Each week, we bring you our editor-curated “watch list,” filled with all the quirky hidden gems, salacious reality stars, comedy geniuses, and award-worthy newcomers that have us binge-watching and setting our DVRs. We hope this weekly list will help broaden your viewing horizons and fill you with escapist joy. Happy watching!
This week, two of our long-time favorites are back, and two amazing new shows are premiering. Friday marks the start of Netflix’s Luke Cage, a spinoff of its other successful superhero show, Jessica Jones, which drew a cult following last season. Friday also features the premiere of one of the fall films we’re most looking forward to, American Honey. The movie’s misfit road trip, starring Shia LaBeouf and newcomer Sasha Lane, is sure to take some unexpected turns, but we hear the chemistry between LaBeouf and Lane is undeniable. Sunday, fans of Shameless will finally get to move back in with their favorite dysfunctional family, the Gallaghers, as the seventh season returns with a bang. And Sunday also holds what we’re boldly declaring as one of the best new shows to hit the small screen in years, Westworld. The series premiere of HBO’s new Wild West thriller is so smart, and beautifully filmed, you won’t want to look away for even a second.
“If there’s one ultimate, must-see show this year, it’s HBO’s Westworld. Trust me, this is the mind-blowing, Game of Thrones void-filler you’ve been waiting for. A reboot of Michael Crichton’s 1973 android thriller, the show dives deeper, and takes viewers on a more exhaustive journey than the original. Set in a near-future, Wild West theme part, the show stars Evan Rachel Wood as Dolores Abernathy, an A.I. who doesn’t know she’s a robot...yet. James Marsden, Anthony Hopkins, Ed Harris, Thandie Newton, Rodrigo Santoro, and more, flesh out the all-star cast. Some play androids, others visitors to the park who are able to act out their darkest desires, seemingly without consequence, until things in the park start to go really, really awry. If The Magnificent Seven, Jurassic Park, and Ex Machina had a baby, this would be it — and it only gets better with each episode.” Westworld premieres Oct. 2 at 9 p.m./8 p.m. central on HBO. —Angela Salazar, senior editor
2. American Honey
"I’m a big fan of A24’s films—The Spectacular Now and Spring Breakers are two of my all-time favorites—so I’ve been anxiously awaiting this new drama starring Shia LaBeouf and newcomer Sasha Lane, which premiered at this year’s Cannes Film Festival and won the coveted jury prize. It’s about a band of misfits who embark on a road trip through the midwest selling magazines and inevitably end up partying and breaking the law—sort of like On the Road for the millennial generation. If you live in New York or L.A., you can see it in theaters this Friday, Sept. 30 before it opens nationwide. —Claire Stern, associate editor
3. Luke Cage
“The only superhero series I have ever watched is Marvel’s Jessica Jones, which debuted on Netflix last year, and though I’m typically not into that kind of thing, I instantly became obsessed and binge watched the entire season. Now, one of the characters on the series, Luke Cage (played by Mike Colter), has gotten his very own spinoff. Cage is a prison escapee who was wrongly convicted of a crime he didn’t commit. While in prison, he was part of an experiment gone wrong, and ended up with super-strength powers, allowing him to escape from prison and become a hero-for-hire, using his powers to do good. The series hits Netflix this Friday, so I know what I’ll be doing this weekend.” Available streaming on Netflix beginning Friday, Sept. 30. —Tessa Trudeau, editorial assistant
"I can’t wait to add Shameless back into my Sunday night routine. The seventh season premieres on Oct. 2, and while you would think that the Gallaghers have run out of totally ridiculous storylines by now, the characters are as easy to love (and hate—we’re looking at you, Frank) as ever before. Here’s to hoping that Lip gets back on track, Fiona figures out why she picks the wrong guys, and Debbie realizes that she needs her family’s help in raising her baby this season. Although this is Shameless, so you can pretty much rule out any of those things happening.” Tune in Sunday at 9 p.m. on Showtime, and catch up on the series on Showtime Anytime. —Samantha Simon, assistant editor
5. Ray Donovan
"For the first time in a long time, my TV schedule was completely jam packed all summer long. As a result, I fell behind on one of my all time favorite shows: Ray Donovan. The fourth season of the Showtime hit got off to a slow start, but by the end of episode three, I was reminded again why I love this show so much. This season, Ray (played by the recently Emmy-nominated Liev Schreiber) has seen a lot more familial chaos than ever before, and it’s spilled over into his work as a Hollywood fixer. The ever-beautiful Lisa Bonet has an arc this season, and even though she plays a detestable leech named Marisol, I couldn’t help but be excited to see her on screen! The fourth season finale aired on Sunday, September 18, so I’ll be filling all my free hours watching the episodes that remain in my queue, before I have my heart broken by a careless online spoiler.” Catch up on the series on Showtime Anytime. —Courtney Higgs, editorial assistant