This fall is jam-packed with new options. In order to help viewers make up their minds, we’re naming the shows we’re most looking forward to.
There are remakes like Fox’s “Lethal Weapon” and “The Exorcist.” There are spins on what worked last year, such as true-crime docuseries like CBS’s “The Case of: JonBenét Ramsey.” Or quirky niche comedy like FX’s “Atlanta.”
We’ve watched all the premiere episodes made available to press or we’ve seen the trailers. In some cases, we’ve even spoken to the people behind the shows. There were some shows that we had dismissed in theory, but then they ended up pleasantly surprising us.
Here are the 20 best new TV shows this fall based on what we’ve seen:
“Loosely Exactly Nicole” (MTV), Mondays at 10:30 p.m.
Writer and stand-up comedian Nicole Byer has a really infectious energy in this sitcom loosely based on her own life. She’s an overweight black woman trying to make it in Hollywood, and Byer doesn’t mind pushing the envelope of taste.
“Atlanta” (FX), Tuesdays at 10 p.m.
- Guy D’Alema/FX
Donald Glover delivers in his return to series television after bailing on NBC’s “Community.” The good thing is “Atlanta” is worth every bit of the three-year wait viewers endured before it finally debuted. This semi-autobiographical take on Glover’s hometown follows his character Earn as he teams up with his rapper cousin to make something of themselves. It’s both deeply intimate and hilarious.
“One Mississippi” (Amazon), Streaming now
- Amazon Studios
Absolutely no one has had worse health luck than comedian Tig Notaro. Somehow she rolls all that suffering, then adds the death of her mother, into a fully unique take on life and family on “One Mississippi.” The series marries grief with humor, and Notaro’s incredibly relaxed voice leaves viewers with new tools in dealing with life’s messiness.
“Fleabag” (Amazon), Friday, September 16
Written by and starring Phoebe Waller-Bridge, “Fleabag” follows her character as she struggles with what she really wants and what she knows is expected of her. “Fleabag” is a fun romp inside the mind of a naughty woman knocking up against London society.
“The Case of: JonBenét Ramsey” (CBS), Sunday, September 18 at 8:30 p.m.
With the 20th anniversary of six-year-old JonBenét Ramsey’s murder approaching this Christmas and “Making a Murderer” proving there’s a thirst for true-crime television, there are at least four TV programs based on the famous cold case planned by CBS, A&E, Discovery, and Lifetime.
The first entry arrives with CBS’s two-part, four-hour series that brings together former investigators on the murder case to re-examine the evidence with fresh eyes and new technology.
“The Good Place” (NBC), Monday, September 19 at 10 p.m.
- Justin Lubin/NBC
NBC is digging itself out of its comedy coma with “The Good Place.” Starring “Cheers” icon Ted Danson and “Veronica Mars” star Kristen Bell, this comedy feels light, colorful, and new. Bell plays a woman who dies and mistakenly gets placed in a land full of goodie-goodies designed by Danson’s character. She’ll need to curb her selfish ways if she doesn’t want to end up being found out and sent to the bad place.
“Lethal Weapon” (Fox), Wednesday, September 21 at 8 p.m.
- Richard Foreman/FOX
Remakes? Eh. Go ahead and watch “Lethal Weapon” with a healthy amount of doubt that it will be any good. We did. And like us, you will probably come out impressed.
Fox’s “Lethal Weapon” reboot works. Damon Wayans plays the Danny Glover character with a good level of control. And Clayne Crawford breathes new energy into the Mel Gibson role that feels all his own. Add to that a healthy number of expensive action sequences and this remake is really convincing.
“The Exorcist” (Fox), Friday, September 23 at 9 p.m.
- Chuck Hodes/FOX
Here’s another remake that greatly surprised me. It’s well-written, well-acted, and it doesn’t appear like Fox skimped on the budget. It feels like there’s enough distance in time and place that you don’t find yourself comparing it to the movies.
Plus, Geena Davis stars as a mom who fears there’s more going on with her moody, traumatized college-aged daughter than simple depression and reaches out to the local priest. At the same time, another priest is haunted by demons.
Oh, and it’s pretty scary.
“Son of Zorn” (Fox), Sunday, September 25 at 8:30 p.m.
There’s enough in the premiere episode of Fox’s live action/animation hybrid series “Son of Zorn” to seduce us into returning for the second episode. That’s not to say that the pilot for this show doesn’t have its problems, but there are also some really genius moments.
Jason Sudeikis voices Zorn, an animated warrior who leaves his war-torn animated world and returns to Orange County, California, in order to get closer with his teen son. If it can button up some of the writing issues, this show could become pretty fun.
“Luke Cage” (Netflix), Friday, September 30
- Myles Aronowitz/Netflix
We haven’t yet been disappointed by Netflix’s line of Marvel shows. And after it introduced Luke Cage on “Jessica Jones,” we’re excited to learn more about what makes him tick.
“Crisis in Six Scenes” (Amazon), Friday, September 30
Woody Allen’s TV directorial debut is set in the 1960s and stars Miley Cyrus as a Communist flower child who causes a shakeup in a conservative suburban household. Isn’t that enough to be excited about?
“Divorce” (HBO), Sunday, October 9 at 10 p.m.
- Craig Blankenhorn/HBO
Those of us who were addicted to “Sex and the City” have to prepare ourselves for Sarah Jessica Parker’s return to HBO on “Divorce.” Clearly from the name of the new comedy, Parker plays a woman in a very different relationship stage. But with divorce rates as high as they are, many viewers will once again relate to the trials and tribulations of a woman who’s trying to be single and fabulous again.
“Insecure” (HBO), Sunday, October 9 at 10:30 p.m.
Issa Rae brings the spirit of her hit YouTube series, “Awkward Black Girl,” to HBO’s “Insecure.” Co-created by Larry Wilmore, the comedy explores what it’s like to lack confidence in a world where you’re expected to be a strong, black woman. The results are pretty insightful and very funny.
“Falling Water” (USA Network), Thursday, October 13 at 10 p.m.
- USA Network
“Falling Water” comes from the executive producers behind “Homeland” and “The Walking Dead.” It sort of treads into the trippy style of “Mr. Robot” visually and in the way that the story unfolds in surprising ways. It follows three people who are all searching for something personally, but also seem to be sharing parts of the same dream.
“Chance” (Hulu), Wednesday, October 19
“House” star Hugh Laurie returns to TV with this dark drama. This time, Laurie plays a psychiatrist who quickly becomes way too involved in the life of a patient, a beautiful, battered woman with multiple personalities.
“The Great Indoors” (CBS), Thursday, October 27 at 8:30 p.m.
- Cliff Lipson/CBS
“Community” star Joel McHale lends his charisma to this comedy about an old-school outdoors adventurer/reporter who is placed in charge of a website after the print edition folds. It’s a pretty funny take on the clash between traditional and digital journalism. The show has gotten some flak for its portrayal of millennials, which we like to call fun.
“The Crown” (Netflix), Friday, November 5
For fans of the British royals, “The Crown” will be a delight. It casts Claire Foy as a young Queen Elizabeth and explores some of the early romances and challenges she faced as a green queen. Reportedly, its $150 million price tag makes it one of Netflix’s most expensive shows to date.
“Gilmore Girls: A Year in the life” (Netflix), Friday, November 25
- The WB/CW
After handing the reins over ahead of its final season on network TV, creator Amy Sherman-Palladino gets to pick the show up 10 years later and deliver the ending she intended in the Netflix continuation. The gang’s all back and fans can grab a coffee and enjoy revisiting the magical town of Stars Hollow once more.
“Westworld” (HBO), Sunday, October 2 at 9 p.m.
Inspired by the 1973 Michael Crichton film “Westworld,” HBO’s star-studded series has been described with a lot of mysterious phrases. It seems to be about some kind of amusement park where the attendants set the rules – as clean or as dirty as they want them – or at least they think they do. At the very least, it looks enticing and the cast includes some major players: Anthony Hopkins, Ed Harris, Evan Rachel Wood, James Marsden, and Thandie Newton, among others.
“Dirk Gentlys Holistic Detective Agency” (BBC America)
- BBC America
This mystery series follows “holistic” time-traveling detective Dirk Gently (Samuel Barnett) and Elijah Wood as his reluctant sidekick. The whole premise is that everything is connected and it looks just wacky. We can’t wait.