Sure, September has us excited for cooling temperatures and falling leaves, but there’s also one other autumn staple to be excited about: all the new shows premiering this fall.
The phrase “golden age of television” has been thrown around a lot lately, but TV has become a space for innovation and deep storytelling (and, let’s face it, fun).
Here are 11 shows, big and small, that I’ve got my fingers crossed for—and that you should know about.
Atlanta (September 6th on FX)
Donald Glover’s newest endeavor releases today with double episodes, a semi-autobiographical look at African-American life in Atlanta, Georgia. In this dramedy, Earn (Glover), a young father, hears that his cousin’s rap career is starting to take off and approaches him to get in on the action.
It’s beautifully shot, balancing humor with earnest exploration of serious issues.
One Mississippi (September 9th on Amazon Prime)
When Tig (Tig Notaro) returns to her deep-south hometown so she can be there when her mother is taken off life support, she’s thrown back into an odd family life, navigating her roots with a sarcastic kind of humor.
This Is Us (September 20th on NBC)
NBC’s new show follows a group of people, all born on the same day, through the ups and downs of their personal lives. The characters deal with the loss of a child, struggles with weight loss and a search for a lost father.
They’re all very accessible, human issues, and layered together, it has the makings of a touching and bittersweet show.
Speechless (September 21st on ABC)
Joining the ranks of family-focused comedies, Speechless centers on the DiMeo family’s move to a new town in order to expand opportunities for their son, J.J. (Micah Fowler), a nonverbal teen with cerebral palsy. Maya (Minnie Driver), a hurricane of a mom, balances her time fighting for all three of her kids. Actor Micah Fowler has cerebral palsy in real life, and he’s excited to bring this character to TV.
Pitch (September 22nd on FOX)
Pitch follows Ginny Baker (Kylie Bunbury), the first woman in Major League Baseball, and the challenges she faces after being launched not only onto a new team, but into the public eye. The show focuses on Ginny’s relationships—with her new teammates, who receive her with varying levels of reluctance, and with her father (Bill Baker), who coached her through her years in the sport.
Luke Cage (September 30th on Netflix)
I know, I know, everyone you know is excited about Luke Cage. But I can’t help it—Harlem’s new hero (Mike Colter) uses his super strength and unbreakable skin to go up against the biggest crime lords in his neighborhood, also complicating the life of local politicians and police. And, as showrunner Cheo Hodari Coker said, “the world is ready for a bulletproof black man.”
Westworld (October 2nd on HBO)
OK, this is an HBO show, so it comes with all of HBO’s usual content warnings. However, this 10-episode series follows a Michael Crichton story to Westworld, a virtual amusement park for pleasure-seekers, using an insanely star-studded cast to explore the nature of sin and, via artificial intelligence, the things that make us human.
Frequency (October 5th on the CW)
Fall TV this year is a little bit obsessed with time travel, but Frequency puts a different kind of spin on the concept: Detective Raimy Sullivan’s (Peyton List) father (Riley Smith) was killed in 1996, but 20 years later, she realizes that she’s able to communicate with the past version of him by using his old ham radio. When she saves his life, however, she changes everything about her present life.
Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency (October 22nd on BBC Four)
This show looks ridiculous—absurdist, strange, and over the top ridiculous—but with a Wes Anderson meets Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy sort of vibe (it’s based on a Douglas Adams book), I’m betting it’s going to be hilarious, too. Todd (Elijah Wood), a man living a humdrum life, gets reluctantly swept up into Dirk Gently’s (Samuel Barnett) world of private detective antics.
Undercover (November 17th on BBC First)
Aired in England in April, this six-episode drama focuses on Maya Cobbina (Sophie Okonedo), a defense lawyer who, while trying to uncover the truth behind an old case and bring about justice, inadvertently begins to find out buried secrets about her husband’s past.
Search Party (November 21st on TBS)
I can’t quite put my finger on it, but something about Search Party’s earnest attitude has me dying to see it this Thanksgiving. Aimless 20-something Dory (Alia Shawkat) just wants to find something that she’s good at, and although none of her friends seem to care, she becomes fixated on solving the disappearance of a girl she went to college with.
Honorable mentions: Am I going to check out Notorious and Insecure? Probably. Do I think I’ll be too scared to watch FOX’s reboot of The Exorcist, even though I’m excited its protagonist is a priest? You bet.