While there’s “good TV” all-year round now— even summer isn’t just for shark weeks and failed first seasons anymore—fall still has highest binge-watching expectations with its insane amount of series debuts and season premieres.
But there’s only so much a human being can watch without, I don’t know, getting fired or going missing, you know? That’s why we surveyed the season’s TV landscape for you. (You’re welcome.) Here’s our comprehensive guide to what you should watch based on what you already love and hate, need and want, with something for every kind of binge-watcher.
1. The ‘90s Nostalgia Reboot That’s Worth a Shot: Charmed
Don’t believe the hype: Not all ‘90s reboots deserve an eyeroll, mmk? ICYMI: Charmed 2.0 is improving on the already cult-status original—the fun fantasy drama will still follow three sisters who discover they’re witches following their mother’s death—with a diverse cast (the sisters are played by Sarah Jeffery, Melonie Diaz and Madeleine Mantock) and by tackling real-life issues like immigration and sexual assault while staying true to its supernatural vibes. Did I mention Jane the Virgin showrunner Jennie Snyder Urman is in charge? Oh, and there’s an IRL Latinx witch on the writing staff. Seriously, do I need to keep going?
Charmed premieres on The CW October 14
2. The TV Show You Can Fall Asleep To — But Not Because It Isn’t Good or Anything: Salt Fat Acid Heat
The combination of Samin Nosrat’s voice, the sounds of, say, short ribs sizzling in a cast iron pan, and the picturesque shots of rural Italy (or any of the other gorgeous locations she travels to for the show) can be so soothing, you’ll want to make sure you’re watching Salt Fat Acid Heat in the most comfortable nook of your home. Netflix’s four-episode adaptation of Nosrat’s bestselling, James Beard Award-winning book of the same name, will most definitely make you dream about food while you snooze away, so don’t be surprised to wake up in a puddle of your own drool, followed by the immediate desire to make your own focaccia or book a one-way ticket to Italy, whichever is easier. Just remember to hit rewind when you wake up.
Salt Fat Acid Heat premieres on Netflix October 11
3. The Jennifer Garner-Starring Show You Need to Watch If You Love Jennifer Garner (Who Doesn’t?!): Camping
Lena Dunham and Jenni Konner have struck gold again with this HBO miniseries about a woman who organizes every possible detail her husband’s birthday celebration: a camping trip with friends who don’t actually seem to get along. Come for the pure joy that is watching Jennifer Garner act; stay for all the times her character shares a scene with the hilarious Juliette Lewis (which is often).
Camping premieres on HBO October 14
4. The Show for People Who Love a Good Grifter—or True Crime—Story: Dirty John
Tell me you read—or listened to—“Dirty John.” If not, cancel your plans, make some popcorn, and get ready to literally never trust a stranger again. Bravo’s scripted series based on the viral deadly con man story stars Connie Britton and Eric Bana with Desperate Housewives producer Alexandra Cunningham at the helm and will be the based-on-a-true-story crime drama of your dreams. Think Big Little Lies meets 20/20.
Dirty John premieres on Bravo in late fall
5. The One Highbrow Show You Need to Watch to Not Be Left Out of Office Convos: Maniac
A pharmaceutical trial brings together Annie Landsberg and Owen Milgrim, played by Emma Stone and Jonah Hill, respectively, in Cary Fukunaga’s new dark comedy based on the Norwegian series of the same name. What’s real? What’s the work of medicine administered by Dr. James K. Mantleray (Justin Theroux)? And as the trailer shows, why do Annie and Owen keep on finding their way back to each other? Oh, and what are Sally Field, Jemima Kirke, Sonoya Mizuno, and Gabriel Byrne doing there?
Maniac premieres on Netflix September 21
6. The Show That’s Scarier Than the News: American Horror Story: Apocalypse
Knowing evil genius/series creator Ryan Murphy and the last seven seasons of this horror anthology franchise, this apocalypse will be scarier than anything IRL. No, really—just try scrolling through the teaser trailers on the AHS Twitter feed without passing out. Apocalypse stars a Coven/Murder House crossover, all your faves (Sarah Paulson, Emma Roberts, Jessica Lange, Connie Britton, STEVIE NICKS), and a devil baby.
American Horror Story: Apocalypse premieres on FX September 12
7. The Drama About Grief That’s So Good You Won’t Believe It’s on Facebook Watch: Sorry for Your Loss
Spoiler: Sorry for Your Loss will break your heart. The story of Leigh (Elisabeth Olsen), who is coping with the death of her husband (Mamoudou Athie), the highly-bingeable (episodes are only a half-hour!) series bounces between the harsh present and happier flashbacks of their love story. There are moments of humor and levity; moments of too-real family drama, the kind that can only happen with people you’ve known your entire life, between Leigh and her mother (Janet McTeer) and sister (Kelly Marie Tran); and moments of sigh-worthy love. It’s an authentic depiction of grief—the way the smallest things remind you of someone, the anger at everything, the hollowness—that I promise won’t leave you bummed out.
Sorry For Your Loss premieres on Facebook Watch September 18
8. Your Fave that You Should Stick With: Riverdale
Yes, the Black Hood saga sucked the life out of season two, but things can only go up from here, right? For season three of Riverdale, The CW has promised notes of “pulp and noir,” the long overdue appearances of Jughead’s mom and sister, and a fun flashback episode about the parents.
Riverdale season three premieres on The CW October 10
9. The Show You Should Watch If You’re Sick Of—Or Really Love?—Riverdale: Chilling Adventures of Sabrina
Regardless of where you stand with Riverdale, the same creator has brought another Archie Comics character to life: Sabrina Spellman (Kiernan Shipka), the teen half-witch, half-mortal who lives a hop and a skip away in Greendale with her aunties Hilda (Lucy Davis), Zelda (Miranda Otto), and cousin Ambrose (Chance Perdomo). Since this is Netflix, expect more gore and the storyline to feel darker than TGIF-era Sabrina the Teenage Witch as Sabrina tries to juggle several pieces of her life, including boyfriend Harvey (Ross Lynch) and the demands of Father Blackwood (Richard Coyle), aka the High Priest of the Church of Night.
Chilling Adventures of Sabrina premieres on Netflix October 26
10. The Show That Will Leave You Tears: This Is Us
If the mere mention of Jack Pearson makes you weep, have a pack of tissues ready before embarking on the emotional rollercoaster that is season three, which will include more flashbacks of TV’s best dad in his pre-dad days—specifically, his Vietnam days. P.S. It’s a good thing This Is Us airs on Tuesdays and not, say, Thursdays, when that other show that makes you cry uncontrollably airs. (FYI: Grey’s Anatomy new season will be its first without April and Arizona, so good luck to all of us this fall.)
This Is Us season three premieres on NBC September 25
11. The 'I Just Want to Laugh’ Sitcom: I Feel Bad
Sometimes the classic comfort of a sitcom is exactly what you need—you can drop in at any time and still understand what’s happening, each episode will only take up a reasonable half-hour of your time, and you know there’ll always be happy ending—which is why you’ve been binge-watching old episodes of Parks and Recreation. Well, Amy Poehler executive produced a new comedy, I Feel Bad, just for you. I Feel Bad stars the effortlessly charming and funny Sarayu Rao as Emet, a relatable and imperfect wife, mom, and boss lady, who’s balancing the demands of her family (like her young daughter joining a twerking dance team), her job (and the loveably clueless bros at the video game studio where she works as an artist), and her insecurities (turning into her mom, for example). The best part: it’s a sitcom with a decidedly female POV that avoids tired clichés and laugh tracks to actually, you know, make you laugh.
I Feel Bad premieres on NBC October 4
12. The Prestige Drama You Stopped Watching But Need to Watch Again Because Robin Wright is Finally President: House of Cards
Yeah, yeah, I know. You stopped watching when that character you like died (RIP Meechum!), or when that weird memoirist started hanging around (he was cute tho), or, when you just couldn’t handle Kevin Spacey’s Foghorn Leghorn impersonation (or just Kevin Spacey) anymore. None of that matters now. Robin Wright is now the boss. Claire Underwood was always the better, low-key more terrifying half of that power couple—her violently relentless ambition to not just break glass ceilings but obliterate them, her humanity despite her viciousness, her fierce attitude —and now we’ll get to see her rightfully take her throne.
House of Cards final season premieres on Netflix November 2
13. The Show Starring a Refreshingly Realistic Love Story: Forever
There is a moment in the first episode of Forever that’s almost too real: June (Maya Rudolph), feeling so over her anniversary cabin-in-the-woods weekend away with her husband Oscar (Fred Armisen)—they go every year and do the same thing and eat the same dinner—suggests a skip trip instead. Sounds fun! Except it’s a disaster. The disappointed look on her face says it all: She loves him. They understand each other, care for each other, make each other laugh with that secret language couples share. But is that it? Is that as exciting as her life is going to get? Their world gets a lot less realistic from there—to say any more would be to spoil it—but this charming, surreal dark comedy is a welcome honest take on happily ever after.
Forever premieres on Amazon September 14
14. The Late-Night Talk Show That’ll Feel Like You’re Talking to Your BFF: Busy Tonight
If you’re always one of the first of Busy Philipps’ 1.1 million fans to watch her Instagram Stories—be it her latest LEKfit workout or yet another very relatable story that begins with “You guys”—you will 100 percent love her new talk show. And just like that, the world is a better place with more Busy content.
Busy Tonight premieres on E! October 28