The next four months are going to be packed with plenty of awards season contenders and blockbuster offerings at the multiplex and arthouse. It’s enough to make your eyes feel exhausted already, but the small screen will be competing for your attention, too. It seems that every waking moment until 2018 will have something to keep you occupied, but we’ve got our handy guide to make things a big easy to sort through.
Below, you’ll find our 25 must-see shows of the fall season. The offerings range from hit shows like “Stranger Things,” which we’ll all be watching, to prestige fare like David Simon‘s pornography origin story series “The Deuce,” to under the radar gems like “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend,” and guilty pleasure viewing like “Riverdale.” It’s all here, and as the weather gets colder, you’ll want to stay in and stay warm in front of the glow of your TV.
Cast: Anson Mount, Iwan Rheon, Serinda Swan, Eme Ikwuakor, Isabelle Cornish, Ken Leung
Synopsis: An isolated community of superhumans fight to protect themselves.
What You Need To Know: OK, let’s be honest, this is the most dubious pick on the list, but it’s Marvel and ABC and well… we’re slightly fascinated about this one if only because TV critics seem to be roasting it already. One episode was screened for critics at the recent TCA press tour and it was so bad that the knives were apparently out. While the rushed VFX didn’t help, it sounds like there are bigger problems at work here. ABC and Marvel haven’t had an outright dud on TV yet, even though a show like “Agent Carter” was eventually canceled — though you could argue “Marvel’s Most Wanted” (which didn’t get picked up after a pilot was shot) was their first major misstep. But you can almost taste the blood in the water for “Inhumans,” which is kind of ironic considering Kevin Feige was all set to make “Inhumans” into a movie and give it its own Marvel movie franchise, but then bailed on the project for reasons unknown. Will it be a faceplant that does so in IMAX screens? We’ll find out soon.
Premiere Date: September 1st on ABC
“You’re the Worst”
Cast: Chris Geere, Aya Cash, Desmin Borges, Kether Donohue
Synopsis: The show centers on two toxic, self-destructive people who fall in love and attempt a relationship.
What You Need to Know: This FX comedy has consistently improved ever since its debut, so hopefully it doesn’t buck that trend in the upcoming fourth season. It’s a show that tackles real issues like depression, PTSD, and crippling dissatisfaction in alarmingly real ways, all while continuing to get laughs. Really, that is a pretty incredible feat, so kudos to creator Stephen Falk for simply nailing the balancing act between seriousness and levity. The ensemble cast oozes chemistry and, in spite of the fact that the main characters are unapologetic curmudgeons, the show tells a surprisingly earnest love story between two people who sort of hate people. If you like comedies that sometimes make you feel guilty for having laughed, give this one a shot. You won’t regret it.
Release Date: September 6th on FX
Cast: James Franco, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Emily Meade
Synopsis: The story of the legalization and subsequent rise of the porn industry in New York’s Times Square from the early 1970s through the mid-1980s, exploring the rough-and-tumble world at the pioneering moments of what would become the billion-dollar American sex industry.
What You Need to Know: David Simon of “The Wire” fame created the show with crime author George Pelecanos who wrote on that critically acclaimed HBO show and “Treme,” so this is a series from a powerhouse duo. It’s interesting the preoccupation with late 1970s New York and television of late. First you had “Vinyl,” Martin Scorsese’s look at rock/punk and the music scene in 1970s New York then there was Baz Luhrmann’s “The Get Down” exploring disco and hip-hop in late ‘70s Bronx. Both shows failed, so Simon and Pelecanos are surely hoping the third times to beat that recent curse.
Premiere Date: September 10th on HBO
“Top of the Lake: China Girl”
Cast: Elisabeth Moss, Gwendoline Christie, Alice Englert, Nicole Kidman
Synopsis: Australia’s most traumatized detective Robin Griffin (Elisabeth Moss) is back on the case when a suitcase containing a female murder victim washes up on Bondi Beach. As Robin works to solve the murder with her new partner, she must battle PTSD from the events that took place at Laketop. Robin’s personal and professional lives once again become entangled when her biological daughter, who she gave up for adoption, reaches out to her.
What You Need to Know: This long-form Jane Campion project dazzled critics when season 1 debuted in 2013. Though ‘China Girl’ gets off to a rocky, ambiguous start (as is Campion’s M.O.), the season promises an incredible cast and intriguing premise that will leave viewers as spellbound/inspired/disturbed as season 1. After four long years, new ‘Top of the Lake’ episodes are finally here. Plus, Gwendoline Christie (“Game of Thrones”) plays a cop! Nicole Kidman plays a lesbian! What more could fans ask for?
Premiere Date: September 10th on Sundance TV
“The Mindy Project”
Cast: Mindy Kaling, Ike Barinholtz, Bryan Greenberg
Synopsis: Picking up six months after the events of the season five finale, the sixth and final season finds Dr. Mindy Lahiri (Kaling) married to nurse Ben (Greenberg) after their impulsive elopement.
What You Need to Know: Kaling’s creation has often approached its heroine’s adventures as one long rom-com, and the show has ten episodes to give Mindy her happy ending — whatever that may mean for her. Marriage is often the conclusion of romantic movies, but “The Mindy Project” will get to explore what happens after for Mindy, Ben and their new blended family. The single-camera comedy has subverted the genre’s tropes as much as it has leaned into them, and the show was at its strongest when it focused on Mindy’s swoon-worthy romance with Dr. Danny Castellano (Chris Messina), then showed why maybe theirs wasn’t the picture-perfect love we all imagined. The show has lost its spark since Messina’s role was diminished and Mindy lost her way, but Danny returns for multiple episodes in this final year. We’re holding out hope that the series will remind us why we fell in love with it in the first place.
Premiere Date: September 12th on Hulu