Let's face it, no one really needs a reason to watch television. In addition to it being a form of entertainment which can dull the aggravation encountered during a stressful work day, the quality of programming in the last few years thanks to premium channels and streaming services alike - which in turn challenged network to do better - have taken much of the guilty connotations away from parking your keister on the couch and succumbing to endless stories that span countless genres.
With original content at an all-time high, deciding what to watch is the only real hurdle a viewer must face.
While established water-cooler shows like Game of Thrones dominate recommendations amongst friends and colleagues, more upstart shows like Stranger Things have proven that breakout hits can come from any platform and dispel long-held tenets of TV programming that adults don't want to watch shows about kids.
If you needed a refresher on what is new this fall - as well as what is returning - we've got you covered.
When: September 30 on Netflix
Why we're excited: Netflix's Marvel universe has been handled particularly well. Not only has it brought the Daredevil character back from extinction after an ill-fated turn for Ben Affleck as Matt Murdock, but it has also ushered in new and original "heroes" like Jessica Jones in her self-titled, modern noir series.
The aforementioned Jessica Jones gave us our first look at Mike Colter's portrayal of Luke Cage - a wrongly accused man who escapes prison and becomes an unlikely superhero for hire thanks to superstrength and durability due to a sabotaged experiment. Cage is also Marvel's first African American lead in a title series or movie.
Set in Harlem, the show will also feature a killer soundtrack thanks to the work of Adrian Younge - who notably worked with Ghostface on Twelve Reasons to Die - as well as Ali Shaheed Muhammad of A Tribe Called Quest notoriety.
In speaking with The Los Angeles Times, Colter mentioned the music, noting, "It will be urban, it will be soulful, and it will be a stark contrast to the music you heard for the first two prior series. We are in Harlem, so you want to feel like you are around that kind of culture. Harlem has a long, rich culture of music and we want to pay homage to that. We want to make sure that the artists that we use and the artists that we are emulating, the sound that we are using bring you into the feel that you're uptown and not necessarily in midtown. That's kind of one of the things that's going to make it unique."
When: September 6 on FX
Why we're excited: Donald Glover is a rare breed of entertainers who is equally convincing performing at Coachella as his emcee alter-ego, Childish Gambino, as he is vying for major Hollywood roles like Peter Parker in the Spider-Man reboot.
With career turns like joining writers’ room at 30 Rock and a turn as Troy Barnes on Community, his new FX project, Atlanta, seems to be a full-circle moment for Glover which combines autobiographical elements from his childhood and his love for hip-hop music.
Telling the story of a young father that is intent on latching onto the coattails of his drug dealer-slash-aspiring rapper cousin, Glover is aware that while it may seem like the show relies on preconceived notions about hip-hop music, he and his staff stayed away from anything cliche.
"Stereotypes come from somewhere," Glover told Fast Company. "People just don’t know people. I just tried to show a real person. With everybody on the show, it’s like, let’s make sure they’re real people. The second they don’t feel like real people, it feels more like a sitcom to people, which we didn’t want to do. I was like, I don’t want to make it a sitcom. I don’t want it to feel like what people think about when they say, 'sitcom.' Let’s make sure these characters feel like people and you’re surprised and interested when they make a decision based on their experiences. So, with Earn and Paper Boi and [Paper Boi's friend] Darius, I was like, let’s make sure that their friendship feels honest and then after that they can do whatever they need to do."
When: October 2 on HBO
Why we're excited: With Game of Thrones marching toward a definitive conclusion, HBO is in need of genre fare with a cultish fan base which will satiate viewers desires for the possibilities beyond this world.
Co-created by husband and wife team, Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy, Westworld - the sci-fi Western which updates Michael Crichton’s 1973 film of the same about the dangers of artificial intelligence - has attracted major Hollywood talent like Sir Anthony Hopkins, Ed Harris, Evan Rachel Wood, Thandie Newton and Jeffery Wright.
Crisis in Six Scenes
When: Friday, September 30 on Amazon Video
Why we're excited: Woody Allen's first ever foray into the television format since writing for Sid Caesar in the 1950s comes in the form of Crisis in Six Scenes, a six-episode half-hour comedy set in the 1960s that contains some familiar tropes in the auteur's arsenal; notably, New York City as backdrop and straight-laced, married couples who have their world turned upside down by a fiery newcomer.
Enter Miley Cyrus, as the aforementioned spark plug.
One can't help but be intrigued at the possibility of Cyrus playing a flower child and Woody Allen having complete autonomy.
When: October 13 on USA
Why we're excited: Two years ago, most if not all of USA's original content would be an afterthought. But after the emergence of Mr. Robot as one of the most unique and mind-bending shows on TV, any and all shows the network rolls out certainly have our attention.
Conceived by Blake Masters of the criminally underrated Showtime series, Brotherhood, and the late Henry Bromell of Homeland acclaim, Falling Water was conceived back in 2008 during the writer's strike but neither decided to move forward as they thought the idea was "so out there."
Described as a “metaphysical thriller,” the show follows three unrelated people who slowly realize they are dreaming separate parts of a single dream that may hold the key to humanity.
Following Bromell's untimely passing, Gale Anne Hurd from The Walking Dead came on board to help Masters clarify the vision.
"[It[ takes place in the dream world,” but “it’s grounded in the people,” Hurd says. “It’s not like we are going to a different world or saying aliens exist or zombies exist. This is something that is a part of the understanding of the power of dreams. We can change ourselves and we can potentially change the world by harnessing the power of our dreams.”
When: September 8 on FX
Why we're excited: When Pamela Adlon and Louis C.K. get together, they conjure up a brand of comedy that is distinctly unique to their partnership that is less slapstick and more about how the tragedies of life are ripe for the picking.
Having worked together both on Lucky Louie and Louie - in which Adlon was nominated for an Emmy for guest actress in a comedy series - Better Things sees the titular, red-haired comedian taking a backseat to his female counterpart who becomes the first woman to star as a female lead in an FX comedy.
Channeling themes we've seen Adlon explore in the past - including divorce, parenthood and loneliness, she says of the show, "I always knew that telling a story about girls at three different stages, developmentally, was very interesting to me.”
When: November 4 on Netflix
Why we're excited: With the success of Downton Abbey stateside, there is already clear evidence that American audiences enjoy getting a look at historical British society.
Trading the exploits of the Crawley family in favor of the most famous family on the planet - the House of Windsor - showrunner/creator, Peter Morgan, has said that they are "very nervous and very excited" about the series.
"I think they don’t like not having control, but they also understand that [a drama] dealing with this subject with respect is a rare thing."
Detailing the early years of Her Majesty’s reign - which focuses on Queen Elizabeth II as a 25-year-old newlywed - we also will get a glimpse at her unique relationship with Prime Minister, Sir Winston Churchill.
When: October 9 on HBO
Why we're excited: Created by Issa Rea who is best known for her 2015 The New York Times bestseller The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl and her hit YouTube series Awkward Black Girl, Rea has made the jump to HBO with Insecure.
Exploring the friendship, experiences and tribulations of two black women, it's HBO's first step at addressing claims that they have only been interested in spotlighting the stories of white, female protagonists like in the case of Sex and the City, Girls and Veep.
"We’re just trying to convey that people of color are relatable,” Rae said during a session promoting the series during the Television Critics Assn. press tour. “This is not a hood story. This is about regular people living life.”
Note: Minor spoilers follow.
Masters of Sex
When: September 11 on Showtime
Why we're excited: Much of what has made Masters of Sex so entertaining for three seasons is just how clueless the general public was as it related to human sexuality at the time, and the various triumphs and failures encountered by real-life partners, William Masters and Virginia Johnson.
The series began in the early 1950s and has since explored the sexual revolution associated with the free-spirit movement of the '60s.
Season 4 promises another transition as Masters and Johnson enter the disco-era not only as star-crossed lovers, but also as former partners after disintegration of their union due in large part to the harrowing third season finale last September.
When: September 23 on Amazon Video
Why we're excited: Season three of Transparent will focus on the theme of coming out of your shell, and will feature more flashbacks to Maura (Jeffrey Tambor) in 1958 to explore what it feels like to be a 12-year-old in the wrong body.
"Most people think of someone who has transitioned is as going from male to female, not as being assigned the wrong gender at birth," said writer Our Lady J, the first openly transgender person to be a writer for the TV series.
The Walking Dead
When: October 23 on AMC
Why we're excited: The last we saw of our group of survivors in The Walking Dead, they were watching in horror as Negan, played by Jeffrey Dean Morgan, arrived with a baseball-bat wrapped in barbed-wire — dubbed “Lucille” — and kills one of the key characters.
Of course, no one is quite sure who it is - and producers in the past have pulled a fast one on audiences - most notably when Glenn had seemingly been ripped to shreds during a supply run in season 6.
But if the comic books are to serve as the true basis of what happens, say goodbye to Glenn.
Someone on YouTube actually slowed the audio down and attempted to identify any pieces of dialogue amidst the screams. Many people think they can make out Glenn’s dying words from the comics: “Maggie!”
When: October 2 on Showtime
Why we're excited: The antics of the Gallagher family have been going on for six seasons now. While most shows promise redemption and evolution for their characters, there's something to the notion that things don't ever get better when faced with family issues which continue to plague the bloodline like addiction, delinquency and mental health.
Shameless season 7 continues to toe the line between comedy and drama thanks to killer performances from William H. Macy and his brood of misfits.
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