Fall TV Preview: Notable Cable & Streaming Shows

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  • Publish Date: September 4, 2014


Below, our Fall TV Preview continues with our look at the notable new and returning shows headed to cable and the internet this fall. Next week, we'll return with a guide to the new and returning shows headed to the five broadcast networks. You can also check out our Fall TV Schedule for nightly primetime schedule grids, and our Fall TV Premiere Calendar for a list of all announced TV premiere dates (including movies, miniseries and specials) for the remainder of 2014 (and beyond).

The most notable fall debuts

Below are the most intriguing (at least on paper) new and returning shows—and miniseries—headed to cable and streaming services this fall, listed in alphabetical order.

NEW The Affair Watch trailer
Showtime | Sundays at 10p starting October 12

Showtime's most promising newcomer this season (and that includes midseason as well)—and the reason Masters of Sex was moved into the summer—is this drama from two of the folks behind In Treatment, Hagai Levi and Sarah Treem. (The latter is also a producer on Netflix's House of Cards.) The 10-episode series depicts the effects of an extramarital affair on a struggling, working-class Hamptons couple from the two very different (and often conflicting) perspectives of the husband (Joshua Jackson, Fringe) and his wife (Ruth Wilson, Luther). The latter, a waitress who recently suffered a personal tragedy, is the one having the affair, with a teacher and writer (The Wire's Dominic West) who is spending the summer in the area with his own wife (Maura Tierney, ER). While it may seem like perfect "limited series" material, The Affair is being envisioned as a show that could potentially continue into additional seasons.

American Horror Story: Freak Show
FX | Wednesdays at 10p starting October 8

Fresh off its 4 Emmy wins (and 17 nominations), Ryan Murphy's annual horror miniseries returns for its fourth season. The subject of this year's freak show is literally a freak show, in particular one located in Jupiter, Florida in the year 1952, when such enterprises were on their way out. You'll recognize much of the cast, led, once again, by Jessica Lange, who plays the German expat who manages the show. Other AHS ensemble members returning for another season are Sarah Paulson (playing conjoined twins), Kathy Bates (the show's bearded lady), Frances Conroy, Evan Peters, Denis O'Hare, Angela Bassett, Emma Roberts, and Gabourey Sidibe, joined by newcomers Michael Chiklis (the show's strongman) and John Carroll Lynch (as the season's major villain, the Clown Killer—who, it should be noted, is a murderous clown, not a clown murderer). Wes Bentley, Patti LaBelle, and Matt Bomer will also guest this season—as will Jyoti Amge, the world's smallest woman (on both the show and in real life). Despite the premise, this season is said to be less campy that Coven was, while producer Tim Minear has described Freak Show as "Douglas Sirk meets Zodiac."

NEW Ascension Watch trailer
Syfy | Mondays at 9p starting November 24

Rule #1 of space travel: If Tricia Helfer is on board your vessel, you're probably heading for trouble. The Battlestar Galactica veteran heads the cast of Syfy's latest space opera, which for now is a six-hour miniseries but has the potential to become a regular ongoing series in the future should ratings prove strong. Ascension begins with an intriguing premise: in 1963, while the Gemini program was getting off the ground, NASA was also undertaking a secret mission to launch 600 men, women, and children into space on a 100-year mission to colonize another planet (and ensure the future of humanity should the Cold War turn hot). The show picks up around 50 years after launch (i.e., in the present day), when the inhabitants of the ship are shaken by a murder that begins to raise questions about the true nature of their journey. Part of Syfy's ambitious 2014-15 programming slate that sees the Sharknado network returning to actual science fiction programming (with shows like 12 Monkeys, The Expanse, Killjoys, and Childhood's End coming next year), Ascension comes from Philip Levens (Smallville) and also stars Brian Van Holt (Cougar Town) and Brandon P. Bell (Hollywood Heights).

Boardwalk Empire Watch trailer
HBO | Sundays at 9p starting September 7

HBO will be saying goodbye to two of its high-profile but somehow still under-the-radar dramas this fall. One, Aaron Sorkin's The Newsroom, was judged somewhat harshly from the start, though the other, Boardwalk Empire, received strong reviews and major Emmy nominations in its early days before Game of Thrones began to steal its spotlight. This weekend brings the start of Boardwalk's fifth and final season, which will run for just eight episodes and will jump ahead seven years in time, taking place during the early stages of the Great Depression (and in the final days of Prohibition). While producers have been tight-lipped about plot details for the upcoming season, they have shared a seven-minute recap of season 4 in case you need to refresh your memory. Don't worry about series creator Terence Winter, as he has another HBO project in development that finds him re-teaming with director Martin Scorsese and actor Bobby Cannavale (and teaming for the first time with rocker-turned-TV producer Mick Jagger) for a drama set in the New York City music scene in the 1970s.

The Comeback
HBO | tbd November

Go ahead, call it a comeback. Lisa Kudrow's first major post-Friends TV gig, the HBO mockumentary series The Comeback ran for just a single 13-episode season in 2005 before it was canceled, the victim of mixed reviews and low ratings. But the series—and its skewering of both celebrity and the reality show genre (Kudrow plays out-of-touch former sitcom star Valerie Cherish who agrees to be the subject of a reality series as she attempts to re-start her career amidst younger rivals)—has grown in stature in the ensuing years, making the time ripe for The Comeback to pull off a comeback of its own. Launching in November, the show's belated second season will run for six episodes (with the possibility of more to come in the future) that take place nine years after the events in the first season, with Valerie now the subject of a behind-the-scenes documentary after she lands a role in an HBO dramedy. Kudrow and her original series co-creator Michael Patrick King (Sex and the City) return as co-writers and producers, while original cast members Malin Akerman (Trophy Wife) and Kellan Lutz (Twilight) will also return in at least some of the new episodes.

MINISERIES Dig Watch trailer
USA | tbd

A murder mystery and Da Vinci Code-style conspiracy thriller set in Jerusalem, this six-hour event series comes from Homeland creator Gideon Raff and Heroes creator Tim Kring. Dig stars Jason Isaacs as an FBI agent stationed in Israel whose investigation into the murder of an archeologist uncovers a conspiracy that stretches back for thousands of years. Anne Heche co-stars as his boss (and lover), while the cast also includes Lauren Ambrose, Regina Taylor, Richard E. Grant, and David Costabile (Breaking Bad). Producers promise to completely resolve the story at the end of Dig's six episodes, though the characters could conceivably return for another story in the future. The series is expected to air sometime this fall, but recent events in Israel forced the production to move from its original Jerusalem location (where it filmed its first episode) to the somewhat safer Albuquerque, and it is unclear if the move will necessitate a delay.

NEW Foo Fighters: Sonic Highways Watch trailer
HBO | Fridays at 11p starting October 17

While news that a new Foo Fighters album (Sonic Highways) is coming out in November might be enough to excite some music fans, an unconventional recording process makes the album's back story a bit more interesting than most. The LP is the result of an ambitious itinerary that saw the band head to eight different American cities (and eight different historic studios) to record each of the album's eight tracks, joining with local music legends in each town. Fortunately, the Foo Fighters have an in-house film director in band leader Dave Grohl (Sound City), and he chronicled the journey for this weekly HBO documentary series. In addition to footage of the recording sessions, expect interviews with local music legends including Dolly Parton, Joe Walsh, Buddy Guy, Gary Clark Jr., Chuck D, Gibby Haynes, Allen Toussaint, and members of Bad Brains.

Homeland Watch trailer
Showtime | Sundays at 9p starting October 5

Showtime's once high-flying drama series hit a few snags in its third season, with its overly drawn-out storylines causing some fans and critics to invoke sharks and the jumping thereof. This fall's fourth season, however, gives Homeland a chance to reboot itself, with a new setting (the season takes place primarily in Afghanistan and Pakistan, though it was filmed in Cape Town) and new characters (with the Brody family—including fan-unfavorite Dana—now out of the picture). Season 3 newcomers Nazanin Boniadi (who played CIA analyst Fara Sherazi) and Tracy Letts (Senator Andrew Lockhart) will return alongside stars Claire Danes and Mandy Patinkin, joined by new cast members Corey Stoll (House of Cards), Suraj Sharma (Life of Pi), Laila Robins (In Treatment), Raza Jaffrey (Smash), and Michael O'Keefe (King & Maxwell). The new season will also see the return of key writer Meredith Stiehm, who had left Homeland after season 2 to run the FX series The Bridge. Note that the October 5th premiere will feature two back-to-back episodes.

MINISERIES Olive Kitteridge Watch clip #1 Watch clip #2 Watch clip #3
HBO | airs November 2 and November 3 at 9p

WHAT CRITICS ARE SAYING AT VENICE:

 

Catherine Bray
HitFix

"A perfect storm of talent, fine storytelling and beautiful direction ... Olive Kitteridge just sings on absolutely every level."

 

David Rooney
The Hollywood Reporter

"A wonderful role that stands among the most complex and memorable of [McDormand's] career."

HBO's four-part, two-night miniseries adaptation of the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel of the same name by Elizabeth Strout is a passion project for star Frances McDormand, who optioned the book herself and brought Lisa Cholodenko (The Kids Are All Right) on board to direct. Strout's Kitteridge is not a conventional novel but rather a series of 13 interconnected short stories that take place across 25 years in a Maine coastal town, and the miniseries doesn't attempt to include all of the book's plots and characters, though many are here at least briefly, brought to life by a large and talented ensemble that includes Peter Mullan, Rosemarie DeWitt, Bill Murray, Ann Dowd, Zoe Kazan, Jesse Plemons, and Martha Wainwright. But much of the focus is on McDormand's Kitteridge, a gruff middle-school math teacher married to a warm, caring pharmacist (Richard Jenkins). The four-hour film premiered at the Venice Film Festival this week to rapturous reviews from film critics, who had nothing but praise for the writing, directing, and performances, and it looks like you'll be seeing McDormand at next year's Emmys.

Sons of Anarchy Watch trailer
FX | Tuesdays at 10p starting September 9

FX's mostly acclaimed biker drama will be riding off into the sunset this season, with a seventh and final season of 13 episodes. Though Ron Perlman and Maggie Siff won't be back this year, several recurring players (including Drea de Matteo and Peter Weller) have been elevated to series regulars. Series newcomers Annabeth Gish (The Bridge), Mathew St. Patrick (Six Feet Under), Malcolm-Jamal Warner, Courtney Love, and Marilyn Manson will have recurring roles (the latter as a jailed white supremacist), while Glee's Lea Michele will guest on one episode and Walton Goggins' Venus will make at least one appearance. A new live after-show, Anarchy Afterword, will follow next week's nearly double-length premiere (which begins with Jax in jail, 10 days after the events of last season's finale) as well as the December 2 series finale. Series creator Kurt Sutter has suggested again this year that he may still have some interest in making a Sons of Anarchy prequel (about SAMCRO's founding in the 1960s)—perhaps as a limited series—so this may not be the last you see of Charming.

NEW Star Wars Rebels Watch trailer Watch first 7 minutes
Disney XD | Mondays at 9p starting October 13 (prequel movie airs October 3 on Disney)

Rebels is certainly not the first animated series to be set in the Star Wars universe (Star Wars: The Clone Wars recently concluded a five-season run), but it might be the best. To be clear: with a 14-year-old protagonist, shiny CGI animation, and its location on the Disney networks, its target is mainly a younger audience, and not necessarily those of us who caught the original film when it was in theaters, though it certainly comes closer in spirit and look to the original trilogy than any of the more recent Star Wars offerings. Set in between the events of Revenge of the Sith and A New Hope (fka Star Wars), the new series borrows some of its visual design from Ralph McQuarrie's original (unused) 1970s concept art and traces the origins of the Rebel Alliance. The show centers on a group of young rebels who inhabit a freighter ship called Ghost, and features the voices of Freddie Prinze, Jr. (as a Jedi survivor), Jason Isaacs (playing the evil Inquisitor), David Oyelowo, and a few returning favorites like Anthony Daniels (C-3PO) and Billy Dee Williams (Lando Calrissian). (Yes, R2-D2 shows up as well, as does Obi-Wan Kenobi.) Note that Rebels will actually kick off a bit earlier with a prequel movie, Star Wars Rebels: Spark of Rebellion, airing October 3rd on the Disney Channel (as well as online), though the 16-episode series itself will air on Disney XD.

NEW Transparent Watch trailer Watch 1st episode
Amazon | all episodes available September 26

WHAT THEY SAID ABOUT THE PILOT:

 

James Poniewozik
Time

"It's the best pilot of the fall TV season, the sort of rich, funny-but-melancholy character study you'd expect to see on HBO."

 

Willa Paskin
Slate

"An honest to goodness great pilot ... Transparent already has me addicted."

Amazon is now a few years into its original programming experiment, but it may have found its first critical hit, if the early buzz holds once more episodes become available. In case you haven't already been spoiled by the title, trailer, or most of the publicity stills released so far, we'll avoid describing precisely what Transparent is about, though we can say it is a half-hour dramedy about a very modern Los Angeles family that comes from Six Feet Under and United States Of Tara writer Jill Soloway and stars Jeffrey Tambor (Arrested Development), Judith Light (Who's the Boss?), Gaby Hoffmann (Louie), Amy Landecker (A Serious Man), and Jay Duplass. The cast gets even better: Carrie Brownstein (Portlandia), Rob Huebel (Childrens Hospital), Bradley Whitford (The West Wing), Kathryn Hahn (Parks and Recreation), and Melora Hardin (The Office) will also have recurring roles.

Unlike some Amazon series, Transparent will follow the Netflix model and make all 10 episodes available to stream at once, with Soloway comparing the finished product to a five-hour movie rather than an episodic series. (In the meantime, you can watch the original pilot, though that first episode will be altered when it returns as part of the full season, as several roles have been re-cast.) Meanwhile, the shopping giant has just released its pilots that are under consideration for next year's programming slate, and this new bunch includes The Cosmopolitans, a new Whit Stillman-style comedy from, well, Whit Stillman, and the David Gordon Green-directed, Steven Soderbergh-produced, 1980s-set comedy Red Oaks.

The Walking Dead Watch trailer
AMC | Sundays at 9p starting October 12

AMC's zombie hit has had almost as much turnover off-screen as on-, but there's a rare dose of stability this year as Scott Gimple returns for his second full season as showrunner. In front of the camera, five actors (including Michael Cudlitz, Andrew J. West, and Josh McDermitt) have been promoted to series regular this season—that high number probably foretells the departure of at least one character this season—while Seth Gilliam becomes the latest The Wire veteran to join the cast. (He'll be playing Father Gabriel Stokes.) Season 5 begins with a resolution to the previous season's finale cliffhanger (a series first) at Terminus (we know you're hungry for details, but you'll have to wait), and creator Robert Kirkman has promised a "fast-paced, intense season." As always, the season will be divided in half, with eight episodes airing this fall and the remaining eight arriving in February. The Chris Hardwick-hosted aftershow Talking Dead will also return this season (though we're still waiting for TV's first aftershow aftershow, in which celebrity guests discuss their reactions to the aftershow).

NEW Z Nation Watch trailer
Syfy | Fridays at 10p starting September 12

How many zombie series does one TV fan need? Syfy is hoping the answer to that question is "at least one more." There are actually at least two more arriving in the 2014-15 season, but getting the jump on The CW's iZombie (a midseason series from Veronica Mars creator Rob Thomas) is much darker entry launching next week on Syfy. Yes, Z Nation will be saddled with Walking Dead comparisons from the start, but there are differences between the two shows. (Maybe.) This slightly more focused new series (from Eerie, Indiana creator Karl Schaefer) takes place three years after a zombie virus has wiped out much of the country's population. But there's hope, in the form of a lone human who has survived the virus unscathed. The series follows the efforts of a group of people (including Lost's Harold Perrineau, Southland's Tom Everett Scott, and Legit's DJ Qualls) to transport this naturally immune person from New York to a lab 3,000 miles away in California in the hope of turning his antibodies into a vaccine that could save the human race. (Unfortunately for them, the man also harbors a dark secret that jeopardizes their mission.) Is this the beginning of the end of the zombie fad, or will we be writing about a Wil Wheaton-hosted Z Nation Live! aftershow one year from now?

Additional new and returning shows by network

Adult Swim

After airing last fall as a one-time special, Tim & Eric's Bedtime Stories (9/19) is now a regular ongoing series. The follow-up to Tim and Eric's Awesome Show, Great Job! is an anthology series where each 15-minute episode finds the two stars joined by a variety of guests to tell a self-contained spooky tale. (Basically, it's a Twilight Zone parody.) ... NEW Mr. Pickles (9/21) is a new animated series centering on a young boy and his lovable dog, Mr. Pickles. What the boy doesn't know is that Mr. Pickles is a violent killer in his spare time. ... That show will be pared with Squidbillies (9/21), which returns for an 8th season. ... Though it doesn't yet have a premiere date, NEW Mike Tyson Mysteries is expected to debut this fall. (Watch a preview.) Exactly what the title says it is, the animated series is also an homage to/parody of Scooby-Doo!. In addition to Tyson, the series stars Jim Rash and Norm MacDonald. ... A second season of Newsreaders could also arrive this fall (if not, it'll show up next year), with Alan Tudyk taking over as host.

Amazon

Gary Trudeau's political comedy Alpha House, the only Amazon original series to be renewed so far, is expected to begin streaming its second season in October. ... The internet giant will also launch two newcomers this fall, including Transparent later this month (see above) and NEW Mozart in the Jungle, which should debut in December. The latter is a half-hour dramedy from Roman Coppola and Jason Schwartzman set in the world of classical music and based on Blair Tindall's memoir; Gael Garcia Bernal, Malcolm McDowell, and Saffron Burrows star. Watch the first episode now.

BBC America

NEW The Game (tbd) is the BBC's answer to The Americans, though it goes back in time even further (to the 1970s) and is, of course, set in the UK rather than the USA. The Cold War spy thriller stars Brian Cox and centers on MI5's attempt to thwart a secret Soviet plot revealed by a KGB defector. ... There's still a chance the network's delayed NEW Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell, a historical fantasy series based on Susanna Clarke's acclaimed best-seller, could debut this fall, though 2015 seems a more realistic possibility given the lack of information released to date. When it does arrive, that 7-episode series will star Eddie Marsan and Bertie Carvel.

Bravo

NEW Girlfriends' Guide to Divorce (tbd, possibly 12/2) is the reality network's first-ever scripted series. Adapted from Vicki Iovine's book series by Marti Noxon (Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Mad Men), the hour-long drama (which was originally going to be a half-hour Showtime comedy) stars Lisa Edelstein (House) as a self-help author with a secret: she's actually separated from her husband. Janeane Garofalo was originally set to co-star as her best friend, but it turns out that she'll be leaving the show midway through the first season. Helping to replace her is the newly added Alanna Ubach (Hung), while Carrie Fisher, Bernadette Peters, and Laverne Cox (Orange Is the New Black) will guest.

Comedy Central

While the bulk of Comedy Central's suddenly pretty terrific original programming slate won't arrive until midseason, a few returning shows will show up in the fall, including an 18th season of South Park (9/24) and the animated Brickleberry (9/16) (an exception to that "pretty terrific" label). ... The great sketch comedy series Key & Peele (9/24) returns for its 11-episode 4th season this fall with guests including Rashida Jones, Ty Burrell, Chelsea Peretti, and Retta.

CW Seed

The CW's digital platform has one newcomer of note this fall: NEW Play It Again, Dick (9/15), an 8-episode comedic spin-off from Veronica Mars that actually plays more like creator Rob Thomas' other cult hit, Party Down. Written by Thomas, the meta newcomer stars Ryan Hansen as Veronica Mars/Party Down star Ryan Hansen, who is trying to create a Veronica Mars spin-off revolving around his Dick Casablancas character. Nearly every Mars cast member (including star Kristen Bell) will appear in Dick, either as fictionalized versions of themselves, or as characters in Hansen's new show, or both.

DirecTV (Audience Network)

The satellite service's highest-profile original series in some time, NEW Kingdom (10/8) is a family drama set in the world of mixed martial arts fighting. The gritty, Venice, California-set series (formerly known as Navy St.) stars Frank Grillo (Captain America: The Winter Soldier), Kiele Sanchez (Lost), Matt Lauria (Friday Night Lights), and Nick Jonas. (Here's the trailer.) ... NEW Things You Shouldn't Say Past Midnight (10/15) is DirecTV's first original comedy series, and is based on the play of the same name by Tony winner Peter Ackerman. The not-quite-real-time series will unfold over a 12-hour period (stretching from dusk to dawn) in Los Angeles. The ensemble cast includes Enlisted's Parker Young and Keith David, plus Kerri Kenney (Reno 911), Eddie Kaye Thomas (American Pie), and Stephen Schneider (Broad City). ... Paired with that show will be the U.S. debut of the British comedy NEW Uncle (10/15). That series follows an unemployed, immature 30-something who forms an unlikely bond with his neurotic nephew after being coerced by his sister into caring for the child.

FXX

Fantasy football comedy The League kicked off its sixth season on FXX earlier this week (it turns out that there were only a finite number of Simpsons episodes after all), as did a second batch of Ali G Rezurection episodes. ... Though The League's usual lead-in, It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, won't return until early 2015, the gang has been hard at work on a book in the interim.

HBO

The Newsroom's third and final season will debut at some point in November, and will run for just 6 episodes. The Aaron Sorkin drama is expected to move ahead into the more recent past and depict events such as the Boston Marathon bombing, though all we have to go by so far is this brief teaser. ... Under-the-radar nursing home comedy Getting On will also return for a second season in November, which will also consist of just 6 episodes. ... Real Time with Bill Maher returns for the final part of its 12th season on 9/12 with a special live edition at 9pm, performed in front of an audience at Washington D.C.'s Sidney Harman Hall. At the conclusion of that hour, Maher will head a few blocks across town to Warner Theatre, where he will immediately perform a new stand-up show (SPECIAL Bill Maher: Live From D.C.), also broadcast live on HBO. ... Also on tap this month is a new concert special, SPECIAL On The Run Tour: Beyoncé and Jay Z (9/20). The Paris-filmed special (to be taped next week) will include performances of more than 40 songs. ... Though HBO's revival of Project Greenlight won't air until next year, the process of selecting this season's subject is now underway, and the public will have a chance to narrow down the field of potential directors later this month.

IFC

Sketch comedy series The Birthday Boys (10/17) returns for a second season next month with guests including Dana Carvey, Tony Hale, Tim & Eric, Casey Wilson, Chris Elliott, Paul Scheer, Fabio, Thomas Lennon, and Scott Aukerman, pared with the back half of Comedy Bang! Bang!'s third season. (It's been awhile since new episodes have aired.) The latter show, by the way, has already been renewed for an expanded fourth season that will bring 40 new episodes to IFC in 2015.

The internet

If The Room director Tommy Wiseau follows through on his threat, the universe will finally have his decade-old sitcom, NEW The Neighbors, to "enjoy" in September. (After all, he's already describing it as "the funniest sitcom since Friends.") If you can make heads or tails of this clip or the so-called trailer, then you're already one step ahead of Wiseau.

Lifetime

There's a chance that Marti Noxon's other new series (she also has Girlfriends' Guide to Divorce for Bravo, above), NEW Un-Real, will also debut this fall, though early 2015 is another possibility. The 10-episode scripted dark comedy series is set in the world of reality television and stars Shiri Appleby as a production assistant on a dating competition, where her job duties require her to manipulate the relationships of the various contestants. The series is based on an indie film (Sequin Raze) by Sarah Gertrude Shapiro.

MTV

NEW Happyland (9/30) is a scripted dramedy series about the employees of a popular amusement park, starring Bianca Santos (The Fosters). The series has already caused some controversy for showing a wee bit of incest in the opening episode. ... That newcomer will be joined on MTV this fall by a second season of Faking It and new episodes of Awkward, which both return on 9/23.

Netflix

A 10-episode 8th season of Canadian mockumentary series Trailer Park Boys is headed to Netflix this Friday (9/5) as an exclusive. The streaming service has actually ordered two new seasons of the revived comedy, which has been off the air since 2007. ... The Fall, a well-regarded British crime thriller starring Gillian Anderson as the lead investigator of a series of related murders in Belfast, is expected to air its second season on BBC Two in the UK this autumn. (Watch a trailer.) Netflix will again show the episodes in the U.S., though it hasn't yet announced whether we'll get them this fall or next year. (If you haven't watched season 1 yet, do yourself a favor and wait until season 2 is also available; the first season doesn't exactly come to a satisfying conclusion.) The series also stars Jamie Dornan, who will play the lead in next year's Fifty Shades of Grey adaptation. ... Featuring an international (i.e., mostly unknown) cast, 10-episode historical adventure series NEW Marco Polo (12/12) was originally headed to Starz before running into production troubles and eventually landing at Netflix. The series is set in 13th century China and comes from John Fusco (Young Guns II).

PBS

The public television network's highest-profile show this fall is MINISERIES The Roosevelts: An Intimate History (9/14), the latest exhaustive documentary from Ken Burns. A look at the Roosevelt political dynasty (specifically, Theodore, Franklin, and Eleanor), the miniseries will air for two hours a night across seven consecutive nights. ... Also on tap is NEW How We Got to Now (10/15), a six-episode documentary series about the innovations and innovators that made modern life possible, hosted by author Steven Johnson (Everything Bad Is Good for You). ... PBS's Masterpiece series will also offer a pair of MOVIE Worricker movies (11/9 and 11/16) that will conclude the Bill Nighy-starring trilogy that began with Page Eight. ... British costume drama The Paradise (9/28) will also return to Masterpiece for an 8-episode second season.

Showtime

Debuting this fall on Showtime, MOVIE Kobe Bryant's Muse is a feature-length documentary about the Los Angeles Lakers legend, made with Bryant's full cooperation and participation (and filmed primarily while Bryant spent the year recovering from an injury). ... Normally a summer series, Lisa Kudrow's Web Therapy (10/22) will return for its fourth season this fall (at around the same time Kudrow's The Comeback will air on HBO) with a guest roster that includes Jon Hamm, Gwyneth Paltrow, Matthew Perry, Allison Janney, Lauren Graham, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, and Craig Ferguson, plus returning guests Rashida Jones and Billy Crystal.

Starz

LeBron James is taking his executive producer talents to Starz next month for NEW Survivor's Remorse (10/4), a new comedy series about a young NBA star (Jessie T. Usher) who has just signed his first multi-million-dollar contract and must now learn how to live with the demands that fame and fortune bring. Glee's Mike O'Malley is the writer/creator of this six-episode newcomer. ... Launching this Saturday night is NEW The Chair, a new filmmaking competition from Project Greenlight producer Chris Moore that asks two novice directors to create their own films from the same screenplay, with the winner (selected by the audience) receiving a $250,000 prize. ... A co-production with the BBC, NEW The Missing (11/15) is an 8-episode European thriller that centers on a father (James Nesbitt) who mounts a desperate, years-long search for his missing five-year-old son who was abducted during a French vacation. The series will shift back and forth between time periods and locations (London and France) but should wrap up its story at the end of the season. Frances O'Connor (Mr. Selfridge) also stars.

Sundance

MINISERIES One Child (11/28 and 11/29) is a two-night, four-hour miniseries starring Elizabeth Perkins and Donald Sumpter as the adoptive parents of a young Chinese-born woman who is called back to her homeland when her birth mother faces a family crisis.

Syfy

Reality series NEW Town of the Living Dead (10/7) follows a crew of amateur filmmakers in a small Alabama town as they attempt to finally complete their six-years-in-the-making zombie movie. ... Shifting to Thursday nights, Haven (9/11) returns for an expanded fifth season next week, with 13 episodes set to air this fall and a second batch of 13 to follow in early 2015. Laura Mennell (Alphas) joins the cast this year.

TBS

Bill Lawrence's workplace sitcom Ground Floor (12/9) returns for its 10-episode second season on a new night (Tuesdays at 10p). Comedian Emily Heller joins the cast this year.

TNT

Though it doesn't have a firm start date yet, NEW The Librarians (December tbd) should debut before the end of the year. This series spin-off from The Librarian TV movie franchise (which had pretty much the same storehouse-of-magical-artifacts concept as Warehouse 13, though the films predated that Syfy series) will star Rebecca Romijn, while Noah Wyle (who starred in the films) will recur alongside John Larroquette, Matt Frewer, Bob Newhart, and Jane Curtin. ... Ty Pennington and Emeril Lagasse host the new food competition NEW On the Menu (10/3), in which cooks compete to get their dishes featured on the menus of chain restaurants like Chili's and Outback Steakhouse. ... NEW Transporter: The Series (tbd) is based on Luc Besson's Transporter action film series and stars Chris Vance (Rizzoli & Isles) as Frank Martin, the character played on the big screen by Jason Statham. The international production has already aired elsewhere in the world (as far back as 2012), but will make its U.S. debut this fall. A new second season will follow in 2015.

TV Land

Created by Darren Star (Sex and the City, Beverly Hills, 90210), the New York-set, single-camera, serialized comedy NEW Younger (tbd) stars Sutton Foster (of the canceled-too-soon Bunheads) as a 40-year-old newly single mother who attempts to re-enter the working world, only to find out that she's too old for an entry-level position. So, with the help of a makeover from her best friend (Debi Mazar), she attempts to pass herself off as 26. Hilary Duff also stars.

USA

In addition to the miniseries Dig (see above), USA has a pair of programs in the pipeline that could launch this fall (though one or both may not arrive until 2015). The first is promising legal workplace comedy NEW Benched, which stars Eliza Coupe (Happy Endings), Jay Harrington (Better Off Ted), and Oscar Nunez (The Office) and has already lined up a guest roster that includes Jim Rash, Nat Faxon, Yvette Nicole Brown, Chris Parnell, and Molly Shannon. ... The other newcomer is NEW Complications, a medical drama from Burn Notice creator Matt Nix that finds an ER doctor (Jason O'Mara, Vegas) caught up in the life of one of his patients, a young boy who is targeted in a drive-by shooting.

Your video game console

As if you didn't already have enough options for televised entertainment, two video game giants are also dabbling in the world of original programming. Sony's first undertaking, heading to the PlayStation Network in December, is NEW Powers, an adaptation of the Image/Icon comic book series that was in development for years at FX before that network finally passed on the project (only for Sony to rescue it). The series, which centers on a pair of homicide detectives who investigate crimes involving superheroes and supervillains, will have an all-new cast in its PSN incarnation, including Sharlto Copley, Susan Heyward (The Following), Michelle Forbes, Noah Taylor (Submarine, Game of Thrones), Olesya Rulin (Greek), Max Fowler (The Killing), and Eddie Izzard. David Slade (Hannibal, Breaking Bad) directs. You'll need to be a PlayStation Plus subscriber to get the series for free.

Not to be outdone by its competitor, Microsoft will debut NEW Halo: Nightfall (11/11) this fall. The Ridley Scott-produced digital feature (watch a trailer) will air on Xbox Live and possibly other Microsoft devices as a five-week series of short episodes centering on a new character (played by The Good Wife's Mike Colter) who will play a key role in next year's Halo 5: Guardians. Nightfall should not be confused with another upcoming Halo live-action series produced by Steven Spielberg. That larger-budget series is expected to debut in late 2015 and is likely headed to Showtime. ... Despite Microsoft's recent closure of Xbox Entertainment Studios, several additional projects are also expected to survive and eventually come to Xbox consoles, including the original documentary MOVIE Atari: Game Over (fall tbd), a chronicle of the 1980s gaming giant that has already made news for discovering copies of the worst game of all time buried in a New Mexico landfill.

What will you be watching?

Do any of the new fall shows sound good to you? Let us know what you'll be watching in the comments section below. And don't forget to check back next week for our look at the new shows headed to ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox, and The CW this fall.

 

Comments (3)

  • cristane  

    Great guide, as usual. So many interesting options out there. I'm afraid next week's network guide will prove once again network channels cannot compete right now with the quality of cable / streaming TV shows.

  • LamontRaymond  

    Homeland was MURDER to sit through last season - I can't say I'm looking forward to another 10+ episodes. On the other hand, I'm more than ready for the final season of Sons of Anarchy - the most screwed over show in terms of the Emmys. Really amazing, pulpy fare. And yeah, the second season of The Fall should be excellent - it's Gillian Anderson's best role of her career.

  • MarcDoyle  

    Glad to hear that Laura Mennell is joining the Haven cast. Great show....

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