acclaimed and universally applauded upon its release last summer.
Following Elliott Anderson (Rami Malek) – a depressed, socially-anxious security engineer and hacker – as he gets drawn into an organisation trying to take down the world’s largest corporation, E Corp, the show was widely praised for its authentic depiction of tech and of hacking communities.
Season 2 is expected this year, with a likely summer release.
Son of Zorn (TBD)
Perhaps the most out-there entry on this list, Son of Zorn is a live-action/animation hybrid which will be airing on FOX this year.
The plot centres on Zorn (voiced by Jason Sudeikis), an animated (as in cartoon) legendary warrior. Returning to this planet for the first time in ten years, Zorn struggles to reconnect with his live-action son and ex-wife.
The show comes from the executive producers of The Lego Movie and The Last Man on Earth, so should bring the laughs, if nothing else.
Quite simply, this looks amazing.
Featuring a host of familiar faces – Jeffrey Wright, James Marsden, Evan Rachel Wood, Thandie Newton, Ed Harris, and frickin’ Anthony Hopkins (among others) – Westworld is based on the 1973 film of the same name.
HBO describes the show as “a dark odyssey about the dawn of artificial consciousness and the future of sin”. Bloviating aside, with JJ Abrams and a few other big names attached, the show likely ticks all the boxes for future success.
Westworld first started making waves (if you’ll forgive the pun) last summer, but an ironclad date is yet to be announced. Instead, we must accept the somewhat nebulous ‘Coming 2016 on HBO’.
Honourable mentions for Netflix’s 3 % (Season 1), Black Mirror (Season 3) and Sense8 (Season 2), which have not earned release dates just yet, but which may still crop up this year.