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Fall TV Preview 2017: Marvel Antiheroes, Serial Killers and ‘Stranger Things’

From ‘The Punisher’ to the return of ‘Curb,’ mutant superheroes to a brand new ‘Star Trek’ series – here’s what you’ll be watching this season

Remember when Fall was the time for new shows – when the Big Three networks, and the few upstarts that would challenge the trio’s decades-long reign, would gloriously unveil their new 10pm hour-long dramas and two-hour primetime sitcom blocks? Now, there are seemingly millions of outlets sprouting up every day and we get a glut of fresh series all year-round; a true-crime whodunnit to binge in the dead of winter, a can’t-miss anthology show popping up in the spring, an Eighties nostalgia-fest timed perfectly for the dog days of summer. Autumn still brings small-screen bounties as sure as the leaves will turn brown and crisp. But the notion that you had to wait until school started back up for the latest rounds of must-see shows and to discover future water cooler conversation-starters? Peak TV doesn’t adhere to your antiquated calendars, people. Peak TV is a 365-day phenomenon. 

But that doesn’t mean there isn’t a massive batch of new shows and new seasons of some returning favorites dropping in the next four months. Looking at what streaming services and cable channels and Ye Olde Networks have coming down the pike, a few things seem apparent: a) what’s old is still new again; b) you’re going to be watching a lot of Netflix (but you already knew that); and c) people still love antiheroes and superheroes, and if you can get both in one show, you’ll have to hire more folks to count your stacks of money. Here are 25 dramas, comedies, miniseries and big-name fan-favorites coming back for more this fall that we’re excited and/or curious about. Prep yourself for some serious couch time.

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‘SMILF’ (Nov. 5)

Showtime
Get ready to meet Frankie Shaw  – the writer, producer, director and star of this dramedy (based on her own 2015 short, which won an award at Sundance) about a young South Boston lady who likes nothing more than shooting hoops and sucking face with cute dudes. The fact that she’s raising a toddler on her own, however, throws a bit of a kink into her professional and personal plans. Even if the story was not semi-autobiographical, the series has a intimate, lived-in feel that suggests this show has not gone through the meat grinder of a joke-writing committee – and a raw, unfiltered sense of humor that suggests Shaw could be a major new voice in TV comedy. Plus Rosie O’Donnell plays her mom and Nashville‘s Connie Britton plays her boss. DF

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‘Alias Grace’ (Nov. 3)

Netflix
‘Tis now the season of Margaret Atwood adaptations – first Hulu’s Emmy-winning The Handmaid’s Tale, and now Netflix’s take on her bestseller about an Irish maid named Grace (Sarah Gadon) who works for a stern upper-class family in Canada. The household, however, seems to have surprisingly high mortality rate once the fair lass shows up – and though she’s convicted of murder, the servant does not remember a thing. Only a handsome doctor (handsome actor Edward Holcroft) can help her regain her memory of the events. Director Mary Harron knows a thing or two about bringing complex books to the screen, having done American Psycho; actor, filmmaker and Canadian national treasure Sarah Polley is producing and cowriting it. This sounds like just the period-piece true-crime thriller you were looking for. DF

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‘The Girlfriend Experience’ Season 2 (Nov. 5)

Starz
One of the best TV series of last year that almost no one saw, this premium-cable riff on Steven Soderbergh’s movie about a high-priced call girl gave us a chilly, cuts-to-the-bone critique of capitalism and definitively proved that Riley Keough is an outstanding actor. Now, for its follow-up season, co-creators Amy Seimetz and Lodge Kerrigan remind you that this was meant to be an anthology show by telling not one but two totally different, totally new stories set in what we’ll call the Girlfriendiverse. One revolves around a Washington, D.C. power player (Anna Friel) and involves Beltway blackmail, midterm elections and sex; the other follows a woman in New Mexico (Carmen Ejogo) and involves a sugar daddy, domestic strife and sex. We’re sensing a pattern here. DF

future man fall tv preview hulu

Erin Simkin/Hulu

‘Future Man’ (Nov. 14)

Hulu
They brought the seemingly unadaptable comic book Preacher to TV – with its warped vision more or less intact – now co-producers Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg hope to do for gamers what they did for conflicted, super-powered men of the cloth. The Hunger Games‘ Josh Hutcherson stars as a janitor named Josh Futturman, who spends his evenings racking up high scores and RPG prestige online. Then some mysterious time-traveling folks recruit him to take on a race of aliens who plan to invade our planet – quicker than you can say The Last Starfighter, our young man finds himself the only thing standing between our species and permanent cosmic slave-colony employment (or extinction). Given the premise, we assume there will be thrills, spills and chills. Given that Rogen and Goldberg are helming this, we also assume there will be dick jokes. DF

fall tv preview marvels runaways

Paul Sarkis/Hulu

‘Marvel’s Runaways’ (Nov. 21)

Hulu
How many times have you said, “Well, I like Marvel comic book shows, but I wish they were more like Gossip Girl and The O.C.?” This Hulu show was made for you. Producers Josh Schwartz and Stephanie Savage are calling the shots behind this stab at Brian K. Vaughn and Adrian Alphona’s popular Y.A. comic about a group of teens taking on on a powerful cult bent on world domination – worse, their moms and dads are card-carrying members! “Every teenager thinks their parents are evil,” Schwartz told critics at TCA in July. “What if they actually were?” Cue Trump’s America metaphor … now. DF

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‘She’s Gotta Have It’ (Nov. 23)

Netflix
Has it really been three decades and some change since Spike Lee’s scrappy black-and-white indie about an independent woman broke the director into the big-time? The idea of the director revisiting Nola Darling in the age of Insecure, identity-political movements and a certain insanely bigoted leader is like catnip for fans – especially since Lee is directing all 10 episodes of this Netflix redo. DeWanda Wise is this generation’s Nola; Hamilton nerds should note that no less than Anthony Ramos is stepping into Lee’s Nikes to play the one-and-only Mars Blackmon. We gotta have this. DF

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‘Wormwood’ (Dec. 15)

Netflix
In 1953, C.I.A. agent Frank Olson jumped out of a hotel window, high on LSD. Some say that, having been under the influence of a drug that caused him to freak out, he took his own life. Others say that the Agency may have had him murdered and then covered it up for decades. If this sounds to you like great fodder for an Errol Morris doc – ding ding ding! The veteran filmmaker combines archival footage, dramatic re-enactments starring Peter Sarsgaard as Frank, a murder mystery, investigative reporting, so what-if speculation and oh-so-much more. “My sale’s pitch to Netflix was ‘I’m going to create the cinematic version of the everything bagel,'” Morris told Variety. “Except no raisins. I think raisins are wrong.”

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