And just how to do that is one of the hardest problems in the entertainment world.
Shake things up too much and even the most enthusiastic fans can start to lose interest. Leave everything as it was, however and the exact same issue arises. So, what to do?
Sometimes, producers get it just right, like when major characters in the long-running series M*A*S*H were either killed off (as can happen in a program set in the middle of a war) or sent home, and the fresh faces helped inject new life into the series.
Other times – for example when the Connor family at the centre of Roseanne suddenly won the lottery – they fail miserably. Instead of the working-class heroes they had grown to love, viewers suddenly found themselves faced with cashed up show-offs… and they switched off in droves.
But fortunately for fans of what’s hot right now, producers have learned from the past and have managed to get things right, successfully growing the stories of existing characters while throwing in enough surprises to keep viewers on their toes.
With births and deaths, break-ups and weddings, new additions and some key departures, here’s how five of the biggest returning shows are handling their 2020 comeback.
Power (Season 6, now streaming)
What it is: With Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson serving as co-executive producer, Power is set in New York city and follows drug dealer James “Ghost” St Patrick (Omari Hardwick) as he tries to quit crime and make it as a legitimate club owner.
What’s new this year: The sixth and final season of Power returned after an explosive mid-season finale, and the series’ final episodes will bring together all the intrigue and infighting. Ghost realises not everyone wants him to go straight and that it’s not just his enemies he should be watching. Be warned: not everyone will make it out alive and who dies – and who does the killing – will definitely shock.
Check out Power here.
The Bold Type (Season 4, now streaming)
What it is: Inspired by the life of Joanna Coles, the former editor-in-chief of Cosmopolitan magazine, comes the story of three young women (including Australia’s own Aisha Dee) working at Scarlet, one of the fashion world’s leading magazines, who discover it’s not all glitz and glamour if you want to make it to the top in this highly-competitive arena.
What’s new this year: Everything. Dee has already teased that “all the girls personal lives, careers and loves take a shift” in the new season, with strong hints that Kate and Adina’s on again/off again romance is well and truly back on, while Jane looks like she might finally kick her ex Pinstripe to the curb… for a while at least!
Check out The Bold Type here.
Miracle Workers (Season 2, January 29)
What it is: An anthology series designed to make you care, laugh and most importantly think, season one of Miracle Workers introduced us to angels Craig and Eliza (Daniel Radcliffe and Geraldine Viswanathan) trying to save the world from God’s wrath.
What’s new this year: In a completely new storyline, Radcliffe and Viswanathan are back, but now playing a prince and (how to put this politely?) waste management worker in the Dark Ages who challenge the idea that what you are born into is what you should accept. Once again this is hilarious, romantic and guaranteed to make you think about your own life.
Check out Miracle Workers here.
Better Call Saul (Season 5, February 24)
What it is: The prequel to acclaimed crime drama Breaking Bad takes us back to the early days of Walter White’s lawyer Saul Goodman (Bob Odenkirk) to show just how he wound up working for the drug kingpin.
What’s new this year: Jimmy McGill (aka Saul) continues his descent from criminal lawyer to criminal *and* lawyer, slowly moving further into the underworld he once represented. This season his Saul persona finally appears, his wife moves further away (possibly forever) and a few more familiar faces will appear as the timeline catches up with where we joined Breaking Bad.
Check out the Better Call Saul here.
Billions (Season 5, May 3)
What it is: When crusading US attorney Chuck Rhoades (Paul Giamatti) starts to investigate decidedly dodgy billionaire Bobby Axelrod (Damian Lewis) the pair begin a cat-and-mouse dance that could have a very deadly outcome.
What’s new this year: With a common enemy stalking both Chuck and Bobby, the two have formed an uneasy alliance to keep their lives on track, but given the money and egos at stake here that’s not likely to last. Keep an eye out for Juliana Margulies (The Good Wife) who joins the cast as a sociology professor and author who might prove a tougher opponent than either man has ever faced.
Check out Billions here