Last year, the fall TV schedule felt a little unusual in the immediate wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. But in 2021 — like many other facets of daily life — television is working hard to get back to “normal.” That means we’re in for an absolutely relentless number of buzzy new and returning series this season.
For the second year in a row, we’ll be getting a fall season of The Bachelorette, this time led by Bachelor Nation fan-favorite Michelle Young. Cable is boasting multiple Ryan Murphy premieres and one of TV’s top comedies. Netflix also has a booming slate of streamable content, including the reemergence of two long-awaited and wildly beloved series, along with the farewell season of Lucifer. Then there is the rest of the streaming world to consider, like shows from Hulu and HBO Max. All together, it’s enough to keep you glued to your couch from Labor Day until Thanksgiving.
In an effort to help you organize the endless array of options, we’ve laid out all the best television can offer you in the coming months.
American Horror Story (FX)
Premiere date: Wednesday, August 25 at 10 p.m. ET
American Horror Story is doing something a little bit different this year. Season 10 has been dubbed a “Double Feature” and will include two distinct (but likely related) storylines. First up is the “Red Tide” portion, which is based in Provincetown, Massachusetts, and is suspected to be all about sirens. Then there is the mysterious second slice of the season, “Death Valley,” which will involve aliens. AHS faves like Evan Peters, Sarah Paulson, and Finn Wittrock are confirmed to return to Ryan Murphy’s horror mainstay.
The Other Two (HBO Max)
Premiere date: Thursday, August 26 at 12 a.m. ET
The Other Two was one of TV’s best series when it premiered all the way back in 2019. At last, the Dubek family is back, this time moving from Comedy Central to HBO Max. In season 1, aimless Millennials Brooke (Heléne Yorke) and Carey Dubek (Drew Tarver) were living in the shadow of their tween sensation little brother Chase Dreams (Case Walker). Now, it’s their mom Pat (Molly Shannon) who’s the star. No matter which Dubek is famous, many lovable extremely specific comedic hijinks ensue.
Only Murders in the Building (Hulu)
Premiere date: Tuesday, August 31 at 12 a.m. ET
Selena Gomez in great sweaters. Selena Gomez in great jackets. Selena Gomez in great hoops. Only Murders in the Building may not be about Gomez’s enviable wardrobe, but it is a reason to tune into the Hulu murder-mystery comedy. The actual plot of Murders in the Building feels like a sibling to Search Party. After a man is killed in a New York apartment building, three unlikely neighbors team up to solve the homicide via a true crime podcast. Gomez, Martin Short, and co-creator Steve Martin play those wacky Manhattanites.
What We Do in the Shadows (FX)
Premiere date: Thursday, September 2 at 10 p.m. ET
Please watch What We Do in the Shadows. Despite its many Emmy nominations in 2020, the FX vampire comedy is still a cult favorite rather than a bonafide smash hit. That needs to change in 2021. Shadows season 3 finds its quartet of bloodsuckers in a coveted new position: the leaders of the local vampiric council. From the jump, it’s clear this development is bound to crash and burn for our viewing enjoyment.
Money Heist (Netflix)
Part 5, Volume 1
Premiere date: Friday, September 3 at 3 a.m. ET
Spain’s biggest international success is coming to an end. Money Heist part 5 — which has been split into two halves — will be the crime drama’s last. Before the series can wrap, it must reveal how its cadre of charming criminals will escape their latest elaborate heist at the Bank of Spain.
The D’Amelio Show (Hulu)
Premiere date: Friday, September 3. at 12 a.m. ET
Up until a few months ago, the Kardashians were reality TV’s royal family. After the end of Keeping Up With the Kardashians, they’re trying to create the genre’s next group of stars. Enter, the D'Amelios. The D’Amelio Show, produced by the Kardashian clan, follows the daily exploits of another family who has become famous for, essentially, being famous (on TikTok this time). Internet celeb sisters Charli and Dixie D’Amelio lead the docusoap, along with their parents Marc and Heidi.
Impeachment: American Crime Story (FX)
Premiere date: Tuesday, September 7 at 10 p.m. ET
American Crime Story is often seen as the prestigious jewel in Ryan Murphy’s sprawling TV empire. Impeachment will continue to make that case by bringing Golden Globe nominee (and inevitable Oscar nominee, if we’re being honest) Beanie Feldstein into the mix. Feldstein carries Impeachment as Monica Lewinsky, the woman at the center the 1998 presidential sex scandal that led to Bill Clinton’s impeachment trial. At last, history and pop culture have begun to reconsider Lewinsky, who was a 20-something-year old intern at the time.
Premiere date: Friday, September 10 at 3 a.m. ET
This time, the end is really, really, really nigh. Lucifer is famous for escaping death. First it was canceled in 2018 by its initial home network of FOX, only to be picked up by Netflix. The streamer announced Lucifer season 5 would be its last… only to pick up the supernatural crime drama for a sixth and final season. Those closing episodes are here and viewers will learn what happens when the Devil (Tom Ellis) becomes God himself.
Sex Education (Netflix)
Premiere date: Friday, September 17 at 3 a.m. ET
Netflix has a constantly expanding stable of teen shows. British Sex Education is one of its best (and horniest). Season 3 will have to deal with the last two seasons of chaos at Moordale High, which has stumbled through an unforgettable sex play, a teen sex therapy tutoring scandal, and a bombshell study published by Jean Milburn (Gillian Anderson), mom to Sex Ed hero Otis (Asa Butterfield). Romance, drama, and, of course, sex is ahead.
Dear White People (Netflix)
Premiere date: Wednesday, September 22 at 3 a.m. ET
Dear White People season 4 is yet another farewell run. Unlike other shows of its ilk, Dear White People is going out with a musical season. When we return to Winchester University, it’s the end of senior year for protagonists like Samantha White (Logan Browning) and Troy Fairbanks (Brandon P. Bell). To deal with the stress of impending adulthood — and a high stakes variety show — the Dear White People crew decides to pretend their life is a ‘90s musical. After the year-and-a-half we’ve all had, it’s as good of an idea as any.
The Wonder Years (ABC)
Premiere date: Wednesday, September 22 at 8:30 p.m. ET
If you tuned into the summer season of The Bachelorette, you probably know all about The Wonder Years reboot; heartwarming ads for the new series played nonstop in between commercial breaks for Katie Thurston’s search for romance. This version of the coming of age drama
flips the script on the original, moving its focus from a white family in late 1960s to a Black family in Alabama at the same time. Child actor Elisha "EJ" Williams leads The Wonder Years with Don Cheadle narrating it as the adult version of his character, Dean Williams.
Grey’s Anatomy (ABC)
Premiere date: Thursday, September 30 at 9 p.m. ET
Grey’s Anatomy was depressing last season. The ABC medical drama tackled the COVID-19 pandemic head-on for all 17 of its episodes and mercifully ended with a gorgeous wedding that suggested sunnier days are ahead. In season 18, we’ll find out if Grey Sloan Memorial has truly clawed its way out of the never-ending darkness. The addition of esteemed TV dad Peter Gallagher to the cast suggests it has.
Midnight Mass (Netflix)
Premiere date: Friday, September 24 at 3 a.m. ET
Mike Flanagan — the man behind both of Netflix’s Haunting series — is creating his own Ryan Murphy-esque spooky empire on the streamer. Next up is Midnight Mass, a seaside horror story starring Haunting alums Kate Siegel, Henry Thomas, and Rahul Kohli. Midnight Mass has nothing to do with a spooky house and is instead based on a spooky church. The drama’s setting of Crockett Island starts to undergo creepy supernatural phenomena after the arrival of a new preacher (Hamish Linklater).
The Many Saints of Newark (HBO Max)
Premiere date: Friday, October 1 at 12 a.m. ET
The Many Saints of Newark isn’t a TV show — but it is one of the biggest television events of the year. The film, directed by Game of Thrones constant Alan Taylor, serves as a prequel to The Sopranos, one of the greatest touchstones in the small screen cannon. Michael Gandolfini, son of late Sopranos star James Gandolfini, takes over his father’s role but as a budding version of the future Soprano family crime boss.
On My Block (Netflix)
Premiere date: Monday, October 4
Like Sex Education, On My Block is another one of Netflix’s shining stars in the teen drama genre. That is where their similarities end. Season 4 — which will be the L.A. dramedy’s last — picks up with its core five of Cesar Diaz (Diego Tinoco), Jamal Turner (Brett Gray), Jasmine (Jessica Marie Garcia), Monse Finnie (Sierra Capri), and Ruby Martinez (Jason Genao) solidly ensconced in their senior year of high school. The group has to deal with regular high school drama, like the battle for class president, and the kind of odd hikinks only On My Block can dream up (like creepy mystery letters in the mail). As usual, On My Block will also deal with the genuinely serious issue of gang violence.
Premiere date: Friday, October 15 at 3 a.m. ET
If there is one reason to be hopeful about the future, it’s the long-awaited return of You, a series that last aired months before the pandemic even hit America. Prepare to meet Joe Goldberg (Penn Badgley) like you’ve never seen him before. The guy who used to plot crimes from his tiny Brooklyn apartment is now a husband, homeowner, and father… plotting crimes from his massive Bay Area house. Now that Joe and fellow murderer Love Quinn (Victoria Pedretti) are married, it’s time to find out how they can hide their deadly predilections from the prying eyes of the suffocating suburbs.
The Bachelorette (ABC)
Premiere date: Tuesday, October 19 at 8 p.m. ET
Michelle Young instantly stole hearts during her midseason entrance onto Matt James’ Bachelor season. Nine months later, it’s Young’s turn to hand out roses. The Bachelorette — now with its first-ever Black executive producer — has moved production to Young’s home state of Minnesota to follow the teacher and former athlete’s journey towards love.
Premiere date: Tuesday, October 19 at 10 p.m. ET
The internet has long been rallying for a proper Brandy Norwood renaissance. That moment is finally here thanks to Queens, the girl group drama that will follow The Bachelorette this fall. Norwood plays Naomi, the musical powerhouse of The Nasty Bitches, a long-dismantled girl group. Twenty years after The Nasty Bitches broke up, they’re faced with the opportunity to reunite — and reboot their images. Drama unfolds as each member must reconcile their past and very different present.
The Great (Hulu)
Premiere date: Friday, November 19 at 12 a.m. ET
Elle Fanning and Nicholas Hoult have some of television’s best chemistry as The Great royalty Catherine and Peter. In season 2, viewers can see that crackling intensity put to optimal use as Russia’s Emperor and Empress go to war over the throne — all while Catherine is pregnant. To add to the tension, Catherine’s mother Joanna arrives and she looks a lot like TV’s busiest woman, Gillian Anderson.