What new — and returning — TV series to watch this fall

By Lexi Meola

Elm Staff Writer

If you’re in the mood to watch some of your favorite staple television series, or wanting to explore a new series to binge, you’re not alone. 

Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, both cable networks and streaming services alike were forced to halt production for returning and upcoming projects and reassess what the next steps were for releasing new content.

“In recent years, the fall television season had been the last bastion of the broadcast networks,” The New York Times reporter Mike Hale said on Sept. 7. “[But] with production barely restarting, the network comedies and dramas that usually fill the fall season are mostly absent this year, replaced by reality competitions, true-crime anthologies and recycled shows making their ‘broadcast premieres.’”

Despite these setbacks, television is making a comeback this fall. 

As we are in the middle of an election, politically focused material is a staple for anyone looking for a laugh. According to The New York Times, comedy shows like “Saturday Night Live” are returning to TV to bring light and laughter during, with the big eye catchers Jim Carrey portraying former Vice President Joe Biden and Maya Rudolph as Biden’s running mate Kamala Harris. 

Showtime released a two-night show called “The Comey Rule,” focusing on the life of former Federal Bureau of Investigations director James Comey as described in his 2018 memoir “A Higher Loyalty.” 

“[In this] Jeff Daniels plays the straight-arrow Comey as first the Hillary Clinton email case and then the Russian election-interference case define and derail his career,” Hale said. 

Netflix is releasing many new shows along with new seasons for some of their most popular shows. Among them, “The Crown” is returning for its fourth season. 

“Season four will feature Gillian Anderson as Margaret Thatcher and will feature the show’s first major foray into the Charles and Diana of it all,” Vulture’s Jen Chaney, Kathryn VanArendonk, and Jackson McHenry said on Sept. 1.

Netflix also released a reimagining of the early 2010s Brazilian series “Julie and The Phantoms” on Sept. 10, directed by Kenny Ortega of “High School Musical.”

“Following the loss of her mother, Julie (Madison Reyes) discovers she can not only communicate with three ghosts cooped up in her mom’s studio, [but that] she can start a band with them,” IndieWire’s Steve Greene said on Sept. 2. 

Hulu is also bringing back the 1990s popular animated cartoon “Animaniacs,” which stars the Warner Siblings Yakko, Wakko, and Dot, along with the rest of the animated cast, making their return to the small screen on Nov. 20. 

“We look forward to seeing how the show’s unique blend of nonsense and industry satire adapts to the streaming world,” Chaney, VanArendonk, and McHenry said. 

Hulu also released a new series called “Woke” on Sept. 9, co-written by cartoonist Keith Knight and Marshall Todd. 

“Lamorne Morris, formerly ‘New Girl’’s dorky and strange Winston, plays a successful comics artist who tries not to think or talk about racism, until he’s attacked by police and starts to see its effects everywhere,” Chaney, VanArendonk, and McHenry said. 

Buzzfeed took the time to remind us about some shows returning to TV after COVID-19 struck. “Law and Order Special Victims Unit” will return for its 22nd season on NBC, tackling recent events such as police brutality, the Black Lives Matter movement and protests, and the COVID-19 pandemic.

The “One Chicago” series, including “Chicago Med,” “Chicago Fire,” and “Chicago PD” are all slated to return on NBC in November.

The popular NBC family drama “This is Us” will return for its fifth season on Oct. 27, also aiming to address the pandemic and pick up from where it left off when production halted in mid-March.

With the COVID-19 pandemic, popular competition shows like Fox’s “The Masked Singer” and ABC’s “Dancing with the Stars” have returned without an audience to keep all those involved with the shows safe, using previous recordings of audiences prior to COVID-19 and sound bites of clapping to grant the feeling of a live audience. 

Even though the pandemic caused most shows to halt production in mid-March, the TV industry is prepared for a fall season filled with the return of old favorites, as well as some new ones, in its lineup.

“Time will tell whether this is a one-year blip or if the networks will feel the lingering complications of the pandemic,” Hale said. “Even with the networks on the sideline, there are as many intriguing shows as ever on the fall schedule, perhaps more than usual.”

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