With only a couple of weeks left in September, your #HotGirlSummer of sipping spiked seltzer poolside is rapidly coming to a close. The end of summer can mean any number of things—no more Lake Como vacation pics littering your Instagram feed, no more Friday afternoons off, no more public transportation-induced back sweat. But most importantly, it means you can stop pretending to enjoy being outside and plant yourself on your couch, AC on full blast.
And what better way to pass the time than to catch up on all the TV you may have missed while you were rewatching The Office for the fifth time? With the first changing leaves of autumn comes the return of fall television programming—a long-awaited relief from the bleak summer offerings of reality TV dating shows (OK, we actually love these) and needless reboots. Make sure you are ready to pick up where the rest of the world left off by bingeing on these 18 shows.
The Deuce (HBO) — Returns Sept. 9
Maggie Gyllenhaal’s performance as prostitute-turned-porn-producer Candy in The Deuce is engaging and authentic. Also starring James Franco, the HBO drama offers a gritty, probing look at the rise of the porn industry in New York City in the 1970s. The Times Square that serves as the backdrop for the action is a far-cry from the tourist trap it is today, hearkening back to a time before midtown Manhattan was invaded by theatergoers and panhandlers in superhero costumes.
Season three, which premieres in September, jumps a few years ahead of where season two left off, bringing viewers into the ’80s. This season marks the final one for The Deuce, and will chronicle the beginning of the gentrification of Times Square.
Mr. Inbetween (FX) — Returns Sept. 12
Mr. Inbetween, a concise half-hour, six-episode-per-season Australian series, returns to FX for its second season on Sept. 12. The crime show was created by and stars Scott Ryan as a devoted father who moonlights as a hit man. Like many popular shows in the current television landscape, Mr. Inbetween toes the line between dark comedy and drama.
In the same vein as Bill Hader’s title character in HBO’s Barry, Ryan’s Ray Shoesmith is a criminal for hire struggling to contain the anger issues that leak from his violent job into his everyday life as a boyfriend, ex-husband, and father to a young daughter.
This Is Us (NBC) — Returns Sept. 24
NBC’s awards-bait drama This is Us returns for its fourth season on Sept. 24. The tear-jerker captures the lives of the three Pearson siblings—Kevin (Justin Hartley) and Kate (Chrissy Metz), the surviving twins of a triple pregnancy, and Randall (Sterling K. Brown), their adopted black son born on the same day—and their parents, Jack and Rebecca (Milo Ventimiglia, Mandy Moore). The show takes place in two different timelines: the present, when the Pearson siblings are in their thirties, and the 1980s when their parents are in their thirties.
Developed by Dan Fogelman, who wrote the family-oriented rom-com Crazy, Stupid, Love, This Is Us is packed with sappy emotional climaxes. The popular show recently earned a three-season renewal, so now is the right time to get emotionally invested. Just don’t forget to have a box of tissues on hand.
black-ish (ABC) — Returns Sept. 24
Binge this beloved family sitcom in advance of the season six premiere, as well as the premiere of new prequel series mixed-ish. Produced by and starring Emmy-nominated actor Anthony Anderson, black-ish follows the lives of an upper-middle-class black family called the Johnsons, made up of Johnson patriarch Andre (Anderson), Andre’s wife Rainbow (Tracee Ellis Ross), and their children—Zoey (Yara Shahidi), Junior (Marcus Scribner), Jack (Miles Brown), and Diane (Marsai Martin).
Since premiering in 2014, the comedy has received favorable reviews for its honest, engaging coverage of cultural issues and racism. black-ish also gets extra points because its popularity guarantees red carpet queen Tracee Ellis Ross’s attendance at every major awards show, often in some fabulously voluminous candy-colored gown.
The Good Place (NBC) — Returns Sept. 26
Starring Kristen Bell and Ted Danson, The Good Place is a comedy that explores the idea of the afterlife, recasting heaven and hell as “The Good Place” and “The Bad Place.” Bell plays the selfish Eleanor Shellstrop, who realizes in the first season that she is not supposed to be in the Good Place and was sent there accidentally.
In the Good Place, she meets ethics professor Chidi (William Jackson Harper), monk Jianyu (Manny Jacinto), and British philanthropist Tahani (Jameela Jamil). A single-camera sitcom as funny as it is touching, The Good Place grapples with complex ethical and moral issues through ever-escalating plot twists. As Eleanor learns, everything is not as it seems in the Good Place. The Mike-Schur-helmed series is set to air its fourth and final season on Sept. 26 at 9 p.m. ET.
Mom (CBS) — Returns Sept. 26
Anything with Allison Janney in it is good and worth watching. We don’t make the rules. Seriously, though, there’s a reason Janney won two Emmys for her work as Bonnie in Mom, the deadpan, recovering addict mother to Anna Faris’s Christy. In the first season of the CBS sitcom, the mother-daughter duo work to repair their dysfunctional relationship by attending AA together. On Sept. 26, it will return for its seventh season, with a guaranteed eighth season to follow.
Superstore (NBC) — Returns Sept. 26
The perennially overlooked workplace comedy from NBC will be back for a fifth season on Sept. 26 (an hour before The Good Place). Described by Vulture as “one of network television’s most consistently and quietly revolutionary sitcoms,” Superstore tackles issues of diversity, gender inequality, class, and immigration through the daily lives of a group of blue-vest-clad big-box employees. America Ferrera (who is also a producer), Ben Feldman, Lauren Ash, and Nico Santos play just a few of the employees at the fictional Cloud 9 Superstore outside of St. Louis, Missouri.
How to Get Away with Murder (ABC) — Returns Sept. 26
It wouldn’t be a list of binge-worthy fall TV shows without a Shondaland series. Writer and producer Shonda Rhimes is bringing this ABC legal drama to a close with the release of a sixth and final season on Thursday, Sept. 26. Though its ratings have declined in recent years, How to Get Away with Murder is a consistently entertaining vehicle for Viola Davis’ powerhouse performance as law professor Annalise Keating.
For her work as Keating, Davis made history as the first woman of color to win the Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actress in a drama series. She is nominated again in the category this year for her work in season five.
Transparent (Amazon Prime Video) — Returns Sept. 27
Just over a year after firing Jeffrey Tambor, who played transgender protagonist Maura Pfefferman and was accused of sexual misconduct on set by Van Barnes and Trace Lysette, Transparent is returning for an unorthodox finale. Instead of airing a full fifth season, Amazon is unveiling a feature-length musical special on Sept. 27.
In the film, Tambor’s character Maura will be dead. Showrunner Jill Soloway told Variety, “We are all mourning in many ways, and we all had to process together... The show has always been a reflection of who we were, and we were mourning our own narrative.” Transparent’s arc offers a look at the way an acclaimed, award-winning show reels and attempts to recover from its star’s fall from grace.
Sorry for Your Loss (Facebook Watch) — Returns Oct. 1
Starring Elizabeth Olsen as a grieving young widow, Sorry For Your Loss quietly appeared on the streaming scene last fall when it premiered on Facebook Watch. Olsen’s Leigh Shaw is an ambitious, career-focused writer when her husband’s death prompts her to quit her job, leave behind her carefully crafted life, and move back in with her mother and sister.
Sorry For Your Loss, a half-hour drama, explores different manifestations of mourning through the different people in Leigh’s life. The show also features Kelly Marie Tran as Leigh’s sister Jules, Mamoudou Athie as Leigh’s husband Matt (in flashbacks), Jovan Adepo as Matt’s brother, and Janet McTeer as Leigh’s mother. Its second season premieres on Oct. 1.
Madam Secretary (CBS) — Returns Oct. 6
Beginning on Sunday, Oct. 6, CBS will air the sixth and final season of Téa-Leoni-led Madam Secretary. Leoni, who most famously starred in the ’90s sitcom The Naked Truth, plays Elizabeth McCord, a former CIA agent and college professor who is appointed Secretary of State. The straightforward cable drama is a slow burn, balancing political storylines and domestic drama surrounding the marital dynamics between McCord and her husband (Tim Daly). Madam Secretary also stars Patina Miller, Geoffery Arend, and Erich Bergen.
Riverdale (The CW) — Returns Oct. 9
Fans of soapy teen dramas like Gossip Girl and The O.C., both known for dramatic montages set to pop songs and actors in their twenties playing high school sophomores, will fall in love with Riverdale. The show is (loosely) based on Archie comics characters, though they have little in common with their cartoon predecessors beyond name and hair color.
They still hang out at Pop’s Chock’lit Shoppe—only the teens use the vintage diner as a meeting place to discuss the murderers, cults, and gangs that terrorize the titular small town. After dark, it becomes a sultry speakeasy where the characters do impromptu musical performances and scam their mob-boss dads. Riverdale stars KJ Apa as Archie, Camila Mendes as Veronica, and real-life on-and-off lovebirds Lili Reinhart and Cole Sprouse as Betty and Jughead. It returns for its fourth season on Oct. 9.
Letterkenny (Hulu) — Returns Oct. 14
Letterkenny began in 2013 as a YouTube series called Letterkenny Problems, created by Jared Keeso. It evolved into a comedic television series following the lives of the inhabitants of a rural Canadian town for which the show is named. The cult sitcom relies on exaggerated tension between the various stereotyped groups—the hicks, the skids, and the hockeyplayers, as they’re called on the show. Letterkenny was introduced to US audiences via Hulu in 2018 and will launch its seventh season on the streaming platform on Oct. 14.
BoJack Horseman (Netflix) — Returns Oct. 30
Will Arnett voices the titular anthropomorphic horse in this Netflix cartoon about Hollywood (renamed Hollywoo after the ‘D’ on the iconic sign is destroyed). BoJack Horseman is a washed-up, alcoholic actor whose claim to fame is a star turn in a popular ’90s sitcom. The cast of characters includes both humans and anthropomorphic animals, all of whom live together in a society as harmonious and dysfunctional as our own.
The show satirizes the entertainment industry while acutely portraying the darker aspects of the human condition. It also features a stellar voice cast made up of Arnett, Amy Sedaris, Alison Brie, and Aaron Paul. Season six of BoJack Horseman is slated for an Oct. 30 release.
Silicon Valley (HBO) — Returns in October
Silicon Valley returns this fall for an abbreviated, seven-episode final season. The Emmy-nominated series offers a behind-the-scenes look at the tech world, through the lens of start-up Pied Piper and its close-knit group of employees. It grapples with industry issues of gender inequality, cybersecurity, and its last season even included a plotline about the monopolizing presence of Amazon and Jeff Bezos. The sixth season of Silicon Valley premieres in October, though a specific date has not yet been confirmed.
Kidding (Showtime) — Returns Nov. 3
Jim Carrey stars in this tragicomedy as Jeff Pickles, a children’s television personality a la Mister Rogers, complete with puppets and a lucrative branding empire. Off-camera, Jeff struggles with the dissolution of his family in the aftermath of his young son’s death.
The show is a departure from Carrey’s signature slapstick, more closely resembling his 2004 film Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind in tone. In fact, Michel Gondry, who directed Eternal Sunshine, collaborates with Carrey once again as the director and producer of Kidding. Overwhelmingly positive reviews of Carrey’s performance alone render the show worth watching.
The Crown (Netflix) — Returns Nov. 17
After nearly two years of waiting since the last season of The Crown dropped on Netflix, season three is set to premiere on Nov. 17. The critically acclaimed period drama has swept the Emmys and Golden Globes in years past for its gripping portrayal of the lives of Queen Elizabeth and the rest of the British royal family in the mid-20th century.
This time around, the royals have all been recast and the timeline will jump to the 1960s. Oscar-winner Olivia Colman will be stepping into Claire Foy’s shoes as the monarch, while Helena Bonham-Carter will replace Vanessa Kirby as Princess Margaret.