10 Best TV Shows to See in September: Porn, Biggie and New 'Star Trek'

From HBO's look back at the Seventies' skin-flick industry to a bold new 'Trek' – your gotta-see TV guide for the next month

From HBO's prestige-TV porn series 'The Deuce' to new 'Broad City' episodes and a bold new 'Star Trek' – the 10 best TV shows to watch in September. Credit: Paul Schiraldi/HBO

Goodbye, Summer TV; hello, what was once the prime TV season for new shows and is now just a Peak TV free-for-all. Broad City The Good Place are, thankfully, back; meanwhile, HBO goes all in on a drama about the Seventies porn renaissance, AHS takes on the 2016 election and a new Star Trek boldly goes where several of its predecessors have gone before. Here’s what you need to tune in to this month.


American Horror Story: Cult (FX, Sep. 5th)
Per usual, Ryan Murphy's managed to keep a lid on the major details surrounding the latest season of his blockbuster horror anthology. Here's what we know at present: The season begins on Election Night 2016, with a bleeding-heart liberal (Sarah Paulson) and a feral alt-right type (Evan Peters) each reacting to the news in their own way. The rest of the show has something to do with murderous clowns, colonies of bees and Lena Dunham as radical feminist icon and would-be Andy Warhol assassin Valerie Solanas. (Other fresh additions to the cast include Billy Eichner, Alison Pill and Billie Lourd.) The Murphy approach has always been to toss a handful of horrifying motifs into a blender and hit puree; "bees and clowns" is, frankly, as good a starting point as any.

Biggie: The Life of Notorious B.I.G. (A&E, September 4th)
Tupac got a biopic this past summer; now the Notorious B.I.G. gets his turn again in the spotlight. This three-hour documentary on the King of East Coast hip-hop circa 1995 charts his rise, his beefs and his murder, as well as featuring never-before-seen material from his private studio sessions and intimate interviews with friends, family, collaborators and superfans. Gimme the loot, A&E!

Broad City, Season 4 (Comedy Central, Sep 13th)
Four and three and two and one-one: Abbi and Ilana return for their first episodes set in Trump’s America, though the duo have assured us that He Who Shall Not Be Named shall literally have his name bleeped out this season. Misadventures for the new season include a sojourn down to the humid no-man’s-land of Florida, an acid trip that launches our girls into a surreal cartoon and a charged visit to Planned Parenthood. Plus the guest stars are out in droves – Shania Twain, RuPaul, Steve Buscemi and Wanda Sykes are all expected to drop by.


The Deuce (HBO, Sep. 10th)
From the streets of Baltimore and New Orleans, The Wire and Treme co-creator David Simon moves north – specifically, the neon-lit shithole that was Seventies Manhattan, when sex-for-pay was a reliable hustle and the porn-flick industry was getting ready for its renaissance period. This series takes an all-angles look at the booming business of skin, from snake-charmer pimps to hardy working girls like Maggie Gyllenhaal's streetwalker with moviemaking ambitions. Plus, because he's playing twins, you get two mustachioed James Francos for the price of one! It's smart, gorgeous and teeming with messy, fascinating life.

The Good Place, Season 2 (NBC, September 20th)
This extraordinary new sitcom wrapped up its freshman run with a major twist: "Good Place" resident Eleanor (Kristen Bell, a treat every week) thought that she'd been assigned to the wrong life-after-death locale – and it turned out she had been, shall we say, in a more Southern region all along. In the season finale, she realized all this ... right before her memory got wiped and she was sent back to square one. Conceptually dense as ever, this show changed its mission from hiding in heaven to seeing through hell; so long as Ted Danson's dandy afterlife administrator/architect is along for the ride, we're there.

Law and Order True Crime: The Menendez Murders (NBC, Sep. 26th)
Piggybacking on the success of last year's American Crime Story, this true-crime miniseries covers all the lies, betrayal and pastel polo shirts of the Erik and Lyle Menendez trial. In 1989, the college-aged Angelenos shotgunned their mother and father to death to get at their money, and spent the following months living like amoral princes. The 1994 trial was a media spectacle of the highest order – vengeful mistresses, double-crossings, phony confessions of sexual abuse courtesy of defense attorney Leslie Abramson (Edie Falco). If combining nostalgia for the mid-Nineties with the perverse fascination of high-profile murder cases worked last year, who's to say NBC can't get in on the action?

Nathan For You: A Celebration (Comedy Central, Sep. 21st)
The new season of this bizarre, stupefyingly high-concept comedy about one awkward man's mission to revamp struggling businesses won’t begin in earnest until the 28th. But first, Nathan Fielder will treat his fans to this special in which he revisits various beneficiaries (read: victims) of his innovative strategies. Did those kids with all the liquor store I.O.U. notes come back to collect when they turned 21? Did anyone ever face legal comeuppance over the whole "Dumb Starbucks" hullabaloo? And, of course, the real question: Will this finally be the half-hour that gets Fielder run out of town by an angry torch-and-pitchfork mob of small business owners?

Star Trek: Discovery (CBS All Access, Sep. 24th)
You think you know Star Trek? Think again! This latest iteration of the immortal sci-fi franchise draws heavily from past shows' legacy (CBS has proudly touted a cast keeping with the original's multicultural makeup) and puts a new emphasis on season-long storytelling, as opposed to the week-by-week serialization. The Klingons have been conglomerating power, entering a long cold war with the peacekeeping United Federation of Planets. Sonnequa Martin-Green stars as first officer Michael Burnham, the galaxy's last hope for harmonious coexistence in this handsomely-budgeted gift for dyed-in-the-wool Trekkies.

Top of the Lake: China Girl (Sundance, Sep. 10th)
Once again, trouble's brewing Down Under, as a suitcase washes up on a Sydney beach with a sex worker's corpse crammed inside. As sexual-assault detective Robin Griffin (Elisabeth Moss, crushing it this year) gets to the bottom of the lurid, violent mystery, she uncovers a larger web of distinctly male criminal activity. But how does this all connect to her long-lost biological daughter, and the girl's intense, combative adoptive mother (Nicole Kidman)? Creators Jane Campion and Gerard Lee continue to tromp even further into the darkness that lies within the hearts of men with this long-awaited second installment.

The Vietnam War (PBS, Sep. 17th)
Pre-eminent documentarian-historians Ken Burns and Lynn Novick (The Civil War) go deep into the chaos, confusion, and failure of the American occupation of Vietnam. From the complicated geopolitical factors that conspired to create the quagmire to the follies of decision-making in LBJ and Nixon's administrations, the duo traces the full scope of a conflict that defined an era of social upheaval in the United States. Expect a decidedly more downbeat time than their treatises on jazz or baseball.