(Photo by FX)
Fall TV is upon us, and there is so much coming your way this month! Check out 13 shows you should catch up on over the long Labor Day weekend and beyond.
Why you should watch it: To get ready for the next chapter in the Sons of Anarchy saga. There’s a lot riding on Mayans M.C. — and there’s a lot to look forward to when it premieres September 4. The new series follows Ezekiel “EZ” Reyes (JD Pardo), who’s newly released from prison and now a new prospect in the titular biker gang. Fans of Sons of Anarchy know well enough what’s in store for them with this much-anticipated spin-off: a character-driven, tightly woven, violent (at times even grisly) drama. The new series also stars Edward James Olmos, Clayton Cardenas, and Sarah Bolger.
Commitment: Approx. 66 hours
Why you should watch it: You don’t become one of the longest-running live-action comedies of all time by sitting on your laurels and getting lazy about the laughs. It’s Always Sunny lays them on thick and fearlessly week to week for 12-going-on-13 seasons strong. That’s a lot to binge — so get to it! Season 13 premieres September 5.
Commitment: Approx. 50 hours
Why you should watch it: While Iron Fist was admittedly not as well received as its Marvel-on-Netflix counterparts, if you’re a fan of the universe, it’s definitely worth tuning in to orient yourself in the world of Marvel’s The Defenders, which also includes Daredevil (Charlie Cox), Jessica Jones (Krysten Ritter), and Luke Cage (Mike Colter), who also recently had a second season in which Danny Rand appears. We recommend at least binging Iron Fist season 1 and The Defenders before the former’s September 7 season 2 premiere. Here’s hoping Danny Rand’s new solo outing learned from its missteps the first round.
Commitment: Approx. 48 hours for the three seasons
Why you should watch it: By transporting us to a gritty world of sex, drugs, and an American Dream that’s foreign to most audiences today, The Deuce further proves Simon’s talent for creating series that are absolutely singular and authentic. Plus with talent like Gyllenhaal and Franco attached, it certainly ranks within prestige TV’s must-watch club. Season 2 premieres September 9.
Commitment: Approx. 8.5 hours
Why you should watch it: It’s tricky to strike the balance between broad comedy and aching drama, but it’s a skill that Shameless has perfected since its 2011 debut. Credit where it’s due: Rossum is an absolutely fearless knockout who bests herself season to season. (Soak up this performance while you can — Rossum recently indicated on Facebook that this season might be her last.) It’s an excellent ensemble, and you can’t help but love the Gallagher family (even when they don’t make it easy), but watching the actress and Oscar-nominee Macy go toe-to-toe as the central headstrong daughter and father just gets better with age. Season 9 premieres Sept. 9.
Commitment: Approx. 89 hours
Why you should watch it: Now going for eight seasons strong and a favorite of critics and audiences alike, this anthological series never ceases to spook. And with returning favorites like Jessica Lange (who won two Emmys for her work on previous seasons) and Ryan Murphy mainstay Sarah Paulson, among many others (Kathy Bates, Evan Peters, and Emma Roberts), Apocalypse is shaping up to be its best outing yet.
Commitment: Approx. 70 hours
Why you should watch it: It’s not often that an alcoholic horse and a fictionalized Hollywood full of as many flawed humans as talking animals teaches you about yourself, but this one does — trust us! While it’s an acquired taste for any viewer, there’s reason BoJack’s blend of pitch-black humor and weighty human circumstance has gained such a cult following over the last four seasons. Catch up before season 5 premieres September 15.
Where to watch it: Netflix
Commitment: Approx. 24 hours
Why you should watch it: There’s no doubt that television has been attracting some top-tier talent to the small screen over the last few years, and a series like 9-1-1 — with an ensemble including Angela Bassett, Connie Britton, and Peter Krause paired with a producer like Ryan Murphy — is that trend seen at its very best. Fun, over-the-top escapism abounds in this drama series, but never at the expense of its heart.
Commitment: Approx. 7 hours
Why you should watch it: Young Sheldon provides something that we haven’t seen before: a reinterpretation of a beloved multi-camera sitcom character as a single-camera, family-friendly, and heartwarming dramedy. Better yet, because this is a prologue series to Jim Parson’s Sheldon, our protagonist’s mother, Mary, is played by Zoe Perry, the real-life daughter of Laurie Metcalf, who stars as the same character on The Big Bang Theory! It’s a small-screen first. Season 2 premieres September 24.
Commitment: Approx. 8 hours
Why you should watch it: Will we ever live in a world where there’s too much Marvel? So long as the universe’s crop of series are of the caliber of The Gifted, we’re inclined to say no. Just like the very best releases from the X-Men franchise, this series is heavy on the action, while also packing an emotional punch — and it even delves into political territory, dramatizing prejudices against the “other,” anti-establishment activist movements, extremists groups, and more. Season 2 premieres September 25.
Commitment: Approx. 9.5 hours
Why you should watch it: There’s something inherently appealing about a marriage of the fish-out-of-water and opposites-attract formulas, and the effort holds up for this latest small-screen reboot. With Scott added to the mix, we’re in for even more fun this season. Catch up before season 3 premieres September 25.
Commitment: Approx. 30 hours
Why you should watch it: Nothing short of a phenomenon upon its premiere in 2015, Empire is classic Lee Daniels: engrossingly soapy, slightly camp, meticulously performed, and endlessly entertaining. Taraji P. Henson does some of the best work of her career as the scene-stealing and wig-snatching Cookie Lyon. She alone is worth the watch, but it helps that she has an excellent ensemble at her back, led by Howard who acts as the very best foil to her scheming. Season 5 premieres September 26.
Commitment: Approx. 48 hours
Why you should watch it: The Good Place is certainly among the best network comedies of recent memory. An always-charming Bell and TV royalty Danson play off of each other in a way that — what the fork!? — simply works. We can’t wait to see the good places they take us come season 3’s September 27 premiere.
Commitment: Approx. 9 hours
It’s the most wonderful time of the year! Dark skies by 4:00 p.m., temperatures below 30 degrees, and — best of all — crazed shoppers at every turn. Fortunately, there is no shortage of quality television to watch over the holidays, so to go with your December shopping list, Rotten Tomatoes has prepared your December bingeing list — a mix of new shows, returning shows, and what’s fresh on DVD and Blu-ray — some naughty, some nice!
What it is: The most recent addition to the Marvel Cinematic Universe is Jessica Jones, about a broken superhero (Krysten Ritter) who runs her own P.I. business. Battling PTSD, our anti-hero finds herself struggling to defeat Kilgrave (David Tennant), a super-villain who has inflicted unconscionable harm upon countless innocents.
Why you should watch it: Marvel’s Jessica Jones is a dark, psychologically complex, and thoughtful meditation on what it means to be a hero. It is also engrossing, action-packed, compassionate, and visceral. Jones is binge-worthy for a number of reasons, but what elevates this well-executed comic adaptation is having a powerful female centered alliance at its core.
Where to watch: Netflix
Commitment: About 11 hours.
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 day or two it takes to binge-watch it.
Where to watch: The complete first season is streaming on Amazon Prime now, with season two scheduled to drop on Dec. 11.
Commitment: 10 hours for both seasons.
What it is: A prequel to the AMC hit The Walking Dead, Fear the Walking Dead begins in Los Angeles at the dawn of the zombie outbreak as the government employs survival tactics that fuel the apocalyptic fire.
Why you should watch it: Even though fans know what’s coming, somehow the prequel is even scarier than The Walking Dead. All of the shortcomings of the human race — fear, abuse of power, false trust — become factors in the death of society, as one already-dysfunctional family must stick together to survive. It’s not just zombies they must battle, though, but also the failing system that was designed to protect them.
Commitment: Five hours.
What it is: A group of five slacker friends — known collectively as “The Gang” — run an Irish pub in South Philadelphia and get into all sorts of predicaments because they lack both common sense and social graces.
Why you should watch it: Sunny isn’t a sitcom for everyone; its characters are self-centered, misanthropic, and frequently obnoxious. That said, their resilience in the face of countless defeats is strangely endearing, and their adventures are so outrageous and hilarious that it’s almost therapeutic to watch them scramble through each half hour. With season 11 set to premiere in early January, now’s the perfect time to catch up with the Gang’s insane antics.
Where to watch: The first nine seasons are available to stream on subscription services Amazon Prime, Hulu, and Netflix, and you can rent or purchase episodes from all 10 seasons on Google Play, iTunes, PlayStation Video, Vudu, and Xbox Video.
Commitment:About 42 hours.
What it is: This BBC drama follows a brilliant Detective Chief Inspector (Idris Elba) who finds it difficult to strike a work-life balance as he struggles to toe the line between genius and madness.
Why you should watch it: Elba won a Golden Globe for his performance as DCI Luther, a sexy cross between Sherlock Holmes and Columbo, in this gritty character study that adds a new dimension to the cop show genre. Plus, fans of The Affair will enjoy Ruth Wilson in her role as the seductive serial killer Alice Morgan. Catch up in time for season four, which starts on Dec. 17.
Commitment: 16 hours.
What it is: Based on Blair Tindal’s tell-all book, Mozart in the Jungle: Sex, Drugs, and Classical Music, this lighthearted comedy from Amazon Studios shows the inner workings of the contemporary fictitious New York Symphony, led by a young upstart conductor (Gael García Bernal).
Why you should watch it: What makes Roman Coppola’s adaptation of Mozart such a spritely binge is the commanding and hilarious performance by Bernal as Rodrigo (based on the Los Angeles Philharmonic conductor Gustavo Dudamel), along with memorable turns by Bernadette Peters as the elegant Symphony manager, Lola Kirke as the oboe-playing ingénue, and Malcolm McDowell as the ousted old-guard maestro.
Where to watch: Season one is currently streaming on Amazon Prime. Season two premieres Dec. 30.
Commitment: Five hours.
What it is: Criminal profiler Will Graham (Hugh Dancy) assists the FBI in apprehending serial killers, but as the job begins to eat away at his mental health, he starts meeting with therapist Dr. Hannibal Lecter (Mads Mikkelsen), a cannibal who murders rude people and serves them at fancy dinner parties.
Why you should watch it: The third (and likely final) season of the critically acclaimed show comes to Blu-ray December 8. There really isn’t anything quite like Hannibal; it’s a crime procedural and a psychological thriller, filled with horror and just the right dash of romance and comedy.
Commitment: 27.5 hours.
What it is: Based on the award-winning BBC series of the same name, Showtime’s hit dramedy stars Oscar winner William H. Macy and tells the story of the scrappy Gallagher kids as they struggle to keep body and soul together despite the constant burden of a dysfunctional alcoholic father.
Why you should watch it: Shameless features a great cast, including a stellar Emmy-award winning performance by the ever-adorable Joan Cusack. Holidays have always been a time for dysfunctional family fun, and nobody does it better than the Gallaghers. Shameless comes back for a sixth season on Jan. 10 so now is the perfect time to binge.
Commitment: 60 hours.
What it is: In this western-sci-fi mash-up, humans, aliens, and hybrids all fight for their rights and acceptance, while a human lawkeeper bonds with his adopted Votan (alien) daughter in 2046 Defiance (formerly St. Louis, MO).
Why you should watch it: Defiance’s backstory is wonderfully complex and reads like a lesson in mythology. The humor is addictive and the scenery and creature designs are breathtaking. The show’s inter-species tension is a clear commentary on cultural struggles, but not presented as a lecture on contemporary acceptance. Rather, it throws intense action, soapy character interaction, and some sexy stuff at you. And Grant Bowler (Nolan) is still one hot leading man.
Commitment: 26 hours.
What it is: The residents and domestic staff of a grand English country estate deal with household intrigue and societal upheaval in the first decades of the 20th Century.
Why you should watch it: With its lavish setting and British accents, this might look like your typical PBS prestige show at first glance. But Downton Abbey gives equal dramatic weight to the household staff and the Crawley family. Indeed, what makes the show so compulsively watchable is its richly nuanced characters, each of whom are bound by societal conventions but occasionally finds a way to expand their limits.
Commitment: 43 hours.