The fall television season has a prestige all its own. Historically, much like kids starting a new grade of school, fall has been an opportunity for new shows to make their mark. A fall TV premiere meant a network believed this was a series with staying power. And while the streaming landscape has changed the television “season,” fall still means that old shows are returning and new series will be making triumphant debuts.
We’ve got you covered with the series you should be keeping an eye out for as the weather changes and the kids spend time doing homework. These are the 20 must-see shows of the fall.
“The Lord of the Rings: Rings of Power” (Amazon Prime Video, September 2)
Despite repeating three words twice in a nine-word title, Amazon Prime Video’s big-budget original series is not a remake of Peter Jackson’s Oscar-winning trilogy, nor another adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien’s previously adapted novels. (It’s not “The Hobbit” either!) The most expensive television series ever made tells an original story — kind of — as it’s based on Tolkien’s Appendices to “The Lord of the Rings,” aka six additional sections that provide a chronology of what happened prior to Frodo, Aragorn, and Gandalf’s well-documented adventures.
So we know what “The Rings of Power” is not, but what is it? That remains to be seen. We know elves are involved. We know dwarves show up. And yes, the Dark Lord Sauron plays a part. But Amazon Prime Video is keeping a tight lid on plot, hoping to turn its half-a-billion dollar investment into an event series to rival anything else out there. (Yes, that means episodes will be released weekly.) Expect lavish visuals, live-action orcs, and plenty of nostalgic callbacks for those actually wanting a retread of the films they know and love. —Ben Travers
“The Good Fight” (Paramount+, September 8)
Since it premiered — an entire streaming platform name-change ago — no other show could pull off what “The Good Fight” has been doing. It’s responded to national political angst, taken season-long detours into the nature of truth, and played host to some of the most satisfyingly big-swing Acting Choices in recent memory. All the while, Robert and Michelle King’s Paramount+ drama has stayed pretty effective as a week-by-week peek inside a Chicago-area law firm.
The show’s sixth and final season looks to continue that balance, weighing both the ramifications of recent Supreme Court decisions and the ability of the firm’s employees to stay safe as everything continues to crumble. Christine Baranski and Audra Macdonald return for these last episodes, slated to premiere weekly and running until just past the upcoming midterm elections. —Steve Greene
“American Gigolo” (September 9, Showtime)
Director Paul Schrader defined the 1980s with the release of his feature film, “American Gigolo,” which made Richard Gere a star. Cut to 42 years later and Showtime is expanding on that story with a series focused on the life of male sex worker Julian Kaye (Jon Bernthal). Like the original film, Bernthal’s Kaye is successful at his trade — until he’s accused of murdering a client. As the trailer for the series lays out, Kaye was falsely convicted and dumped back on the street of a very different Los Angeles a decade later.
Like its upended lead character, the series has faced an uphill battle. In April of this year, showrunner David Hollander was let go from the production after allegations popped up of misconduct. Regardless, Bernthal is the internet’s boyfriend with a devout social media following who are eager to see him step into Gere’s shoes. (Update: Bernthal’s latest podcast guest is putting that devotion to the test.) The trailer certainly plays up the potential for fun, sex appeal, and intrigue worthy of a Blondie song. It may not be the ’80s and Bernthal is already a star, but Showtime is sure hoping for another decade-defining (or at least decade-long) hit. —Kristen Lopez
“Reboot” (Hulu, September 20)
TV legend Steven Levitan (the creator of “Modern Family” and “Just Shoot Me,” plus a writer/EP on “Wings,” “Frasier,” and “The Larry Sanders Show”) is going meta with his first series since the five-time Best Comedy-winning ABC sitcom — and he’s an enlisted an all-star cast to join him. In “Reboot,” Rachel Bloom stars as a young indie film writer who pitches Hulu on a reboot of the (fictional) 2000s era sitcom “Step Right Up.” She wants to hire the original actors, bring back the original creator, and turn the former hit into a current hit — but, you know, with an edge. Keegan-Michael Key, Judy Greer, and Johnny Knoxville play the original cast members who get roped back in for another round, while Paul Reiser plays the out-of-touch creator. Shot with low-lighting and hand-held cameras, “Reboot” looks to skewer Hollywood’s I.P. obsession while building a brand new hit. Who knows, if it’s good enough, maybe they’ll even remake it in, what? 10 years? —BT
“Atlanta” (FX, September 15)
Donald Glover’s FX series may have been snubbed for Outstanding Comedy Series at the 2022 Emmys, but “Atlanta” has only grown more engrossing and exceptional in its long-awaited return. For the fourth and final season, Earn (Glover), Alfred (Brian Tyree Henry), Darius (Lakeith Stanfield), and Van (Zazie Beetz) are back home after their sojourn in Europe, but chaos finds them, as it always does. One can only guess what kind of eccentric departures Glover’s storytelling will take, but every second of this swan song will assuredly be delivered with magnetic performances, top-tier directing, and a killer soundtrack. It’s been a hell of a ride, and we’re going to savor the final hours. —Proma Khosla
“Abbott Elementary” (ABC, September 21)
School is back in session with ABC’s breakout comedy about a Philadelphia public school and the teachers that make up its heart. Janine (Quinta Brunson), Gregory (James Tyler Williams), Barbara (Sheryl Lee Ralph), and Melissa (Lisa Ann Walter) are back, still under Ava’s exuberant leadership (Janelle James), extra even when humbled. Now that Gregory is a full-time teacher and Janine is on a break from her relationship, all eyes are on the show’s de facto “will they/won’t they” relationship to slide firmly toward “will.” Either way, the enchanting rockumentary series is sure to teach us something new. —PK
“Andor” (Disney+, September 21)
Lucasfilm TV finally heads back to the best Star Wars movie (fight me) with “Andor,” a limited series following the journey of rebel leader Cassian Andor (Diego Luna). Starting four years before the events of “Rogue One” and eventually leading right up to it (after a a second season), the series finds young Cassian far removed from the confident revolutionary who took Jyn Erso (Felicity Jones) under his wing in the film, as he finds his own path to fighting the Empire. The cast includes Adria Arjona, Stellan Skarsgård, Forest Whitaker, and more (showrunner Tony Gilroy denied the inclusion of Alan Tudyk’s lovably dry droid K-2SO… but rebellions are built on hope). —PK
“Ghosts” (CBS, September 29)
While “Abbott Elementary” took up most of the attention paid to network comedies over the last 12 months, this CBS charmer stealthily became a bonafide hit all its own. Running counter to CBS’ long-running multicam mini empire, this adaptation of the BBC show of the same name has gradually built itself a notable fanbase of its own. Following the efforts of Samantha (Rose McIver) to balance a life lived in house with her husband Jay (Utkarsh Ambudkar) and a flotilla of property-trapped spirits that she can see and hear, the show is back after it got a full season pickup within weeks of its debut and a renewal announcement back in January. —SG
“Ramy” (Hulu, September 30)
After more than two years off the air, Ramy Youssef’s comedic, contemplative, and often uncomfortable series returns with its lead character at his lowest after sabotaging his marriage. This season adds Julian Sergi as Ramy’s business partner and Bella Hadid as a “weirdo girlfriend.” Previous seasons included flashbacks to Ramy’s childhood and perspective-shifting episodes told through other family members (which proved to be some of the show’s best entries). The family dynamic and relationship to Islam will still be present throughout, with Ramy, as always, figuring out how to relate to it. —PK
“Anne Rice’s Interview With a Vampire” (AMC, October 2)
It’s weird that we’re just now getting a television adaptation of Anne Rice’s “Interview With a Vampire” novel, especially as the vampire genre show really hit its stride over a decade ago. But, no matter, because vampires are cool any time of year and Rice’s characters are some of the best in the business. Like the novel (and 1994 movie of the same name), this series follows reluctant vampire Louis (Jacob Anderson) as he recounts how he was turned by the charming but manipulative Lestat (Sam Reid). With its world of gaslight and opulence, the trailer certainly paints a picture not too far removed from the original feature. But no doubt this series is going to play up the LGBTQ angles of Rice’s text, particularly the relationship between Louis and Lestat. This year already has a few other vamp-related shows and movies popping up, but this one feels the most prestige worthy. —KL
“The Midnight Club” (Netflix, October 7)
In the runup to Halloween, the Mike Flanagan family of Netflix series adds another member, this time working from a different kind of source material. The Christopher Pike YA horror novels of the ‘90s form the backbone for this anthology, with each episode centering on anecdotes shared by a different patient at a mysterious hospital. Returning players from the growing list of Flanagan regulars include Samantha Sloyan, Annarah Cymone, Matt Biedel, and Igby Rigney, in addition to cast members like Aya Furukawa and Ruth Code who are also set to appear in the upcoming “The Fall of the House of Usher.” As is Netflix’s continued custom, all 10 hourlong episodes will be available on the premiere date. —SG
“Let the Right One In” (Showtime, October 9)
Demian Bichir and Anika Noni Rose lead the second English-language adaptation of the 2008 Tomas Alfredson film (itself an adaptation of a John Ajvide Lindqvist novel from four years before), centered on a father (Bichir) trying to protect and provide for his perpetually 12-year-old vampire daughter (Madison Taylor Baez). While this 10-episode story will feature the usual struggles that come with finding food for a preteen vampire who can’t go out into the sunlight, it will also dig into the origins of what locked Matt and Eleanor into their mortality-defying way of life. “Away” creator Andrew Hinderaker is the showrunner on the series, which features a pilot directed by Seith Mann. —SG
“Documentary Now!” (IFC, October 19)
It’s been three years since audiences saw the series that irreverently sends up documentaries, “Documentary Now!” The third season saw the loss of co-creator Bill Hader as a regular, but the IFC series still created comedy gold, particularly with their musical episode, “Co-Op,” inspired by the Sondheim doc “Original Cast Album: Company.” The show has always been a great way to get people to laugh and then check out the original source material. This time around, co-creator Fred Armisen, alongside Seth Meyers, Rhys Thomas, and Alex Buono have some fantastic material — and guest stars. Honestly, any show that’s going to lampoon “My Octopus Teacher” is worthy of my undying adoration. (Seriously, “My Monkey Grifter” sounds like perfection.) On top of that, this season is also giving audiences’ Alexander Skarsgard playing a Werner Herzog-inspired character! I’m ready. —KL
“Guillermo del Toro’s Cabinet of Curiosities” (Netflix, October 25)
An eight-episode Halloween event, “Guillermo del Toro’s Cabinet of Curiosities” is hosted by the titular Oscar winner, who also serves as co-showrunner (alongside J. Miles Dale) and formed original stories for two of the episodes. But beyond del Toro’s presence throughout the series — which, in a break from Netflix tradition, will see two episodes released daily from October 25 – 28 — the horror maestro has recruited quite the storytelling team.
Catherine Hardwicke directs the debut episode, “Dreams in the Witch House,” based on an H.P. Lovecraft story and starring Rupert Grint; Jennifer Kent (“The Babadook”) directs “The Murmuring,” which she wrote based on del Toro’s idea and stars Essie Davis and Andrew Lincoln; Ana Lily Amirpour directs Kate Micucci in “The Outside”; and “Mandy’s” Panos Cosmatos directs “The Viewing” to close things out.
Horror fans should feel well taken care of this Halloween season. —BT
“The English” (Amazon Prime Video, November)
Over the past decade, Hugo Blick has written and directed some of the most striking limited series anywhere on TV. From crime stories (“The Shadow Line”) to thorny geopolitical slow-burns (“The Honorable Woman” and “Black Earth Rising”), his stories are methodical, dense, and often brutal. Naturally, those instincts make him a perfect fit to swap out tradecraft for prairie life in an American-set Western. Emily Blunt stars as a British aristocrat who crosses the open terrain of the 1890s Midwest, along with the help of Eli (Chaske Spencer), a Pawnee army vet. To get to their Wyoming destination, they’ll have to get through the elements, a sheriff (Stephen Rea), and the shadow of some unexplained murders along the way. —SG
“Tulsa King” (Paramount+, November 13)
After teasing TV fans with temporary hosting gigs (remember “The Contender”?), guest roles (thank you, “This Is Us”), and stagnant pilot projects (“Omertà,” we barely knew ye), Sylvester Stallone is finally taking his talents to television, full-time, in “Tulsa King.” Created by “Yellowstone” kingmaker Taylor Sheridan and with “Boardwalk Empire” veteran Terence Winter serving as showrunner, the Paramount+ drama series follows New York mafia capo Dwight “The General” Manfredi (Stallone) who’s exiled to Oklahoma after serving a 25-year prison sentence on behalf of his boss. Suspicious of the only family he ever knew, Dwight sets up his own criminal enterprise in the Sooner state, which may or may not include the likes of Andrea Savage (“I’m Sorry”), Martin Starr (“Silicon Valley”), Max Casella (“The Tender Bar”), and Garrett Hedlund (“Mudbound”). Considering the import Paramount has placed on all Sheridan-backed projects — “Yellowstone,” “1883,” “Mayor of Kingstown,” and the upcoming “1923,” starring Harrison Ford and Helen Mirren — expect to see “Tulsa King” get a royal rollout come November. (But really, it’s the least they can do for Sly.) –Ben Travers
“The Calling” (Peacock, November 10)
David E. Kelley is easily one of the more prolific creators we currently have in television. The last of five shows Kelley’s worked on in some capacity in 2022 is Peacock’s series “The Calling.” Based on the Hebrew novel “The Missing File” by Dror Mishani, the series follows Detective Avaraham Avaraham (Jeff Wilbusch) who stumbles upon an unusual case. While Kelley will act as writer and creator, the series is being helmed by Barry Levinson. Kelley and Levinson seem like a dynamite combination even if the premise of the series still remains very much a mystery. Add to this that it’s premiering on Peacock and there’s enough intrigue and questions to make this a must-watch when it premieres in November. —KL
“Welcome to Chippendales” (Hulu, November 21)
After telling us the stories of Elizabeth Holmes and the marriage of Pamela Anderson and Tommy Lee, Hulu has their next true-crime limited series ready to go. Created by “Pam & Tommy’s” Robert Siegel and directed by Matt Shakman of “WandaVision” fame comes “Welcome to Chippendales,” the true story of the founding of the infamous strip club for women and its inventor, Somen Banerjee (Kumail Nanjiani).
How Chippendales came to be is interesting on its own and, no doubt, will be a similar exploration of sexuality and ethics a la “Pam & Tommy.” Nanjiani is complemented by a phenomenal supporting cast, as well, including Annaleigh Ashford and “Yellowjackets” star Juliette Lewis. Look for this to light up social media with a mountain of think pieces and hot takes come November. —KL
“Willow” (Disney+, November 30)
Disney turns away from “Star Wars” and Marvel with their high-fantasy series adaptation of the Ron Howard feature “Willow.” If you don’t remember the 1988 film, it tells the story of Willow Ufgood (Warwick Davis) and his quest to protect a special baby named Elora Danan. The series was announced back in 2019 with “Crazy Rich Asians” director Jon M. Chu at the helm, but in 2021 Chu said he’d be stepping down from the series. Still, the original series brings back Davis in the title role and a cast of Disney+ regulars, including Erin Kellyman from “Falcon and the Winter Soldier.” The first teaser showed Willow on another dangerous quest, and the series looks like a fantastic mix of high danger and family-friendly adventure that should be a balm for those seeking a “House of the Dragon” or “Lord of the Rings”-esque series they can watch with their children. —KL
“Wednesday” (Netflix, Release Date TBA)
Wednesday Addams (Jenna Ortega) is back to cause some chaos! The Addams family returns to television, this time in a bold reimagining helmed by Tim Burton. The series follows Ortega’s deadpanned Wednesday as she embarks on a new adventure at the shadowy Nevermore Academy. The trailer for the show looks like it’s got plenty of Burton’s flair for the macabre. Ortega herself captures Wednesday’s stoneface perfectly. It’s also going to be such fun seeing Catherine Zeta-Jones and Luis Guzman as Morticia and Gomez, respectively, Wednesday’s overly amorous parents. It’s always great to have the Addams family around and this should be a welcome addition. —KL