This new Golden Age of television allows us to gorge on lavish dramatic renderings of everything from brothel workers to talking animals, drug dealers to intergalactic journeymen — all of which awaits you in this month’s binge guide.
Why you should watch it: Harlots is so much more than a show about sex — in fact, that subject is met with less titillation and more sterile professionalism. But what it lacks in sex appeal it makes up for with rich and complex characters — mostly women — and a backdrop that allows for explorations of gender and class in 18th century England. Morton and Manville (who was an Oscar nominee last year for Phantom Thread) get the chance to showcase just why they’re both widely considered British acting royalty.
Commitment: Approx. 6 hours
Why you should watch it: Suits came into the international spotlight this year thanks to one royal wedding and a co-star named Meghan Markle, but if that wasn’t reason enough for you to catch up on this USA Network affair, we’ve got a few more for you. The series works because it’s in on its own fun, and its high concept rags-to-riches premise rings true thanks to the chemistry of Adams and Macht. It’s a steep order to binge seven seasons, of course, but the show’s two charming leads along with their formidable supporting cast have kept us coming back for more.
Commitment: Approx. 82 hours
Why you should watch it: As riveting as it is eye-opening, this street crime series pulls no punches in its portrayal of the drug trade and its implications in both micro and macro spheres. Startling performances from its ensemble of relative newcomers also bring us into a world that until now has been left off narrative television — and they keep a hold on us there.
Commitment: Approx. 8.5 hours
Why you should watch it: Killjoys taps into a dramatic vein similar to Netflix’s sci-fi thriller Stranger Things in its self-aware, pure, escapist fun, but this Syfy series does it with a mere fraction of the budget. Thankfully, it boasts performances and rat-a-tat scripts that make it all come together seamlessly.
Commitment: Approx. 21.5 hours
Why you should watch it: Fugit is as fine an actor as Kirkman is a creator, but the real juice of Outcast comes from its ability to grapple with the supernatural and demonic possession — exorcisms galore — while also navigating the trials of humanity and the lurking evils and immoralities of the mortal world.
Commitment: Approx. 7.5 hours
Why you should watch it: Thanks to off-the-beaten-path critical darlings like Schitt’s Creek, Pop has become an aficionado’s destination for smart-but-silly narrative comedy. Similarly cheekily titled Swedish Dicks, whose play on fish-out-of-water detectives (a trope perhaps made most famous by The Pink Panther’s Inspector Clouseau), is fresh and off-kilter in all the right ways.
Commitment: Approx. 5 hours
Why you should watch it: Inspired by Piper Kerman’s (here Piper Chapman, played by Taylor Schilling) real-life account of her arrest and imprisonment for drug-related money laundering, this hour-long dramedy opens up to include the equally heartbreaking (and often humorous) biographies of fellow inmates played by Emmy winner Uzo Aduba, Emmy nominee Laverne Cox, Danielle Brooks, Natasha Lyonne, Samira Wiley, Lea DeLaria, and others. From season to season, Orange — revolutionary and acclaimed for its onscreen diversity — becomes more and more timely, tackling everything from trans rights to police brutality to Black Lives Matter.
Commitment: Approx. 54 hours
What it is: A midlife divorce turns into a series of midlife crises for Michaela Watkins’ Valerie and her bachelor brother, Alex (Tommy Dewey). Her sexually enlivened teenage daughter, Laura (Tara Lynne Barr), is forced along for the ride when she and Val move in with Alex. Its fourth and final season premieres July 31.
Why you should watch it: This warm, naturalistic Hulu dramedy from executive producer Jason Reitman quietly hits all the right notes while bringing life’s charming awkwardness and prevailing insecurities to the streaming screen.
Commitment: Approx. 16 hours
What it is: A homicide mystery series that asks whydunit instead of who, The Sinner on USA is based on Petra Hammesfahr’s novel of the same name and reveals from the start that it was Cora Tannetti who murdered Frankie Belmont while at at the beach with her family. It’s Detective Harry Ambrose’s job to find out why. Season 2 premieres Aug. 1.
Why you should watch it: The No. 1 new cable series of 2017 returns in August with a by-popular-demand second season (it was originally intended to be a standalone miniseries), so that may be reason enough to tune into The Sinner. But it helps that it’s a great series, too. Featuring a career-best, Golden Globe-nominated performance from Jessica Biel as Cora and veteran actor Bill Pullman as Det. Ambrose, it’s a thrillingly complex hour of television. Biel won’t be returning for season 2 (she’s still on as executive producer), so catch her while you can with a season 1 binge.
Commitment: Approx. 6 hours
What it is: Have you heard of the HBO comedy series that features the talents of everyone from RuPaul to Jenny Slate to Molly Shannon to Jonah Hill? That might be because they’re just the voices behind this animated series from creators Mike Luciano and Phil Matarese that depicts the lives of animals around us as complex and beguiling.
Why you should watch it: You might never have thought it, but it turns out that animals of the world can be as neurotic, depressive, and self-deprecating as its people. They’re also hilarious. Acerbic, R-rated humor is what grabs your attention here (it is HBO, after all), but it is Animals.’ enormous amount of heart lining each of its frames that will grab you for a two-season binge. Season 3 premieres Aug. 3.
Commitment: Approx. 8.5 hours
This week, we’re taking a look back at the best TV Premieres so far this fall, including Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, The Grinder, Casual, Red Oaks, The Last Kingdom, Quantico, and Indian Summers (and also a bonus look at Supergirl). Check out the video to see where they rank, and how to get caught up on all of them!
Over 30 new shows debuted since the start of the fall TV season last month, but not all of them are Fresh — in fact, the majority of them did not fare so well with critics. And then there was Dr. Ken…
Now that we’re a month into the madness, we’ve compiled a list of the best-reviewed new TV shows of the fall, including where you can see every episode right now to get on track!
What Critics Think: Red Oaks offers an affectionate nod to 1980s sex comedies that — largely thanks to a talented ensemble cast — finds fresh humor in its familiar premise.
Airs: The entire first season is currently available on Amazon Prime.
Number of Episodes You’ve Missed: 10 episodes.
Where to Catch Up: Amazon Prime.
What It’s About: Priyanka Chopra is Alex Parrish, a recruit rigorously trained at the Quantico FBI base, who finds herself the top suspect in the worst terrorist attack on American soil since 9/11.
What Critics Think: Obvious copycatting aside, Quantico provides ludicrously entertaining thrills from a well-balanced cast.
Airs: Sundays on ABC at 10 p.m.
Number of Episodes You’ve Missed: Four
What It’s About: This miniseries from Masterpiece captures the twilight era of the British Empire and the friction between the English ruling class and their Indian subjects.
What Critics Think: Indian Summers gathers intrigue slowly but effectively, building into an addictive political thriller with exotic overtones.
Airs: Sundays on PBS at 9 p.m.
Number of Episodes You’ve Missed: Four episodes.
What Critics Think: The Grinder‘s humor is buoyed by Lowe and Savage’s chemistry as a hilarious new odd couple.
Airs: Tuesdays on Fox at 8:30 p.m.
Number of Episodes You’ve Missed: Four
What It’s About: Casual is a new Jason Reitman comedy about a bachelor (Tommy Dewey) whose sister (Michaela Watkins) moves in with him after divorcing her husband — and brings her teenage daughter (Tara Lynne Barr) along with her.
What Critics Think: Reitman’s Casual is a funny — albeit very specific — look at modern dating, sharpened by edgy dialogue and self-assured performances.
Airs: Wednesdays at 12:01 a.m. on Hulu
Number of Episodes You’ve Missed: Three episodes.
Where to Catch Up: Hulu
What It’s About: Based on The Saxon Stories by Bernard Cornwell, The Last Kingdom is set in the 9th century where Anglo-Saxon kingdoms of northern Europe face attacks by Viking forces.
What Critics Think: The Last Kingdom fuses beautiful cinematography and magnificent action sequences to create highly gratifying historical drama.
Airs: Saturdays on BBC America at 10 p.m.
Number of Episodes You’ve Missed: Two episodes.
What It’s About: Rachel Bloom stars as Rebecca Bunch in Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, a musical comedy about a young woman who moves across the country to be near her high school boyfriend from camp.
What Critics Think: Lively musical numbers and a refreshing, energetic lead make Crazy Ex-Girlfriend a charming, eccentric commentary on human relationships.
Airs: Mondays on The CW at 8 p.m.
Number of Episodes You’ve Missed: Two
What It’s About: Melissa Benoist is Kara Danvers, who, after 12 years of keeping her superpowers a secret, decides to finally embrace her true identity: Supergirl.
What Critics Think: Benoist shines as Superman’s plucky little cousin in Supergirl, a family-friendly comic-book adaptation that ditches cynicism for heart.
Airs: Mondays on CBS at 8:30 p.m.
Number of Episodes You’ve Missed: None
Where to Catch Up: Premieres Monday, October 26 at 8:30 p.m. and then moves to its regular time (8 p.m. to 9 p.m.) on Monday, November 2 on CBS.
It’s time for our weekly Fall Premieres TV Review Countdown. Here are the best premieres for the week of Friday, Oct. 9. See how this week’s Fresh shows Casual, The Last Kingdom, and Red Oaks stack up against each other on the Tomatometer!
Stay up to date on these scores and more with our Fall TV coverage!