Many television critics have begun drawing attention to the idea that we’ve arrived at a point of “Peak TV” recently, as we will see more than 400 scripted shows in 2015. Anyone who uses streaming services like Netflix on a regular basis (read: pretty much everyone) knows the very real and admittedly ridiculous struggle of having too many options when it comes to choosing what to watch. With so much TV being produced in the last few years, it’s pretty much impossible to keep up with every “must-watch” show out there. This fall will see the usual avalanche of new shows hit the various networks and streaming platforms, many of which will not survive past their first season. Don’t let the overwhelming number of choices dissuade you from seeking out some of these new shows, however. While you’ll never be able to keep up with everything, the following 10 new shows are the ones you most want to keep an eye on, as they are poised to be the best of the fall TV season. Here’s what you need to know about each of them.
10. Flesh and Bone (November 8)
A show focused on ballet may not sound like the most intriguing of concepts, but as movies like Black Swan have shown, ballet is serious, painful business. Flesh and Bone not only tackles the grueling underbelly of the professional ballet scene, but has the benefit of being created by former Breaking Bad producer Moira Walley-Beckett, so you know that Flesh and Bone will at the very least have a similar dark and pulpy feel as that series. Flesh and Bone will live and die by its ability to balance its more soapy tendencies with its grittier side, but if it can pull it off, it may just be the best show ever made about ballet. Oh, and a pretty compelling emotional drama to boot!
9. The Bastard Executioner (Premiered September 15)
Sons of Anarchy was one of the most enduringly popular dramas of the last decade or so, which means that it comes as little surprised that Sons creator Kurt Sutter’s next venture is one of the most hotly-anticipated of the year. Switching out the California biker gang scene for 14th Century England, The Bastard Executioner follows a knight (Lee Jones) of King Edward I who wants to live peacefully after a life of war and violence, but is forced to become an executioner instead. While the pilot was admittedly uneven, focusing too much on slow plotting and excessive violence, the show’s central concept remains solid and judging by Sutter’s success with Sons of Anarchy, The Bastard Executioner will find an audience whether it fixes its early problems or not.
8. Blindspot (September 21)
NBC has been promoting this one pretty hard in the last few weeks and with good reason. Blindspot looks like one of the best new police procedurals of the 2015 season, primarily because it shakes up the overdone genre in some interesting ways. Starring Jaime Alexander of Thor-fame as a Jane Doe who wakes up in a duffle bag in Times Square with no memory of who she is and a bunch of mysterious body tattoos, Blindspot promises a central mystery that’s equal parts crazy and intriguing, which should contribute to a compulsively-watchable show. Even if the amnesia angle starts to go south, the show will at the very least be able to lean on Alexander’s character’s tattoos, which are significant to solving Blindspot‘s mysteries of the week.
7. Master of None (November 6)
Aziz Ansari is one of the biggest and best names in comedy right now and his new Netflix series looks to mix together the comedian’s stand-up routine with his character work on shows such as Parks and Recreation. The show borrows a page from Louis C.K.’s acclaimed series Louie by having Ansari play a semi-fictional version of himself in a series of short films that address all facets of his unique brand of comedy, including his insights on dating as detailed in his recent book, Modern Romance. More Aziz Ansari is always a good thing and if this Netflix-produced series can nail down a consistently entertaining and hilarious tone, there’s no reason Master of None can’t be one of the best new comedies of the year.
6. The Last Kingdom (October 10)
Network: BBC America
Borrowing a page from the success of History’s Vikings and capitalizing on the fact that Game of Thrones fans are currently impatiently waiting for next April’s sixth season premiere, BBC America’s new historical drama The Last Kingdom looks like it will scratch that gritty, sword-swinging entertainment itch in spades. A dramatic retelling of the Norse invasion of England and its eventual unification, The Last Kingdom is very much a complimentary piece to the successful niche that Vikings has managed to carve out for itself (there are even some vikings in this one for good measure). While it’s way too early to tell if The Last Kingdom will have the same longevity of Vikings, there’s not much else like it on TV right now and as long as it can mix history with good story and characters, it should be well worth a watch.
5. Supergirl (October 26)
If the TV bubble is already in danger of bursting, than the superhero genre is surely headed in the same direction, as each year seems to introduced about a half dozen new movies and shows on top of the already staggering pile of comic book-inspired fare already in the wild. That being said, most of this content has been of high quality so far and on television in particular, the CW has been having great success with its growing list of shows based on DC comics, such as Arrow and The Flash. Supergirl, which will air on CBS, focuses on Superman’s cousin Kara as she navigates young adulthood in the big city while battling the forces of evil as her alter-ego. While the CW had mixed results with the Superman family in the form of Smallville, the overall quality of superhero shows has increased dramatically since that show’s heyday. With a strong female lead in the form of Melissa Benoist and a brighter overall atmosphere than its dour DC film counterparts, Supergirl might just have the right stuff to make an impact in a crowded genre.
4. Con Man (September 30)
Network: Web Series
No, this isn’t a show about a wisecracking, traveling grifter. With perhaps one of the most meta concepts for a TV show since Community‘s early run, Con Man reunites Firefly co-stars Alan Tudyk and Nathan Fillion as a pair of actors from a cult classic science fiction show with wildly varying career paths. Tudyk’s character, Wray Nerely, makes a living going to conventions and reliving his glory days from his old show Spectrum, which is a tounge-in-cheek reference to Tudyk and Fillion’s real-life success on the cult favorite Firefly. Con Man not only brings together a bevy of sci-fi fan favorites such as half the cast of Firefly and others nerd culture celebrities such as Felicia Day and Tricia Helfer, but looks like a smart and funny examination of fandom and the convention circuit. Plus, Con Man is probably as close to an actual Firefly reboot as we’ll ever get, so you might as well tune in and give it some support.
3. The Muppets (September 22)
The Muppets are back on TV. If that’s not enough to convince you to watch, then nothing probably will. If that’s not quite a good enough reason though, just know that Kermit and the gang are getting the treatment they deserve in their first television appearance in over two decades. The show itself is a mockumentary in a similar vein as The Office, focused on the behind-the-scenes production hijinks of the fictional late night talk show Up Late With Miss Piggy. Coming off a cultural revival courtesy of two great feature length films in recent years, The Muppets are right back where they belong: on the small screen, complete with the same cross-generational appeal they’ve always had.
2. Ash vs. Evil Dead (October 31)
One of the benefits of having way more TV shows than we deserve or need is that, every so often, a concept so perfect manages to get approved and the entertainment world is better for it. The gem of the fall 2015 schedule is without a doubt the Evil Dead revival series, Ash vs. Evil Dead, which reunites series creator Sam Raimi with leading man Bruce Campbell for another round of boomstick-toting Deadite-slaying. The series teams an aged, but still potent Ash Williams with a whole new group of S-Mart employees as they once again do battle with the armies of darkness. If Ash vs. Evil Dead can achieve even a fraction of the B-movie cache of its previous cinematic incarnations, it’s bound to be the “grooviest” show on television (okay, who’s kidding who: it will be no matter what).
1. Marvel’s Jessica Jones (November 20)
At this point, Marvel’s Jessica Jones is still a bit too far off to accurately gauge whether or not it has the makings of a great TV show, but given the success of Daredevil earlier in the year and the fact that the Marvel brand has essentially become a seal of quality on everything it gets stamped on, this is easily the highlight of the fall TV lineup. Starring Krysten Ritter as the title character, a former costumed superhero who opens a detective agency in New York City, Jessica Jones has a lot going for it already, even if most of the details are still unknown. Ritter is a sensational screen presence and will likely be a boon to Marvel’s limited, but growing stable of female heroes and the supporting cast is full of talent, including David Tenant and Carrie-Anne Moss. It’s still too early to label this one as a sure thing, but it’s about as close to one as you’re going to get in today’s crowded TV landscape.