Fall movies? Fall movies are nothing. (Well, except maybe that The Force Awakens one. I have a good feeling about it). Everyone knows we’re currently living in the Golden Age of television, and the 45 or so TV shows in this guide prove it. Mark your calendar and make sure your remote has fresh batteries.
Sunday, August 23
Fear the Walking Dead (9pm, AMC)
The fall TV season kicks off this Sunday with the premiere of this much-anticipated spin-off of The Walking Dead. This series focuses on the very beginning of the zombie apocalypse, just as modern civilization is starting to break down.
Tuesday, August 25
From Dusk Till Dawn (9pm, El Rey)
Scattered across Texas and Mexico, the group reassembles to fight a new, more powerful enemy. Danny Trejo joins season two of this TV series based on Robert Rodriguez and Quentin Tarantino’s hit vampire movie, which is probably not a coincidence.
Tuesday, September 8
The Awesomes (Hulu)
Seth Meyer’s superhero cartoon/Saturday Night Live semi-reunion returns for season three, as Andy Samberg arrives as the unfortunately named hero Sea Man. Plus, a musical episode!
Friday, September 11
Z Nation (10pm, Syfy)
Syfy’s charmingly insane, low-budget answer to The Walking Dead picks up where the cliffhanger-filled season one finale left off. Everyone who survived the nuclear missiles begins the search for a zombie cure, which means hunting down the weirdly immune, unbelievably selfish jerk Murphy.
Continuum (11pm, Syfy)
Although the show’s creator had seven to 10 seasons of stories planned out, this time-travel series is only getting a shortened fourth season to wrap everything up. The anti-corporate rebels of Liber8 have changed the future by traveling back from 2077 to our day. And Keira, the police officer who traveled with them, has given up trying to return to her family, which may no longer even exist. But is the new future any better than the old one?
Tuesday, September 15
The Bastard Executioner (10pm, FX)
Created by Sons of Anarchy’s Kurt Sutter, this historical action-adventure show trades motorcycles for horses and guns for swords. In 14th century England, Wilkin Brattle returns from war and begins a new life as an executioner as Wales inches closer to rebellion.
Saturday, September 19
Doctor Who (9pm, BBC America)
The Twelfth Doctor and Clara Oswald both return for a new season—which includes the return of Missy, the Daleks, Kate Lethbridge-Stewart, Osgood (even though she’s technically dead), several new foes, and Game of Thrones’ Maisie Williams.
Monday, September 21
Gotham (8pm, Fox)
I don’t know if this second season of this Batman-less Batman show will improve in terms of storytelling, but it won’t lack for characters. Proto-versions of major villains like Two-Face, Joker and Riddler will have larger roles, as bad guys like Mr. Freeze, Firefly, Tigress and others join the show. Also, Bruce explores that mysterious cave he’s just discovered under Wayne Manor.
Minority Report (9pm, Fox)
This isn’t just a TV adaptation of the 2002 movie (or the Philip K. Dick short story that inspired it). It’s an actual sequel, set in 2065, 15 years after the events of the movie, as a former Precog uses his powers to prevent crimes on his own while he searches for his missing twin brother.
Scorpion (9pm, CBS)
The stupidest, most batshit insane hacking show ever returns for season 2. For some reason.
Blindspot (10pm, CBS)
The FBI discovers a woman who has no memory of her life, but she’s covered in tattoos that are all clues to crimes that need to be solved. This mind-wiping procedural stars Thor’s Jaimie Alexander as the tattooed Jane Doe.
Tuesday, September 22
Scream Queens (8pm, Fox)
American Horror Story’s Ryan Murphy gets campy with Scream Queens, as a serial killer stalks the sisters of the Kappa Kappa Tau sorority in retribution for a mysterious incident in the past. Starring the actual Queen of Scream Queens, Jamie Lee Curtis, as the college dean.
The Muppets (8pm, ABC)
The Muppets returns to TV after Kermit the Frog and Miss Piggy’s well-publicized breakup. Can the two hold it together to bring Muppet-mania back to network TV?
Limitless (10pm, ABC)
Like Minority Report, Limitless isn’t a TV remake of the movie, but an actual sequel. Bradley Cooper produces and guest stars as his original character Eddie Mora, who supplies the slacker Brian with NZT, the drug that gives its users hyper-intelligence. But what is Mora’s endgame? We really liked what we saw of this show at Comic-Con.
Thursday, September 24
Heroes Reborn (8pm, NBC)
NBC takes another stab at the superhero TV genre in general, and the Heroes franchise in particular. Five years after Claire revealed the existence of superhumans in the previous series, those with powers are hunted by the government. But a cast of new and returning Heroes must band together to save the world from a new threat.
Saturday, September 26
Guardians of the Galaxy (9:30pm, Disney XD)
Star-Lord, Rocket, Gamora, Drax and Groot join together for the latest edition to Marvel’s animated line-up. Given that Guardians is easily the most light-hearted Marvel franchise to date, it’s the perfect match for Marvel’s somewhat silly animation univerise.
Sunday, September 27
Once Upon a Time (8pm, ABC)
Princess Merida of Brave joins the Disney fan-fic-turned-TV-series, while Prince Charming, Snow White, Hook and others search for the missing, Dark One-infused Emma Sawn.
The Last Man on Earth (9:30pm, Fox)
After the shocking conclusion of season one, Phil Miller and his wife Carol head off from Tucson and travel the post-apocalyptic world to find a new place to live. And there just so happens to be a vacancy in the White House.
Tuesday, September 29
Agents of SHIELD (9pm, ABC)
Skye assembles a team of Secret Warriors to find the new superpowered Inhumans who are now appearing across the world. Meanwhile, Jemma is missing, and HYDRA’s back—this time led by none other than Grant Ward himself.
Thursday, October 1
Sleepy Hollow (9pm, Fox)
The show hopes to bounce back from a lackluster second season by ditching almost all the main characters who aren’t Abbie and Ichabod (including the Headless Horseman!). And there’s a renewed focus on the duo’s battle against the forces of evil. But will it be enough? Also this year, Sleepy Hollow is crossing over with Bones, which... ought to be interesting.
Sunday, October 4
The Leftovers (9pm, HBO)
For its second season, this show about a slew of mysterious disappearances is almost completely rebooting—it’s moving to a new setting and ditching most of the cast of season one. This time around, the Garvey family moves to the town of Miracle, TX, where absolutely no disappearances happened at all. None! Until the Garveys arrive, and someone immediately disappears. Showrunner Damon Lindelof promises this new season will have a stronger “narrative engine,” after the more “bleak and depressing” season one.
CSI: Cyber (10pm, CBS)
The show about a group of elite FBI agents who do what your parents think hacking is like returns to battle cyber-criminals, cyber-terrorists, and other cyber-villains.
Tuesday, October 6
The Flash (8pm, The CW)
One of our favorite things about The Flash TV series is how it’s been able to bring the comics’ weirder, goofier aspects and translate them for modern TV. Season 2 will double down on this, as the Flash discovers new Earths and new timelines—and a brand new Flash, too, in the form of Golden Age comic character Jay Garrick.
iZombie (9pm, The CW)
Hated by pretty much all her friends and family because of her secrets, Liv continues to try and solve murders by eating the brains—and sharing the memories of—fresh victims. But when Max Rager plans to destroy all of Seattle’s zombies, she finds and unlikely ally—the newly humanized Blain.
Wednesday, October 7
Arrow (8pm, The CW)
Oliver has quit being the Arrow, in order to enjoy his life with Felicity. But when a new villain named Damien Dahrk arrives in Starling City, Ollie gets a new look, a new lair, and, unfortunately, a lot of new villains to battle, including the techno-ninjas of HIVE. But what we’re most looking forward to is of course the guest appearance of Matt Ryan, who returns as magical jerk John Constantine!
Supernatural (9pm, The CW)
This show is starting its 11th season, with no end in sight. At this point, the Winchester brothers have lied to each other (and died for each other) more times than you’ve eaten lunch. At the end of the 10th season, Dean killed Death (what?) and unleashed a primal darkness, while Castiel was about to kill Crowley. We decided to pretend they all died.
American Horror Story: Hotel (10pm, FX)
There’s never been a show like American Horror Story—both in terms of its willingness to go totally batshit and in terms of having a different self-contained story each season, with much the same cast playing new roles. This time, we’re trapped in a spooky hotel. Jessica Lange isn’t back. But instead, we get Lily Rabe playing famed serial killer Aileen Wuornos, plus Lady Gaga, who has a “spectacular murder scene.”
Thursday, October 8
The Vampire Diaries (8pm, The CW)
Remember when this show was about a love triangle between Elena Gilbert and two vampire brothers? That’s been gone for a while, and now Elena has actually left the show. What does that leave us with? The vampire Stefan’s much more interesting romance with Caroline, plus his psycho mom.
The Originals (9pm, The CW)
The Vampire Diaries spin-off is now airing on the same night, making for a full bloc of vamp action. Last season, the vampire-werewolf hybrid Klaus defeated his evil aunt, but only at the cost of screwing over absolutely everyone in his life. So what’s next? Klaus goes into therapy, and Jason Dohring (Veronica Mars) joins the show as a decent cop.
Haven (10pm, Syfy)
It’s the final season of this show based on a Stephen King tale of a weird town in New England. As things race towards their conclusion, Audrey has been combined with her evil doppelganger Mara, and thousands of new “troubles” have been released on the town.
Friday, October 9
Reign (8pm, The CW)
This historical fantasy series about Mary Queen of Scots has spun out a wild “secret history” version of real events, featuring Nostradamus’ prophecies and hints of black magic. At the end of season two, we met this show’s version of Darth Vader... Queen Elizabeth.
Saturday, October 10
The Last Kingdom (10pm, BBC America)
Speaking of historical fantasy... this series from the executive producers of Downton Abbey adapts the Saxon Stories books by historical fiction mastermind Bernard Cornwell. England is divided into separate kingdoms, and the kingdom of Wessex is ruled by King Alfred the Great. But young Uthred is captured by Saxons and raised as one of them, leading to divided loyalties.
Sunday, October 11
The Walking Dead (9pm, AMC)
Rick has taken over Alexandria, but not everyone is happy about it—in fact, some people think Rick is more dangerous than the zombies that lurk just outside, including his former friend Morgan. But Rick may also be the only person hard enough to protect the safe zone from the Wolves, a terrifying group who wear the skins of zombies to hide among them.
Tuesday, October 13
Manhattan (9pm, WGN)
This chronicle of the scientists working on the atomic bomb has been critically acclaimed, and vastly underwatched (mainly because it’s on WGN). Neve Campbell joins the cast as Robert Oppenheimers wife Kitty for season two, which is set around the Trinity Test, when the very first atom bomb was detonated.
Saturday, October 24
Da Vinci’s Demons (Starz)
Ottoman invaders have stolen Da Vinci’s inventions, and are using them to destroy the city of Otranto. But it will take much more than Leonardo’s genius to defeat them in the series’ final season.
Monday, October 26
Supergirl (8:30, CBS)
She was sent to Earth to protect her younger cousin Superman, but a freak accident sent her to the Phantom Zone, and when she arrived, she was the younger of the two. Now she’s trying to find her identity both as Kara and as Supergirl—as the criminals who accidentally escaped from the Phantom Zone with her seek their revenge.
Friday, October 30
Grimm (9pm, NBC)
Forced to kill his fiancée-turned-Hexenbiest Juliette, Nick is grieving his loss just as Adalind is ready to have their magically sired baby. But now that the Royals are also gone, the show promises it will return to earlier mysteries—including what those damn keys are for.
Saturday, October 31
Ash Vs. Evil Dead (Starz)
No longer quite at his fighting peak, badass/hero/buffoon Ash Williams (Bruce Campbell!) and a few new partners must stop a Deadite plague from taking over the world. But Ash has some figurative demons to battle in addition to the literal ones.
Thursday, November 5
Angel from Hell (9:30, CBS)
Jane Lynch is the worst guardian angel ever. Sold? Sold. If you want more details, Lynch plays Amy, a guardian angel who is watching over a dermatologist named Allison (Maggie Lawson), and they form a weird spiky friendship. This five-minute sizzle reel looks pretty awesome.
Elementary (10pm, CBS)
After the season 3 finale in which he relapsed, Sherlock is facing criminal charges, and may have lost his partnership with Watson and with the NYPD. But the news gets worse, as his estranged father arrives in New York City (played by new series regular John Noble).
Sunday, November 15
Into the Badlands (10pm, AMC)
This is a martial-arts epic set in a post-apocalyptic world that has regressed to feudalism. And Sunny (Daniel Wu) is the best fighter alive, tattooed with marks for all the zillions of people he’s killed. The trailer looks like crazy ridiculous fun.
Friday, November 20
The Man in the High Castle (Amazon)
Philip K. Dick’s famous book about an alternate reality where the Nazis and Japanese won World War II is getting a lavish adaptation, produced by The X-Files’ Frank Spotnitz. The utterly brilliant pilot went online in January, and we cannot wait to see the rest of it.
Thursday, December 3
The Wiz Live! (8pm, NBC)
After the success of the live performance of Peter Pan, NBC is taking on another beloved magical musical, based on The Wizard of Oz—and Queen Latifah is playing the Wiz! This version features newly written material by Harvey Fierstein and a collaboration with Cirque du Soleil! Are you ready to ease on down THIS road?
Monday, December 14
Childhood’s End (8pm, Syfy)
Syfy is trying to leave fluff behind in favor of substance, and a huge step in that direction is adapting Arthur C. Clarke’s famous novel about aliens called the Overlords who peacefully take over Earth. Screenwriter Matthew Graham (Life on Mars) and director Nick Hurran (Doctor Who) assured us they’re staying true to the book. But see for yourself—here’s a trailer.
The Expanse (10pm, Syfy)
And here’s the second part of Syfy’s plan to win some new credibility. They’re adapting the Expanse books by James S.A. Corey, set in the future when humanity has colonized Mars and the Belt. This interplanetary war drama looks like a credible attempt at reclaiming the crown of Battlestar Galactica, and with solid source material to draw on, they might just pull it off.
Contact the author at firstname.lastname@example.org. Additional reporting by Charlie Jane Anders.