Best of 2014: Television preview

Ellen E Jones picks this year’s must-see events in television

Brooklyn Nine-Nine

Saturday Night Live graduate Andy Samberg plays an immature NYPD detective in this new sitcom from the team behind Parks and Recreation. The more interesting casting choice, however, is Andre Braugher as his strict commanding officer Captain Ray Holt. Braugher is best-known as Detective Frank Pembleton in gritty police procedural Homicide: Life on the Street – this time he’ll be playing the role for laughs. 9 January, Channel 4

True Detective

In HBO’s prestige drama of the year, the Texan double act of your dreams, Woody Harrelson and Matthew McConaughey, play two policeman recalled to consult on a murder investigation they supposedly solved 17 years previously. If the show itself is half as good as the trailer, this will be an instant classic. February, Sky Atlantic

Better Call Saul

The sound of gunfire is still ringing in our ears from Breaking Bad’s finale, but it’s already time to welcome back dodgy lawyer Saul Goodman (Bob Odenkirk) for this prequel spin-off. Saul’s cheerful amorality often provided comic relief in Breaking Bad, but this show is rumored to be darker and more dramatic than you might expect. TBC, Netflix

Broadchurch

While David Tennant skips stateside to remake series one of ITV’s hit crime drama, his co-star Olivia Colman will be reprising her role as Sergeant Ellie Miller in a second series. 2013 was a good year for female-led detective shows and Gillian Anderson will also be back for series two of BBC2’s The Fall later in the year. TBC, ITV

1864

Foreign-language period drama might not usually be your thing, but BBC4 have been importing top-notch programming from Danish public service broadcaster DR since The Killing, and they haven’t struck out yet. This one, which replaces Borgen, is set during Denmark’s 19th-century war with Prussia and tells the story of two brothers who fall in love with the same woman. TBC, BBC4

Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell

Susanna Clark’s bestselling novel about 19th-century practical magic gets a big-budget, seven-part BBC adaptation, starring Eddie Marsan (Ray Donovan, Southcliffe) and Bertie Carvel (Hidden, The Crimson Petal and the White) in the title roles. Think Harry Potter for sophisticated grown-ups. TBC, BBC1

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