Is that a whiff of fall TV we smell? We’ll all have to wait a bit longer for the full haul of the annual dump of new and returning series (which will of course look a bit different this year due to stalled production and development in light of COVID-19), but we are very happy to welcome these six returning series back to our small screens! Catch the details on what to binge during September 2020 below.
What it is: Now new to NBC streaming platform, Peacock, A.P. Bio charts the journey of a sad-sack, award-winning philosopher and disgraced Harvard professor who is forced to teach high schoolers the title subject to mixed results.
Why you should watch it: Grounded by It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia’s always-hilarious Glenn Howerton, A.P. Bio also packs the laughs (and heart) in thanks to its supporters played by industry vets like Patton Oswalt and Paula Pell and new-coming scene-stealers filling out his high school classroom. Season 3 premieres Sept. 3 on Peacock.
Commitment: Approx. 9 hours (for the first two seasons)
What it is: With the highly anticipated spinoff from showrunner Courtney Kemp hitting this month, a Power binge is in order. Omari Hardwick stars in the original series as New York City nightclub owner James “Ghost” St. Patrick, who doubles as a drug kingpin to an elite clientele.
Why you should watch it: We’ve written before of this series’ addictive brand of soapy melodrama, and we expect more of the glorious same this outing. The new series, Power Book II: Ghost picks up just days after the action of the series finale earlier this year, and Michael Rainey Jr. continues his star-making turn villain-turned-hero Tariq St. Patrick, who’s still living in the shadow of his father’s legacy. Co-starring Naturi Naughton, the new series also invites franchise newcomer Mary J. Blige to join in the fun, who we’re thrilled to see again after her 2017 double Oscar nomination. To better know the characters we’re dealing with in the spinoff, we recommend you watch all of Power beforehand. Power Book II: Ghost premieres Sept. 6.
Commitment: 52.5 hours (for all six seasons of Power)
What it is: What would happen if superheroes, instead of for good, used their powers for self-serving purposes, power, and greed? That’s the irreverent-but-relevant twist The Boys presented in its first season as things kicked off with the rise of a vigilante group that decides to put the “heroes” back in their place.
Why you should watch it: You know you’re in good hands with Seth Rogen and oft-creative collaborator Evan Goldberg. Pair them with sci-fi TV veteran Eric Kripke (Supernatural, Timeless, Revolution as co-creators, and The Boys was off to a roaring start upon its premiere last year. Its turning of well-worn comic book tropes on their head, all enacted by a stellar cast of veterans like Karl Urban and up-and-comers, that’ll keep you coming back for more. Season 2 premieres Sept. 4 on Amazon Prime Video.
Commitment: Approx. 8 hours (for the first season)
What it is: Even the sleekest of action-packed espionage thrillers have an air of cartoonish hyperbole to them, but FXX’s Archer does away with that suspension of disbelief by making the whole thing a cartoon to begin with. The half-hour comedy from creator Adam Reed can land a joke as deftly as its titular man-child spy can land a punch, so expect to be thrilled while laughing yourself silly.
Why you should watch it: Over 10 hit seasons, Archer has never shied away from genre experimentation. Season 8’s Dreamland and 9’s Danger Island were particularly high-concept highlights, with season 10 following suit with 1999, which sees Archer not as the ass-kicking spy of ISIS we know from earlier incarnations, but a futuristic explorer of space on the M/V Seamus alongside our longstanding favorite characters and the voice actors behind them. Season 11 marks the spies much-anticipated return to reality after he wakes up from his coma and does away with those bottle-themed seasons — and we can’t wait. Season 11 premieres Sept. 16 on FXX.
Commitment: Approx. 42 hours (for the first 10 seasons)
What it is: You’ve never seen a coming-of-age comedy like this. The premise is simple: Two best friends, Maya Ishii-Peters and Anna Kone, are new to middle school and learn a lot about their friendship, their bodies, their families, and the world they live in along the way — all to laugh-out-loud effect.
Why you should watch it: In talking about Pen15, everyone is always quick to mention how incredible the illusion of 30-something creators Maya Erskine and Anna Konkle playing tweens of the early aughts is, but it really is good enough to mention yet again! It’s not an physical illusion (these actors still very much look like grown women playing half their age), but their performances (both comic and emotive) and the world-building of sets and costumes around them honestly make for one of the most transporting comedies on TV. And that means we’re cringing in adolescent awkwardness right alongside them. Season 2 premieres Sept. 18 on Hulu.
Commitment: Approx. 5 hours (for the first season)
What it is: Based on the Coen brothers film of the same name, FX’s anthology miniseries explores new characters, new crimes, and new eras tangentially related to the film each season, deftly adapting the trademark Coen brothers mix of violence, dark humor, and compelling characters for the small screen. Season 4 shifts gears to 1950s Kansas City, Missouri, as two crime syndicates (one a group of Black Americans fleeing the Jim Crow south (led by Chris Rock as Loy Cannon), the other the city’s resident mafia) duke it out for power.
Why you should watch it: What do Chris Rock, Jason Schwartzman, Ben Whishaw, Timothy Olyphant, Kirsten Dunst, Billy Bob Thornton, Ewan McGregor, Jesse Plemons, Carrie Coon, Jean Smart, Bob Odenkirk, Martin Freeman, Patrick Wilson, and (phew) Jim Gaffigan all have in common? They’ve all starred (or come season 4, will star) in the small-screen adaptation of Fargo, and that impressive cast alone makes it worth watching. FX and Noah Hawley’s Fargo, which debuted all the way back in 2014, is at least in part to blame for the rise and saturation of prestige miniseries and limited series, and for good reason. An ingenious blend of humor — both silly and gallows — and enrapturing crime mystery, the series succeeds in translating its Oscar-winning source material into Emmy-winning must-see TV. After a three-year break (and a delay due to the novel coronavirus pandemic), Fargo finally returns with its fourth season Sept. 27 on FX.
Commitment: About 27 hours (for the first three seasons)