(Clockwise from left) Foundation, Scenes From a Marriage, The Morning Show, The Great, and Impeachment: American Crime Story.
Photo-Illustration: Vulture; Photos: HBO, Apple TV+, FX, Paramount
Like the universe itself, television is always expanding, seemingly without limit. We’re not just talking about the sheer number of shows out there at any given time, but also the very idea of episodic television as a form — streaming’s ongoing effect on the medium means that the when, where, and how of our TV consumption is growing more diffuse by the day. Watching TV has become an unstructured, individualized experience shaped more by one’s personal tastes, amount of free time, and streaming subscriptions than anything so quaint and outdated as a network schedule.
Perhaps this is why we return again and again to the idea of “Fall TV” as an anchor point, that reassuringly consistent time when networks (both broadcast and premium) and streamers alike bring out the big guns to declare that the TV year, whatever that means, has unofficially begun. It’s a time when viewers can be certain there will be at least a handful of new and interesting series worth adding to their personal rotations, and a few more that they swear they’ll catch up with as soon as they have the time. And it’s a time when Vulture will roll up our collective sleeves to guide you through the best and most intriguing of what’s to come. Let us lead the way.
Only Murders in the Building (Hulu, 8/31)
Steve Martin is taking a break from his many other interests (art collecting, banjo playing, Broadway-musical writing) to return to the screen in a Hulu comedy he wrote and stars in with Martin Short. Their characters live in a luxe Upper West Side apartment complex, are diehard fans of true-crime podcasts, and stumble onto a grisly murder alongside a sardonic millennial played by Selena Gomez. The show offers a mishmash of tones, but there’s a lot to enjoy—cameos from New Yorkers like Jackie Hoffman and Jayne Houdyshell as crotchety building residents, fleet-footed pacing, and the musician Sting as a prime suspect.
What We Do in the Shadows season three (FX, 9/2)
Time to go back to the darkest, most vampiric region of the world: the wilds of Staten Island. Last season established What We Do in the Shadows as one of the best, goofiest, Jackie Daytona–est shows on television.
Impeachment: American Crime Story (FX, 9/7)
Ryan Murphy’s franchise takes on arguably the biggest political-news story of the 1990s: the Bill Clinton–Monica Lewinsky scandal. Naturally, the cast of Starr-report characters is filled with notables, including Beanie Feldstein (as Lewinsky), Sarah Paulson (as Linda Tripp), Clive Owen (as Bill Clinton), and Edie Falco (as Hillary Clinton).
Scenes From a Marriage (HBO, 9/12)
Ingmar Bergman’s 1973 examination of a couple’s relationship gets a limited-series remake with Oscar Isaac and Jessica Chastain as husband and wife. The new version was developed, written, and directed by Hagai Levi, creator of the original In Treatment, so, yeah, expect some drama.
Y: The Last Man (FX on Hulu, 9/13)
This adaptation of the well-loved apocalyptic comic series about a world where all the people with Y chromosomes die (except for one!) has been almost happening and then not quite happening for at least half a decade. Finally, at last, for real this time, we really mean it — it exists.
The Premise (FX on Hulu, 9/16)
In the steps of Ryan Murphy and Black Mirror, B. J. Novak (of The Office and that time he made an app for making lists) has created an anthology series that “uses comedy to engage with the biggest issues of our unprecedented modern era.” Basically, a bunch of big-name actors (including Tracee Ellis Ross, Ben Platt, Lucas Hedges, and Daniel Dae Kim) will show up in episodes that involve everything from gun violence to police brutality. Those aren’t typically easy fodder for comedy, and tough subjects to portray with nuance within a single episode, but intriguingly Novak wrote some of the episodes with cultural commentators like Josie Duffy Rice and Jia Tolentino.
The Morning Show season two (Apple TV+, 9/17)
At the end of the first season of this flawed but undeniably addictive series, The Morning Show co-hosts Alex Levy (Jennifer Aniston) and Bradley Jackson (Reese Witherspoon) appeared on live television and accused their network of enabling workplace misconduct. Season two picks up from there and examines the fallout from that moment of Me Too honesty; presumably, it will feature more Billy Crudup turning charmingly reptilian behavior into art.
Sex Education season three (Netflix, 9/17)
The brightly dressed students of Netflix’s teen sex comedy were already creating enough messes for themselves, but now they have Girls’ own Jemima Kirke as their school’s new headmistress. Per the trailer, Kirke’s more buttoned up than the characters she usually plays, and here, she’s trying to set the school on the right path after the events of season two. We’re sure she’ll get dragged into the chaos soon enough.
Dear White People Volume 4 (Netflix, 9/22)
The fourth and final season of Dear White People starts exactly how you might expect: with a ’90s musical format and flash-forwards into a not-too-distant future in which pandemics are still very much a thing. Good news, though: the masks are much doper than the present-day ones.
The Wonder Years (ABC, 9/22)
The nostalgic look back at the late-’60s–early-’70s middle-and high-school years of Kevin Arnold (Fred Savage) gets reimagined. While the show revisits that same era, it does so from the perspective of Dean Williams (Elisha “EJ” Williams), a Black teen growing up in Montgomery, Alabama. The narration by an adult Dean will be handled by Don Cheadle; Savage, an executive producer, directed the pilot.
Foundation (Apple TV+, 9/24)
They’ve gotta save humanity! This adaptation of the canonical Isaac Asimov sci-fi series stars Lee Pace and Jared Harris, plus Lou Llobell in a gender-swapped casting of the original Gaal Dornick character.
Midnight Mass (Netflix, 9/24)
From Mike Flanagan, the creator of The Haunting of Hill House and The Haunting of Bly Manor, a new scary series arrives. There’s a mysterious priest and a secluded island, so obviously nothing at all will go wrong and definitely no supernatural events will occur.
More From Fall Preview: TV
The Baby-sitters Club season two (Netflix, 10/11)
One of the sweetest, most sure-footed shows of 2020 returns for its second season. Will Kristy figure out how to get less bossy? Will Claudia break her leg? Will we finally get more of Mallory and Jessi? More Jessi immediately, please.
Dopesick (Hulu, 10/13)
Based on the book by Beth Macy, this limited series — written by Danny Strong and directed by Barry Levinson — examines the evolution of the opioid epidemic from myriad angles, including that of a doctor in a Virginia mining town (played by a fantastic Michael Keaton) who’s convinced by drug-company proxies that OxyContin is not addictive. Executive producer Michael Keaton plays that doctor, and he’s fantastic, as is the rest of this cast: Kaitlyn Dever, Michael Stuhlbarg, Peter Sarsgaard, Rosario Dawson, and Will Poulter, who’s giving off very, very strong Matt Damon vibes.
Invasion (Apple TV+, 10/15)
This big-budget, epically pitched TV series traces the impact of an alien invasion across multiple continents as it affects numerous characters. Co-created by Simon Kinberg, writer of multiple X-Men films, and David Weil, who created Solos and Hunters, Invasion features and ensemble cast that includes Sam Neill and Shamier Anderson of Wynona Earp.
You season three (Netflix, October 10/15)
After skewering the pretensions of New York and Los Angeles, You is decamping to Northern California in its third season, as Penn Badgley’s creepy stalker, Joe, settles into life with his new wife, Love (Victoria Pedretti), and their baby. As the end of the second season revealed, Love’s almost as far off the deep end as Joe, and so the two of them will make quite the pair as they try to adjust to NorCal life (Netflix promises “privileged tech entrepreneurs, judgmental mommy bloggers, and Insta-famous biohackers”), while Joe tries to keep himself from becoming obsessed with someone else.
I Know What You Did Last Summer (Amazon, 10/22)
The Lois Duncan YA novel about a killer stalking a group of teens involved in a hit-and-run accident was made into a movie in 1997, and now, 24 years later, it’s becoming a series. According to the logline provided by Amazon, this version will be a “modern” take on the thriller. We assume that means that, at some point, the phrase “I know what you did last summer” will be sent in text form.
Colin in Black & White (Netflix, 10/29)
Outside its creative team and cast, not much is yet known about this Netflix limited series centered on Colin Kaepernick’s high-school years and “the experiences that led him to become an activist.” But when that creative team is led by Ava DuVernay and Kaepernick himself, and the cast includes Nick Offerman and Mary-Louise Parker as Kaepernick’s adoptive parents, you better believe we’ll be paying attention.
Succession season three (HBO, October TBA)
Supposedly, we all want to live in a world where people treat others with kindness, but that’s not true; we want to live in a world where people treat others with kindness except for the members of the Roy family and everyone in their orbit. Based on the teaser for the much-anticipated third season of the Emmy-winning series, we can at least count on the latter, because the Roys will never be anything other than wicked, scheming wellsprings of greed made manifest in human form.
Love Life season two (HBO Max, October TBA)
Love Life takes its first step toward becoming a multiverse—what? It could happen—as the second season of the rom-com anthology turns its focus on Marcus (William Jackson Harper), a man trying to find his footing after his relationship with his perceived soul mate suddenly ends. Leslie Bibb, Jessica Williams, and Saturday Night Live’s Ego Nwodim and Punkie Johnson will appear for the first time in season two, while characters from season one, including Anna Kendrick’s Darby, will pop up as well.
Insecure season five (HBO, October TBA)
In its fourth season, Insecure satisfyingly pushed its premise to the edge: Issa and Molly’s relationship strained to its breaking point and then, when Issa and Lawrence seemed like they were maybe, finally, reaching solid ground, his ex Condola revealed she was pregnant with his child. Maybe it makes sense, then, that the fifth season will be the show’s last; we’ll see the aftermath of that bombshell and whether Molly and Issa can patch things up for real or move into a different phase of their lives.
Dexter: New Blood (Showtime, 11/7)
Sometimes you want TV that feels like fresh territory. Other times, all you want is to go back to a familiar bloody serial-killer drama full of family conflict and violent voice-overs. For that, we get Dexter: New Blood, the revival of the eight-season Showtime series in which Michael C. Hall plays a sociopath attempting to find an ethical way to practice his favorite hobby. (His hobby is murdering people.)
The Shrink Next Door (Apple TV+, 11/12)
Based on a true story and the podcast it inspired about a celebrity psychiatrist who becomes a bit, uh, overly involved in one of his patient’s lives, this dark comedy stars Paul Rudd as the therapist and Will Ferrell as the patient. We could tell you more — Kathryn Hahn and Casey Wilson are in it, too, and Michael Showalter and Jesse Peretz are directing — but we know we already had you at Paul Rudd and Will Ferrell.
Cowboy Bebop (Netflix, 11/19)
Netflix’s live-action remake of the beloved and influential 1998 animated space Western — a.k.a. one of the handful of anime titles known even to those who don’t really watch anime — was delayed from its original 2020 release date thanks to the double-bad luck of star John Cho getting injured on set followed by that pesky pandemic. That means we’ve had a whole extra year to ponder exactly how this new series will navigate the original’s unique and difficult-to-replicate blend of neo-noir, comedy, and space-set action, and we are ready for answers.
The Great season two (Hulu, 11/19)
Huzzah! The Great returns for a second season, this time with Catherine in the midst of a full-swing revolt against her delightful, food-obsessed nightmare of a husband, Peter. Even with some knowledge of these characters’ inevitable fates, it’s hard not to root for Nicholas Hoult’s Peter; he’s so terrible, but he has so much fun being a maniacal dictator.
Hawkeye (Disney+, 11/24)
If you stuck around for the credits of Black Widow, you know a bit about the premise of Marvel’s next big TV show: Florence Pugh is on the hunt for Jeremy Renner’s Hawkeye, whom she blames for the death of her older sister in Avengers: Endgame. But really, the show stars Hailee Steinfeld as Kate Bishop, who is Hawkeye’s protégée in her appearances in the comics and will probably take over his arrow-shooting mantle as the series progresses. Disney+ has had a hit (WandaVision) and some misses (Loki and The Falcon and the Winter Soldier) with its MCU expansion shows, but Steinfeld’s always a compelling screen presence. Plus, with the hints dropped in other shows, this could all be leading up to some Young Avengers crossover as we head toward Ms. Marvel.
Gossip Girl Season 1B (HBO Max, November)
The first few episodes of the Gossip Girl reboot have been suitably bonkers — down to the reveal that Tavi Gevinson is leading a group of teachers targeting their students with the Gossip Girl Instagram account — but not as deliciously salacious as the original run could be. As the show returns, we hope the squeakily pretty super-rich teens give in to their more baser instincts, and the clearly very expensive HBO Max series has more fun. We also hope that Luke Kirby keeps showing up in more hats. We love Luke Kirby’s hats.
How To With John Wilson season two (HBO, November TBA)
There are few things more bewitching than seeing a familiar object, or considering a familiar idea, through someone else’s perspective. Wilson has a knack for finding absurdity in the most mundane scenes, and it’s captivating to watch him take everyday New York landscapes and transform them into something weird and hilarious.
The Witcher season two (Netflix, 12/17)
Toss a coin to your Netflix subscription, because you just know that within a week of its season-two release, the internet is going to be overwhelmed with Witcher memes again. Let’s hope the new season manages to retain all the body-transforming magic, helter-skelter timeline skipping, and incomprehensible mythology of the first.
The Book of Boba Fett (Disney+, December TBA)
The spinoff teased in the end-credits scene of The Mandalorian’s season-two finale makes its debut, filling in more of the history surrounding the titular bounty hunter (Temuera Morrison) and Fennec Shand (Ming-Na Wen), the mercenary who serves as his assistant.
Station Eleven (HBO Max)
Emily St. John Mandel’s novel Station Eleven tracks a disparate collection of characters before and after a flu pandemic kills most of the world’s population. For obvious reasons, that plot will have a lot more resonance in 2021, though it may also prove hard for Station Eleven to live up to the expectation of speaking to the full emotional experience of COVID, even metaphorically. In the show’s favor, it has a solid cast, including Mackenzie Davis, Himesh Patel, and Lori Petty, and was written by Patrick Somerville (of Maniac and Made for Love) and directed by Hiro Murai, who has done great atmospheric work on Atlanta.
And Just Like That … (HBO Max)
Perhaps you’ve heard about this Sex and the City sequel that follows Carrie (Sarah Jessica Parker), Miranda (Cynthia Nixon), and Charlotte (Kristin Davis), now in their 50s, but that doesn’t follow Samantha because Kim Cattrall isn’t in it? Maybe you heard about it?
Olivia Colman returns to her British-crime-drama roots with a twist — this time, she’s on the other side of the murder investigation. Based on the real-life story of Susan and Christopher Edwards, a couple who killed her parents and hid the bodies in their backyard for years, the four-episode series is described as “darkly comic” and an “exploration of love and fantasy” — do with that what you will.
All listed times Eastern. Shows without times are full-season drops.
Series premieres marked with a ➼
➼ Only Murders in the Building (Hulu, Tuesdays at 12 a.m.)
➼ Q-Force (Netflix)
What We Do in the Shadows Season 3 (FX, Thursdays at 10 p.m.)
Money Heist Part 5 Volume 1 (Netflix)
Meerkat Manor: Rise of the Dynasty Part Two (BBC America, Saturdays, check local listings)
Billions Season 5 Part 2 (Showtime, Sundays at 9 p.m.)
➼ Impeachment: American Crime Story (FX, Tuesdays at 10 p.m.)
➼ LulaRich (Amazon)
Lucifer Season 6 (Netflix)
➼ American Rust (Showtime, Sundays at 10 p.m.)
The Real Housewives of Salt Lake City Season 2 (Bravo, Sundays at 9 p.m.)
➼ Scenes From a Marriage (HBO, Sundays at 9 p. m)
Back to Life Season 2 (Showtime, Mondays at 10 p.m.)
The Daily Show With Trevor Noah Season 27 (Comedy Central, Monday-Thursday at 11 p.m.)
➼ Y: The Last Man (Hulu, Mondays at 12 a.m.)
➼ The Premise (Hulu, Thursdays at 12 a.m.)
➼ The Harper House (Paramount+)
➼ Dan Brown’s the Lost Symbol (Peacock, Thursdays at 3 a.m.)
The Morning Show Season 2 (Apple TV+, Fridays at 12 a.m.)
Sex Education Season 3 (Netflix)
➼ Chicago Party Aunt (Netflix)
➼ Do, Re, Mi (Amazon)
The 73rd Primetime Emmy Awards (CBS, 8 p.m.)
➼ Muhammad Ali (PBS, Sundays at 8 p.m.)
9-1-1 Season 5 (Fox, Mondays at 8 p.m.)
➼ The Big Leap (Fox, Mondays at 9 p.m.)
Bob Hearts Abishola Season 3 (CBS, Mondays at 8:30 p.m.)
Dancing With the Stars Season 30 (ABC, Mondays at 8 p.m.)
➼ Ordinary Joe (NBC, Mondays at 10 p.m.)
The Voice Season 21 (NBC, Mondays and Tuesdays at 8 p.m.)
➼ FBI: International (CBS, Tuesdays at 9 p.m.)
The Resident Season 5 (Fox, Tuesdays at 8 p.m.)
➼ Our Kind of People (Fox, Tuesdays at 9 p.m.)
➼ Alter Ego (Fox, Wednesdays at 9 p.m.)
Dear White People Volume 4 (Netflix)
The Masked Singer Season 6 (Wednesdays at 8 p.m.)
➼ Star Wars: Visions (Disney+)
Survivor Season 41 (CBS, Wednesdays at 8 p.m.)
➼ The Wonder Years (ABC, Wednesdays at 8:30 p.m.)
Law & Order: Organized Crime Season 2 (NBC, Thursdays at 10 p.m.)
Law & Order: SVU Season 23 (NBC, Thursdays at 9 p.m.)
Doom Patrol Season 3 (HBO Max, Thursdays at 3 a.m.)
➼ Foundation (Apple TV+, Fridays at 12 a.m.)
➼ Midnight Mass (Netflix)
Goliath Season 4 (Amazon)
➼ BMF (Starz, Sundays at 8 p.m.)
Bob’s Burgers Season 12 (Fox, Sundays at 9 p.m.)
Family Guy Season 20 (Fox, Sundays at 9:30 p.m.)
The Great North Season 2 (Fox, Sundays at 8:30 p.m.)
➼ Nuclear Family (HBO, Sundays at 10 p.m.)
The Simpsons Season 33 (Fox, Sundays at 8 p.m.)
The 74th Tony Awards (CBS, 7 p.m.)
➼ La Brea (NBC, Tuesdays at 9 p.m.)
Big Sky Season 2 (ABC, Thursdays at 10 p.m.)
Grey’s Anatomy Season 18 (ABC, Thursdays at 9 p.m.)
➼ The Way Down Part 1 (HBO Max)
➼ Unidentified with Demi Lovato (Peacock)
➼ Maid (Netflix)
➼ CSI: Vegas (CBS, Wednesdays at 10 p.m.)
➼ Baker’s Dozen (Hulu)
B Positive Season 2 (CBS, Thursdays at 9:30)
➼ Ghosts (CBS, Thursdays at 9 p.m.)
➼ One Of Us Is Lying (Peacock)
Shark Tank Season 13 (ABC, Fridays at 8 p.m.)
➼ Legends of the Hidden Temple (CW, Sundays at 8 p.m.)
The Baby-Sitters Club Season 2 (Netflix)
➼ Dopesick (Hulu)
You Season 3 (Netflix)
➼ I Know What You Did Last Summer (Amazon, Fridays at 12 a.m.)
Hightown Season 2 (Starz, Sundays at 9 p.m.)
➼ Wakefield (Showtime, Mondays at 9 p.m.)
The Bachelorette Season 18 (ABC, Tuesdays at 8 p.m.)
➼ Queens (ABC, Tuesdays at 10 p.m.)
➼ The Next Thing You Eat (Hulu)
➼ The Activist (CBS, Fridays at 8 p.m.)
➼ Inside Job (Netflix)
➼ Invasion (Apple TV+, Fridays at 12 a.m.)
➼ 4400 (CW, Mondays at 9 p.m.)
➼ Colin in Black & White (Netflix)
Big Mouth Season 5 (Netflix)
Succession Season 3 (HBO)
Curb Your Enthusiasm Season 11 (HBO)
Love Life Season 2 (HBO Max)
Selena + Chef Season 3 (HBO Max)
We’re Here Season 2 (HBO Max)
Taste the Nation With Padma Lakshmi: Holiday Edition (Hulu)
Animaniacs Season 2 (Hulu)
➼ Dexter: New Blood (Showtime, Sundays at 9 p.m.)
Power Book II: Ghost Season 2 (Starz, Sundays at 8 p.m.)
➼ Ragdoll (AMC+)
➼ The Shrink Next Door (Apple TV+, Fridays at 12 a.m.)
➼ Yellowjackets (Showtime, Sundays at 10 p.m.)
The Flash Season 8 (CW, Tuesdays at 8 p.m.)
Riverdale Season 6 (CW, Tuesdays at 9 p.m.)
➼ Anna (AMC+)
➼ Cowboy Bebop (Netflix)
The Great Season 2 (Hulu)
➼ Hawkeye (Disney+, Wednesdays at 3 a.m.)
➼ The Beatles: Get Back (Disney+)
Gossip Girl Season 1B (HBO Max)
How to With John Wilson Season 2 (HBO)
➼ Head of the Class (HBO Max)
➼ The Wheel of Time (Amazon)
Annie Live! (NBC, 8 p.m.)
Money Heist Part 5 Volume 2 (Netflix)
The Witcher Season 2 (Netflix)
Pen15 Season 2B (Hulu)
The Book of Boba Fett (Disney+)
33 New and Returning Shows to Watch This Fall