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Now that The Strain is over, TV only has one vampire apocalypse show, Van Helsing (Season 2 premiere Thursday, Oct. 5, Syfy), and it’s finally stepping up to the challenge. In Season 1, Vanessa Van Helsing (Kelly Overton) spent mucho time wandering underground and losing colleagues—saving Canadian dollars on locations and costars, apparently—in a slow buildup to the vamp beatdown. Series creator/writer Neil LaBute—yes, that Neil LaBute—took a glacial approach that was unusual for a Syfy hour, and Overton more than delivered on the human drama and (occasional) vampire-slayer action. Now, the bigger/bloodier battle to take back the world really begins; come back if you got bored and bailed.

No, it’s not a reality show about haunted storage units—Ghost Wars (series debut Thursday, Oct. 5, Syfy) is about malicious paranormal forces taking over a remote town in the remotest of states, Alaska. Anything set in The Last Frontier is automatically 10 times spookier, and Ghost Wars could be a potential challenger to Syfy’s creepiest anthology series, Channel Zero, at least in star power: Vincent D’Onofrio (Daredevil), Kim Coates (Sons of Anarchy), Kandyse McClure (Battlestar Galactica) and Meat Loaf (!) occupy various quadrants of science, religion, skepticism and psychic ability. It’s another impressive new Syfy entry—a couple of years ago, this would have been about haunted storage units.

What happens when the young daughter of Jane Sadler (Kyra Sedgwick), the producer/writer of a fact-based police drama, goes missing, and she has to deal with the real cops? D-R-A-M-A, that’s what! Ten Days in the Valley (new series, Sundays, ABC) isn’t much different from other crime procedurals—especially not ABC’s defunct Secrets and Lies—but it at least deserves points for letting Sedgwick be a shady, barely sympathetic character with a tenuous grasp on the truth and her own drug problem. Whether it holds up over 10 episodes (as 10 days, get it?) or not remains to be seen; right now, it’s mostly coming off as a network knockoff of HBO’s Big Little Lies, which was no great shakes itself. Yeah, I said it.

O.M. Gawd! Who could have predicted that Riverdale (Season 2 premiere Wednesday, Oct. 11, The CW) would blow up when it debuted back in January? I mean, besides me? (Look it up—I’m on the right side of history here.) The Archie Comics-via-camp-noir teen drama squeezed a whole lotta crazy into its initial 13 hours, culminating in a hysterical maple-syrup/drug-trafficking reveal and the possible murder of Archie’s dad, Fred (Luke Perry). What’s next for Archie (KJ Apa), Jughead (Cole Sprouse), Betty (Lili Reinhart) and Veronica (Camila Mendes)? Between sexy times, the gang will be tracking a new town threat known as “Sugar Man,” True Detective-style. I’m just a wee bit too excited for this.

On the other hand, I have zero fucks to give about Dynasty (series debut Wednesday, Oct. 11, The CW), a needless reboot of the big-haired super-soap that ruled the ’80s. Why not revive a lesser-known show, like the amazing 1985 series Street Hawk, which was pretty much just Knight Rider on a motorcycle, or the 1987 cult crime classic Wiseguy, which presaged TV’s current incest-is-best craze by 30 years? Or, hell, Square Pegs? Anyway: Dynasty is still about clashing Atlanta families the Colbys and the Carringtons, both rich, both beautiful, both overflowing with White People Problems—come on, read the room/country, CW. If ever there were a time for petulant TV billionaires, this ain’t it.

Season 2 weeded out the casual observers quickly, but USA is sticking by its breakthrough “prestige series” Mr. Robot (Season 3 premiere Wednesday, Oct. 11, USA). With Elliot (Rami Malek) laid up after being gunned down, is Darlene (Carly Chaikin) about to feel the wrath of the Dark Army? Will Elliot’s other half, Mr. Robot (Christian Slater), deliver fsociety’s death blow to Evil Corp? What the hell does new-on-the-scene car salesman Irving (Bobby Cannavale) have to do with any of this? Remember that the heretofore most recent episode of Mr. Robot aired long before Nov. 8, 2016, and trust that the new season will deal with the election fallout differently, if not more subtly, than American Horror Story: Cult.

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No, not all of the great shows are here; 2016 served up too much quality TV to contain in this space, while not all of the great shows rise to the level of year-end best lists. (Too many other critical lists are surrendering space to Stranger Things; just sayin’.)

These 16 shows are binge-worthy alternatives to holiday family time—Merry Xmas!

Westworld (HBO): This Westworld was smarter, sleeker and more terrifying than its 1973 origin flick, but it also imbued the Wild West park’s androids with a tragic “humanity.” (Evan Rachel Wood and Thandie Newton for all of the awards.) It also reminded us that actual flesh-and-blood humans are just the worst.

Veep (HBO): Now more than ever, huh? Vice president-turned-president-turned-footnote Selina Meyer (Julia Louis-Dreyfus) suffered an exhausting political beating months before the rest of us did in 2016, but at least hers was funny (and slightly more F-bomb-heavy). Forget IdiocracyVeep is our republic’s true guide.

BoJack Horseman (Netflix): Animated series BoJack Horseman has always been about the aggressive shallowness of Hollywood and celebrity, but Season 3 went deeper and darker (and more experimental, including a dialogue-free underwater episode) than ever before. It’s also funny as hell. OK, it’s everything as hell.

Lady Dynamite (Netflix): Maria Bamford’s Lady Dynamite was a meta-comedy that did for bipolar disorder what BoJack Horseman did for depression and Jessica Jones did for PTSD: It made entertaining, thoughtful art out of the usually “too heavy” to talk about. Both way surreal and way real … sounds good, feels right.

Quarry (Cinemax): This overlooked, 1972-set crime-noir series is grittily crafted down to the most minute details, spun with jarring twists, and anchored by Logan Marshall-Green’s intense, mercurial performance as a reluctant hit man. It’s the Memphis-barbecued second season of True Detective you really wanted.

Better Call Saul (AMC): The debut of Better Call Saul was a fantastic surprise that expanded upon Breaking Bad, building its own pre-Heisenberg world. From hilarious to heartbreaking, Season 2 further transformed small-time Albuquerque lawyer Slippin’ Jimmy (Bob Odenkirk) into future legal shark Saul Goodman.

Halt and Catch Fire (AMC): Behind Saul, Halt and Catch Fire is AMC’s best drama, even if it doesn’t generate Walking Dead numbers. The ’80s-set computer-revolution saga moved to Silicon Valley in Season 3, amping the startup fireworks between Mackenzie Davis and Kerry Bishé, who overshadowed even Lee Pace (!).

Mr. Robot (USA): Elliot (Rami Malek) and hacker group fsociety brought down E(vil) Corp at conclusion of Season 1, but it just caused more problems than it solved. Mr. Robot 2.0 was less buzzy, and trickier to follow, but it gave Elliot’s circle (especially Carly Chaikin and Portia Doubleday) space to shine.

Goliath (Amazon Prime): David E. Kelley and Billy Bob Thornton streamed a classic Los Angeles legal-noir drama that overcame a middling plot with killer performances from Maria Bello, Molly Parker, Nina Arianda, Tania Raymonde, William Hurt and, of course, Thornton himself. Binge with a stiff drink—or eight.

Atlanta (FX): Donald Glover’s Atlanta wasn’t what anyone expected. Something far more than a comedy (though there are hilarious moments) or a drama (ditto, heavy moments), it unfolded like an indie flick in no hurry to get any Big Moments, and depicted the flat-broke-and-black experience with unflinching detail.

Better Things (FX): One of the rawest comedic TV portrayals of single motherhood ever, Pamela Adlon’s Better Things swung from sweet to sad to snarky with an assured precision that her creative partner, Louis C.K., never quite nailed with Louie. Subtle jabs at Hollywood’s treatment of women are just a bonus.

You’re the Worst (FXX): The Only Anti-Rom-Com That Matters got back on track after some downer detours last year—which isn’t to say You’re the Worst didn’t take chances in Season 3. Gretchen (Aya Cash) and Jimmy (Chris Geere) may never work out, but it’s sweet (and profanely hilarious) to watch them fail.

Shameless (Showtime): Emmy Rossum, who’s played Shameless’ surrogate Gallagher mom Fiona for seven seasons now, recently got a pay bump to at least equal co-star William H. Macy’s salary. Coincidentally, she also turned in her best, most heartbreaking work this year. ’Merica isn’t Modern Family; it’s Shameless.

The Good Place (NBC): Kristen Bell and Ted Danson are an unbeatable comic combo, and fears that afterlife sitcom The Good Place would be too weird for broadcast TV were apparently unfounded: It’s a (relative) NBC hit and, even better, the Jesus people are mightily offended by this inclusive version of “Heaven.”

Wynonna Earp (Syfy): If you were somewhat disappointed with Syfy’s recent zero-fun heroine epic Van Helsing—I know I was was—look back a little further in 2016 for Wynonna Earp, a Buffy the Gunslinger supernatural series that star Melanie Scrofano tore up with quippy glee. Also: hot Doc Holliday!

Not Safe With Nikki Glaser (Comedy Central): Nikki Glaser’s Not Safe was a sex-and-relationships talk show that combined intelligence, real information and filthy comedy that more than lived up to the show’s title. So, of course, Comedy Central canceled it after 20 episodes to make room for more Tosh.0. For shame.

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Another Period (Comedy Central): After a meh first episode, Natasha Leggero and Riki Lindhome’s Downton Abbey/Kardashians parody became bolder and funnier (and dirtier) every week. It’s Wet Hot 1902 Summer.

Halt and Catch Fire (AMC): Just ended and most likely canceled, ’80s tech drama Halt and Catch Fire really did catch fire in Season 2 by focusing on its women (Kerry Bishé and Mackenzie Davis, killing it). Maybe just skip the first season.

UnReal (Lifetime): And another female-led powerhouse: UnReal’s behind-the-sordid-scenes drama about a Bachelor-esque “reality” show was brutal, discomfiting and, for all we know, completely accurate. Shiri Appleby and Constance Zimmer FTW.

Wayward Pines (Fox): It was obvious that M. Night Shyamalan’s Wayward Pines meant “limited series” business when it killed off two big-name cast members (no spoilers!) early on. A taut, weird sci-fi conspiracy yarn.

Maron (IFC): No hype, just Marc Maron being Maron in Curb Your Enthusiasm: The Next Generation.

Dark Matter (Syfy): The setup of really, really, really ridiculously good-looking amnesiac fugitives in space didn’t seem sustainable, but Dark Matter rolled out the back-stories (and ass-kicking action) more intelligently than expected.

Killjoys (Syfy): Ditto on the looks and action here, though Killjoys was a bit more complex (read: confusing) and even more low-budget than Dark Matter (which seems impossible). Still, Hannah John-Kamen is the sci-fi heroine to top this summer.

True Detective (HBO): Quit your whining and just watch all eight episodes in a row.

The Brink (HBO): It was sold as a Jack Black comedy, but The Brink (a modern-day Dr. Strangelove via Homeland) belongs to Tim Robbins as the tenacious secretary of state, and Maribeth Monroe as his impossibly loyal assistant.

Mr. Robot (USA): Rami Malek’s mumbling, monologue-ing hoodie-rat hacker isn’t a logical TV hero—which makes Mr. Robot’s Fight Club-meets-The Matrix-meets-Dilbert existence encouraging (especially on a network like USA). Another binge-watch candidate.

Humans (AMC): The biggest surprise from this British import about synthetic “humans” living/serving amongst us? Joe (Tom Goodman-Hill) waited four whole episodes before bedding his nanny-bot (Gemma Chan). Humans was creepy, but with a heart—rare combo.

Extant (CBS): Halle Berry’s alien-takeover thriller is still insane—but at least it’s evolved into decent sci-fi, and new Season 2 co-star Jeffrey Dean Morgan handily replaced what’s-his-name. Bonus: David Morrissey acting even harder than he did on The Walking Dead!

The Spoils Before Dying (IFC): Eric Jonrosh (Will Ferrell) and his lost crime-noir masterpiece somehow made jazz tolerable. That’s an accomplishment.

Rectify (Sundance): So rich, so moving, so … slow. Ray McKinnon’s Southern-gothic character study isn’t for everyone, but the quality of the performances (not limited to main stars Aden Young and Abigail Spencer) are undeniable.

The Strain (FX): Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan’s vampire-invasion thriller kicked into high gear in Season 2, thanks partially to letting Kevin Durand’s badass Fet inject some comic relief into the occasionally too-damned-serious affair. Pretty vamps are so over.

Sex&Drugs&Rock&Roll (FX): Denis Leary’s comic love letter to rock wasn’t groundbreaking by any stretch, but it was loud and fun. That’s rock ’n’ roll, right?

BoJack Horseman (Netflix): You will feel all the feels of a cartoon horse (Will Arnett).

Ray Donovan (Showtime): As if Jon Voight weren’t enough, Liev Schreiber’s titular thug-to-the-stars Ray had to fight for screen-chewing time with new Season 3 guest Ian McShane—and he held his own.

Stitchers (ABC Family): Impossibly pretty 20-something scientists “stitch” into the memories of the recently deceased in CSI: Dead Brains. Sure, it sounds similar to iZombie, but Stitchers was even stoopider—and yet oddly entertaining.

The Meltdown With Jonah and Kumail (Comedy Central): Backstage is sometimes funnier than what’s onstage at the comic-book-store stand-up show; comedians, actors and sometimes even porn stars drop in randomly, adding to the anarchic atmosphere of The Meltdown. So all stand-up shows aren’t like this?

Your Pretty Face Is Going to Hell (Adult Swim): Season 2 of hell as a workplace comedy … not a workplace reality show.

Married (FX): The second season of Nat Faxon and Judy Greer’s domestic comedy may have found a groove, if not viewers. Married is pretty much canceled; proceed at your leisure.

Rick and Morty (Adult Swim): It’s probably best that Community is now dead as a TV show, because Rick and Morty is a far better use of Dan Harmon’s time. There’s not a more off-the-charts science-geeky show out there—sorry, Cosmos—and the funny is relentless.

Wet Hot American Summer (Netflix): First Day of Camp bested the 2001 movie by streamlining the gags and going for ridiculous broke. So how do I get a gig at Rock & Roll World Magazine?

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True Detective (Sunday, June 21, HBO), season premiere: How do you top Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson from True Detective’s killer debut season? Double-down on the star power: Besides Colin Farrell and Vince Vaughn, Season 2 also features Rachel McAdams and Taylor Kitsch as co-leads, and the supporting-cast bench isn’t lacking, either. Vaughn is a mob boss looking to go legit; Farrell is a troubled—to put it mildly (he makes McConaughey’s Rust Cohle look like a Walmart greeter)—detective who owes him; Kitsch is a highway patrolman with a past; and McAdams is a hard-as-nails cop written to single-handedly obliterate Season 1’s Weak Female Problem. Season 2 also ditches its predecessor’s supernatural hoodoo and time-jumping plot in favor of a linear, hard-boiled California crime story that doesn’t seem to be leading to Season 1’s “happy” ending. To paraphrase Spinal Tap: How much more bleak could this be? The answer is none. None more bleak. But sooo damned pulp-good.

The Brink (Sunday, June 21, HBO), series debut: After True Detective, some comic relief is needed—so how about the threat of World War III? The Brink stars Jack Black as a low-level State Department hack in Pakistan who is out to score weed with his driver (Aasif Mandvi) when protests break out, and a none-too-stable general (Iqbal Theba) threatens to go nuclear. Back at the White House, the womanizing, boozehound secretary of state (Tim Robbins, stealing the show) attempts to talk the secretary of defense (Geoff Pierson) and the president (Esai Morales) out of striking pre-emptively—as a bomber pilot (Pablo Schreiber, better known as Pornstache from Orange Is the New Black) is already en route. As a Veep-meets-Dr. Strangelove geopolitical comedy, The Brink smartly keeps Black’s we’ve-seen-it idiot from dominating the show, but your faith in government … well, probably won’t change at all.

Ballers (Sunday, June 21, HBO), series debut: Dwayne Johnson has become such a larger-than-life action star that “The Rock” qualifier is irrelevant; casting him as a painkiller-popping ex-NFL star trying to scrape together a post-football life almost feels like a Saturday Night Live sketch. Sure, he’s as charming as ever as Spencer Strasmore, a retired Miami Dolphin transitioning into becoming a financial manager for his fellow money-burning retirees and clueless rookies (or “monetizing friendships,” as his boss, played by Rob Corddry, says)—but a sympathetic underdog? Not happening. Ballers critiques the chew-’em-up-spit-’em-out culture of pro sports almost as much as it revels in the glamour, but Johnson is just too big—in every sense—for his role. Maybe HBO should have called Kenny Powers of Eastbound and Down out of retirement.

UnReal (Mondays, Lifetime), new series: Marti Noxon has contributed to some classic TV series (like Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Mad Men) and created at least one winner (2014’s Girlfriends’ Guide to Divorce), but her new UnReal probably won’t be listed among them—but not for a lack of trying. A drama set behind the scenes of a reality-dating show, UnReal pits a ruthless showrunner who’s not above manipulating anything on the screen for ratings (Constance Zimmer, in her usual ballbuster Constance Zimmer role) against a producer with at least a twinge of conscience and TV-PTSD issues galore (Shiri Appleby). Thing is, no one here is remotely likable (very Showtime, but not very Lifetime), but at least there’s a winking acknowledgement that this brand of “reality” is complete bullshit.

Another Period (Tuesday, June 23, Comedy Central), series debut: The Bellacourt sisters (Natasha Leggero and Riki Lindhome) were the Kardashians of the early 1900s, concerned only with being rich, famous and relatively disease-free. Leggero and Lindhome are two of the funniest comic actors around, and the rest of the cast (including Michael Ian Black, Paget Brewster, Brett Gelman, Christina Hendricks, David Koechner, Jason Ritter and David Wain) is equally impressive. But Another Period is more silly than stellar, like a leftover episode of Drunk History (same director, coincidentally) that wasn’t done cooking yet. It’s nice summer filler behind Inside Amy Schumer, but it likely won’t last any longer than that. Leggero deserves her Big Break—has Season 3 of True Detective been cast yet?

Mr. Robot (Wednesday, June 24, USA), series debut: Vigilante hacker by night/corporate IT drone by day Elliot (Rami Malek) is recruited by the mysterious “Mr. Robot” (Christian Slater), the leader of an “underground hacker group,”  to e-destroy the company that employs Elliot. If you misread the title and were momentarily excited about a series based on the 1983 Styx hit “Mr. Roboto,” apologies.

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Hannibal (NBC; Thursday, June 4, season premiere): Hannibal (Mads Mikkelsen) and Bedelia (Gillian Anderson) are hiding out in Europe—but can the doctor keep his “tastes” under the radar? What a bore that show would be.

Sense8 (Netflix; Friday, June 5, series debut): The Wachowski Brothers bring their Matrix-y weirdness to TV in the tale of eight people around the world who can tap into each other’s existences. Coincidentally, they’re all ridiculously good-looking.

Orange Is the New Black (Netflix; Friday, June 12, season premiere): The gang’s all back—and so is Alex (Laura Prepon), as well as new inmate Stella (Ruby Rose). Larry (Jason Biggs), not so much. Please contain your indifference.

Dark Matter (Syfy; Friday, June 12, series debut): The crew of an adrift spaceship wakes up with no memories, and to outside threats galore. Based on the graphic novel (woo!) and produced by the Stargate SG-1 team (uh-oh).

Proof (TNT; Tuesday, June 16, series debut): A brilliant-but-troubled surgeon (Jennifer Beals) is hired by a dying tech billionaire (Matthew Modine) to find proof—get it?—that death is not the end. TNT, maybe, but not death.

The Astronaut Wives Club (ABC; Thursday, June 18, series debut; pic above): Imagine Mad Men, but focused on the spouses of NASA heroes of the late ’60s. That would be a better show than this reheated network leftover—but the fashion is sooo cute!

Complications (USA; Thursday, June 18, series debut): A suburban doctor (Jason O’Mara) becomes embroiled in a gang war after saving the life of a kingpin’s son at a drive-by. From the creators of Burn Notice, so expect plenty of yelling and gunplay.

Killjoys (Syfy; Friday, June 19, series debut): A trio of sexy bounty hunters (Aaron Ashmore, Hannah John-Kamen and Luke Macfarlane) work the interplanetary warzone. It’s Firefly meets Guardians of the Galaxy meets a Canadian budget.

True Detective (HBO; Sunday, June 21, season premiere): Colin Farrell, Vince Vaughn, Rachel McAdams and Taylor Kitsch navigate murder and mustaches in the badlands of California. Hold your “Season 1 was better” critiques until at least after the opening credits.

Ballers (HBO; Sunday, June 21, series debut): A sports dramedy (!) about retired and rookie football players just trying to get by in Miami, starring Dwayne Johnson, Omar Miller and Rob Corddry, and produced by Mark Wahlberg and Peter Berg. Hut!

The Brink (HBO; Sunday, June 21, series debut): Bureaucrats (including Jack Black and Tim Robbins), military hawks (Geoff Pierson) and fighter pilots (Pablo Schreiber) scramble to avert World War III. It’s like Veep with higher stakes and (slightly) less profanity.

Mr. Robot (USA; Wednesday, June 24, series debut): Vigilante hacker by night/corporate IT drone by day Elliot (Rami Malek) is recruited by the mysterious “Mr. Robot” (Christian Slater) to e-destroy the company he works for. Never give up on TV, Slater.

Humans (AMC; Sunday, June 28, series debut): In the “parallel present” of suburban London, the must-have accessory is a “Synth,” a human-like servant/friend. But what happens when the Synths develop emotions? And, since they’re British, how do you tell?

Zoo (CBS; Tuesday, June 30, series debut): Animals are rising up against humans all over the planet, and only a “renegade biologist” (James Wolk) can stop the pandemic. People of Earth: If your lives are in the hands of a “renegade biologist,” you’re boned.

The Strain (FX; Sunday, July 12, season premiere): New York City is being overrun with not-pretty vampires, and it’s up to Eph (Corey Stoll) and Nora (Mia Maestro) to create a cure for the epidemic … if they can keep it in their pants. NYC, you’re also boned.

Sex&Drugs&Rock&Roll (FX; Thursday, July 16, series debut, pic below): A failed ’90s rock band (featuring Denis Leary and John Corbett) gets a second shot at fame with a hot young singer (Elizabeth Gillies). This will be the second-wiggiest FX series after The Americans.

Bojack Horseman (Netflix; Friday, July 17, season premiere): Everybody’s favorite Hollywood horse has-been (voiced by Will Arnett) is back! And so is Todd (Aaron Paul)!

Sharknado 3: Oh Hell No! (Syfy; Wednesday, July 22, movie): The chompstorm hits Washington, D.C.! Ian Ziering and Tara Reid are back! Mark Cuban is the president! Ann Coulter is the VP! Like you needed any more reasons to root for the sharks.

Wet Hot American Summer (Netflix; Friday, July 31, series debut): An eight-episode prequel to the beloved 2001 cinematic classic, all about the first day of summer at Camp Firewood—with all of the cast members anyone cares about! Bring on the short-shorts!

Fear the Walking Dead (AMC; TBA, series debut): A six-episode flashback to the beginning of the zombie apocalypse, set in Los Angeles. No “renegade biologists” involved.

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