There is no god, but there is television. Hyperbole perhaps, but in these pandemic times, there’s nothing more comforting than turning off our social media and blaring the boob tube to blur out chaos and anxiety swimming around our head.
2020 has been nothing short of a garbage year, and while the collateral damage of the pandemic has certainly extended to entertainment, the television medium has been fairly obdurate. It’s there. It’s available. It’s always waiting for us.
Whereas we once complained of Too Much Television, we’re now relieved, particularly at a time when most of us are stuck home and bingeing whole series like the Lost Boys and their imaginary feasts. We want more. We need more. We’ll get more.
The Fall season is upon us, and television will oblige. We’re getting new shows, we’re getting returning shows, we’re getting limited series events, we’re even getting a number of live events. Somewhere in there is an election that can alter the fate of humanity.
Ahead, we’ve assembled at least 25 shows that we’re excited about. Excited? More like elated. These days, we put a lot of currency and stock into anything that can distract us for more than five minutes. These should all do the trick.
How long will this last? Will there be a dearth of content in 2021? Best to not think about these things right now. After all, the content continues, and we don’t want to test the will of our new god. Lest we be cast away into Hell that is reality.
Pass the remote.
Raised by Wolves
Release Date: September 3rd via HBO Max
It’s not every day you get an assist by the great Ridley Scott. Such is the case for Raised by Wolves creator Aaron Guzikowski. The English filmmaker is lensing the first two episodes of his HBO sci-fi series, which means he’s essentially carving out the look of the world. It’s a fitting marriage, seeing how the show revolves around two androids who are tasked with raising human children on a planet whose origin will remain a mystery. Scott is no stranger to this sort of narrative, having set the bar a long, long time ago with 1982’s Blade Runner, so we’re at the very least going to catch those two eps.
Release Date: September 4th via Amazon Prime
Fans of Supernatural know that when it comes to showrunner Eric Kripke, the story just keeps getting better with time. In other words, fans of the first season of The Boys ain’t seen nothin’ yet — and they haven’t! As our own Clint Worthington wrote in his recent review, the second season is “bigger, bolder, and bloodier” with “a greater willingness to sit down with its characters.” Fans can also expect “assured effects and a slightly wider scope than before.” See? We’ve only just begun, a fact made all the more evident by the recent casting of Supernatural hunk Jensen Ackles as Soldier Boy.
The Third Day
Release Date: September 14th via HBO
Jude Law is returning to HBO — and without a tiara! His latest foray is The Third Day, a new miniseries from UK gems Dennis Kelly and Felix Barrett that centers around a mysterious island. The entire six-episode run is split into three interconnected stories told over three parts that involve three seasons — Summer, Autumn, and Winter. Also heading to the island are Katherine Waterston, Paddy Considine, Emily Watson, and Naomie Harris. To truly hammer down the different seasons, each part will be lensed by a different filmmaker: Marc Munden, Felix Barrett, and Philippa Lowthorpe.
We Are Who We Are
Release Date: September 14th via HBO
One of the dozen projects that Luca Guadagnino has on his plate is We Are Who We Are. The new drama for HBO was initially conceived as a limited series, but the network is leaving the door open for more to come. So, what’s it about? It’s a coming-of-age tale that deals with all of the pitfalls of being a teenager: friendship, first love, identity, and angst. Guadagnino wrestles with those themes by following an American military brat (IT’s Jack Dylan Grazer) settling into his new life on a military base in Veneto, Italy. Waiting for him are Jordan Kristine Seamón, Chloë Sevigny, Alice Brag, Kid Cudi, and us.
Release Date: September 16th via FX
Fans of Archer are champing at the bit for Season 11. After all, the Season 10 finale saw the titular spy wake up from his years-long coma, leaving die-hards to speculate on what might happen next for the award-winning series. The pandemic hasn’t made the wait any easier, particularly after FX bumped the Season 11 premiere from May to September. We’re finally here, and fans should be stoked: While creator Adam Reed will continue to be involved in a reduced capacity, executive producers Matt Thompson and Casey Willis told EW last summer they feel “re-energized” by the new stories. In other words, it ain’t over yet.
Release Date: September 18th via Netflix
Ryan Murphy: Here’s a prequel to One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest!
72nd Primetime Emmy Awards
Release Date: September 20th via ABC
Well, there are two reasons to care about the Emmys this year: As always, there’s the ceremony, where they’ll dole out statues to all of your favorite celebrities, and we’ll find ways to gripe and groan and look for “likes” on Twitter. On the other hand, there’s the possibility that we’ll get to watch Jimmy Kimmel try to make a Virtual Emmys happen over Zoom or whatever video calling service winds up sponsoring the damn thing. Whatever the case, we just want to see this whole thing go down online … and see Sad Boy Jeremy Strong take home an award for Succession. The rest can go to the wolves.
Release Date: September 25th via Amazon Prime
Jessica Rothe? Sign me up. Don’t even need to know the rest. If there’s anything we learned from both Happy Death Day entries, it’s that Rothe is more than capable of leading anything she’s in — and with flying colors. But then you consider the rest of the cast of Amazon’s Utopia — 1408 star John Cusack, The Last Mimzy funnyman Rainn Wilson, The Hills Have Eyes hero Dan Byrd, and American Honey wunderkind Sasha Lane — and you realize Bezos has a hit on their hands. The fact that this sci-fi dystopian tale is created by Gillian Flynn is the proverbial cherry on top. Bottom line: Add it to your queue.
Release Date: September 27th via FOX
Let’s get real for a second: Loren Bouchard has delivered 10 incredible seasons of Bob’s Burgers, and we’ve all eaten it up like the rogue’s gallery of characters that go in and out of the titular joint. Do you really think that’s going to change with Season 11? Probably not. Even better, we get second helpings with that feature film on April 9th. Witch, please!
The Comey Rule
Release Date: September 27th via Showtime
Not that we want more politics in our life, but seeing Jeff Daniels cosplay as James Comey is must-see television. Toss in Irish thespian Brendan Gleeson as our Nightmare in Chief Donald Trump and you have an instant binge-watch. Based on Comey’s book A Higher Loyalty: Truth, Lies and Leadership, The Comey Rule dramatizes the former FBI director’s attempts to document Russian meddling in the 2016 election, as well as the illegal actions taken by Trump to cover it up. It should be a nice appeteaser in the weeks leading up to the 2020 Election, which we’ll discuss in a minute.
Release Date: September 27th via FOX
Maybe it’s because Springfield is more of a state of mind than an actual place, but COVID-19 had zero effect on The Simpsons. Back in March, showrunner Al Jean told The Hollywood Reporter, “Production hasn’t skipped a day or lost a beat.” Since then, the team has been hard at work on Season 32, all while we’ve been catching up over at Disney+. Looking ahead, fans can expect to see their favorite nuclear family welcome visiting guests David Harbour, Olivia Colman, Ben Platt, Hannibal Buress, and Michael Palin. Oh, they should also expect to never hear a white person voice a character of color.
Release Date: September 27th via FX
After a short delay, get ready to spend Fall in Fargo. It’s been three long years since we last enjoyed Noah Hawley’s anthology spinoff, and the series returns with more stars, more story, and more ambition. Chris Rock plays a 1950s crime lord in Kansas City, who strikes an uneasy peace with a rival Italian gang by agreeing to trade children with his enemy. Joining him in the Midwest is another trademark all-star cast that includes Jason Schwartzman, Jack Huston, Ben Whishaw, Jessie Buckley, Salvatore Esposito, Jeremie Harris, and whistling indie folk musician Andrew Bird. See you there? You betcha.
Release Date: September 29th via TBD
Even if you don’t watch it, you’ll see it everywhere.
The Good Lord Bird
Release Date: October 4th via Showtime
Why not shake things up with a little history? Ethan Hawke and Mark Richard are bringing to life James McBride’s 2013 novel The Good Lord Bird. The eight-episode miniseries details the historic 1859 raid on Harpers Ferry, West Virginia that went on to instigate the American Civil War. Hawke plays American abolitionist John Brown, while Hamilton star Daveed Diggs will portray another historical icon in social reformer Frederick Douglass. Based on the trailer, Hawke and Richard aren’t pulling their punches with the source material, and this looks to be a visceral experience from Showtime.
Release Date: October 8th via The CW
All good things come to an end: Alas, Supernatural will conclude its groundbreaking 15-year, 15-season run this October. The final seven-episode jaunt begins in October and wraps up with a series finale right before Thanksgiving. Because this series is nothing without its SPN Family, a retrospective special will precede the final episode. As previously reported, the series was set to conclude this past May before COVID-19 threw a wrench into those plans. Because of this, the cast and crew are currently shooting the final two episodes, and as Jared Padalecki recently warned, “it will end in tears.”
The Haunting of Bly Manor
Release Date: October 9th via Netflix
Two years after he offered his spin on Shirley Jackson’s The Haunting of Hill House, writer-director Mike Flanagan returns to do the same for Henry James’ The Turn of the Screw. The Haunting of Bly Manor tells another tragic Gothic story involving a broken family, and fans of Hill House can expect to see a number of familiar faces. Leading the way is Victoria Pedretti, who plays a young nanny tasked to watch over two children in their uncle’s remote English estate. As expected, there are a number of eerie and unexplained things that go bump in the night within the manor’s infinite halls.
The Right Stuff
Release Date: October 9th via Disney Plus
Remember The Right Stuff? The Tom Wolfe novel? The Philip Kaufman epic? How about the Disney+ show? Developed by Leonardo DiCaprio’s Appian Way and National Geographic Studios, this new series promises to give a “gritty, anti-nostalgic look at what would become America’s first reality show as the obsessive original Mercury Seven astronauts and their families become instant celebrities in a competition that will either kill them or make them immortal.” If all goes according to plan, this one-hour drama will eventually lead to future expeditions in space — including the moon landing.
Star Trek: Discovery
Release Date: October 15th via CBS All Access
Two seasons later, Star Trek: Discovery is finally in a position to “boldly go where no man has gone before.” If you recall, Season 2 wrapped up with the titular ship breaking off from the Enterprise crew and heading into the distant future. How distant? Try 930 years into the future, which places the them in or around the year 3186. It’s a smart move that not only breaks away from the past, but gives the creators a sandbox that isn’t strictly confined by continuity. Where they go now is anyone’s guess — the stars are the limit, as one might cheekily say — but the future is looking bright for Discovery.
Joe Bob’s Halloween Special
Release Date: October 23rd via Shudder
Joe Bob Briggs has been the king of quarantine all throughout this year’s pandemic. From spring to summer, the late-night host took us to the drive-in every Friday night with incredible, must-see double features. He even returned this month for a spirited sleepover that found us all singing along to Slumber Party Massacre 2 over Twitter. Naturally, he’s got more tricks and treats for us this October with another Halloween special. Last year, he sliced through three Halloween films. Maybe this time he’ll finally indulge D’arcy the Mail Girl and celebrate the Season of the Witch? Who knows, but we’ll be there.
Release Date: October 25th via HBO
Proving you can never have too much of a good thing, David E. Kelley and Nicole Kidman are back with a new miniseries for HBO. It’s called The Undoing, and like the critical smash that was Big Little Lies, it’s also based on a best-selling novel: You Should Have Known by Jean Hanff Korelitz. The story is similarly just as scandalous, following an upper-class NYC therapist, whose life gets turned upside down following a violent death, a missing husband, and myriad revelations. Kidman is at the center of it all, surrounded by a stellar cast that includes veterans in Hugh Grant and Donald Sutherland. Adding even more power to the mix is Bird Box and The Night Manager director Susanne Bier, who brings her signature style to all six episodes.
Release Date: October 30th via Disney+
The Mandalorian was not only a total coup for Disney, but also Star Wars. At this point, it’s the only part of the far, far away galaxy that doesn’t elicit a toxic argument online. Blame it on the purity of Baby Yoda, but Jon Favreau and Dave Filoni’s spinoff series is a total hit — critically, commercially, and fanatically. So, what’s next? Stars! And lots of them! Rosario Dawson will play Ahsoka Tano, Temuera Morrison will return as Boba Fett, Timothy Olyphant will make sense of the name Cobb Vant, Katee Sackhoff will lead the Nite Owls as Bo-Katan Kryze, and Michael Biehn (!) will play an unnamed bounty hunter. And, wouldn’t you know it, Disney is dropping it a day before Halloween, giving us plenty of costume ideas for Devil’s night.
2020 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony
Release Date: November 7th via HBO
Rock and roll never dies — it just gets rescheduled. Originally set for May, the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame announced back in July that they would be scrapping its 2020 live induction ceremony in favor of a pre-recorded HBO special. According to chairman John Sykes, fans can expect “an exciting program honoring our 2020 inductees, by telling the stories of their incredible contributions to music and impact on a generation of artists that followed them.” Jury’s out on whatever that might entail, but if it means we get to watch artists sing Whitney Houston over Zoom, then by all means, we’ll sing along with them.
Release Date: November 15th via Netflix
The Crown marches on: Oscar winner Olivia Colman returns as Queen Elizabeth II and goes head to head with the Iron Lady. Yes, Gillian Anderson debuts as the legendary Margaret Thatcher, an inclusion that will no doubt lead to some icy confrontations. That ice will trickle down to Emma Corrin, who joins the cast as Lady Diana Spencer, and whose iconic wedding to Prince Charles (Josh O’Connor) will be on full display. Couple their tumultuous relationship with the widespread conservatism that will infect the United Kingdom, and you have one hell of a dramatic season. Corgis will be a must.
Release Date: November 20th via Hulu
Hold on to your butts, Animaniacs is back. Arriving 22 years after the show’s original run, 13 new episodes of the beloved cartoon will premiere on Hulu in November with an additional 13 slated for 2021. It gets better: Steven Spielberg is returning as executive producer of the series, as too are original voice actors Rob Paulsen (Yakko, Pinky, and Dr. Scratchansniff), Jess Harnell (as Wakko), Tress MacNeille, and Maurice LaMarche (the Brain and Squit). That’s not all: As part of its deal with Warner Bros., Hulu also obtained the library rights to past episodes of the original run. So, get ready to get crazy.
Release Date: December 17th via CBS All Access
It’s only fitting that 2020 would end with a pandemic tale. Earlier this week, CBS All Access finally confirmed that their highly anticipated adaptation of Stephen King’s The Stand will arrive just in time for the holidays. So, beginning December 17th, the nine-episode event will infect our every Thursday, meaning we’ll all be able to enjoy some good ol’ fashioned viral terror on both Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve. Again, only fitting for 2020. How it will all end is a mystery to even the most ardent Constant Readers, namely because the Master of Horror himself wrote a completely new coda. Will it be a happy one? Or will it fit our own end times? Hard to tell, and don’t trust those Vegas odds.