With a raft of wonderful shows heading back to the small screen this year – Fleabag, Killing Eve and Game of Thrones to name just a few – 2019 is officially the year of the hermit as we all make as few plans as possible so that we can do what we love best: spend as much time as possible parked firmly in front of the telly.
But there’s always room for more, and we’re still (emphasis on the still) waiting patiently for the following 12 shows to return after what feels like a lifetime without them.
Seriously, what’s taking so long?
Ryan Murphy’s true-crime anthology series American Crime Story has two seasons under its belt to date: The People v OJ Simpson and The Assassination of Gianni Versace, which were both a hit with critics and the public – and Murphy isn’t finished yet.
A third season, Katrina, starring Sarah Paulson as a doctor working in a New Orleans hospital struck by Hurricane Katrina back in 2005, was actually announced before the OJ Simpson-focused season aired, and was supposed to premiere before The Assassination of Gianni Versace.
But while there has been a lot of talk, there still isn’t a concrete release date on the table.
"[Katrina] just kind of got stalled," director Anthony Hemingway told The Hollywood Reporter back in 2017. "We're all standing by waiting to find out what's happening. Nothing has really been done. We haven't started prep on it at all."
FX president John Landgraf told Entertainment Weekly that he was "confident that it will air".
"It was a big creative pivot we made [to swap Katrina for Versace]," he added.
“I'm going to let Ryan announce to you when he feels the time is right. But I think you'll see when he does, it's a really, really exciting idea.”
Then in August, Landgraf told ET that script changes had caused further delays: "We went back to square one and started over.
"So much of it right now is Ryan. He kind of sets his own timetable. I'm quite certain [Murphy's other FX shows] American Horror Story and Pose are on an annual cycle.
"With Crime Story and Feud, they're on a cycle of when the material is good enough and when Ryan willing and able to slot that into his schedule."
The fourth season, which was going to be based on the Monica Lewinsky scandal, has since been scrapped.
So, Jed Mecurio’s political thriller made quite the impression, didn’t it?
The BBC series is the UK's most-watched drama since records began, the show's finale attracting an overall audience of 17.1 million, as well as being BBC iPlayer's most successful box set series ever.
A second series has been confirmed, which is good news, but it won’t be popping up on our screens for quite a while, with 2020 expected to mark the year of its return – Line of Duty series five – airing this year– was delayed because of Bodyguard's first series, so with production starting late, it’ll be a while before Bodyguard's second season is wrapped up.
Richard Madden, who won a Golden Globe for his role as series star David Budd, told the MailOnline that a timeout was necessary: "Budd needs a break to sort his life out. You just can’t slap a script together and throw it onto the screen. It has to be carefully thought through.
"First of all, what is the story? What’s the next step for a character like David Budd? The thinking is for all of us to have a break and come back to it fresh maybe in a year or so."
Like we said, you're going to be waiting quite a while.
After not being sure if she wanted to do a second series, Doctor Foster star Suranne Jones was convinced by writer Mike Bartlett to jump back on board for the ride, but will there be a third season?
Speaking to Radio Times, Bartlett said: "You can see the ending.
"Tom’s gone. So there’s a question mark. In a way that is a question mark at the end. And I think it works as an end to this series and all the things that have been going on.
"Clearly there’s potential there. But obviously there would have to be lots of conversations.
"We need to talk – Suranne and I and lots of other people need to have lots of conversations and we’ll see."
But while that sounds somewhat hopeful (we're fishing), he added: "I think it’s important with this show that you stay in the present. It’s not a show where you are seeding lots of things for some future thing. And that’s never been the point of it.
"Part of the reason I don’t massively do a big masterplan for it is that no one in the show has that. And it’s all about the present moment and what it feels like to go through this."
With no further updates out there, we continue to wait.
The other Ryan Murphy anthology series on this list, Feud, focused on the rivalry between Bette Davis and Joan Crawford in its first season, aptly named Bette and Joan – and it was renewed for a second season back in 2017.
The drama, originally titled Charles and Diana, was later changed to Buckingham Palace, but despite the clamour around a series that would have undoubtedly attracted impressive viewing figures, it was put on hold last year, and there hasn’t been anymore development since.
"It’s not moving forward at the moment," FX chief John Landgraf told ET at the Television Critics Association press tour back in August last year.
"Ultimately, we couldn’t get the material to the place we wanted.
"I’d say if you asked Ryan, he would still say it’s an active series and he’s still intending to do further cycles. But he hasn’t told me ‘This is the cycle I’m doing and this is when I’m doing it'."
Speaking to The Hollywood Reporter, Landgraf said: “We did have it cast (Matthew Goode and Rosamund Pike were the rumoured stars) but we decided we didn’t feel we had the material right and decided not to move forward with it.”
So if we do get a second season of Feud, it doesn’t sound like Charles and Diana will be the focus.
5. Happy Valley
The BBC crime drama, starring the remarkable Sarah Lancashire as no nonsense police sergeant Catherine Cawood, has amassed a legion of loyal fans since it first burst onto our screens back in 2014 – and a third series was confirmed all the way back in 2017.
But we’re now more than a year on and there’s still no news on exactly when it will be back.
Initially, we were told that it would be late 2018, the delay down to writer-creator-director Sally Wainwright being tied up with other TV projects, according to executive producer Nicola Shindler.
Shindler then went on to say that the earliest Happy Valley could return would be towards the end of last year, which means that we’re still going to have quite a wait on our hands.
"Sally feels there is a very final ending needed for the show and for Catherine," Lancashire tole The Sun last year. "There's going to be a very big full-stop to the piece."
At least it’ll be worth it.
The Haunting of Hill House landed on Netflix with very little expectation, but swiftly became one of 2018’s biggest shows, with fans and critics alike praising Mike Flanagan’s supernatural horror for its exploration of familial relationships and trauma, mental health, and its ability to deliver the goods when it comes to the basic tenets of a solid jump scare.
Netflix hasn’t yet said whether fans can expect the series to return for a second season, but both Flanagan and the cast are definitely interested.
"Mike Flanagan said he would be interested in the notion of an anthology, where some actors come back to play different characters," Carla Gugino, who plays Olivia Crain, told THR.
"If I was invited and I was able to, I would really love to, just because I do love to collaborate with him."
An anthology series would mean a host of new faces, and in terms of time scale, the first season began filming in October 2017, airing a year later, so we could see season two in 2019, possibly at Halloween.
But like we said, it’s all up in the air at the moment.
It was revealed last year that a fourth season of Humans, Channel 4 and AMC’s sci-fi thriller, was a 'possibility' according to co-creator Sam Vincent.
Speaking on BBC Radio Kent's The Dominic King Show, he said: "There's so many moving parts to these kind of decisions [so] that's still rumbling on."
Vincent added that both he and co-writer Jonathan Brackley are "sort of in-between things at the moment, still figuring out what to do next".
Will Tudor, who plays Odi/"V" appeared on Graham Norton's radio show back in December and said that despite there being no commission for a new series, he was hopeful that it would return: "I think it's up in the air. But I really hope so. It's a great story, and where it's been left, I think it really sets it up quite nice."
The finale of Liar, ITV’s tense psychological thriller, in which Ioan Gruffudd took on the role of manipulative and dangerous surgeon Andrew Earlham, preying on Laura Nielson (Joanne Froggatt) and driving her to the brink of insanity, had an audience of 6.5 million – so it was inevitable that it would return for a second series.
Show creators Harry and Jack Williams confirmed to the Mirror that the twists and turns are set to continue, with Jack revealing that series two "will be a new set of lies and perceptions".
"There are certainly a few suspects and we hope to explore that further," added Harry.
"Andrew has been missing for several weeks and then we see his dead body in the empty marshlands. The question is: what happened in those missing weeks that led to Andrew’s demise?"
And it’s good news for fans because we have a rough estimation of when it will air. An ITV spokesperson confirmed to Digital Spy that filming will begin this month (January 2019), so barring any disasters we would expect it air towards the end of this year, potentially during the autumn, as that’s when the first series landed.
9. Our Girl
Following the finale of Our Girl series four, the hugely popular BBC military drama starring Michelle Keegan, the former Coronation Street actor confirmed that the show would be returning for another outing following the episode’s dramatic events in which the entire cast were forced to jump off a cliff.
"Thank you so much for watching, see you soon!" she said via video on the BBC’s Twitter account.
So, what’s the latest?
Back in August last year, a BBC representative said: "Our Girl has performed consistently well over the summer and is still being watched by a big audience on BBC iPlayer.
"We are in discussions about future Our Girl series."
But in December, Ben Aldridge, who plays Captain Charles James, told Metro.co.uk that things did seem a little uncertain: "I’m not sure where they stand with Our Girl at the moment.
"I know there were rumblings of it doing another series. I don’t think I could be a part of that. I’m doing another job which would make me pretty much unavailable for next year, depending on when Our Girl films.
"I was never in contract to do another one, none of us were, so I guess it’d be basically who they could get back and, when they decide to do it, who’s available kind of thing."
And that’s the latest. So with no actual confirmation from either the BBC or its main stars, an Our Girl return is absolutely possible, in which case we wouldn’t expect it to air anytime soon (possibly in 2020), but there is nothing set in stone as of yet.
10. The Sinner
USA Network’s The Sinner is unsettling and macabre, more often than not leaving the hairs on the back of your neck standing on end – so it makes perfect sense that we all want more.
But despite the success of its first two seasons, a third has not yet been officially confirmed.
That slight snag, however, hasn’t stopped showrunner Derek Simonds from musing on what the future could hold for the show’s troubled detective, Harry Ambrose (Bill Pullman).
"Ambrose is our main character. We can’t resolve him quickly because he is the character we follow through these seasons. So, his journey is a longer one," he told IndieWire.
"I have a particular thought that would bring Ambrose on the next step of his personal journey.
"It’s a darker and scarier step. That’s all I’ll say."
So there’s definitely scope for more, a lot more by the sounds of. But frustratingly, nothing concrete is on the table as of yet.
11. Twin Peaks
According to show creator David Lynch, mystery horror Twin Peaks could absolutely return.
"It is calling, but there are a lot of disturbances,” he said when speaking about the possibility of continuing Carrie's story at a Q&A panel at The Theatre at Ace Hotel in Los Angeles.
But there are no guarantees from anyone involved in the making of the show that is will return – and even if it did, we wouldn't expect to see it anytime before 2021.
"It took me four and a half years to write and film this season," said Lynch of season three when speaking during a Skype interview at Serbia’s Belgrade Culture Centre.
Series star Kyle MacLachlan, who plays Special Agent Dale Cooper, told Slashfilm at the Television Critics Association winter press tour: "David’s process is his own, as said has said. He will come to it, if he comes to it, in his own time.
"That could be 10 minutes, it could be 10 years."
Speaking to Deadline, he added: "I think we're all just waiting on David to have the spark of an idea to go forward. It'd be a great journey. I would drop everything to do that."
12. The X-Files
Any news that was simmering in regards to The X-Files seems to have gone quiet. Back in July 2018, show creator Chris Carter told Den of Geek that Gillian Anderson, who plays show lead Dana Scully, is so integral to the plot that the show couldn’t really exist without her.
"Right now, of course, it's up in the air, in terms of Gillian's interest in doing the show," he said.
"I think she's stated that she's finished her run.
"That certainly changes things, and also the sale of Fox to either Disney or Comcast – it looks like Disney now – I think that will change things, and certainly they'll be looking at the show and wondering what its future would be.
"So right now, we're playing a wait-and-see with all those variables."
He continued: “You know, once again, it's about Gillian's involvement. For me, The X-Files is Mulder and Scully, so even though we did the show without David (Duchovny), without Mulder, for a time, I always felt like her science was the centre of the show.
“In the end, it is a science show, and it makes it all-important."
During a Q&A with reporters at the Television Critics Association winter press tour last year, Anderson did say that season 11 had been her last.
"There are lots of things that I want to do in my life and career," she said.
"It’s been an extraordinary opportunity. I’m extremely grateful. [But] I don’t want to be tied down to doing one thing for months and months.
"I like to be challenged as an actor. That’s why I got into this business. And it’s time for me to hang up Scully’s hat. This is it for me. I'm really serious.”
So, it doesn’t sound likely that the show will be appearing back on our screens anytime soon, if ever.
Fox co-chairman and CEO Gary Newman also revealed to reporters last year that "there are no plans to do another season at the moment".
But if it were to, what would it look like?
"We always have the show in real time, so I would imagine that if we come back, there would be a passage of time, and Scully would have had that baby – or not," Carter told Den of Geek.
One can certainly dream.
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