Who’s ready for fall? As much as we love the long, dreamy days of summer, we’re even more excited for the season’s end because it means one very important thing: Our favorite fall TV shows are back! And even more exciting than the return of Empire, American Horror Story, and Modern Family is the onslaught of brand new programming premiering as well.
But this year more than ever, the number of new TV shows has skyrocketed thanks to all of the networks and streaming services vying for a coveted fall hit, like Amazon, Netflix, and even TNT. With so many programs premiering at the same time, how do you know which ones are worth space in your DVR (or, ahem, streaming queue)? Don’t fret! We’ve sifted through the saturated fall lineup and picked out all of the must-watch new series.
The best part? All of these newbies have unique and interesting storylines that we haven't seen a million times before. There’s a Woody Allen series (his first foray into TV), a baseball drama with a female lead (yes, she's drafted into the MLB), a dystopian Western, a show where everyone shares the same birthday, and—gasp—the long-awaited return of Gilmore Girls. Sign us up.
Not only that, there's some major star power to look forward to, like Sarah Jessica Parker, who returns to HBO with a comedy about divorce; Michelle Dockery, who veers far away from Downton Abbey with a new role as a con artist; and Miley Cyrus, who stars in Woody Allen's six-part Amazon series.
Scroll down to read our picks for the best new TV series premiering this fall. Then, be sure to tune in when the shows start airing in September.
1. Queen Sugar
This Louisiana-set drama from Ava DuVernay follows the lives of the estranged Bordelon siblings: Nova (Rutina Wesley), a journalist and activist; Charley (Dawn-Lyen Gardner), a wife and manager of a professional basketball player; and Ralph Angel (Kofi Siriboe), a young father recently released from prison. After their father suffers from a stroke, the three reunite and must figure out how to run their family’s ailing sugarcane farm in the South. (Sept. 6, 10 p.m. ET on OWN)
2. This Is Us
This heartwarming ensemble dramedy follows the lives of seemingly unconnected people who all share the same birthday. Their paths cross and intertwine in unexpected ways—you'll just have to watch to find out how! Mandy Moore, Milo Ventimiglia, and Sterling K. Brown star. (Sept. 20, 10 p.m. ET on NBC)
Ginny Baker (played by breakout star Kylie Bunbury) is about to change sports forever—she's the first female drafted into Major League Baseball. When she's called up by the San Diego Padres, she not only must prove herself to the team, but to the whole world watching too. (Sept. 22, 9 p.m. ET on FOX)
4. Crisis in Six Scenes
Written and directed by Woody Allen (his first time doing TV!), this six-episode comedy takes place during the turbulent 1960s, but focuses on a suburban middle-class family whose lives are upended when an unexpected visitor comes and shakes things up. Miley Cyrus makes her TV return in the series and stars alongside Allen, Elaine May, Rachel Brosnahan, and more. (Sept. 30 on Amazon)
5. Luke Cage
Luke Cage marks Netflix's third collaboration with Marvel Studios (they also teamed on Daredevil and Jessica Jones). In this series, Luke Cage (Mike Colter) is left with super strength and unbreakable skin after a botched experiment goes awry. He becomes a fugitive and tries to clear his name by rebuilding a life in Harlem, but the neighborhood needs his help, whether he wants to be their hero or not. Rosario Dawson and Alfre Woodard also star. (Sept. 30, all episodes on Netflix)
Inspired by the film Westworld, the 10-episode sci-fi series follows the dark world of artificial consciousness, taking place both in the future and a dystopian, Western-set past. There, anything goes. Evan Rachel Wood, Anthony Hopkins, Ed Harris, Thandie Newton, James Marsden, Jeffrey Wright and more star. (Oct. 2, 9 p.m. ET on HBO)
A mysterious criminal steals a time machine with the intent of destroying America by changing key moments in history. The government wrangles together a ragtag team in an effort to stop him: a history professor (Abigail Spencer), a scientist (Malcolm Barrett), and a soldier (Matt Lanter), who use the time machine's prototype to try and prevent the fugitive from altering the past. (Oct. 3, 10 p.m. ET on NBC)
Inspired by the 2000 film of the same name, Frequency follows Detective Raimy Sullivan (Peyton List), who finds an old ham radio in her garage and uses it to communicate with her late father, who's still in 1996. Raimy knows her father will be killed around that same time, so she warns him and it changes history forever. Of course, keeping him alive has its consequences. (Oct. 5, 9 p.m. ET on CW)
Sarah Jessica Parker returns to HBO in this comedy about a couple on the brink of divorce. She plays Frances, a woman who reassesses her life, only to realize that it's much harder to make a fresh start than she thought. Thomas Haden Church, Molly Shannon, and Tracy Letts also star. (Oct. 9, 10 p.m. ET on HBO)
This comedy series co-created by Issa Rae and Larry Wilmore is about the friendship of two black women and the uncomfortable (and sometimes crazy) shenanigans they get in. Rae stars in the series alongside Yvonne Orji. (Oct. 9, 10:30 p.m. ET on HBO)
11. Rocky Horror Picture Show
To celebrate the 40th anniversary of Rocky Horror Picture Show, Fox will air a two-hour original special to honor the 1975 cult classic. This reimagined version will follow the same format as the film, with Laverne Cox playing Frank-N-Furter, the scantily-clad mad scientist who holds a Transylvanian science convention to show off Rocky Horror (played by Staz Nair), a muscley specimen created for Frank's pleasure. Along with Cox and Nair, Victoria Justice plays Janet, Ryan McCartan plays Brad, Christina Milian Plays Magenta, Reeve Carney plays Riff-Raff, and Adam Lambert plays Eddie. And don't you worry—Tim Curry is set to make an appearance as well! (Oct. 20, 8 p.m. ET on FOX)
12. Pure Genius
This new take on a medical drama centers on a young Silicon Valley billionaire who runs a technologically advanced hospital that focuses their treatment on rare medical mysteries at no cost to the patient. He assembles a group of genius doctors and cutting-edge, state-of-the-art equipment to help the cause, but it's his own secret illness that's fueling the fire. Dermot Mulroney, Augustus Prew, and Odette Annable star. (Oct. 27, 10 p.m. ET on CBS)
13. Good Girls Revolt
The series set in a 1969 newsroom centers around a group of women who work for News of the Week and ask to be treated as fairly as their male counterparts. Their simple, yet revolutionary request sparks change not only in their own lives, but across their generation. Anna Camp, Genevieve Angelson, Joy Bryant, and Erin Darke star. Grace Gummar recurs in the series as Nora Ephron. (Oct. 28 on Amazon)
14. The Crown
Netflix is tapping into royalty with their newest historical drama about the early life of Queen Elizabeth II as she begins her reign. Claire Foy stars as young Elizabeth and Matt Smith will play her husband Prince Philip. (Nov. 4, all episodes on Netflix)
15. Good Behavior
Michelle Dockery's newest drama, Good Behavior, takes her far away from Downton Abbey. She stars as Letty Raines, a petty thief and con artist who's fresh out of prison and constantly making one bad decision after another. When she overhears a hit man being hired to kill a man's wife, she decides her only course of action is to interfere. (Nov. 15, 9 p.m. ET on TNT)
16. Gilmore Girls
Gilmore Girls fans, rejoice! The long-awaited, four-part revival of the series is set to bow on Netflix. We're right back in Stars Hollow and the three generations of Gilmore women are each struggling with change and all that comes with it. The series will take place over the course of one year. (Nov. 25, all episodes on Netflix)