Once upon a time, fall was the time for networks to unveil a big new roster of TV shows to watch all year. These days, some streaming services offer more titles on a single Friday than some broadcasters present in a full season. Beyond that, premieres can now come any time of the year, such that one broadcaster had no new titles to promote for the fall (until it pulled one back from mid season).
Still, the chill in the air and the turning of the leaves means there are still new shows to watch — on broadcast and streaming services — this fall. Here’s what’s on the horizon:
Big Hollywood stars lighting up the small screen
The opportunity to create characters that develop over a full season instead of the length of a film continues to attract big-name Hollywood talent. Sylvester Stallone, 76, stars in his first TV series as a mob boss sprung from prison and exiled to Oklahoma to start a new syndicate in Tulsa King (Paramount+, Nov. 13), from Yellowstone creator Taylor Sheridan and Boardwalk Empire writer Terence Winter. With Dana Delaney (66) and Dominick Lombardozzi (46).
Two-time Oscar winner Hilary Swank, 48, is a New York reporter who quits after a scandal to join a struggling Anchorage newspaper, where she looks into an indigenous woman’s death in Alaska Daily (ABC, Oct. 6). With Jeff Perry, 67, of Scandal.
Steve Carell, 60, portrays a therapist treating a serial killer (Domhnnall Gleeson) who demands that he cure him of his homicidal tendencies in what looks like a tense two-hander, The Patient (FX, Aug. 30). The 10 half-hour episodes represent the first series from Joel Fields and Joe Weisberg since The Americans.
Susan Sarandon, 75, portrays the reigning queen of country who is relinquishing her crown to her daughter in the saga Monarch (Fox, Sept. 11), which also features an actual country star, Trace Adkins, 60.
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A big-bet prequel to Game of Thrones and more
In the spirit of 1883 and Better Call Saul, prequels abound, perhaps in an effort to extend a series by using a new cast and setting. The most expansive of them all is House of the Dragon (HBO, Aug. 21), the Game of Thrones prequel that tells the tale of the dangerous and overly blond House of Targaryens, with Paddy Considine, 48, Emma D’Arcy and Matt Smith.
Equally big in scale is The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power (Prime Video, Sept. 2), telling the early stories of J.R.R. Tolkien, where the rings of power are only being hammered out by elven kings and dwarf lords. It stars Charles Edwards, 52, as the elf Celebrimbor.
In an even longer time ago in a galaxy far away is Andor (Disney+, Sept. 21), about the early days of Cassian Andor before he popped up in the 2016 Rogue One: A Star Wars Story with Diego Luna, 42, reprising his role.
Don’t miss this: All the ‘Star Wars’-Related Shows You Can Watch on Disney+
A 19th-century prequel to events that led to Walker (itself a reboot of Chuck Norris’ original (Walker, Texas Ranger), the new Walker: Independence (CW, Oct. 6) stars Katherine McNamara as the survivor of a wagon train attack that killed her husband en route to becoming the new sheriff of Independence, Texas.
Supernatural lasted 15 seasons but there’s apparently more story to tell, specifically about who raised the demon-hunting brothers. Jensen Ackles, 44, narrates Winchesters (CW, Oct. 11), the story of his young parents (Drake Rodger and Meg Donnelly) meeting in 1972.
The return of Quantum Leap and more reboots
Nearly 30 years after it went off the air, Quantum Leap (NBC, Sept. 19) returns with a new team that can jump through history. Raymond Lee and Ernie Hudson, 76, star.
Pitch Perfect: Bumper in Berlin (Peacock, Nov. 23) has Adam Devine reprising his character Bumper Allen from the Pitch Perfect films, in which he goes to Germany, where his songs become hits.
The Best Man: The Final Chapters (Peacock, Dec. 22) extends the film series, bringing back the cast that includes Morris Chestnut (53), Melissa De Sousa (54), Taye Diggs (51), Regina Hall (51) and Terrence Howard (53).
The Real Love Boat (CBS, Oct. 5) retools the old romance anthology series into a reality dating show to cruise alongside Bachelor in Paradise (ABC, Sept. 27).
Reboot (Hulu, Sept. 20) is also the name of a new comedy literally about the rebooting process. Steven Levitan of Modern Family brings the insider TV jokes with a cast that includes Keegan-Michael Key (51), Johnny Knoxville (51), Judy Greer, Rachel Bloom and Paul Reiser (66).
New police shows for everyone’s favorite TV genre
Nobody’s defunded police shows on TV, where women rise in the ranks on two new broadcast entries. Amanda Warren (40) stars as the new precinct chief on East New York (CBS, Oct. 2). Niecy Nash-Betts (52) stars as the oldest rookie at an FBI academy on the spin-off The Rookie: Feds (ABC, Sept. 27).
The Calling (Peacock, Nov. 10), the latest series from David E. Kelley, 68 (Big Little Lies, The Lincoln Lawyer), concerns a NYPD detective who uses spirituality and religious principles to uncover truth in investigations. Starring Jeff Wilbusch with Juliana Canfield and Karen Robinson (54).
Along with our other favorite genres, new adventure and legal dramas
Max Thieriot of SEAL Team stars as a convict who agrees to be part of an inmate firefighting team in Northern California on the new Fire Country (CBS, Oct. 7).
Tom Welling (Smallville) is a security operative hired by billionaire Brendan Fraser (53) in the new Professionals (CW , Oct. 11).
In the new Family Law (CW, Oct. 2), Jewel Staite (40) plays a personal injury lawyer with a drinking problem ordered to find a new job under a probationary period. Victor Gerber (73) agrees to take her in; he’s also her estranged father.
Marcia Gay Harden (63) is an attorney whose unconventional son is an investigator for her firm on So Help Me Todd (CBS, Sept. 29).
Some best seller adaptations to keep us hooked
Anne Rice’s best-selling 1976 Interview With the Vampire (AMC, Oct. 2) has Sam Reid playing the vampire Lestat and Eric Bogosian (69) as the interlocutor.
Anthony Horowitz adapts his own best seller into the six-piece Masterpiece Mystery series Magpie Murders (PBS, Oct. 16). Leslie Manville (66) investigates the death of an author, portrayed by Conleth Hill (57) from Game of Thrones.
And a few more comedies to keep us laughing through the fall!
George Lopez (61) stars alongside daughter Mayan Lopez as a dysfunctional working-class family in Lopez vs. Lopez (NBC, Nov. 4), from the makers of The Conners.
Randall Park (48) of Fresh Off the Boat and Melissa Fumero of Brooklyn Nine Nine star in Blockbuster (Netflix, late fall), about the last Blockbuster Video in America — an amusing proposition from the prevailing streaming network that helped sink that chain by originally sending DVDs through the mail.
Roger Catlin, the longtime Hartford Courant TV critic, writes about arts and pop culture for The Washington Post, Smithsonian Magazine, TV Guide, AARP, Salon and TV Worth Watching.