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The Best New TV Shows to Watch This Fall

New seasons of Fargo, The Haunting, and PEN15 lead the list

Tim Surette

The fall season is upon us, which means the leaves on the trees will begin to change color and gently fall to the ground, the viruses will emerge from hiding to replicate at unstoppable levels, and your TV will shed its old exoskeleton in order to ready itself for the glut of new television series that come with the fall. You're on your own to rake your yard and keep illness at bay, but if you're looking for the best shows to watch this fall, take our hand and let us help you. 

While it's true that the coronavirus put a damper on some television production, a lot of streaming and cable companies had plenty of shows in the can before stoppages could affect them, which is why this list is entirely made of series from those avenues. Broadcast television, with its tighter turnaround schedules, wasn't as lucky, so if you're a fan of the lower dial, get used to watching imports, series that were previously exclusive on the parent company's streaming service, game shows, or shows that weren't good enough for the network last season. 

Looking for more recommendations of what to watch next? We have a ton of them! We also have hand-picked selections based on shows you already love.

The Boys

Premieres: Friday, Sept. 4 | Where to watch: Amazon Prime

The supes are back, and they're as revolting as ever. Amazon's biggest hit returns for a second season of TV's best superhero series for people who hate superheroes, as a group of vigilantes continue their quest to take down The Seven, a Justice League-type collection of capes controlled by a corporation whose sole goal is to commercialize the hell out of them. The new season adds You're the Worst's Aya Cash as Stormfront, the newest member of The Seven, who's said to be an even worse person than Homelander (Antony Starr). We're going to have to see that to believe it. -Tim Surette

Julie and the Phantoms

Premieres: Friday, Sept. 10 | Where to watch: Netflix

Netflix's new musical series Julie and the Phantoms admittedly feels a bit dated at first, because it has shades of a Disney Channel Original Movie and is executive-produced by Kenny Ortega, who helmed the popular High School Musical films. But the series, which is based on the Brazilian show of the same name and features all original music written for the show, grows on you with each passing episode. Julie and the Phantoms follows Julie (Madison Reyes), a teen who lost her passion for music after her mom died but who suddenly finds herself inspired to sing and write music again after meeting three ghostly musicians (Charlie GillespieOwen Patrick JoynerJeremy Shada) in her mom's old music studio. The trio were part of a band on the verge of making it big before they died in 1995; now they can only appear to the rest of the world while playing music with Julie. So while they help her find her voice once more, she helps them find purpose in the afterlife. As cheesy as it sounds, you should give this one a shot. -Kaitlin Thomas


Premieres: Friday, Sept. 18 | Where to watch: Hulu

I hope Anna (Anna Konkle) and Maya (Maya Erskine) are stuck in seventh grade forever. Hulu's goofy comedy about middle-school friendship returns with the two besties getting into even more awkward situations, like pool parties and first kisses, and once again, the 30-something actresses playing teen versions of themselves are sharing scenes with actual children. I can't tell you how fresh that joke stays throughout the series. This is the kind of earnest look at junior high -- indisputably the greatest torture humans go through in their lives -- that will make you want to cut 13-year-olds some slack. Plus, we gotta get an update on the Maya-Sam thing. They're OTP. -Tim Surette 


Premieres: Friday, Sept. 25 | Where to watch: Amazon Prime

Utopia is the kind of thing that would have been a twisted cult hit movie if it had been made 20 years ago, but now it's a show on Amazon that people will talk about in tones of "if you know you know." It's a conspiracy thriller about a group of internet friends who (correctly) believe that a mysterious comic book predicted past events, and a newly discovered issue predicts a future pandemic, which may be related to the synthetic meat a biotech company led by a CEO played by John Cusack is making. When the only copy of the manuscript goes missing, the friends find themselves pursued by some very brutal people, and they learn that the comic is even more real than they could have imagined. A description of what Utopia is about, however, does not convey the extremely dark and satirical sense of humor the show has that feels very appropriate for 2020. -Liam Mathews


Premieres: Sunday, Sept. 27 at 10/9c | Where to watch: FX, FX on Hulu (day after)

Executive producer Noah Hawley's anthology series reimagining of the Coen Brothers' 1996 movie Fargo returns for a fourth season with its most ambitious chapter yet. It's set in Kansas City in 1950, where two competing crime families, one Black, the other Italian, trade their eldest sons to seal a truce. But then the head of the mafia dies during surgery, and everything falls apart. The only thing we can predict will happen is that a lot of people will die before the end of the show. The all-star cast is led by Chris Rock as crime family patriarch Loy Cannon and also includes Jason SchwartzmanBen WhishawJessie Buckley, and Timothy Olyphant as a Mormon U.S. Marshal whom Hawley blessed with the extraordinary name Dick "Deafy" Wickware. -Liam Mathews


Premieres: Friday, Oct. 2 | Where to watch: Cinemax

Let's not forget about Cinemax! Warrior, the martial-arts drama based on the writings and teachings of Bruce Lee and created by Banshee's Jonathan Tropper, returns for Season 2 to reclaim its spot as one of TV's most exciting and underrated series. Breakout star Andrew Koji stars as a Chinese immigrant in 1870s San Francisco who, on the account of his ability to kick all kinds of ass, finds work within a crime family as hired muscle. The action is all there -- the fight choreography is magnificent -- but it's the intertwining stories of crime, loyalty, and love that pack the unexpected punch, and the predominantly Asian-American cast is something we all need more of. -Tim Surette 

Emily in Paris

Premieres: Friday, Oct. 2 | Where to watch: Netflix

If you've ever seen a rom-com (or one of creator Darren Star's other TV shows -- Sex and the City and Younger, to name a few), you've seen Emily in Paris before. But that doesn't mean the series about an American expatriate living in Paris isn't worth checking out. The show stars Lily Collins as Emily Cooper, an ambitious millennial from Chicago with a Master's degree in marketing who is exceptionally skilled at social media and is meant to bring an American perspective to the French firm her company recently acquired. Much of the series' action is driven by Emily's job, but because this is set in Paris -- the most romantic city in the world -- and because this is also a rom-com at heart, there is plenty of romance (and sex) to go around. It might be familiar, but romance never goes out of style. -Kaitlin Thomas

The Good Lord Bird

Premieres: Sunday, Oct. 4 at 9/8c | Where to watch: Showtime

Ethan Hawke gets to go absolutely wild as abolitionist John Brown in this miniseries adaptation of James McBride's 2013 book of the same name. The series is told from the point of view of an enslaved boy named Onion as he follows Brown into battle in West Virginia, which would serve as one of the instigating events that led to the Civil War. Hawke's performance will be the centerpiece, but don't forget about the rest of the cast: Daveed Diggs plays Frederick Douglass, and Wyatt Russell is on board as Confederate general J.E.B. Stuart. And from the looks of the trailer, the tone of this will be... fun? –Tim Surette

The Haunting of Bly Manor

Premieres: Friday, Oct. 9 | Where to watch: Netflix

Mike Flanagan's horror hit changes addresses for Season 2, moving from Hill House to Bly Manor, but home ownership is once again a nightmare because of ghosts. Seeing as this is an anthology, much of the cast from The Haunting of Hill House returns, with Victoria Pedretti hired by Henry Thomas and his British accent to be the new family nanny and live in his incredibly creepy mansion. Season 2, based on the works of Henry James, has a lot to live up to after Season 1 was one of Netflix's biggest shows of 2018, so of course Flanagan added scary dolls. -Tim Surette

The Right Stuff

Premieres: Friday, Oct. 9 | Where to watch: Disney+

Get ready to weep like a patriotic baby into your Stars and Stripes like a true American. The story of the Mercury 7, the original astronauts of the good ol' US of A, gets retold in this hourlong drama originally crafted for National Geographic but bumped over to Disney's streaming service. Jake McDorman, Colin O'Donoghue, Patrick J. Adams, and more play the rocket jockeys who became overnight celebrities as the Space Race against the Russians kicked off when the Russians put a satellite in space first. Based on the Tom Wolfe book, obviously, which was also adapted into the excellent 1983 film. -Tim Surette

The Crown

Premieres: Friday, Nov. 15 | Where to watch: Netflix

Gather up your corgis, because Liz is back. Olivia Colman returns as Queen Elizabeth II in the continuation of the second chapter of her life in Netflix's beloved (and extremely expensive) historical drama The Crown. This time around, The Crown covers the 1980s, which means hello Princess Diana (Emma Corrin) and her huge wedding to Prince Charles (Josh O'Connor), as well as the rise of Margaret Thatcher (Gillian Anderson) to power as the Prime Minister of England. This will be the last season featuring global treasure Colman; the final two seasons will star Imelda Staunton as the queen. -Tim Surette