It's fall, that heady time of year when leaves turn, apples ripen, and televisions mesmerize. We'll be in thrall to our TVs for the next four months and wouldn't have it any other way, unless commanded to do so by the giant flatscreen that controls our minds. These are the 40 shows, docuseries and TV movies we're looking forward to the most.
To find even more stuff to entertain you this fall, read our guides to upcoming movies, music, and books.
Premiere date: September 4 Cast: Ashton Sanders, Shameik Moore, Siddiq Saunderson, Marcus Callender Why we're excited: Earlier this year, Showtime gave us the gripping documentary mini-series Wu-Tang Clan: Of Mics and Men, which allowed the members of the beloved rap group to tell their stories in their own words. Now, Hulu is presenting the same origin tale in the ever-popular biopic format, with actors portraying the group of young men from Staten Island who become world-conquering hip-hop innovators. (Watch the trailer)
Premiere date: September 6 Cast: Miguel Herrán, Aron Piper, Mina El Hammani, Omar Ayuso, María Pedraza Why we're excited:Élite was the first foreign language show on Netflix to go viral, with millions of people tuning in to find out what those wild prep-school kids were up to next. We're finally getting what looks to be an equally twisty second season, complete with another murder mystery and a few new faces. (Watch the trailer)
The Deuce (HBO)
Premiere date: September 9 Cast: Maggie Gyllenhaal, James Franco, Chris Bauer, Lawrence Gilliard Jr. Why we're excited: David Simon's Times Square-set series, which jumped from 1971 to 1977 for Season 2, will do the time warp again for its third and final season. As HBO's promotional tweet suggests, this last batch of episodes will leap ahead into the mid '80s, covering the VHS-assisted commercialization of the porn business. (Watch the trailer)
Premiere date: September 13 Cast: Kaitlyn Dever, Toni Collette, Merritt Wever Why we're excited: Based on a Pulitzer Prize-winning article, this Netflix drama features Emmy winners Toni Collette and Merritt Wever as detectives investigating a serial rape case that local police departments have ignored. It looks intense and necessary. (Watch the trailer)
Premiere date: September 13 Cast: Rosa Salazar Why we're excited:BoJack Horseman creator Raphael Bob-Waksberg is taking his talents to Amazon, where he'll produce Prime's first adult animated series. It's about a woman who, after a car accident, finds she has a "new relationship" with time, which maybe means she can time travel to investigate her father's death. Sounds fun and bleak, kind of like BoJack. (Watch the trailer)
American Horror Story: 1984 (FX)
Premiere date: September 18 Cast: Emma Roberts, Sarah Paulson, Billie Lourd, Cody Fern Why we're excited: It may be the start of fall, but in American Horror Story's world, it's time for summer camp! The Friday the 13th-inspired season brings us to Camp Redwood, where all kinds of horrible stuff will probably happen to people who don't expect it.
Between Two Ferns: The Movie (Netflix)
Premiere date: September 20 Cast: Zach Galifianakis, Ryan Gaul, Lauren Lapkus, Jiavani Linayao Why we're excited: Where could Zach Galifianakis' ultra-dry talk show satire go after achieving viral immortality by interviewing Barack Obama? To Netflix, the bearded Baskets (R.I.P.) star will reportedly build a storyline "about the cable access station where we’ve been shooting these all these years." Finally, maybe we'll find out where the ferns come from. (Watch the trailer)
Premiere date: September 20 Cast: Abbi Jacobson, Eric André, Nat Faxon Why we're excited: Adult animation duo Matt Groening and Josh Weinstein's creation for Netflix about a medieval princess voiced by Abbi Jacobson, who's looking for mischief, is set on a quest for more magical shenanigans in Season 2.
Prodigal Son (Fox)
Premiere date: September 23 Cast: Tom Payne, Michael Sheen, Bellamy Young Why we're excited: There are lots of things that inspire people to go into law enforcement, specifically criminal profiling. Maybe you saw a ton of crimes growing up in your neighborhood and you want to do some good. Maybe the thrill of the chase is what gets you. Or maybe, as in this series, your dad is one of the serial killers you're hunting. (Watch the trailer)
The Masked Singer (Fox)
Premiere date: September 25 Cast: Ken Jeong, Robin Thicke, Jenny McCarthy, Nick Cannon Why we're excited: The second season of the dumbest, most entertaining show on television features more celebrities -- or, rather, "celebrities" -- cloaked in extravagant costumes and singing their hearts out. This year the disguises are even more outlandishly nightmarish. See, for example, "Egg," a literal egghead with a sunny side up egg for a hat, or the green creation pictured above.
Premiere date: September 26 Cast: David Arquette, Tobin Bell, Giancarlo Esposito, Kid Cudi Why we're excited: Inspired by 1982's original Creepshow anthology movie, which was written by horror master Stephen King and directed by Night of the Living Dead filmmaker George Romero, this anthology series will tell a different creepy tale every episode, including stories by King, Joe Hill, Josh Malerman, and other genre luminaries. While the season-length anthology format has worked for spooky shows like American Horror Story and Channel Zero, it will be fun to see what a modern, episodic Tales from the Crypt-like anthology will look like. (Watch the trailer)
Premiere date: September 26 Cast: Katja Herbers, Mike Colter, Michael Emerson Why we're excited: This supernatural series from the creators of The Good Wife pairs a psychologist with a priest-in-training to look into potentially otherworldly forces at work in their town to see if science or something (un)holy is at work. Good lord!
Premiere date: September 26 Cast: Kal Penn, Joel Kim Booster, Poppy Liu, Diana Maria Riva, Samba Schutte Why we're excited: Kal Penn stars in and created this NBC comedy about a disgraced councilman -- think Anthony Weiner, but less pervy -- who becomes a tutor to a group of immigrants looking to gain citizenship. The obviously incredibly topical series is executive produced by Parks and Recreation and The Good Place's Mike Schur, so expect a similar energy: mismatched people finding commonality in heartwarming aims. (Watch the trailer)
The Politician (Netflix)
Premiere date: September 27 Cast: Ben Platt, Zoey Deutch, Gwyneth Paltrow, Jessica Lange Why we're excited: In his first outing for Netflix, Ryan Murphy Ryan Murphys harder than Ryan Murphy has ever Ryan Murphy'd. Falling comfortably back in his Glee and Popular modes with a story of high school intrigue. It has all the hallmarks of a classic Murphy joint: ludicrous plot developments, snappy dialogue, a pop art aesthetic, and a sniping Jessica Lange. (Watch the trailer)
Transparent Musicale Finale (Amazon Prime)
Premiere date: September 27 Cast: Judith Light, Jay Duplass, Amy Landecker, Gaby Hoffmann, Alexandra Billings Why we're excited: After the much publicized departure of Jeffrey Tambor following sexual harassment allegations, Transparent concludes its run with a Maura-less movie musical. The songs are written by creator Jill Soloway's sibling Faith, allowing the Pfeffermans to vocalize their always complicated feelings about grief and Judaism in folky harmonies. (Watch the trailer)
Mr. Robot (USA Network)
Premiere date: October 4 Cast: Rami Malek, Carly Chaikin, Portia Doubleday, Christan Slater Why we're excited: Fresh off winning an Academy Award for his performance as Freddie Mercury in Bohemian Rhapsody, Rami Malek returns to the high-concept hacker series that first launched him to stardom. The show was gone for all of 2018, which saw creator Sam Esmail flexing his directing muscles on Amazon's conspiracy series Homecoming, but it's coming back for one final season, which will attempt to provide some answers for the show's biggest mysteries.
Peaky Blinders (Netflix)
Premiere date: October 4 Cast: Cillian Murphy, Helen McCrory Why we're excited: At last, Steven Knight's mob tale returns, this time entering the political fray, with Tommy now a member of Parliament.
Back to Life (Showtime)
Premiere date: October 6 Cast: Daisy Haggard, Geraldine James, Richard Durden, Jamie Michie Why we're excited: Filling the dark, female-led British comedy hole left by Fleabag and Catastrophe, Back to Life follows Miri (creator Daisy Haggard), a woman returning to her small town after a lengthy stint in prison. Haggard keeps Miri's crime under wraps, at least for the pilot, but needless to say it's bad enough that her fellow citizens are not happy to see her return. (Watch the trailer)
Premiere date: October 6 Cast: Ruby Rose, Meagan Tandy, Dougray Scott Why we're excited: After the Arrowverse crossover event "Elseworlds," fans were clamoring for more Batwoman, and that's exactly what we're getting, with a whole series about a Gotham abandoned by Batman that only Batwoman can save. (Watch the trailer)
Nancy Drew (The CW)
Premiere date: October 9 Cast: Kennedy McMann, Tunji Kasim, Alex Saxon Why we're excited: The network that brought us Riverdale and Supergirl is finally, finally dipping into more of our childhood nostalgia and adapting the Nancy Drew novels, centering on a young girl detective who solves crimes with the help of her trusty magnifying glass. (Watch the trailer)
Looking for Alaska (Hulu)
Premiere date: October 14 Cast: Charlie Plummer, Kristine Froseth, Denny Love, Jay Lee Why we're excited: The Fault in Our Stars author John Green's debut novel has taken a long time to get to the screen, but it finally arrives in the form of a Hulu miniseries and in perfect hands. Teen TV impresario Josh Schwartz enters the mid-aughts once again with this 2005-set tale of first love and boarding school antics, which hopefully means he'll pull out his old playlists from The O.C. (Watch the trailer)
Limetown (Facebook Watch)
Premiere date: October 16 Cast: Jessica Biel, Stanley Tucci Why we're excited: This thriller, based on the popular podcast, stars Jessica Biel as a journalist covering a story about the mysterious disappearance of hundreds of people from a neuroscience research community in the South.
Modern Love (Amazon Prime)
Premiere date: October 18 Cast: Anne Hathaway, Dev Patel, Tina Fey, Sofia Boutella, Catherine Keener Why we're excited: Each episode of this anthology series is derived from one of the "Modern Love" columns in the Sunday New York Times, which sounds absolutely terrible. But given that it's helmed by John Carney of Once fame, and features the likes of Anne Hathaway and Tina Fey, we'll at least give it a chance.
Premiere date: October 20 Cast: Regina King, Tim Blake Nelson, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Jeremy Irons Why we're excited: Damon Lindelof, whose last project for HBO was the brilliantly elegiac The Leftovers, has been tasked with bringing Alan Moore's Watchmen to the small screen. And, boy, is he anxious about it. So anxious that he posted an incredibly long note to Instagram explaining his intentions. He is not adapting the canonical 12 issues, but instead remixing them, he says. And he has enlisted a top-notch cast to help him, including If Beale Street Could Talk's Regina King and The Ballad of Buster Scruggs' Tim Blake Nelson. Hey, whatever happens, at least it won't be the Zack Snyder movie. (Watch the trailer)
Silicon Valley (HBO)
Premiere date: October 27 Cast: Thomas Middleditch, Kumail Nanjiani, Martin Starr, Zach Woods Why we're excited: Silicon Valley might not be an Emmy-collecting juggernaut like Veep or a boundary-pushing cult favorite like producer Alec Berg's hitman-saga Barry, but it's been one of HBO's most consistently funny comedies since it launched back in 2014, right in the midst of the most recent tech boom. The final season will have seven episodes and will attempt to wrap up the wacky Pied Piper story once and for all. (Watch the trailer)
Mrs. Fletcher (HBO)
Premiere date: October 27 Cast: Kathryn Hahn, Owen Teague, Casey Wilson, Jen Richards Why we're excited: This half-hour series based on Tom Perrotta's novel sends Eve Fletcher, a woman in the midst of a mid-life crisis who receives a text from an anonymous number calling her a MILF, on a journey of sexual self-discovery. She's played by Kathryn Hahn, who was hilarious as the equally sexually frustrated Chris in the Jill Soloway-created adaptation of Chris Kraus' novel I Love Dick. (Watch the trailer)
The Little Mermaid Live! (ABC)
Premiere date: November 5 Cast: Auli'i Cravalho, Queen Latifah, Shaggy Why we're excited: This is not a live-action major motion picture version of Disney's The Little Mermaid. Rather, it's a live musical version of The Little Mermaid along the lines of Fox's Grease and NBC's The Sound of Music. Here, erstwhile Moana Auli'i Cravalho plays Ariel, Queen Latifah plays the evil sea witch Ursula, and Shaggy -- the "It Wasn't Me" singer, not the Scooby-Doo character -- plays the crab Sebastian.
The Mandalorian (Disney+)
Premiere date: November 12 Cast: Pedro Pascal, Werner Herzog, Nick Nolte, Carl Weathers, Gina Carano Why we're excited: November 12 is an auspicious day: It's when the long-anticipated streaming service Disney+ launches. When it arrives, there will a number of new series on the platform, including a High School Musical spinoff titled High School Musical: The Musical: The Spinoff and theater-kid reality-show Encore! But the crown jewel is The Mandalorian, set in the Star Wars universe. Starring Pedro Pascal, it takes place in between the original trilogy and the new one. And it also features... Werner Herzog, of all people. (Watch the trailer)
The Preppy Murder: Death in Central Park (Sundance/AMC)
Premiere date: November 13 Why we're excited: Sundance's docuseries focuses on one of the most infamous crimes in America, the 1986 killing of Jennifer Levin at the hands of Robert Chambers. The series will examine the homicide, introducing loads more evidence that wasn't used in court, and how it fits in with the 1980s culture of privilege and elitism amongst the prep school class.
Premiere date: November 15 Cast: Kat Dennings, Brenda Song, Shay Mitchell Why we're excited: On paper, this comedy about a woman trying to reconnect with her female friends after a breakup might seem bland, but it operates with a heavy dose of magical realism to brighten things up. Kat Dennings, released from the clutches of 2 Broke Girls, plays the central character re-entering the world of women.
The Crown (Netflix)
Premiere date: November 17 Cast: Olivia Colman, Tobias Menzies, Helena Bonham Carter, Josh O'Connor Why we're excited: The Crown returns with Elizabeth II 2.0 played now by recent Oscar winner Olivia Colman. Kicking off in 1964 it will cover subjects like the Aberfan disaster and Charles and Camilla's early romance. Helena Bonham Carter is now Margaret while Tobias Menzies is now Andrew. We'll miss you Claire Foy, but probably not for long.
Premiere date: December 6 Cast: Rachel Brosnahan, Alex Borstein, Tony Shalhoub, Sterling K. Brown Why we're excited: More Borscht Belt antics, this time not on the Borscht Belt. Midge is off on tour and Sterling K. Brown stops by in an unidentified role. (Watch the trailer)
The L Word: Generation Q (Showtime)
Premiere date: December 8 Cast: Jennifer Beals, Katherine Moennig, Leisha Hailey, Arienne Mandi Why we're excited: Set ten years after the conclusion of Showtime's groundbreaking The L Word, a new generation of queer ladies is hitting the scene, this time amongst the palms and ranch houses of Silver Lake in Los Angeles.
Work in Progress (Showtime)
Premiere date: December 8 Cast: Abby McEnany, Theo Germaine, Karin Anglin Why we're excited: Lilly Wachowski -- yes, one of those Wachowskis -- is co-writing and exec-producing this new comedy series about a middle-aged lesbian whose despair leads her straight into the arms of a wonderful new relationship.
The Expanse (Amazon Prime)
Premiere date: December 13 Cast: Steven Strait, Cas Anvar, Dominique Tipper, Shohreh Aghdashloo Why we're excited: When The Expanse was cancelled right as our heroes discovered a way to leave the surly confines of our solar system, we despaired, but thankfully Amazon swooped in and picked up this fourth season based on the fourth novel in James S.A. Corey's huge book series. It will take place almost entirely on a brand-new planet.
Premiere date: Fall 2020 Cast: Sonoya Mizuno, Nick Offerman, Alison Pill, Jin Ha Why we're excited: Alex Garland's movies, like Annihilation and Ex Machina, are chilling sci-fi creations, and now he moves into the world of TV with FX's Devs. Set to star Maniac's Sonoya Mizuno, it follows a young woman who thinks the tech company she works for (run by Offerman) may be somehow involved in the death of her boyfriend.
His Dark Materials (HBO)
Premiere date: Fall 2020 Cast: James McAvoy, Dafne Keen, Ruth Wilson, Lin-Manuel Miranda Why we're excited: Fans of Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials series were disappointed in the 2007 movie adaptation of The Golden Compass, which was an abridged, simplified version of the story. HBO seeks to right that wrong, offering up Pullman's parallel universe with all its criticism, complications, and daemons.
The Morning Show (Apple)
Premiere date: Fall 2020 Cast: Reese Witherspoon, Jennifer Aniston, Steve Carell, Mark Duplass Why we're excited: We still don't know all that much about Apple's new slate of original programming. While we know now approximately when the service is launching (November-ish), we don't know exactly which shows will be available to stream right off the bat. However, one of the first confirmed series to drop will be The Morning Show, a drama about a network morning news program featuring Steve Carell, Jennifer Aniston, and Reese Witherspoon as warring anchors. The trailer makes it seem like a mix between The Newsroom and that rom-com Morning Glory.
The Witcher (Netflix)
Premiere date: Late 2019 Cast: Henry Cavill Why we're excited: It's the next Game of Thrones, and we're pretending we've never heard that pitch before. Cavill plays a monster hunter in a world where humans may be the biggest monsters of all.
Premiere date: 2019 TBA Cast: Penn Badgley Why we're excited: The first season of this serial-killer-slash-stalker drama was a bonkers riot, and we expect the ante to be upped even further in Season 2, with sociopath Joe Goldberg (Penn Badgley, in a role perfectly suited for him) relocating to Los Angeles.