Summer is officially over, and the next couple of months are typically reserved for, shall we say, less interesting fare on the big screen. With that in mind, you might find yourself increasingly inclined to stay home and catch up on some TV ahead of all the premieres. Here are six shows that might do the trick for you.
What it is: Jeffrey Tambor plays a father who wants to live his life as a woman and needs to tell his adult children.
Why you should watch it: Tambor’s turn as Maura is award-worthy, but what is most surprising is how it’s just one facet of this family dramedy. All the members of the Pfefferman clan are struggling with their own demons and each storyline is full and fascinating to follow. It’s a study of faith, family, and dysfunction that is well worth the time it’ll take you to binge-watch it. The third season premieres on Amazon on September 23, so you have some time to get caught up.
Commitment: About 9.5 hours
What it is: Annalise Keating (Viola Davis) is a criminal defense attorney and professor teaching law students how to defend the accused, while tangling them up in a real-life murder mystery of their own.
Why you should watch it: Viola Davis’ Emmy-nominated performance, mixed with the twisty drama stylings of Shondaland Productions (Scandal, Grey’s Anatomy) will deliver a barrage of riveting mystery right into your lap. A darker tone than Grey’s and Scandal, HTGAWM has surprised audiences with its unrelenting, austere tone, permeated with intense character drama. With the premiere of its third season coming up on September 22, you can get caught up if you burn through the first two seasons now.
Commitment: About 22 hours
What it is: This ensemble anthology series examines a different aspect of cinematic horror each season, ranging from insane asylums to cursed carnivals to haunted hotels.
Why you should watch it: Each season feels like creators Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk made a list of things you can’t show on network television for fear of sending ladies scrambling for their fainting couches, and then found a story to fit them. Beautifully shot, with fantastic production value in sets and costumes, and a talented cast to rival that of any other cable show, AHS feels like a modern continuation of Hammer horror films instead of just a cheap rip-off. We don’t know what the theme of season six — premiering on September 14 — will be, but since every season is a self-contained story, you can catch up on old episodes and watch the new ones at the same time!
Commitment: About 48 hours
What it is: In this Batman prequel set in the corruption of Gotham City, Detectives Jim Gordon (Benjamin McKenzie) and Harvey Bullock (Donal Logue) investigate the murder of Bruce Wayne’s parents, while running up against a number of villains from the Batman universe.
Why you should watch it: If the DC branding and Batman-as-a-kid angle isn’t enough to hook you immediately, we understand; it sounds a little gimmicky. But trust us: it’s an effective police procedural with solid acting that manages to work a little comic book fun into its storytelling, which makes for an eminently watchable near-hour of pulpy TV. The third season premieres on September 10, so it’ll be tough to catch up now, but if you’re a little behind, you’ve got some time before the first episode airs.
Commitment: About 32 hours
What it is: Surgical interns and residents at a Seattle hospital save lives and perform unconventional surgeries as they gossip and sleep their way to the top of the medical industry.
Why you should watch it: The huge ensemble cast is one of the most talented in recent years, and the show is excellent at transitioning smoothly from old characters to new ones. Grey’s tugs at the heart in virtually every episode, and it’s so fervidly charged that it might drain you of emotion by the time its hour is up, but showrunner Shonda Rhimes knows you can’t cry with someone unless you’ve also laughed with them, so the show’s not without a sense of humor. September 22 is the premiere of the show’s 13th season, so godspeed to you if you’re looking to get caught up from the beginning.
Commitment: About 196.5 hours (so get cracking!)
What it is: James Spader stars in this NBC drama about a high profile criminal who agrees to help the FBI track down other criminals in exchange for his freedom.
Why you should watch it: James Spader’s critically acclaimed performance as cop-to-criminal Raymond “Red” Reddington has been the central force behind The Blacklist. But over the last three seasons, audiences have found themselves gripped by the the relationship between Red and Officer Liz Keen (Megan Boone). The ensuing storyline has found the two in need of each other’s help, making for more intense thrills and intriguing character work.
Commitment: About 47 hours