Welcome, fellow TV fans, to NGN’s longest-running feature! This is my seventh fall TV season here at NGN, and I’m ready to once again share my viewing schedule with all of you.
Today is the first day of fall, which puts me in the mood for pumpkin spice everything, long sweaters, and new television shows. Luckily, this week kicks off the official start of fall TV season, and while my schedule is a bit lighter than it used to be (due in part to both life changes and a bit of a down year for pilots and premieres), I’m still excited for so many of my favorite shows to be back.
I hope this list inspires you to share your own fall TV schedule in the comments! I know that I’ve often used the recommendations shared in this post to try new shows that ended up becoming favorites of mine. And if you want to use my list to find new shows to try, I’ve listed the dates, times, and networks the premieres are airing on, and any new pilots I’m checking out are highlighted in pink.
(Just as a reminder: I don’t include reality shows on this list because I watch way too many of them but don’t watch them in any regular kind of viewing schedule.)
I know this post isn’t quite the behemoth it once was, but I also have plenty of returning favorites coming back in early 2019, which means it might finally be time for me to do a midseason one of these in a few months! Until then, I hope this post reminds you of your favorite shows, introduces you to something new you might love, and inspires you to share a show you love that you can’t believe I’m not watching yet.
Manifest (9/24, 10 p.m. on NBC)
If you’ve spent any time around these parts, you probably know of my deep love for Josh Dallas. He was the reason I became hooked on Once Upon a Time as instantaneously as I did, and as such, I will pretty much follow him anywhere. I’m not usually one to sign up for shows that seem inspired by Lost (because I will always compare them—and they will almost always come up short), but I will buy anything Dallas is selling at this point. The trailer also made me feel as if this might be more of a sincere, relationship-driven story than one propelled only by its central mystery, and that’s always a kind of show that speaks to me. Although I might not watch it until I get back from my own flights to Disney World next month (What can I say, I’ll always be a nervous flier!), it’s still on my list of pilots to try.
Series Premiere September 24
This Is Us (9 p.m. on NBC)
I love This Is Us. I love the performances. I love the characters and their relationships with each other (Randall and Beth 4EVER). I even love how shamelessly it makes me cry every week. After what I felt was a very strong second season that pushed new characters into the spotlight (especially Rebecca, whose arc was so good that I will never forgive Emmy voters for ignoring Mandy Moore’s excellent work), I’m looking forward to Season Three and all the emotional devastation it will surely bring. Revealing the details of Jack’s death ironically gave the show new life; now that it no longer has to keep us guessing about that mystery, I’m excited to see what’s next. With the promise of more time in Jack and Rebecca’s past and a look into the future we briefly glimpsed last season, I’m ready for another year of sobbing on my couch with the Pearsons.
Season Premiere September 25
New Amsterdam (10 p.m. on NBC)
I’m not usually one to watch medical dramas. I have a tendency to diagnose myself with every weird ailment these kinds of shows feature, which is no good for me or for anyone who has to regularly interact with me. However, the feeling I got while watching this show’s trailer was the same feeling I got watching early episodes of Grey’s Anatomy all those years ago—this is going to be so much more than just a typical medical drama. I’m a sucker for shows about people who truly believe in fighting to make the world a better place, and that seems to be the core of New Amsterdam. Sincerity will get you everywhere with me (see my aforementioned love for Josh Dallas), so I’m eager for this to add to my Tuesday night ritual of being emotionally wrecked by NBC shows.
Series Premiere September 25
Superstore (8 p.m. on NBC)
It took me almost a whole year to do it, but I’m finally all caught up on Superstore, and this show is a gem. It makes me laugh harder than any other show currently on television while tackling important issues like immigration, natural disasters, and the reality of working at a minimum-wage job. And don’t even get me started on Amy and Jonah—a “will they or won’t they?” for the ages. After last season went out with a (literal) bang, I can’t wait to see the aftermath for one of my favorite couples on television and their coworkers—most of whom “ship” them just as much as I do.
Season Premiere October 4
The Good Place (8:30 p.m. on NBC)
This is the show I’m most excited to have back this fall. Part philosophy lesson, part laugh-out-loud comedy, part beautiful meditation on the positive influence people can have on each other, and part soul mate AU fan fiction, The Good Place is nothing less than genius. It’s also show that has reinvented itself more times than I can count in just two seasons, so I can’t wait to see what it does next. It’s one of the few shows that can still surprise me, and at this point, I’m just eager to go along for the ride because if this show has reminded me of anything, it’s that in Mike Schur I trust.
Season Premiere September 27 at 8 p.m.
Murphy Brown (9:30 p.m. on CBS)
I was a little too young to watch Murphy Brown when it was first airing, but I remember my parents talking about it—and the scandals that surrounded it. And it seems from the promotional spots that I’ve seen so far that it shows no signs of letting go of its reputation as the comedy that scandalized conservatives. That alone would be enough to intrigue me, but what I’m truly tuning in to see is Candace Bergen in the spotlight. I think she continues to be one of the funniest women with some of the best line deliveries in Hollywood, and I’m glad my generation now gets to experience her as Murphy Brown.
Season Premiere September 27
Speechless (8:30 p.m. on ABC)
I really like that ABC is trying to bring a TGIF feeling back to Friday nights with its family-focused comedies. And while I’ll probably tune in for Fresh Off the Boat more often than not, the show I really don’t want to miss is Speechless. It continues to blend humor and heart in such a genuine way, and it’s telling stories that are both specific to families that have a child with a disability and also universal stories of families that don’t fit the “perfect” ideal. (And what family really does?) Each member of the cast is incredible, and I will sing Minnie Driver’s praises on this show forever.
Season Premiere October 5
Saturday Night Live (11:30 p.m. on NBC)
SNL has become must-see TV again in the last few years, and I’m always excited to see what new characters are introduced early in the season, what satirical takes on our current national nightmares the staff has been working on all summer, and what guests are going to be standouts. Starting the season with Adam Driver hosting is a great choice; his hosting turn a few years ago actually opened my eyes to how talented he really is, so I’m excited to watch now as a full-fledged fan. (If he doesn’t bring back Matt the Radar Technician, I’ll be so sad.) I’m also eagerly anticipating the announcements of who’s going to host in the coming weeks. (Is anybody else hoping for a Lady Gaga appearance to promote A Star Is Born?)
Season Premiere September 29
Camping (10 p.m. on HBO)
If you think Jennifer Garner is going to do a TV show more than a decade after Alias and I’m not going to watch, you don’t know me at all. While the premise of the show wouldn’t have hooked me without her presence (and David Tennant’s!), I’m willing to give it a chance because I want to support literally every project Garner does in this new career renaissance she’s going through. (Seriously—I saw Peppermint opening weekend; that’s how dedicated a fan I am.) I also think Garner is incredibly underrated as a comedic actress, so I’m excited for her to show off those skills again.
Series Premiere October 14
One of my favorite Sunday morning rituals is curling up with a coffee and Outlander steaming on my laptop. As someone who’s never read the book series, I look forward to all the twists and turns each season brings, and I’m very excited about what this time in colonial America will look like for Jamie and Claire. No matter what this season brings in terms of time travel and plot twists, the one thing I know for certain is that it will always keep delivering in the romance department. There’s no chemistry on TV like Sam Hueghan and Catriona Balfe’s chemistry, and it’s been far too long since they’ve graced our screens.
Season Premiere November 4