40 TV Shows to Watch This Fall

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The fall television season got off to an early start this year with the arrival of the dueling franchise extensions and hopeful blockbusters, “House of the Dragon” on HBO and “The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power” on Amazon Prime Video. But TV’s vast landscape offers a lot more than expensively produced, effects-laden fantasy. From the relatable delights of “Abbott Elementary” to the highly specific hilarity of “Documentary Now!,” here are some noteworthy fall premieres, arranged in chronological order.

All dates are subject to change.

THE SERPENT QUEEN The story of Catherine de’ Medici, the 16th-century queen of France, in a satirical, talking-to-the-camera 21st-century telling, with Samantha Morton and Liv Hill as Catherine and a large cast, including Charles Dance, Colm Meaney and Ludivine Sagnier, as the clerics and aristocrats who underestimate her at their peril. Starz, Sept. 11.

THE JENNIFER HUDSON SHOW The success of daytime talk-show hosts is notoriously hard to predict, and whether Hudson will have the right skill set and personality for the role is about to be seen. But she immediately becomes the most talented singer and actress in the field, for what that’s worth. Syndicated, Sept. 12.

THE HANDMAID’S TALE This bleak allegory and nonlinear-TV pioneer — the first streaming show to win an Emmy for outstanding drama series — soldiers into its fifth season, with June (Elisabeth Moss) quickly coming down from the cathartic high of Season 4’s bloody conclusion. Hulu, Sept. 14.

ATLANTA After a third season, ending in May, that was quietly received — and that dropped more than half of the show’s previous broadcast audience — Donald Glover’s prickly comedy quickly returns for a fourth and final go-round. FX, Sept. 15.

THE U.S. AND THE HOLOCAUST Ken Burns, directing with Lynn Novick and Sarah Botstein, devotes six hours to an uncomfortable chapter of American history with an alarmingly familiar backdrop of racism and xenophobia. PBS, Sept. 18.

QUANTUM LEAP Raymond Lee (the sympathetic diner owner in “Kevin Can F**k Himself”) plays a new time-jumping do-gooder in this reboot of the early-90s sci-fi series. The Quantum Leap project is restarted and the original hero, Sam Beckett, is still missing, so a Scott Bakula guest appearance seems pretty much preordained. NBC, Sept. 19.

PARIS POLICE 1900 In the spirit of “Babylon Berlin,” this period policier sets standard crime drama against a vivid historical backdrop: the Dreyfus affair, organized and violent antisemitism, the rise of the pioneering lawyer Jeanne Chauvin (Eugenie Derouand) and the sometimes deadly career of the Parisian courtesan Marguerite Steinheil (Evelyne Brochu). MHz Choice, Sept. 20.

REBOOT Steven Levitan, who grabbed the network-sitcom brass ring with “Just Shoot Me!” and “Modern Family,” indulges in some gentle self-parody. Judy Greer, Keegan-Michael Key and Johnny Knoxville play the cast of a hacky early-aughts family comedy who reunite for a new version written by a young woman (Rachel Bloom of “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend”) who is strangely obsessed with the original show. Hulu, Sept. 20.

ABBOTT ELEMENTARY Quinta Brunson’s sitcom about struggling teachers at a Philadelphia elementary school, a breakout hit in the spring and an Emmy nominee for best comedy series, embarks on its second season. UKTN, Sept. 21.

ANDOR Tony Gilroy has more on his résumé than a writing credit for “Rogue One,” and it looks as if his new “Star Wars” series might incorporate some of the real-world grit he displayed a feel for in the Bourne movies. That would be a good thing, though don’t tell it to your friend with the lightsaber collection. Disney+, Sept. 21.

REASONABLE DOUBT Kerry Washington is an executive producer and a director of this legal melodrama created by Raamla Mohamed, who was a writer and producer on Washington’s breakthrough series, “Scandal.” Emayatzy Corinealdi plays a high-rent, high-stress Los Angeles lawyer whose conscience begins to bite her in the first scripted series from Disney’s Onyx Collective brand for creators of color. Hulu, Sept. 27.

THE DARK HEART Gustav Möller, director of the Swedish film “The Guilty” (remade in America starring Jake Gyllenhaal), oversaw this five-part thriller inspired by real events. A woman who manages a civilian search team for missing persons takes on the case of a landowner and lumber baron who alienated a lot of people, including his ambitious daughter, before he disappeared. Topic, Sept. 29.

SO HELP ME TODD A quirky-funny mystery series — in the long lineage of “Monk” — starring Marcia Gay Harden as a Type-A lawyer and Skylar Astin as her son, who’s better at investigating than he is at adulting. UKTN, Sept. 29.

ANNE RICE’S INTERVIEW WITH THE VAMPIRE AMC takes its first step toward an Anne Rice universe, under the aegis of the veteran producer Mark Johnson (“Better Call Saul”). Jacob Anderson, the eunuch warrior Grey Worm in “Game of Thrones,” plays Louis, the Brad Pitt role from the movie version; Sam Reid steps in for Tom Cruise as Lestat; and the newcomer Bailey Bass, soon to be seen in several “Avatar” sequels, replaces Kirsten Dunst as the child vampire, Claudia. AMC, Oct. 2.

EAST NEW YORK William Finkelstein, a creator of this cop drama, spent the 1990s and early 2000s writing and producing for a good roster of shows: “L.A. Law,” “Murder One,” “Brooklyn South,” “Law & Order” and “NYPD Blue.” On the other hand, he also created “Cop Rock” with Steven Bochco. Amanda Warren (the mayor in “The Leftovers”) plays a new precinct boss in the Brooklyn neighborhood of the title, heading a cast that includes Jimmy Smits, Richard Kind and Ruben Santiago-Hudson. UKTN, Oct. 2.

THE WALKING DEAD There was a time — and it was only six years ago — when “The Walking Dead” was drawing more than 12 million viewers an episode and the death of a major character was Monday morning news. Now more important as intellectual property than as weekly storytelling, the original series shuffles to the finish line with its final eight episodes. AMC, Oct. 2.

MAKING BLACK AMERICA: THROUGH THE GRAPEVINE Henry Louis Gates Jr. explores the codes, networks and private societies that Black Americans have created “behind the veil” of the color line in a four-part documentary series. PBS, Oct. 4.

ALASKA DAILY Tom McCarthy, who made one of the best newspaper dramas of our time in the film “Spotlight,” created this series about an abrasive reporter (Hilary Swank) who gets canceled in New York and takes a job in Anchorage, lured by a story about the deaths of Indigenous women. The presence of Jeff Perry as her new boss probably isn’t the only thing that will remind you of the shows of the UKTN stalwart Shonda Rhimes. UKTN, Oct. 6.

A FRIEND OF THE FAMILY Anna Paquin and Colin Hanks star in this true-crime mini-series as the parents of the actress Jan Broberg, who was kidnapped when she was 12 and again when she was 14 by the same family friend (played by Jake Lacy). The bizarre story has also been told in the 2017 feature documentary “Abducted in Plain Sight.” Peacock, Oct. 6.

PENNYWORTH: THE ORIGIN OF BATMAN’S BUTLER This stylish “Batman” prequel series, about the former special-forces soldier who will one day be Bruce Wayne’s butler (as the show’s awkward new title makes clear), leaves Epix for a platform closer to its DC Comics roots. Season 3 also mostly leaves behind the alt-history British civil war that occupied the first two installments, jumping ahead five years and introducing superheroes. HBO Max, Oct. 6.

LET THE RIGHT ONE IN John Ajvide Lindqvist’s ultra-bleak 2004 novel about a child vampire keeps circulating through the culture: It has inspired films, plays, a comic book and a TV pilot, with Thomas Kretschmann, that wasn’t picked up. Now the story makes it to TV with Demián Bichir as the father of the girl vampire (Madison Taylor Baez) who’s forever 12. Showtime, online Oct. 7, cable Oct. 9.

THE MIDNIGHT CLUB The latest from Mike Flanagan, whose atmospheric horror series (“The Haunting of Hill House,” “Midnight Mass”) have won a following on Netflix. Heather Langenkamp plays the doctor at a hospice where the patients like to tell one another scary stories. Netflix, Oct. 7.

BECOMING FREDERICK DOUGLASS The documentarian Stanley Nelson (“Attica,” “Freedom Riders”) fills in some important chapters in his epic yet quotidian history of Black life in America with this film and with “Harriet Tubman: Visions of Freedom” (Oct. 4), both directed by Nelson and Nicole London. PBS, Oct. 11.

CHAINSAW MAN Anticipation is running high in the anime world for the MAPPA animation studio’s adaptation of “Chainsaw Man,” a dark-comic, body-horror manga about a young devil hunter with a deadly appendage. Crunchyroll, Oct. 11.

SHERWOOD The cast of this UKTN mystery series is a lengthy British-TV who’s who: David Morrissey, Lesley Manville, Claire Rushbrook, Philip Jackson, Joanne Froggatt, Terence Maynard, Kevin Doyle, Robert Glenister, Clare Holman, Lorraine Ashbourne, Adeel Akhtar, Pip Torrens and Mark Addy, among others. Morrissey is the detective investigating a bow-and-arrow murder in Robin Hood’s old Nottinghamshire haunts that brings up hatreds from a 1980s miners’ strike. BritBox, Oct. 11.

THE WINCHESTERS Jensen Ackles returns to the “Supernatural” universe, reassuming his role as the monster hunter Dean Winchester in this prequel series. This time Dean, in a supporting role, is tracking down the real story of the younger days of his mother and father (Meg Donnelly and Drake Rodger), which sounds like a good strategy for avoiding pesky continuity questions. CW, Oct. 11

DOCUMENTARY NOW! One of TV’s greatest pleasures returns after a more than three-year hiatus. The fourth season, hosted, as always, by Dame Helen Mirren, will include sendups of “My Octopus Teacher,” “The September Issue,” “When We Were Kings” and Werner Herzog’s “Burden of Dreams.” IFC, Oct. 19.

FROM SCRATCH Zoe Saldana stars in a mini-series that crosses cultures — a Black American woman falls in love with a Sicilian chef during her Wanderjahr in Italy — and genres, mixing picturesque Euroromance and sorrowful survivor’s tale. Netflix, Oct. 21.

THE PERIPHERAL Scott B. Smith, who wrote the screenplay (based on his own novel) of the excellent 1998 thriller “A Simple Plan,” is the creator and showrunner of this series based on a dystopian, alternate-futures mystery by William Gibson; Chloë Grace Moretz stars; and Lisa Joy and Jonathan Nolan are among the executive producers. That’s an awful lot of bleak-noir experience. Amazon Prime Video, Oct. 21.

GUILLERMO DEL TORO’S CABINET OF CURIOSITIES Del Toro takes on the Alfred Hitchcock role, playing master of ceremonies for an eight-episode horror anthology. (A previous title included the words “Guillermo del Toro Presents.”) The first season’s directors include Jennifer Kent (“The Babadook”), Catherine Hardwicke (“Twilight”) and Ana Lily Amirpour (“A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night”). Netflix, Oct. 25.

SHERMAN’S SHOWCASE Diallo Riddle and Bashir Salahuddin’s consistently clever, stealthily sophisticated, unabashedly nostalgic sendup of old-school variety shows finally returns for a second season. IFC, Oct. 26.

TRUE CRIME STORY: INDEFENSIBLE Back for a second season, the comedian Jena Friedman applies the adversarial techniques of topical late-night humor to the true-crime genre, in 20-minute episodes that are less investigations — the facts of the cases are generally pretty plain, at least in Friedman’s eyes — than expressions of darkly comic outrage. SundanceTV, Oct. 27.

BIG MOUTH Since Nick Kroll broke the third-dimensional wall in the Season 5 finale and had a heart-to-heart with his animated character, Nick Birch, will any of his castmates get to follow suit in the sixth season of this raunchy paean to puberty? The real-life John Mulaney would probably have some interesting things to say to his animated counterpart, randy Andy Glouberman. Netflix, Oct. 28.

MANIFEST A hit in reruns on Netflix after being canceled by NBC, this paranormal mystery-melodrama gets a fourth and final season at its streaming home. Netflix, Nov. 4.

DANGEROUS LIAISONS This new adaptation of the Choderlos de Laclos novel was announced nearly a decade ago, with Christopher Hampton, who had already based a play and a film on the novel, attached as writer once again. Hampton didn’t remain as the writer — he gets an executive producer credit — but the mini-series has arrived billed as the “origin story” of the Marquise de Merteuil and the Vicomte de Valmont. Apparently they weren’t always jaded monsters. Starz, Nov. 6.

MOOD Like Phoebe Waller-Bridge (“Fleabag”) and Michaela Coel (“Chewing Gum”) before her, Nicole Lecky turns a hit one-woman play into a buzzy British TV series. She plays Sasha, a broke and unemployed young Londoner who finds herself in the potentially lucrative and liberating — and also potentially exploitative and dangerous — world of the influencer economy. UKTN America, Nov. 6.

TULSA KING On the same night that Taylor Sheridan’s flagship show, “Yellowstone,” begins its fifth season, his portfolio of manly genre dramas grows with the addition of this mash-up of gangster story and neo-western. It’s also Sheridan’s latest action-hero reclamation project: Sylvester Stallone stars as a Mafia capo sent to oversee operations in the foreign territory of Tulsa, Okla. Paramount+, Nov. 13.

WELCOME TO CHIPPENDALES Robert Siegel, fresh off “Pam & Tommy,” and Jenni Konner of “Girls” are the showrunners of a mini-series starring Kumail Nanjiani as Steve Banerjee, the unlikely and eventually ill-fated founder of a male-stripping colossus. Hulu, Nov. 22.

WILLOW Ron Howard’s 1988 fantasy film “Willow” is not the first piece of intellectual property anyone would have predicted for a reboot, but when George Lucas is involved — he received “story by” credit on the film — anything can happen. Lucasfilm and Howard’s Imagine Entertainment are producing this sequel series; Warwick Davis, now 52, returns as the title character. Maybe Willow will be a more consistent spell caster than he was as a teenager. Disney+, Nov. 30.

THE ADVENTURES OF SAUL BELLOW Asaf Galay’s documentary, an “American Masters” offering, recruits wives, children and innocent bystanders to talk about being the real-life sources of Bellow’s books. Meanwhile, fellow novelists and critics like Charles Johnson, Salman Rushdie, Stanley Crouch and, in what may have been his last interview, a captivating Philip Roth certify or question Bellow’s place in the American pantheon. PBS, Dec. 12.

And if all that isn’t enough for you, these new and returning shows are also coming this fall (new shows in bold):

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Sept. 11: “Monarch,” UKTN; Sept. 12: “War of the Worlds,” Epix; Sept. 13: “The Come Up,” Freeform; Sept. 15: “La Otra Mirada,” PBS; “Vampire Academy,” Peacock; “The Light in the Hall,” Sundance Now; Sept. 16: “Los Espookys,” HBO; Sept. 18: “60 Minutes,” UKTN; “SEAL Team,” Paramount+; Sept. 19: “Bob Hearts Abishola,” “NCIS,” “NCIS: Hawai’i,” “The Neighborhood,” UKTN; “9-1-1,” “The Cleaning Lady,” UKTN; Sept. 20: “FBI,” “FBI: International,” “FBI: Most Wanted,” UKTN; “The Resident,” UKTN; “New Amsterdam,” NBC; Sept. 21: “The Conners,” “The Goldbergs,” “Home Economics,” “Big Sky,” UKTN; “Survivor,” “The Amazing Race,” UKTN; “Chicago Fire,” “Chicago Med,” “Chicago P.D.,” NBC; Sept. 22: “The Kardashians,” Hulu; “Law & Order,” “Law & Order: Organized Crime,” “Law & Order: SVU,” NBC; “Thai Cave Rescue,” Netflix; Sept. 23: “Who’s Talking to Chris Wallace,” HBO Max; Sept. 24: “Finding Happy,” Bounce; Sept. 25: “The Rookie,” UKTN; “The Simpsons,” “The Great North,” “Bob’s Burgers,” “Family Guy,” UKTN; “Van der Valk,” PBS; Sept. 27: “The Rookie: Feds,” UKTN; “La Brea,” NBC; “Mighty Ducks: Game Changers,” Disney+; Sept. 28: “The D’Amelio Show,” Hulu; Sept. 29: “Young Sheldon,” “Ghosts,” “CSI: Vegas,” UKTN; “Welcome to Flatch,” “Call Me Kat,” UKTN; “Dragons Rescue Riders: Heroes of the Sky,” Peacock; Sept. 30: “Ramy,” Hulu; Oct. 2: “The Equalizer,” UKTN: “Family Law,” “The Coroner,” CW: Oct. 3: “The Good Doctor,” UKTN: Oct. 5: “Kung Fu,” CW: “Reginald the Vampire,” Syfy; “Chucky,” Syfy/USA; Oct. 6: “Grey’s Anatomy,” “Station 19,” UKTN; “Walker, Independence,” “Walker” CW; Oct. 7: “The Problem With Jon Stewart,” Apple TV+; “Fire Country,” “Blue Bloods,” “SWAT,” UKTN; Oct. 9: “NCIS: Los Angeles,” UKTN; “Secrets of the Dead,” PBS; Oct. 10: “All American,” “All American: Homecoming,” CW; Oct. 11: “Professionals,” CW; Oct. 14: “Shantaram,” Apple TV+; Oct. 16: “Magpie Murders,” “Miss Scarlet and the Duke,” PBS; Oct. 20: “One of Us Is Lying,” Peacock; Oct. 21: “Acapulco,” Apple TV+; Oct. 26: “Mysterious Benedict Society” Disney+; Nov. 3: “Blockbuster,” Netflix; “The Capture,” Peacock; “The Suspect,” Sundance Now; “Kold x Windy,” WE; Nov. 4: “Lopez vs. Lopez,” “Young Rock,” NBC; Nov. 9: “Zootopia+,” Disney+; Nov. 10: “The Calling,” Peacock; Nov. 11: “The English,” Amazon Prime Video; Nov. 13: “Yellowstone,” Paramount; Nov. 18: “The L Word: Generation Q,” Showtime; “Planet Sex With Cara Delevingne,” Hulu; Nov. 23: “Pitch Perfect: Bumper in Berlin,” Peacock; Nov. 30: “Irreverent,” Peacock; Dec. 1: “Wicked City,” “Hush,” AllBlk; Dec. 22: “The Best Man: The Final Chapters,” Peacock.

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