School is back in session, football is on every television, and the weather is becoming brisk – that’s right folks, summer is over (well, not yet officially, but for all intents and purposes), and fall has begun. With another changing of the seasons comes a fresh list of new fall television shows we think you’ll enjoy. Considering our list is full of premium cable and streaming options, this fall TV preview applies to cable cord-cutters more than ever before. Here’s to an autumn full of fantastic new viewing content, with hopefully less hurricanes, earthquakes, and wildfires than last year. Because no one wants to binge a show about the end of the world when it’s what they’re living.
The I-Land – September 12 (Netflix)
Created by playwright and filmmaker Neil LaBute, Netflix’s new sci-fi miniseries, The I-Land, introduces ten people as they all wake up on a mysterious beach with no recollection of their own identities or how they wound up on the island. Lost and confused, the group begins a journey to find their way back home. But they quickly learn this I-Land is no paradise. Tested by the physical and mental elements of the island, the group, starring Kate Bosworth (21, Blue Crush), Natalie Martinez (Kingdom, CSI: NY), Kyle Schmid (Six, Copper), and Alex Pettyfer (Back Roads), must stick together and defy the odds in order to survive.
Top Boy – September 13 (Netflix)
The Drake co-sign can often be as much a gift as a curse when it comes to rappers and singers – but the sample size for TV series is much smaller. Based off the popularity of Degrassi and Euphoria, you can understand why Netflix promptly ordered a 10-episode third season of the beloved, yet oft forgotten British crime drama, Top Boy, upon learning of Drake’s involvement. A big fan of the two-season, eight-episode Channel 4 series – it was seemingly Drake’s interest in seeing new episodes of the East London-set show that led to the possibility of a revival after six years off-air. Now the show and its rapper-stars, Ashley “Asher D” Walters and Kane “Kano” Robinson, are back and bigger than ever with a third season two episodes longer than the first two seasons combined. Enjoy, Top Boy fans. It’s been a long break, but you’ve finally earned ten more hours with drug dealing gangsters, Dushane and Sully, in the Summerhouse public housing estate. Thank Drake the next time you see him.
Mixed-ish – September 24 (ABC)
Black-ish, undoubtedly the best show on ABC (come at me Grey’s Anatomy stans), has followed in network sitcom tradition by already producing its second spinoff before the airing of its sixth season. Mixed-ish, a prequel about young Rainbow Johnson’s mixed race upbringing, comes just two years after the immediate success of Freeform’s spinoff, Grown-ish, in which Zoey attends college. Starring Tika Sumpter (Nobody’s Fool, Ride Along) and Mark-Paul Gosselaar (Save By The Bell, Franklin & Bash) as Bow’s parents, the series begins when the family moves from a hippie cult commune to mid ‘80s suburbia. Also starring Arica Himmel, Ethan William Childress, Mykal-Michelle Harris, and Gary Cole – the O.G. Rainbow Johnson, Tracee Ellis Ross reprises her role as the series narrator. The new ABC comedy was blessed with a theme song by Mariah Carey and will fittingly air prior to Black-ish at 9PM on Tuesdays.
Untold Stories of Hip Hop – September 26 (WE tv)
Power 105 radio personality and “The Voice of New York,” Angie Martinez, presents WE tv’s newest series, Untold Stories of Hip Hop. Comprised of six one-hour episodes, Untold Stories of Hip Hop discusses rap’s most historic verses, beefs, and never-before-told stories from the biggest names in the genre. Guests featured throughout the show’s first season include Cardi B, A$AP Rocky, Snoop Dogg, Ice Cube, DJ Khaled, Ja Rule, Wyclef Jean, Nelly, and more. WE tv calls the show a “fresh and fast-paced series [that] shines a new light on hip hop’s most influential artists with unforgettable revelations directly from the stars themselves.” President of WE tv Marc Juris added, “Hip hop music and culture is at the foundation of the WE tv brand, and as the genre’s influence only continues to grow and impact the world around us, it’s incredibly important to preserve these untold stories for the culture.”
The Politician – September 27 (Netflix)
From the creators of Glee, American Horror Story, Scream Queens, and Pose comes Ryan Murphy’s first Netflix original series, The Politician. Starring Ben Platt as Payton Hobart, a rich student from Santa Barbara – the first season follows the titular character throughout his campaign for Saint Sebastian High School student body president. Each season of the musical comedy will follow Hobart during a new political race in his constant pursuit of the highest office – President of the United States. Co-starring Gwyneth Paltrow, Jessica Lange, Zoey Deutch, Lucy Boynton, Dylan McDermott, and Bette Midler – Netflix already ordered a second season prior to the airing of the first eight episodes.
Godfather of Harlem – September 29 (Epix)
Godfather of Harlem is the newest project from the co-creator of Narcos. The TV prequel to the 2007 film American Gangster is set to air 10-episodes on Epix. Executive produced and starring Forest Whitaker as crime boss Bumpy Johnson, the series begins in the 1960s when Johnson returns to his Harlem neighborhood after ten years away in prison. The Italian mafia now runs the streets he once ruled. In his pursuit to take back what was once his, Johnson crosses paths with Vincent “The Chin” Gigante played by Vincent D’Onofrio, Malcolm X played by Nigel Thatch, Frank Costello played by Paul Sorvino, and Adam Clayton Powell Jr. played by Giancarlo Esposito.
It appears prequels are the new reboot. Better Call Saul is a major hit for AMC, HBO has several Game of Thrones prequels in the works, and Disney is working on multiple Star Wars projects for TV, beginning with The Mandalorian. And let’s not forget about The Many Saints of Newark – TheSopranos film tracing Tony Soprano’s formative years. Prequels are currently in vogue and Godfather of Harlem is Epix’s attempt to claim a seat at an already crowded table.
Raising Dion – October 4 (Netflix)
There is still little information to share regarding Netflix’s latest sci-fi drama, Raising Dion, less than two months away from its premiere. Based on the comic book of the same name by Dennis Liu, Raising Dion tells the story of single mother Nicole Reese (Alisha Wainwright), as she raises her son Dion following the death of her scientist husband, Mark (Michael B. Jordan). Raising a son as a single mother is hard enough, but even more difficult when your son (Ja’Siah Young) has superpowers. Desperate to keep her son’s magical abilities a secret, Nicole enlists the assistance of Mark’s best friend Pat (Jason Ritter) to protect Dion from the evil powers that be. The nine-episode Netflix original series is written by Carol Barbee (Unreal) and looks to be a pleasant respite from the typical Marvel comic book fare. We do not yet have a trailer for this series (!).
Hip Hop: The Songs That Shook America – October 13 (AMC)
Over the past eight years Alex Gibney and Jigsaw Productions have created critically acclaimed documentaries on the topics of religion (Going Clear), sports (The Armstrong Lie), tech (The Inventor), and music (Sinatra: All or Nothing at All). Now the award-winning documentarian finds himself executive producing alongside the co-founders of hip-hop’s most legendary band and #1 group in late night – The Roots’ Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson and Tarik “Black Thought” Trotter – for AMC’s new music docu-series, Hip Hop: The Songs That Shook America. Tracking the 40 years hip-hop has grown from “a cultural revolution to the dominant global music genre,” the six episode series focuses each episode on a specific song critical to the advancement of the music and culture.
Throughout the show “artists deconstruct their composition, revisit the impact the song had on them personally, and dissect the socio-economic and cultural conditions that inspired the landmark work and gave voice to a generation.” The series premiere episode celebrates the 15th anniversary of Kanye West’s debut album, The College Dropout, by giving fans the full story behind his Christian rap single “Jesus Walks.” The other five episodes will cover Kendrick Lamar’s “Alright”; Run-DMC’s “Rock Box”; Queen Latifah’s “Ladies First”; OutKast’s “Elevators”; and last but certainly not least, Marley Marl and MC Shan’s “The Bridge.” Hip Hop: The Songs That Shook America is basically the college course you always wish existed. Thanks to Questlove, Black Thought, Alex Gibney & AMC – it now does. Class begins Sunday, October 13th.
Watchmen – October 20 (HBO)
One of HBO’s most hotly anticipated shows in the wake of Game of Thrones’ divided finale – Watchmen isn’t just a beloved graphic novel. Its series creator also happens to be Damon Lindelof, co-creator of the equally adored television series, Lost. Set in the same alternate contemporary reality of America as the original Watchmen DC comic, where masked vigilantes are considered criminals – Lindelof has set out to tell his own original story. Thirty-four years following the comic’s events, the new series presents a country with no internet and Robert Redford as the longest-serving President in American history. Highlighted by a large cast that includes Academy Award winners Regina King and Jeremy Irons, Don Johnson, Tim Blake Nelson, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, and Jean Smart – one thing Watchmen won’t be short on is talent.
The Morning Show – November (Apple TV+)
New to the streaming wars, Apple TV+ is taking a huge swing with its debut original series, The Morning Show. Starring A-list actors Jennifer Aniston, Reese Witherspoon, and Steve Carell – the series plot mirrors today’s morning news environment when Mitch Kessler (Carell), a longtime morning news anchor, is fired following a sexual misconduct scandal. Meanwhile his co-anchor, Alex Levy (Aniston), must fight to maintain her position within the newsroom while an upcoming rival journalist (Witherspoon) targets her spot at the news desk. The fantastic cast only gets better with Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Billy Crudup, and Mark Duplass in supporting roles on the ten-episode dramedy. Already picked up for a second season, The Morning Show is Apple TV+’s official introduction to the general viewing public. While it might not make or break the infant streaming service, it could play a roll in its ultimate success, or lack thereof. Ideally The Morning Show will be for Apple what House of Cards was for Netflix, Transparent for Amazon, and The Handmaid’s Tale for Hulu. Only time will tell.