This week is a little overwhelming in terms of programming. Network TV is coming back fast and furious, with the season premieres of shows you already love, like the Chicagos (Wednesday from 8-10 on NBC) and Law & Order: Organized Crime (Thursday at 10 on NBC), and new ones like Ordinary Joe (which premiered Monday at 10 on NBC) and The Wonder Years (Wednesday at 8:30 on ABC). And, of course, streaming doesn't take a break: Dear White People is back for its fourth and final season on Netflix this week, and Apple TV+ is premiering the new Lee Pace (!) sci-fi show (!!), Foundation. Lots of stuff! Here are the ones we think you should prioritize.
Our list of editors' picks for the week of Sept. 19-25 is below, but if that's not enough and you're looking for even more hand-picked recommendations, check out our picks for last week or sign up for our free, spam-free Watch This Now newsletter that delivers the best TV show picks straight to your inbox. You can also look at our massive collection of recommendations, as well as our list of suggestions of what to watch next based on shows you already like.
Sunday at 8/7c on CBS
It's TV's biggest night! Do you care? By this point, we're all very much settled into pandemic award shows, so don't expect to see anything all that special or unexpected coming our way. The telecast will take place outside, the red carpet will be limited, and all attendees have to be fully vaccinated in order to make an appearance. (Here's everything else to know about this year's Emmys.) I predict Ted Lasso will be a big winner, but I'll miss the hoodie Jason Sudeikis wore last time he attended an awards show. I'm sure we'll hear at least one celebrity say some variation of the words, "Television is necessary now more than ever." It is what it is! Personally, I'm just tapping my foot impatiently until Succession is eligible again.
Series premiere Monday at 10/9c on NBC
This might just be the most intriguing of all the new fall network premieres. James Wolk stars as Joe, a guy who is faced with three choices after his college graduation: go away for the weekend with his female best friend, hang out with a girl he just met, or go to dinner with his parents. All of these decisions have different outcomes, and we watch what happens as they play out in different, concurrent timelines, mostly job-related: In one timeline, he's a rock star; in another, he's a nurse; in the third he's a cop. Ordinary Joe really hits you over the head with its cloying themes of "destiny," and to me it really feels like someone heard of the "choose your own adventure" concept and only kind of understood what it meant. In any case, it's a very silly ride that I look forward to watching more of! I love silliness! [TRAILER]
Season 4 premieres Wednesday on Netflix
Dear White People is back for one last semester, and although the wait has been excruciatingly long, it's going out with a bang. The final season is 100% times more musical, with the students of Winchester deciding to put on a variety show that celebrates Black culture. There are performances of songs we already like, like Montell Jordan's '90s classic "This Is How We Do It," and big showy dance numbers, and also the inevitable moments where all the characters have to reckon with the fact that they're about to be thrust into the world of adulthood. [TRAILER]
Season 4 premieres Wednesday at 9/8c on NBC
Every time I remember that Laurie Metcalf and John Goodman, two of the greats, have been on a network sitcom for going on four years I say "wow" out loud. They're both just so excellent, and they're also both people I have facetiously referred to as my parents in casual conversation, so it's wild I can just turn on NBC on Wednesday nights and see them on my TV. (This classic Roseanne clip has been circulating on Twitter recently of days to celebrate the talent of the late Norm MacDonald, but it's also an ideal showcase for how funny Metcalf is.) Anyway, The Conners is back for Season 4 this week, and it's kicking off with a gimmick: A season premiere performed live on both coasts. There was apparently a whole Conners sweepstakes happening -- did you enter it? -- and the winners will be featured in the episodes, with a member of the cast calling them on the phone to talk to them in character. The conversation will apparently be relevant to the plot. Why not, I say?! [TRAILER]
Season 3 premieres Thursday on HBO Max
The new season of Doom Patrol -- the former DC Universe show that revels in superhero silliness -- looks poised to take the show to weirder places than ever before (if that's even possible). Season 3 will find the team at a crossroads after Dorothy's (Abi Monterey) confrontation with the Candlemaker leads to a devastating loss, forcing the superheroes to take a hard look at themselves. Matt Bomer, Brendan Fraser, Diane Guerrero, April Bowlby, Joivan Wade, Skye Roberts, and Timothy Dalton all return, and the great Michelle Gomez joins the cast. -Kelly Connolly [TRAILER]
Series premiere Friday on Apple TV+
Apple TV+ is still looking for its big drama -- comedy is covered with Ted Lasso -- and in the sci-fi epic Foundation, it has found it. Isaac Asimov's novels finally get adapted for the screen, and the result is a sort of Game of Thrones in space: dazzling foreign lands, intergalactic political tension, individuals with the ability to shape history, and some pretty sweet costumes. It all starts when the greatest mathematician (Jared Harris) theorizes that the ruling Empire will collapse and send mankind into the Dark Ages, something the current emperors aren't too keen on. It's big, ambitious, and the best sci-fi series since The Expanse/Battlestar Galactica (take your pick). This will be some people's favorite show of the year. [TRAILER]
Season 1 available Friday on Netflix
Mike Flanagan (The Haunting of Hill House) returns with another miniseries, and this one may be his best yet. Midnight Mass follows a small community on a remote fishing island and their devotion to a new priest (Hamish Linklater) who is seemingly performing miracles. Except -- you guessed it -- something else more sinister is afoot. Sure, strange, horrific events are involved, but what makes Midnight Mass so effective is its dissection of religion and faith, and how far people are willing to go to believe. Stephen King wasn't involved in this in anyway, but it's the best Stephen King-ish series, if that makes sense. King loves it, too. [TRAILER]