While January might be the new September in the TV industry, that doesn't mean the fall season is completely bereft of interesting new programs. The coming months will bring the latest from the creators of Sons of Anarchy and American Horror Story, new shows based on Marvel and DC characters, an Aziz Ansari comedy, a Mr. Show reunion, an Evil Dead continuation, several promising sci-fi titles, and the Muppets' first primetime series in decades. Get the details on these and other promising newcomers below.
The Bastard Executioner Watch trailer
FX, September 15
For Kurt Sutter's first post-Sons of Anarchy project, the writer-producer (reuniting with Anarchy producer and frequent director Paris Barclay) is going medieval: specifically, to 14th century Wales under King Edward I's rule. There, a knight (newcomer Lee Jones) who is worn down by the horrors of war vows to give up his sword, only to take on the role of a journeyman executioner at the request of a divine messenger. The bloody and intense drama also stars Katey Sagal (Sons of Anarchy), Stephen Moyer (True Blood), and Sutter himself, while singer-songwriter Ed Sheeran will have a recurring role.
Moonbeam City Watch trailer
Comedy Central, September 16
What looks a lot like Comedy Central's answer to Archer is also an animated spoof of '80s cop shows—most notably Miami Vice, the seeming inspiration (along with the artwork of Patrick Nagel) for Moonbeam City's pastel style. Rob Lowe and Elizabeth Banks head a voice cast that also includes Will Forte and Kate Mara, plus guests like Paul F. Tompkins, Patrick Warburton, Andy Richter, Susan Sarandon, and Molly Shannon.
Blindspot Watch trailer
NBC, September 21
If NBC is going to have a hit this fall, it will probably be with this new drama, which looks like the network's best prospect (more because of the buzz surrounding NBC's other shows rather than the early reception to this one). Given the prime post-Voice time period on Monday nights, fall's fourth hour of TV from producer Greg Berlanti (he also has Arrow, The Flash, and The Mysteries of Laura) is a conspiracy thriller that begins when a tattoo-covered woman (Thor's Jaimie Alexander) is discovered naked in Times Square with no knowledge of who she is or how she got there. Things get more interesting when officials discover the name of an FBI agent (Sullivan Stapleton of Strike Back) tattooed on her back. Mark Pellington (Arlington Road) directs the pilot and produces. The series will be a procedural (with a different tattoo investigated each week, each one leading to a crime that needs to be solved) with some serialized elements, similar (intentionally, no doubt) to NBC's recent hit The Blacklist, though it will have a more of an action emphasis thanks to the presence of the athletic Alexander. Don't worry: producers have stressed that there are enough tattoos to last for nine or 10 seasons.
Minority Report Trailer #1 Trailer #2
Fox, September 21
The first of two Philip K. Dick projects to debut this fall, Fox's new sci-fi series is also based on Steven Spielberg's 2002 film of the same name. Minority Report the series picks up over a decade after the events in the film, in a world where Pre-Crime has been abolished. But one of the surviving precogs (Stark Sands, Inside Llewyn Davis) can't shake his visions of terrible murders yet to be committed, and he secretly teams up with a cop (Meagan Good, Deception) in an attempt to prevent those crimes, while simultaneously searching for his missing twin brother (originally Sands again, but now played by Nick Zano) and evading those who would exploit his powers for evil. Wilmer Valderrama and Laura Regan (Mad Men) also star. It's the first TV project for screenwriter Max Borenstein, who penned the recent Godzilla. Early response to the pilot (at Comic-Con, where it partially screened, and among critics who have seen the full episode) is mixed at best—with some observers faulting the chemistry between Good and Sands while calling the show an inferior version of Sleepy Hollow—though it has been at least partially re-shot in the interim.
The Muppets Watch trailer
ABC, September 22
If the series is half as successful as ABC's marketing campaign (which featured a rapturous reception at Comic-Con and somehow also included convincing virtually every news outlet to report on the "breakup" between Kermit the Frog and Miss Piggy), the network will have a major hit on its hands. Created by The Big Bang Theory co-creator Bill Prady and Bob Kushell (Anger Management), The Muppets represents the first primetime series for your favorite felt friends since Muppets Tonight ended in 1998. Unlike that program as well as TV classic The Muppet Show (which aired from 1976-81), ABC's new series is targeted at a slightly older audience, and thus employs the 21st century tropes of using a mockumentary format and going "meta" (it's a show about a show, going behind the scenes of the late night post-Kimmel talk show Up Late With Miss Piggy). That format means that you should expect celebrity guests each week, including Imagine Dragons, Reese Witherspoon, Nathan Fillion, Elizabeth Banks, and Liam Hemsworth
Scream Queens Watch trailer
Fox, September 22
Can Ryan Murphy replicate his successful American Horror Story formula on a broadcast network? Early buzz suggests the answer is no, but perhaps things will improve. The cast for this over-the-top horror-mystery-comedy hybrid—created by Murphy with his AHS partner Brad Falchuk and described by the pair as "Halloween meets Heathers"—features a mix of Murphy veterans and newcomers: Emma Roberts, Lea Michele, Jamie Lee Curtis, Abigail Breslin, Skyler Samuels, Charisma Carpenter, Niecy Nash, Nasim Pedrad are just some of the members of the ensemble, while pop stars Ariana Grande and Nick Jonas will also recur. The 15-episode first season will focus on a sorority house at a fictitious university that is rocked by a series of murders. One character will be killed off each week, with only four regulars ultimately surviving and advancing to next season, with that hypothetical season 2 tackling a different genre of horror in a new setting.
The Daily Show With Trevor Noah Watch trailer
Comedy Central, September 28
Will Comedy Central's huge gamble pay off? Anyone who replaced Jon Stewart (the Daily Show's second host, but whose 16-year tenure made him synonymous with the show) was going to have a near-impossible task. But the job may be harder when that anyone is virtually unknown to American audiences: 31-year-old South African comedian Trevor Noah. Noah has actually been a Daily Show correspondent since December, though he only appeared on the program a handful of times. He also attracted some negative press shortly after he was announced as host for a series of ill-advised tweets. Still, the comedian is a star in his native country, where he has experience hosting his own late-night talk show, and elsewhere around the globe, where he has attracted large audiences while touring. He also has the support of much of Stewart's writing staff and on-air talent, with familiar faces like Jessica Williams, Jordan Klepper, Hasan Minhaj, Aasif Mandvi, Lewis Black, John Hodgman, Al Madrigal, and Kristen Schaal sticking around. They'll be joined by a trio of new correspondents: Ronny Chieng, Desi Lydic, and Roy Wood Jr.
The Grinder Watch trailer
Fox, September 29
Critics have been hinting that they don't love the pilot. But some of them are also suggesting that there is potential in the surprisingly effective comedic paring of Rob Lowe (presumably the Rob Lowe who has DirecTV rather than the one who has cable) and Fred Savage (returning to acting after spending much of the last decade behind the camera). Lowe stars as a well-known actor who played a lawyer on a long-running TV procedural. When that show ends, he returns home to Boise to join his family's legal practice despite not actually being a lawyer in real life; Savage is his brother (and an actual attorney). The supporting cast includes Mary Elizabeth Ellis, Natalie Morales, and William Devane, while Kumail Nanjiani guests in (and is the best thing about) the opener. The Grinder appears to be the only new Fox comedy this season with promise, but there's already one warning sign: showrunner Greg Malins departed the series after a few episodes (reportedly the result of too many differing opinions on the writing staff), and he has yet to be replaced.
Hulu, October 7
After starting his career with four well-reviewed features (including Juno and Up in the Air), director Jason Reitman seems to have entered a mid-career slump. Perhaps a move to the small screen will shake things up. Reitman serves as producer and director for this 10-episode Hulu original from writer Zander Lehmann (in his debut project). A(nother) comedy about sex, relationships, and family in the modern age, Casual finds a single man (Tommy Dewey) living with his newly divorced sister (Michaela Watkins) as the two navigate the world of dating and raising a teenager. Tara Lynne Barr also stars, while Eliza Coupe will have a five-episode guest role. New episodes will stream weekly after the show premieres at the Toronto International Film Festival next week.
Red Oaks Watch trailer Full 1st episode
Amazon, October 9
Amazon's fourth original comedy series is set in 1985, when a young tennis pro (Submarine star Craig Roberts) works at a posh New Jersey country club for a summer after his sophomore year of college. Critics liked last year's pilot, which many reviewers compared to Caddyshack and the New York Times likened to the work of John Hughes, Harold Ramis, and Richard Linklater. That may be overstating things a bit, but there's plenty of talent involved here. The series comes from frequent Steven Soderbergh collaborator Gregory Jacobs and Joe Gangemi, and Soderbergh himself produces, while directors include David Gordon Green (Pineapple Express) and Amy Heckerling (Clueless). And the cast includes Paul Reiser, Richard Kind, Jennifer Grey, and potential breakout star Ennis Esmer.
The Last Kingdom Watch trailer
BBC America, October 10
Is The Last Kingdom, based on Bernard Cornwell's 7-book (soon to be 8-book) series The Saxon Stories, the BBC's answer to Game of Thrones? Producers have been dismissing such comparisons, though we're guessing the network doesn't mind them. And it's true that Kingdom has no sorcery, dragons, or White Walkers—a given, since it's based partially on actual 9th century events—but the show's warring kingdoms, shifting loyalties, mixture of politics and religion, and epic scope do recall Thrones at least a little. The action involves many characters but centers on Uhtred (Alexander Dreymon), who is the son of a Saxon but was raised by Vikings, leaving him unsure of where his loyalties should lie. The series was adapted by Stephen Butchard (House of Saddam) and shares producers with Downton Abbey.
The CW, October 12
If Crazy Ex-Girlfriend doesn't wow critics the way that the CW's unexpected breakout comedy hit Jane the Virgin did last season, it won't be for a lack of ambition. Originally developed for Showtime as a half-hour series, the new comedy was grabbed instead by sister network The CW, which is turning it into an hour-long program with, presumably, much less nudity and foul language. (It will be paired with the aforementioned Jane on Monday nights, and will be the CW's only new fall show.) What apparently won't be changing in its move to broadcast television is its story and its dark, "screwed-up" comedic tone. The series comes from Rachel Bloom (Robot Chicken, BoJack Horseman) and screenwriter Aline Brosh McKenna (The Devil Wears Prada) and stars Bloom as an impulsive young woman who gives up her job at a prestigious Manhattan law firm to follow a long-ago ex-boyfriend from summer camp to the decidedly unglamorous Southern California suburb of West Covina. Marc Webb ((500) Days of Summer) is also on board as a producer and director. Oh, and remember what we said about ambition? Well, Crazy also just happens to be a musical, and Bloom & co. are planning to write 2-3 original songs (complete with big production numbers) per episode. Crazy, indeed.
Supergirl Watch trailer
CBS, October 26
Previously the only broadcast network without a superhero show, CBS has finally found a comic book character to bring to its primetime lineup. Supergirl comes from Arrow/The Flash producer Greg Berlanti (along with frequently Berlanti collaborator Andrew Kreisberg and The New Normal's Ali Adler) and stars Melissa Benoist (Glee, Whiplash) as the title character, Superman's 24-year-old cousin. She has been living in secret with a human foster family for the past dozen years after fleeing Krypton, but who now is ready to start embracing her powers. Calista Flockhart (Ally McBeal), Chyler Leigh (Grey's Anatomy), Mehcad Brooks (Necessary Roughness), and David Harewood (Homeland) also star, while Helen Slater and Dean Cain are the in-joke guests in the opener. CBS is definitely taking a lighter, more family-friendly approach to the comic book genre here, which has provoked a mixed response. Many die-hard fans were upset with the series after initial previews (so much so that it triggered rumors that the network intentionally leaked the pilot in May to counter the negative buzz), but some critics find the first episode briskly paced and fun (if more than a bit overstuffed with story). Don't expect any crossovers with the other DC shows or movies, at least in the near future.
Ash vs. Evil Dead Watch trailer
Starz, October 31
Sam Raimi's cult classic Evil Dead franchise, consisting of a film trilogy with installments in 1983, 1987, and 1993 (and, no, we're not including the 2013 remake), comes to TV for the first time in this new series that debuts (not coincidentally) on Halloween, with an episode written and directed by Raimi. The 10-episode horror-comedy series returns star Bruce Campbell as trash-talking, one-handed hero Ash Williams, who is working in another dead-end job while living in a trailer park ... that is, until the Deadites return. He'll have some help in the form of two co-workers played by Ray Santiago and Dana Delorenzo, while Lucy Lawless, Jill Marie Jones (Sleepy Hollow), and a recurring Mimi Rogers will also star. Raimi has suggested that the tone will be a combination of all three films, and the action will take place in an alternate universe 30 years after the events of Evil Dead 2 (mostly as if the events of Army of Darkness did not occur).
Master of None
Netflix, November 6
Is Netflix the new home of Must See TV? Last season, a critically acclaimed sitcom that was developed for NBC, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, landed on the streaming service instead. (It returns in 2016.) This fall brings another new comedy that, while not associated with NBC, seems like it would have fit in on that network a few years ago, thanks to its pedigree. Specifically, we're talking Parks and Recreation: Master of None was co-created by Parks writer Alan Yang, produced by that show's Mike Schur, and co-created by Parks co-star Aziz Ansari, who takes the lead here. Loosely based on Ansari's own life, the series finds him playing an actor living in New York, with storylines (dealing with his personal and professional lives) partially drawn from his stand-up material. Refreshingly, the comedy is not another mockumentary; instead, it's shot in a more naturalistic style, with Ansari & co. aiming for the feel of classic 1970s/'80s comedies like Annie Hall and Tootsie. The cast also includes H. Jon Benjamin (Archer), Eric Wareheim (of Tim and Eric fame), and Noël Wells (Saturday Night Live), while guests include Claire Danes and Noah Emmerich—plus Ansari's real-life dad, who plays his father on the show.
Flesh and Bone Watch trailer
Starz, November 8
Last fall, Starz finally launched its first original drama series that truly impressed critics, though that show (The Missing) was a UK production. This fall, the cable network hopes to duplicate that feat with a homegrown drama set in the world of ballet. Much more Black Swan than Bunheads, Flesh and Bone comes from Moira Walley-Beckett, an Emmy-winning writer and producer on Breaking Bad. (Among other things, she penned what was arguably the best episode of that series, "Ozymandias.") The cast is mainly populated by professional dancers, led by Sarah Hay (who also appeared in Black Swan), playing an ambitious young dancer with a troubled past who joins a prestigious New York ballet company, and it will feature original choreography by Ethan Stiefel, the artistic director of the Royal New Zealand Ballet. Ben Daniels (House of Cards) also stars, while David Michôd (Animal Kingdom) directs the pilot. The eight-episode series is now being billed as a "limited series" (i.e., it'll wrap up conclusively at the end of the season), and though new episodes will appear on TV weekly, the entire series will be available to stream immediately on November 8th via Starz Play and Starz On Demand.
Into the Badlands Watch trailer
AMC, November 15
Once more common, martial arts dramas are exceedingly rare on television these days. A live-action martial arts/sci-fi hybrid? There's only one place to find that this fall: AMC. Created by Alfred Gough and Miles Millar (Smallville, Shanghai Noon), Into the Badlands is very loosely based on the classic Chinese tale Journey to the West. The story follows a great warrior (Daniel Wu) who embarks on a dangerous quest in search of enlightenment, accompanied by a young boy. The (admittedly minor) sci-fi aspect involves the setting: Badlands takes place after the fall of our current civilization, in a distant future where a feudal society has re-emerged and guns no longer exist. David Dobkin (Wedding Crashers, Shanghai Knights) directs, and though it will be a character drama as much as a martial arts show, you can expect five minutes of "artful" fighting in each episode. AMC is following its successful Walking Dead formula and airing only six episodes this first season.
The Man in the High Castle Watch trailer Full 1st episode
Amazon, November 20
Amazon's best-reviewed pilot from its January slate and most-viewed pilot ever, The Man in the High Castle is based on the novel of the same name by legendary sci-fi author Philip K. Dick and heads to the streaming service after nearly a decade in development (including failed attempts by the BBC and Syfy to bring it to TV). The series comes from former X-Files writer-producer Frank Spotnitz and producer Ridley Scott and is set in an alternate-history world in which the Allies lost World War II, leaving America divided in half between Japanese and German rule. (The action mainly takes place in German-occupied New York and Japan-occupied San Francisco.) Critics felt the stylish and ambitious pilot suggested a series with huge potential.
Childhood's End Watch trailer
Syfy, December 14
It begins like many sci-fi thrillers you've seen before, with alien spacecraft suddenly appearing in the skies above Earth's major cities. But then things take the first of many unexpected turns—unless, of course, you've read the book. Arthur C. Clarke's classic 1953 novel comes to Syfy as a six-hour miniseries airing across three consecutive nights in December, representing the first success after half a century of ultimately futile attempts to adapt the story for both the big and small screen. (Among the many challenges are the novel's long time frame as well as the look of the alien species.) Here, the screenplay comes from Matthew Graham (creator of the original UK version of Life on Mars). Charles Dance (Game of Thrones), Colm Meaney (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine), Mike Vogel (Under the Dome), Daisy Betts (The Last Resort), Yael Stone (Orange is the New Black), and Julian McMahon (Nip/Tuck) star.
The Expanse Watch trailer
Syfy, December 14 / December 15 (two-part premiere)
Does Syfy finally have a proper space-based successor to Battlestar Galactica? Billed as the "most ambitious" series in the network's history, this science fiction thriller based on the acclaimed book series of the same name (by Daniel Abraham and Ty Franck) takes place 200 years in the future after mankind has spread throughout the solar system. The gritty, 10-episode series (adapted, in season one, from the Hugo-nominated novel Leviathan Wakes) centers on a detective (Thomas Jane) and a spaceship captain (Steven Strait) who stumble across a major conspiracy that unfolds against growing political tensions between Earth and colonies on Mars and elsewhere. Shohreh Aghdashloo and Jonathan Banks also star. The adaptation comes from the Oscar-nominated screenwriting duo of Mark Fergus and Hawk Ostby (Children of Men, Iron Man), while Breaking Bad veteran Terry McDonough is among the directors. The early buzz surrounding the show is very good, with praise going to the pilot's scope, smarts, and attention to detail. Are you wondering what zero-gravity sex would be like? You'll find out in December.
A Very Murray Christmas Watch trailer
Netflix, December tbd
Does the world need a new Christmas special for adults? You'd have to be a Grinch to say "no," given the talent involved here. Director Sofia Coppola reunites with her Lost in Translation star Bill Murray (who also co-writes, along with Coppola and Mitch Glazer) for this variety show that finds Murray playing himself as the host of a TV show, worrying that a snowstorm will prevent his guests from arriving. (Spoiler alert: they make it.) The impressive cast features George Clooney, Amy Poehler, Chris Rock, Jason Schwartzman, Rashida Jones, Miley Cyrus, Paul Shaffer, Michael Cera, David Johansen, Maya Rudolph, Jenny Lewis, and the band Phoenix, among others.
Marvel's Jessica Jones
Netflix, date tbd (likely December)
Described by creator/producer Melissa Rosenberg (Dexter, Twilight) as "a very, very different show" than Netflix's first Marvel series, Daredevil, Jessica Jones stars Krysten Ritter (Breaking Bad) as the titular character, a traumatized former superhero turned detective. Unlike that first Netflix series, Jones is aiming to be more psychological thriller than crime drama, centering on an even more flawed character. Just in case the series wasn't already enough of a draw for genre fans, former Doctor Who star David Tennant co-stars (as the villainous Kilgrave/Purple Man), along with Carrie-Anne Moss (The Matrix) and Rachael Taylor (666 Park Avenue). In addition to a second season of Daredevil, there are still three more Marvel series to come on Netflix, beginning with Luke Cage (whose star Mike Colter also appears in Jessica Jones) in early 2016.
With Bob and David
Netflix, date tbd
Though it isn't officially a revival of Mr. Show, the 1990s HBO series that is considered one of the greatest sketch shows of all time, it may as well be. Returning are stars Bob Odenkirk (whose Better Call Saul is back in early 2016) and David Cross, along with most of their writers and co-stars from the original series, including Paul F. Tompkins, Scott Aukerman, Jay Johnston, Brian Posehn, John Ennis, Jill Talley, and Tom Kenny (plus newcomers including Paget Brewster). Though only 4 half-hour episodes (plus an additional making-of special) of the Netflix series were filmed, Odenkirk recently suggested that another season could follow next year.
Bonus: The 5 least anticipated new fall shows
While there's no way of knowing just how good or bad these newcomers will be until they arrive over the coming months, these shows are united by the fact that they are preceded by negative early buzz.
Rosewood Watch trailer
Fox, September 23
This Miami-set procedural centers on a talented, technology-obsessed pathologist (Morris Chestnut) who runs a private autopsy lab where he uses his skills and his gadgets to help a "tough-as-nails" (shocking!) detective (Jaina Lee Ortiz) solve difficult murder cases that would otherwise stump the Miami PD. The series comes from Todd Harthan, a writer/producer on such shows as Psych and Crash. Is it unoriginal, uninspired, and dull? That's the early word on the pilot.
The Player Watch trailer
NBC, September 24
This Las Vegas-set action-thriller from Leverage and The Librarians creator John Rogers stars Wesley Snipes (United States v. Wesley Trent Snipes) and Philip Winchester (Strike Back) in a story involving a somewhat sinister organization of wealthy men who hire a former military operative (Winchester) to prevent a series of major crimes from playing out, while wagering on his success. Oh, and he's also seeking revenge for the death of his wife. Critics found the pilot tonally inconsistent and the premise silly, though they liked some of the performances. Then again, if the series can manage to deliver as much action on a weekly basis as producers say they are aiming for, it may not matter if it doesn't make sense.
Dr. Ken Watch trailer
ABC, October 2
An early candidate for the season's worst new comedy, Dr. Ken stars Community's Ken Jeong—a doctor in real life before his acting career took off with an appearance in Knocked Up—as a well intentioned physician with poor bedside manner. Suzy Nakamura (The West Wing), Dave Foley, and Jonathan Slavin (Better Off Ted) also star. Critics found few laughs in a pilot that also had way too much Jeong and not enough of the strong supporting cast. Still, its Friday night timeslot means that Dr. Ken won't need to do all that much to survive past the fall.
Truth Be Told Watch trailer
NBC, October 16
If Dr. Ken doesn't wind up with fall's lowest score, it'll likely be because this comedy does instead. NBC's lone new sitcom this fall comes from DJ Nash, creator of such middling, short-lived NBC fare as Growing Up Fisher, Guys With Kids, and Up All Night. The "unabashed" comedy centers on two "wildly outspoken" couples who are neighbors and friends and apparently like to talk about "sex and race" as so many of us do. Mark-Paul Gosselaar, Tone Bell (Bad Judge), Vanessa Lachey, and Bresha Webb (Grey's Anatomy) star, while Ashley Tisdale will recur. Admittedly, critics originally saw a different pilot than the one that will air (original cast member Meaghan Rath has been replaced because she'll be in one of Fox's upcoming comedies instead), back when the series was titled People Are Talking. But it things don't improve after the first episode—which seems to handle its socially charged issues without the deftness or freshness (or, for that matter, humor) you might want—nobody will be talking about Truth (except possibly about Bell, whom everyone seems to like in the pilot).
Angel From Hell Watch trailer
CBS, November 5
Well, give CBS credit for at least attempting something a bit outside its normal comfort zone. In one of the network's rare single-camera comedies, Jane Lynch stars as Amy, a woman who may or may not be Maggie Lawson's guardian angel, but who at the very least is her odd new friend. Lawson's Allison, a successful doctor, tends to discredit Amy's claims as the ramblings of a nut—until every warning she issues comes true—though producers aim to leave both options open as possibilities. Kevin Pollak and Kyle Bornheimer also star for series creator Tad Quill (Bent, Scrubs). It may be way too wacky and irritating for its own good (one critic has already called Lynch's character "unbearable"), but the decent cast offers a slight reason for optimism.
What will you be watching?
Do any of these new shows sound good to you? Let us know what you'll be adding to your DVR in our comments section below. And, if you missed it last week, be sure to check out our look at fall's most notable returning series. You can also visit our frequently updated TV Premiere Calendar for a quick list of all announced TV premiere dates for 2015 and beyond.