Most anticipated new and returning TV shows for 2018

Written by:
July 13, 2018

Most anticipated new and returning TV shows for 2018

On the heels of a golden age, viewers and providers alike now find themselves in the midst of "peak TV." And what does "peak TV" represent, exactly? It signifies the overwhelming number of television shows that continue to pop up on cable channels and streaming platforms. Such an abundance of content might arguably represent a general drop in quality, yet there is still plenty of great entertainment to be found. In other words, just because shows like "Breaking Bad," "The Wire," and "The Sopranos" are no longer on the air, that doesn't mean it's time to give up on the medium altogether. Accordingly, people are watching as much TV as ever before, especially when streaming platforms are taken into account.

For the millions upon millions of TV fans out there, there's no season more exciting than fall, in which old shows churn out new seasons and new shows debut. Naturally, some TV shows are more hotly anticipated than others. But what are the most anticipated new and returning TV shows for 2018? To find out, Stacker used views data from Wikipedia Pageviews, and ranked each show in accordance with its view data over the last three months. Counting down from 50, here are the most anticipated new and returning TV shows for 2018.  

RELATED: The 100 best TV shows of all time

#50. S.W.A.T.

Expected air date: Fall 2018

Three-month Wikipedia pageviews: 315,777

Lt. Daniel “Hondo” Harrelson (Shemar Moore) leads an elite S.W.A.T. team in this high-octane CBS series, which takes place in Los Angeles and enters its second season in the fall. The show is based on a short-lived cop drama of the same name from 1975. The previous “S.W.A.T.” series only lasted two seasons—let’s hope the new version fares better.


#49. Will & Grace

Expected air date: Fall 2018

Three-month Wikipedia pageviews: 319,278

Don’t call it a comeback for NBC’s “Will & Grace.” The hit series—about the misadventures of a woman (Debra Messing) and her gay roommate (Eric McCormack) in New York City—first aired in 1998, and ran for eight seasons before calling it quits. For most TV shows, the story would end there, but not so for this iconic comedy. Specifically, the series was rebooted by NBC in 2017 to mostly rave reviews. Not only is season two right around the corner, but the show has already been renewed for season three.


#48. Empire

Expected air date: Sept. 26, 2018

Three-month Wikipedia pageviews: 335,555

Depicting the battle for control over a prestigious music company, Fox’s “Empire” was a veritable sensation when it first aired in 2015. While viewership numbers have waned in the time since, the Lyon family saga still provides solid music and epic drama to millions of fans. Starring Terrence Howard and Taraji P. Henson, the series will debut its fifth season in the fall.


#47. Dancing with the Stars

Expected air date: Fall 2018

Three-month Wikipedia pageviews: 340,970

This hit ABC reality show pairs public figures with talented dance partners, and then pits each team against one another in a dance-off. Celebrities to appear have included Zendaya, Donny Osmond, and Kim Kardashian, among numerous others. Despite a fairly abysmal IMDb rating and declining viewership numbers, the show remains popular enough to warrant a 27th season.


#46. The Gifted

Expected air date: Sept. 25, 2018

Three-month Wikipedia pageviews: 348,389

As any comic book or TV fan is likely to know, the Marvel Universe is no longer confined to the big screen. Among the bounty of shows to capitalize on the popularity of superheroes is this one from Fox, which follows two young mutants as they struggle to co-exist with humanity. The show heads into its second season with a healthy amount of praise behind it, from both audiences and critics alike.


#45. Blue Bloods

Expected air date: TBA

Three-month Wikipedia pageviews: 350,547

This taut CBS procedural, which centers on a multi-generational family of New York City police officers, enters its ninth season this fall. At the top of the chain is Police Commissioner Frank Reagan, played with a perennial straight face by actor Tom Selleck. Bridget Moynahan and Donnie Wahlberg also star. From season nine, expect more drama, more action, and more Sunday night dinners with the entire Reagan family.


#44. Black-ish

Expected air date: TBA

Three-month Wikipedia pageviews: 363,315

Infusing uproarious comedy with ample amounts of relevant drama, ABC’s “Black-ish” finds an African-American family grappling with racial identity issues while living in a largely white, upper-class suburb. Created by Kenya Barris, and starring Anthony Anderson as the Johnson family patriarch and Tracee Ellis Ross as the matriarch, the show consistently puts race-related subject matters in its crosshairs, hitting the bullseye one episode at a time. The show, which enters its fifth season in the fall, also launched a spin-off, “Grown-ish”.


#43. SEAL Team

Expected air date: Fall 2018

Three-month Wikipedia pageviews: 377,428

A companion of sorts to “S.W.A.T.,” this CBS series chronicles the lives of SEAL Team members as they train for and execute the country’s most important missions. It was the network’s #1 drama in 2017, with an average of over 10 million viewers per episode. Hoping to keep that momentum alive, the show will begin its second season in the fall.


#42. Survivor

Expected air date: Fall 2018

Three-month Wikipedia pageviews: 384,348

“Survivor,” arguably the most influential reality show ever created, is still going strong in 2018. It debuted on CBS in 2000, and will kick off its 37th season in the fall. Hosted by Jeff Probst, the show strands a group of normal people on a deserted island, and then engages them in a series of physical challenges. Meanwhile, each participant must also form alliances with others if they don't want to get voted off the island. The last one standing wins a million dollars.


#41. Hawaii Five-0

Expected air date: September 2018

Three-month Wikipedia pageviews: 406,254

Updating a classic TV show for the modern era, “Hawaii Five-O” follows the members of an elite task force as they investigate major crimes in the Aloha State. The hit CBS procedural stars Scott Caan and Alex O’Loughlin as the unit’s two lead detectives. With the ninth season right around the corner, rumors persist that O’Loughlin might be finally turning in his badge. Will he make a harrowing exit the way a good TV cop should? Watch to find out.


#40. Last Man Standing

Expected air date: Sept. 28, 2018

Three-month Wikipedia pageviews: 416,320

After dominating the sitcom landscape in the 1990s, actor Tim Allen finds himself in somewhat familiar terrain in this once-ABC comedy that is relaunching on Fox. This time around, Allen plays a family man with a wife and three daughters, who struggles to retain his masculinity while being flanked on all sides by females. As the show cranks up for more laughs, there’s some serious drama going down behind the scenes, with two major roles allegedly being recast before season seven premieres.


#39. Station 19

Expected air date: September 2018

Three-month Wikipedia pageviews: 420,556

Straight out of Shondaland—Shonda Rhimes’ production house—comes “Station 19”, the second spin-off to “Grey’s Anatomy.” In this tepidly received ABC show, the men and women of a Seattle firehouse tackle literal fires on the job, and then let the figurative sparks fly back at the station. On the heels of a short first season, the series will air its second starting in the fall. Look for guest appearances from “Grey’s Anatomy” characters like Dr. Meredith Grey herself, played by Ellen Pompeo.


#38. Mom

Expected air date: TBA

Three-month Wikipedia pageviews: 422,149

Anna Faris and Allison Janney star as a slightly dysfunctional mother-daughter duo in this hit CBS comedy. Co-created by Chuck Lorre ("Big Bang Theory," Two and a Half Men"), the show is priming up for its sixth season, where it will continue to put a comedic spin on a range of dramatic themes. Will the upcoming season end with Christy (Faris) celebrating yet one more year of being sober?


#37. NCIS: Los Angeles

Expected air date: Sept. 30, 2018

Three-month Wikipedia pageviews: 423,497

The second installment of the “NCIS” franchise takes place in Los Angeles, and follows two agents as they track down criminals using state-of-the-art technology. Chris O’ Donnell and LL Cool J continue to play the lead roles with considerable panache as the series enters its 10th season in the fall.


#36. Titans

Expected air date: TBA

Three-month Wikipedia pageviews: 431,519

Rather than just create another hit show for different network, DC Comics and Warner Bros. established their own video-on-demand platform, better known as DC Universe. Along with the new platform comes a hotly anticipated series, “Titans,” which centers on a group of superheroes of the same name. According to early reports, the adventure will start in the fall and cater to mature audiences.


#35. Blindspot

Expected air date: Fall 2018

Three-month Wikipedia pageviews: 456,796

This NBC thriller kicked off in 2015 with an intriguing premise: A woman is found in Times Square with no recollection of her own name, or where the mysterious tattoos covering her body came from. As she and the FBI investigate, they uncover a vast network of conspiracy and corruption. Milking its storyline for every last drop, the show has consistently lured in viewers by way of nail-biting action and gripping plot twists. Season four premieres in the fall.


#34. American Idol

Expected air date: 2019

Three-month Wikipedia pageviews: 460,092

After a legendary run on Fox, “American Idol” was pulled from the airwaves, and then recently resurrected by ABC. Critical reception was lukewarm at best, but the singing competition nevertheless pulled in respectable ratings. Now entering its second season for ABC—and 17th season overall—the show will see the return of judges Katy Perry, Luke Bryan, and Lionel Richie.


#33. Elementary

Expected air date: May 2019

Three-month Wikipedia pageviews: 467,697

Updating Sherlock Holmes for the modern era is this popular CBS procedural, which stars Jonny Lee Miller as Holmes, and Lucy Liu as his trusty sidekick Dr. Joan Watson. The series first premiered in 2012, and is currently in the midst of an expanded sixth season, with a seventh season slated to debut this fall. While the ratings for “Elementary” aren’t necessarily strong, the show has a very loyal following—as well as a major overseas presence.


#32. Family Guy

Expected air date: Sept. 30, 2018

Three-month Wikipedia pageviews: 481,779

“It seems today, that all you see, are violence in movies and sex on TV…” So goes the opening song for this Fox animated hit series, which ironically delivers no shortage of sex and violence. For a show that was saved from extinction not once, but twice, “Family Guy” has enjoyed a truly impressive tenure, with a 17th season on the way. The crude series has also made its creator Seth MacFarlane a successful household name.  


#31. iZombie

Expected air date: 2019

Three-month Wikipedia pageviews: 494,813

From “Veronica Mars” creator Rob Thomas, and writer and producer Diane Ruggiero, comes this popular series on The CW, about a med student (Rose McIver) who discovers that being a zombie really isn’t all that bad—barring the diet restrictions, of course. Since its debut in 2015, the show has earned itself something of a cult following, along with heaps of critical acclaim. It’s now gearing up for season five, which will reportedly be its last.


#30. The Goldbergs

Expected air date: September 2018

Three-month Wikipedia pageviews: 506,449

Set during the 1980s, this ABC series depicts life inside the indisputably quirky Goldberg family. The story is told primarily from the perspective of son Adam Goldberg, who also happens to be the show’s creator. Playing Adam as a boy is actor Sean Giambrone, and voicing Adam as an adult is actor/comedian Patton Oswalt. The series premiered to positive reviews in 2013, and is coming up on its sixth season this fall.


#29. The Voice

Expected air date: TBA

Three-month Wikipedia pageviews: 506,843

This NBC hit reality show—in which four vocal coaches use their ears alone to figure out whom they want to mentor—is still going strong as it approaches its 15th season. The Emmy-winning singing competition will see the return of coaches Adam Levine, Blake Shelton, and Kelly Clarkson. Joining them in her own respective swivel chair is singer Jennifer Hudson, who was last seen as a coach back in season 13.  


#28. Law & Order: Special Victims Unit

Expected air date: Sept. 27, 2018

Three-month Wikipedia pageviews: 525,498

More than just a popular NBC procedural, “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit” is history in the making. Specifically, the show will tie the record for the longest-running primetime scripted TV drama series when it kicks off its 20th season this fall. The only other primetime dramas to last this long were “Gunsmoke” and the original “Law & Order” series, the latter of which was likewise created by Dick Wolf.


#27. The Good Place

Expected air date: Sept. 27, 2018

Three-month Wikipedia pageviews: 537,096

One of primetime TV’s most unconventional comedies, “The Good Place” goes down in the afterlife, following a group of four misfits as they finagle their way out of eternal torment. Kristen Bell stars as one of said misfits, and Ted Danson her overseer. The show is presented in serialized fashion, with each episode being equated to a chapter. Accordingly, season three should pick up right where season two left off.


#26. This Is Us

Expected air date: Sept. 25, 2018

Three-month Wikipedia pageviews: 548,837

This NBC drama first enraptured audiences with an explosive pilot back in 2016, and hasn’t really let up since. Chronicling the lives and struggles of a unique family over the course of generations, the award-winning series continues to warm hearts and upend expectations. It was created by Hollywood veteran Dan Fogelman, and stars Mandy Moore, Milo Ventimiglia, and Sterling K. Brown, among others. Tune in for season three of "This is Us" in the fall, and keep some tissues close by.


#25. How to Get Away with Murder

Expected air date: September 2018

Three-month Wikipedia pageviews: 562,474

Actress Viola Davis stars in this hit ABC series, which is produced by Shonda Rhimes. The pilot aired in 2014 and made good on its name right away, following a law professor (Davis) as she involves five students in a twisted murder plot. In the time since, the series has lost some steam from a ratings perspective, but it still manages to keep the twists coming. Season five is slated to premiere this fall.   


#24. Lethal Weapon

Expected air date: Sept. 25, 2018

Three-month Wikipedia pageviews: 585,595

Based on the popular film franchise of the same name, this Fox TV show similarly makes an odd couple of its two cop protagonists: one a loose cannon, the other a low-key veteran. For the first two seasons, it was actor Clayne Crawford starring opposite Damon Wayans as the loose cannon. However, Crawford landed himself in some hot water behind the scenes, and has since been replaced by actor Seann William Scott.


#23. Modern Family

Expected air date: September 2018

Three-month Wikipedia pageviews: 591,426

While no longer the ratings juggernaut it once was, ABC’s “Modern Family” is still among the most-watched comedies on TV. The award-winning mockumentary series first debuted in 2009, and is now approaching its 10th season. Back to deliver more laughs are cast members like Ed O’Neill and Sofia Vergara, among numerous others.


#22. The Resident

Expected air date: Sept. 24, 2018

Three-month Wikipedia pageviews: 614,488

In this Fox medical drama, “The Good Wife” alumnus Matt Czuchry stars as Conrad Hawkins, a third-year resident internist at Georgia’s fictional Chastain Park Memorial Hospital. While mentoring a young, idealistic doctor, Hawkins reveals both the good and the not-so-good realities of the job. The series was one among a group of 2017 freshman dramas to get picked up for a second season by Fox.


#21. Jane the Virgin

Expected air date: 2019

Three-month Wikipedia pageviews: 627,914

This hit comedy from The CW is gearing up for its fifth and final season, which will be mind-blowing, according to actor Brett Dier. That’s par for the course for a series that has consistently managed to surprise its fanbase over the years. For season five, actress Gina Rodriguez will reprise her role as Jane, a devout Catholic who staved off sexual relations, only to be accidentally inseminated during a routine clinic visit.


#20. Legends of Tomorrow

Expected air date: October 2018

Three-month Wikipedia pageviews: 630,394

From the pages of DC Comics comes this action-packed series on The CW, which features characters previously introduced to viewers in shows like “The Flash” and “Arrow.” The series follows a motley crew of time travelers who must work together in order to prevent the apocalypse. Season four is slated to debut in October of this year.


#19. Criminal Minds

Expected air date: Sept. 26, 2018

Three-month Wikipedia pageviews: 654,489

After ending its most recent season on a cliffhanger, this gripping CBS drama will tie up all loose ends with the premiere of its 14th and possibly final season. Starring a cast that includes veteran actor Joe Mantegna, the show follows a group of FBI profilers as they analyze the world’s most dangerous killers—in hopes of anticipating each respective target’s next move. The show’s return is good news for its loyal fans, who have been showering it with praise for more than a decade.


#18. The Blacklist

Expected air date: TBA

Three-month Wikipedia pageviews: 681,090

NBC’s “The Blacklist” premiered in 2013, at a time when more and more big screen actors were transitioning into long-term television roles. One of those actors was James Spader, who plays diabolical criminal Raymond “Red” Reddington in the series. True to its formula, the show ended season five on a shocking note, which means that season six can’t come soon enough for fans. Thankfully, there are only a few more months to wait.


#17. Black Lightning

Expected air date: Oct. 9, 2018

Three-month Wikipedia pageviews: 684,262

DC Comics and The CW expanded upon their fruitful relationship earlier this year with the debut of “Black Lightning.” In the show, high school principal Jefferson Pierce takes his old, electrically charged superhero costume out of retirement, and starts fighting crime in his community once again. Cress Williams stars in the title role.


#16. The Simpsons

Expected air date: TBA

Three-month Wikipedia pageviews: 719,743

The longest-running primetime scripted series in TV history is getting ready to unleash its 30th season in the fall. “The Simpsons” might not be the satirical zeitgeist it once was, but it still manages to entertain millions of viewers, which seems to be enough for Fox. Meanwhile, series showrunner and longtime executive producer Al Jean recently tweeted about his vision of the show’s final episode. Does this mean the end is nigh?


#15. NCIS

Expected air date: TBA

Three-month Wikipedia pageviews: 739,408

Before the spin-offs, there was the original “NCIS,” about a group of witty experts who investigate military-related crimes. Leading the team is a former sniper named Leroy Jethro Gibbs, played by actor Mark Harmon. The series has been a fixture on CBS, with 17 seasons to show for its popularity and another on the way. For anyone wondering, NCIS is short for Naval Criminal Investigative Service.


#14. Dynasty

Expected air date: Oct. 12, 2018

Three-month Wikipedia pageviews: 742,955

What was once TV’s hottest drama in the 1980s is now a tawdry reboot on The CW. Depicting the ongoing feud between two wealthy families, “Dynasty” is the stuff that guilty pleasures are made of.


#13. The Good Doctor

Expected air date: Fall 2018

Three-month Wikipedia pageviews: 797,781

In the spirit of shows like “House” and “Doogie Howser, M.D.” comes this acclaimed ABC drama, about a brilliant young surgeon named Shaun Murphy (Freddie Highmore), who lives with autism and savant syndrome. As Shaun struggles to connect with both his peers and his patients, he nevertheless earns their respect in the operating room. The series was created by TV veteran David Shore, who also created the aforementioned series “House.”


#12. Supergirl

Expected air date: Oct. 14, 2018

Three-month Wikipedia pageviews: 808,367

Superman’s cousin gets a show of her own with “Supergirl”, which stars Melissa Benoist in the title role. It originally debuted on CBS, and then moved over to The CW in 2016. According to a recent editorial, Supergirl is the strongest of all the TV superheroes, having once lifted an entire space station. What will she be lifting in season four?


#11. Arrow

Expected air date: Oct. 15, 2018

Three-month Wikipedia pageviews: 820,228

In this superhero saga, spoiled billionaire Oliver Queen (Stephen Amell) goes missing at sea, and returns five years later as a crime-fighting superhero. Naturally, there are plenty of dangers waiting for him, and like all good serialized adventures, this one knows how to keep its audience coming back for more. The show ended season six on a cliffhanger, with its titular hero behind bars; while some fans suspected that Arrow would be sprung in no time, Arnell himself quashed that rumor with a single word in a single tweet: “False.” All will be revealed when The CW show premieres its seventh season this fall.


#10. Young Sheldon

Expected air date: Sept. 24, 2018

Three-month Wikipedia pageviews: 826,576

For all those involved, “The Big Bang Theory” is quite simply the gift that keeps on giving. To prove as much, the spin-off “Young Sheldon” debuted in 2017 to solid ratings and a fair amount of acclaim. Jim Parsons (i.e. grown Sheldon) provides narration, while Iain Armitage tackles the title role. The show has been renewed by CBS for a second season.  


#9. Supernatural

Expected air date: October 2018

Three-month Wikipedia pageviews: 848,129

“Supernatural” first aired on The WB in 2005, and then got scooped up by the network’s successor, The CW. Thirteen years later, the show—about two brothers who fight off a variety of monsters and demons—is still a big hit among its fans. Season 14 kicks off in October; in the meantime, there aren’t just 13 seasons to revisit, but a short-lived animated series as well.


#8. Gotham

Expected air date: 2019

Three-month Wikipedia pageviews: 863,760

Chronicling the rise of Detective Jim Gordon amidst a backdrop of crime and corruption, this Fox show approaches the city of Gotham from an atypical perspective. That’s not to say Bruce Wayne doesn’t make the occasional appearance as a young man, but he has yet to officially don the bat suit—barring the occasional futuristic vision. According to teasers and early reports, all that will change with season five, which will finally see Wayne transforming into the caped crusader.


#7. The Flash

Expected air date: October 2018

Three-month Wikipedia pageviews: 901,335

In this popular show for The CW, crime scene investigator Barry Allen (Grant Gustin) gets struck by stray lightning from a particle accelerator gone awry—and then wakes up to discover he can run at super-fast speeds. Equipped with this new power, he becomes Central City’s newest crime-fighting vigilante. It all went down four seasons ago, and the action hasn’t stopped in the time since. Season five has started filming and will premiere in October.


#6. Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

Expected air date: Summer 2019

Three-month Wikipedia pageviews: 972,449

In a TV landscape oversaturated with superheroes, ABC’s “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” still manages to stand out from the herd. Co-created by Joss Whedon of “The Avengers” fame, the show chronicles the endless adventures of the Strategic Homeland Intervention, Enforcement and Logistics Division. Despite a loyal following, the show seemed destined for the chopping block after season five, which overlapped with events from “Avengers: Infinity War.” However, ABC gave a last-minute reprieve to the series and picked it up for at least one more season.


#5. The 100

Expected air date: Spring 2019

Three-month Wikipedia pageviews: 1,156,128

Taking place nearly a century after a nuclear holocaust, “The 100” sees a group of “expendable” delinquents being sent down to earth from a surviving space colony. Now in unfamiliar terrain, the group must explore and potentially repopulate a planet they never called home. Along the way, they struggle to form a community—and discover that they’re not alone. Season five is still underway, with viewers waiting to see who will get knocked off next, while season six is slated to premiere in 2019.


#4. Grey's Anatomy

Expected air date: Sept. 27, 2018

Three-month Wikipedia pageviews: 1,261,809

Exploring both the professional and personal lives of the staff at a Seattle hospital, “Grey’s Anatomy” kicked off as a mid-season replacement in 2005, and has been a mainstay on ABC ever since. Created by Shonda Rhimes, the award-winning show isn’t necessarily the pop culture phenomenon it once was, but it still manages to score some impressive ratings—especially among the key 19–49 demographic. Season 15, which could be the last, will premiere in the fall.


#3. The Big Bang Theory

Expected air date: September 24, 2018

Three-month Wikipedia pageviews: 1,410,868

If there is one sitcom that currently rules them all, it’s this one from CBS. What started as an idiosyncratic series about four geniuses and their attractive female friend has since blossomed into a strong ensemble comedy. Nevertheless, stars Jim Parsons, Johnny Galecki, and Kaley Cuoco still function as the show’s heart and soul. Now approaching its 12th season, “The Big Bang Theory” remains a ratings phenomenon.


#2. Brooklyn Nine-Nine

Expected air date: January 2019

Three-month Wikipedia pageviews: 1,665,133

The current TV landscape is one in which anything can happen, and something did—to “Brooklyn Nine-Nine,” which was recently canceled by Fox and then scooped up by NBC thanks in part to an internet backlash. In the show, “SNL” alumnus Andy Samberg plays Jake Peralta, a juvenile but skilled detective who’s always butting heads with his captain (Andre Braugher). Terry Crews also stars. Look for season six to premiere in 2019, and don’t forget to tune in to NBC to watch it.


#1. Riverdale

Expected air date: Oct. 10, 2018

Three-month Wikipedia pageviews: 2,691,142

A “Twin Peaks”-style mystery show involving characters from the old “Archie” comic strip? It might sound too weird to be true, but that’s how one might summarize “Riverdale” on The CW. Follow Archie and the gang as they dig beneath the wholesome veneer of their small town to uncover some dark, dirty secrets. Season three kicks off in October.

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