Recently, we rounded up the very best movies you need to see this fall, but sometimes you just don’t want to leave the house. Sometimes you want to become one with your couch like some sort of incredibly comfortable centaur. A centaur who orders Chinese food and has to deal with Netflix passive-aggressively asking “Are you still watching this?” Yes, Netflix, we are. But once you’ve finished Stranger Things or The Night Of or the oddball delight that is Terrace House, what do you watch next? Well, on today’s episode of The Dan Cave, we’re going to guide you through the very best of fall TV.
With special help and additional reporting from Nerdist’s resident TV maven and managing editor Alicia Lutes, we have assembled a veritable smorgasbord of small-screen offerings to keep you entertained all autumn long. From returning staples like The Walking Dead and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. to promising new series like Westworld and The Good Place and beyond, these are the shows you need to cram into your eyeballs as the days get shorter and the temperatures drop faster than my self-esteem in front of a mirror. So go ahead—order a venti pumpkin spice latte to go, kick back, relax, and get ready to wile away the autumn hours from the comfort of your couch.
(FX: 9/6 at 10PM)
The Donald Glover-shaped hole in your heart caused by Troy’s departure from Community in 2014 can now be filled. On its surface, Glover’s new FX comedy is about two cousins trying to make it big in the world of hip hop in Atlanta in order to give their families a better life. But beneath that flashy exterior is a funny, melancholic, insightful exploration of race, socioeconomic struggle, and identity. It’s a delightful blend of the hyper-real and the surreal—a show that will leave both laughing and thinking about the deeper meaning of it all. And honestly, it’s just so good to have Glover back on TV. (DC)
Many of you know Crackle as the home of cinematic treasures like Joe Dirt 2 and Jerry Seinfeld’s preferred platform for riding around in automobiles sipping lattes with funny people. Now, though, it’s also the home to a show called StartUp, the weirdo baby of Silicon Valley, The Wire, and Miami Vice. Martin Freeman stars as an FBI agent investigating a cryptocurrency start-up funded by drug money. What follows looks bloody, sordid, and extremely up our alley. Seriously, Martin Freeman looks like a certified badass in this, and it’s a good look on him. (DC)
(FX: 9/8 at 10PM)
Chances are you know Pamela Adlon as the voice of Bobby Hill on King of the Hill or from her recurring role on Louie. However, after Better Things, you’ll know her as a force of nature thanks to this excellent show about a divorced actress trying to raise her three daughters all by herself. Created with Louis C.K., Better Things seems poised to be the most uncomfortably funny show since The Comeback. And if you know anything about The Comeback, then you should already be squirming in anticipation and hilarious discomfort. (DC)
Son of Zorn
(FOX: preview on 9/11 at 8PM, premiere on 9/25 at 8:30PM)
What if He-Man got his freak on in the real world, Roger Rabbit-style, and made it with a human lady? What if that ended in tears, leaving He-Man with an ex-wife and a teenage son living in Orange County? That’s the idea behind Son of Zorn, the new comedy from producers Phil Lord and Chris Miller. It follows the adventures of the animated hero of the island of Zephyria who is trying to reconnect with his live-action family. And you thought you had daddy issues. (DC)
American Horror Story
(FX: 9/14 at 10PM)
Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk’s now-venerable anthology series is keeping things extra mysterious as it heads into its sixth season. Although the beans may have been spilled as to the season’s subtitle, the Emmy Award-winning series looks like it may fulfill the promise of tying all the previous seasons together. The only way to find out, though, will be to tune in and find out. (DC)
(HBO: 9/16 at 8PM)
The long-running Vimeo series from Ben Sinclair (who also stars in it) and Katja Blichfeld (who is in an episode of the upcoming run) has moved from the internet to a more traditional transmission format but hasn’t lost any of its edge or impressive storytelling. The brutally hilarious and tragic (often in equal measure) stories held within the standalone episodes—kept cohesive thanks to the protagonist crossing paths with the weed dealer played by Sinclair—is impressive, nuanced, and a joy to experience. If you loved the Vimeo series, you’ll still love the HBO iteration, and if you somehow missed it, that’s okay. You don’t need the background to get in on the blistering look at addiction, avoidance, and so much more. (AL)
The Good Place
(NBC: preview on 9/19 @ 10pm, premiere on 9/22 @ 8:30pm)
We were already on-board for The Good Place when we heard it was going to star Ted Danson and Kristen Bell. Those two alone felt like a guarantee for hilarious good TV times. But when we watched the pilot and realized it was about a kinda/sorta terrible woman who gets let into heaven by accident? Well, then we were super on board. Thankfully, the series delivers on an interesting premise from the ever-hilarious, always-delivering creator of Parks and Recreation, Michael Schur. Just add this one to your DVR list already and pretend it’s the Golden Age of NBC circa 30 Rock and P&R. (AL)
Sweet Christmas! Every trailer for Marvel’s Luke Cage looks better than the last. The latest Marvel series coming to Netflix follows Harlem’s unbreakable badass, the hero sometimes known as Power Man, Luke Cage as he tries to clean up his old neighborhood. Expect a gritty crime drama dealing with real, street-level issues, all backed by some of the best hip hop ever made. And the best news? Judging by the trailers, there are hallways galore, and where there are hallways, there are butts to be kicked. (DC)
(HBO: 10/2 at 9PM)
Based on the 1973 movie of the same name and the Michael Crichton novel, Jonathan Nolan’s TV adaptation of Westworld is about a high-tech theme park full of hyper-realistic androids where consumers can go to live out their wildest dreams… including banging robots. Honestly, they should just call it Do Androids Dream of Electric Skeet? and be done with it, but I guess that’d undermine the ethical questions about consciousness and artificial intelligence. Oh well, next time. (DC)
(NBC: 10/3 at 10PM)
NBC is going full Quantum Leap this season and we are not mad about it at ALL. This fall, their new series Timeless is giving us the all the “unlikely trio tasked with saving the world” vibes we crave. And after seeing the pilot , we’re sure you’ll agree, too, what with all its boundless energy, high stakes, pop science, and humorous tone. The show follows history professor Lucy (Abigail Spencer), a solider named Wyatt (Matt Lanter), and a scientist named Rufus (Malcolm Barrett) as they are forced to team up and head back in time to find a time-traveling criminal—Garcia Flynn (Goran Visnjic)—who’s stolen a top-secret government-built time machine in order to change the course of American history and ultimately destroy it. From the creators of Supernatural (Eric Kripke) and The Shield (Shawn Ryan), this one’s a keeper for sure. (AL)
Much like you can’t keep me away from fruit snacks in the office kitchen, you can’t keep Hugh Laurie from playing doctors with monosyllabic last names. In the Hulu original series Chance, Laurie plays Dr. Eldon Chance, a forensic psychiatrist who finds himself dealing with something far worse than an Oedipus complex: a sprawling conspiracy theory involving corrupt cops. I mean, I guess that’s worse. (DC)
There is literally nothing that has electrified the Nerdist office more than the first run of Black Mirror. The modern-day Twilight Zone-esque situation is the creepiest, darkest look at the terrible aspects of our society writ large, and it’s truly riveting and devastating in every sense of those words. This season will feature 6 episodes (with 6 more to come!) featuring an insanely impressive crew of castmates and creators like Gugu Mbatha-Raw (Jupiter Ascending, Beyond the Lights, Beauty and the Beast), Mackenzie Davis (Halt and Catch Fire, The Martian), Bryce Dallas Howard (Jurassic World, The Martian), Alice Eve (Star Trek Into Darkness, Men in Black 3), and even an episode co-written by Rashida Jones and Michael Schur (Parks and Rec). Needless to say, our genetically modified bodies ARE READY. (AL)
Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency
(BBC America: 10/22 at 9PM)
When most people think of Douglas Adams, they think of towels, fish, and the number 42. However, writer/producer Max Landis wants you to think of a certain detective: Dirk Gently. Based on the Douglas Adams novel, Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency follows the adventures of, well, Dirk Gently (Samuel Barnett), a time-traveling “holistic detective” who uses the fundamental interconnectedness of all things to solve crimes alongside his sidekick Todd (Elijah Wood). For those of you who have been clamoring for a Doctor Who/Sherlock crossover, this is about as close as we’re going to get—and I’m perfectly fine with that. (DC)
The Walking Dead
(AMC: 10/23 at 9PM)
Do you really need me to tell you to watch The Walking Dead? No, no you don’t. You and I both know that no matter how steamed we got watching the season six finale, we need to know who Negan introduced to Lucille. (DC)
Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life
Did you know that some of the folks here at Nerdist are REAL excited about the return of Gilmore Girls? Amy Sherman-Palladino’s masterwork of quippy, caffeinated, fast-talking mother/daughter duo Lorelai and Rory Gilmore (Lauren Graham and Alexis Bledel, respectively) was a staple for many a young girl and guy in the early aughts. Returning to Stars Hollow, Connecticut, several years after the fact in four season-specific special episodes, Netflix has managed to get basically the whole entire cast back—no small feat considering many, many, many people from the series have gone on to have very busy and full careers (we’re lookin’ at you, Melissa McCarthy). There’s no way we’re not watching and loving this one. We’re sure you’re probably all, “Oy, with the Gilmore Girls love, already!” but JUST ADMIT IT: you want to know who Rory ends up with! DON’T LIE, KYLE HILL. Ahem. (AL)
What fall TV shows are you most excited to see? What would you add to this list? Let us know in the comments below.
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