Let's binge! It's fall, the busiest TV season. That means even COVID-19 and its variants can't stop the flow of fun and watching at home (masks optional) is still the safest bet.
As the networks reveal their fall schedules of new and returning shows, cable and streaming services compete like crazy to draw our attention. The result is more choices than ever.
The 2021 fall TV season is brimming with goodies. Whether you're digging into the Bill Clinton/Monica Lewinsky scandal on FX's "Impeachment: American Crime Story" or awaiting the series finales of "The Walking Dead" (AMC), "Insecure" (HBO) and "Brooklyn Nine-Nine" (NBC), there's definitely something for everyone.
Be sure to watch "The 73rd Primetime Emmy Awards" (Sept. 19, CBS) to see the Emmy race for "Ted Lasso," "The Crown" and "The Queen's Gambit." And know that fall aims to beat it. There's almost too much out there, so here's a guide to the best of what's ahead.
- 1September 6, 2021
- 3May 19, 2021
"Y: The Last Man"
There's nothing like a new sci-fi series to keep our eyes on the future. This live-action adaptation of the post-apocalyptic comic books stars Ben Schnetzer as an escape artist who must deal with being the only dude left in a world full of women. That includes his politico mom (Diane Lane), medic sister (Olivia Thirlby) and a pet monkey. None are a big help in the mind-boggling, morally fraught task of repopulation. (FX on Hulu, Sept. 13)
"The Morning Show," Season 2
Jennifer Aniston, who should have won an Emmy for season one (she lost to Zendaya), returns as the morning show anchor dueling with rival Reese Witherspoon and boss Billy Crudup (who did win an Emmy). In a pandemic, yet! With the great Steve Carell, Julianna Margulies and Will Arnett, expect more inside deliciousness. (Apple TV+, Sept. 17)
The greatest heavyweight boxer of them all gets the Ken Burns treatment in a four-part series that sees the champ as athlete, political activist, philanthropist, husband, father and pioneer rapper. "Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee." Indeed. (PBS, Sept. 19)
This intriguing "what if" series stars James Wolk ("Watchmen," "Mad Men") as a man who examines the lives he might have had as a cop, a nurse and a rock idol -- all depending on how the direction of his existence could be changed by a simple twist of fate. (NBC, Sept. 20)
"Our Kind of People"
Think of "The Jeffersons" 2.0. From producer Lee Daniels comes a series about a family moving on up to a mostly Black upper-class neighborhood on Martha's Vineyard. Yaya DaCosta, Morris Chestnut, Joe Morton and Nadine Ellis make sure the laughs have bite. (Fox, Sept. 21)
"The Wonder Years"
This reboot of the hit series that starred Fred Savage as a boy coming of age in the 1960s suburbs is now told from a Black perspective. Don Cheadle narrates and Elisha "EJ" Williams plays a kid from Montgomery, Alabama, growing up in that turbulent decade. (ABC, Sept. 22)
"Star Wars: Visions"
Gather the whole family around as seven different Japanese anime studios are invited by Disney to create nine short films set inside the "Star Wars" universe with voices provided by the starry likes of Lucy Liu, Neil Patrick Harris and Joseph Gordon-Levitt. (Disney+, Sept. 22)
Based on the famed sci-fi novels by Isaac Asimov, this mega-ambitious series deals with a galactic empire, ruled by Brother Day (Lee Pace), hurling toward doom unless mathematician Hari Seldon (the reliably terrific Jared Harris) can save the day. (Apple TV+, Sept. 24)
The Tony Awards
After 18 months of COVID hibernation, Broadway is back in time to celebrate what opened before the pandemic. Expect prizes for "Moulin Rouge," "Slave Play" and the showstopping Adrienne Warren in "Tina: The Tina Turner Musical." (CBS/Paramount+, Sept. 26)
"The Problem with Jon Stewart"
The much-missed former host of "The Daily Show" returns in a weekly, current-affair series. Unlike his former colleague John Oliver, who spreads his net wide across the news front, Stewart will devote each show to a single major issue. I'm in. (Apple TV+, Sept. 30)
Stephanie Land's bestselling memoir becomes a 10-episode series about a single mother who escapes an abusive relationship only to find herself broke and homeless. That is, until she finds work as a maid. Margaret Qualley, so good as a Manson partygirl in "Once Upon a Time in Hollywood," finds her breakout role in the lead. (Netflix, Oct. 1)
This chillingly perfect lead-in for the Halloween season spins off the seven-film "Child's Play" horror franchise into a series about killer doll Chucky, still voiced by Brad Dourif. Also returning is Jennifer Tilly as the bride of Chucky, Tiffany Valentine. (USA/Syfy, Oct. 12)
Michael Keaton leads this eight-episode adaptation of Beth Macy's bestselling book about the opiod crisis. "Rain Man" Oscar winner Barry Levinson directs across a huge canvas of Big Pharma execs and Drug Enforcement Agency agents to the people of a Virginia mining town laid low by addiction. (Hulu, Oct. 13)
"You," Season 3
Everyone's favorite guilty pleasure is back with serial killer Joe Goldberg (Penn Badgley) now married to Love (Victoria Pedretti) and a new father. How do you domesticate a homicidal maniac? You don't. And that's the twist that makes "You" such perverse fun. (Netflix, Oct. 15)
"Girls5Eva" played girl rockers for laughs. Now, Brandy, Eve, Naturi Naughton and Nadine Velazquez play it for keeps in a drama series about an all-female 1990s hip-hop group aiming for a comeback without learning to get along, even in their 40s. (ABC, Oct. 19)
"Colin in Black & White"
It's the teen years of Colin Kaepernick, played by Jaden Michael, so we see the former NFL quarterback before he took a knee to protest white police brutality. Created with Ava DuVernay, the six-episode series is narrated by Kaepernick himself. (Netflix, Oct. 29)
"Succession," Season 3
I'm salivating to catch up with the Emmy-winning series about an obnoxious, rich, white, media family, led by the great Brian Cox. Adrien Brody and Alexander Skarsgard join the feral fun, but really all we need is Nick Braun's Cousin Greg to reach the heights of satiric lunacy. (HBO Max, October 2021)
"Dexter: New Blood"
We all hated the sibling-incest series finale in 2013. But now Michael C. Hall's serial-killing Dexter is back for a 10-episode revival in a new place (upstate New York) with his bloodiest instincts restored. Never mind that he's dating a cop, played by Julia Jones. (Showtime, Nov. 7)
"The Shrink Next Door"
A true-life podcast inspired this pairing of Paul Rudd as a psychiatrist who starts to take over the life of his longtime patient, played by Will Ferrell. With the divine Kathryn Hahn joining the cast of this eight-part series, prepare to enter dark-comic heaven. (Apple TV+, Nov. 12)
In a spin on "Lord of the Flies," a girls soccer team survives a plane crash in the wilderness and the ensuing trauma affects them 25 years later. Juliette Lewis, Christina Ricci, Melanie Lynskey and Tawny Cypress show just how deeply in this 10-episode drama. (Showtime, Nov. 14)
Here at last is the long-awaited, 10-episode, live-action version of the jazzy, Japanese, groundbreaking, 1990s anime series about bounty hunters patrolling the solar system. Starring John Cho as Spike Spiegel, this is one series no anime fan will miss. Me either. (Netflix, Nov. 19)
"The Wheel of Time"
Meant to tide us over until a "Lord of the Rings" prequel debuts next fall, this epic fantasy, from the books by Robert Jordan, stars Rosamund Pike as a purveyor of magic only a select group of women possess. Season two has already begun shooting. (Amazon Prime, Nov. 19)
Another dip in the Marvel well (don't dry it out) finds Jeremy Renner back as Avenger Clint Barton/Hawkeye, the archer who's fast with a bow, a quip and training a successor (Hailee Steinfeld). Florence Pugh also appears as Black Widow's scene-stealing sister. (Disney+, Nov. 24)
"The Beatles: Get Back"
Forget the 1970 documentary "Let It Be" that focused on the Fab Four sniping at each other during their last live show on a London rooftop. Director Peter Jackson dug into over 60 hours of footage to create a three-part, six-hour event that shows more of the euphoria that John, Paul, George and Ringo felt working together for one last time.(Disney+, Nov. 25)
"And Just Like That ..."
We're back in the tantalizing "Sex and the City" bubble with Sarah Jessica Parker, Cynthia Nixon and Kristin Davis. MIA from the reboot is Kim Cattrall who went cold on the franchise after the second movie version. So how do Carrie, Miranda and Charlotte deal with sex in their 50s in a COVID-battered, #MeToo-era New York City? Together, is my guess. This series, then and now, has always been about the bond among women. And that never gets old. (HBO Max)