Peanut better and jelly, Zelda and Scott, autumn and television: Some things just work better in pairs. Just as the weather starts to sour and you get the urge to curl up in a ball on the couch for several months, TV tosses a cornucopia of new and returning series your way. This month, HBO premieres its ambitious new sci-fi Western Westworld, plus two new comedies, Insecure and Divorce. Netflix has a new season of the anthology series Black Mirror, and the CW brings back two fan favorites, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend and Jane the Virgin. Get the Snuggies out of the closet: It’s time to hibernate.
10/2: Westworld (HBO)
Ok, technically you’ve already missed the premiere of HBO’s ambitious new drama Westworld, which aired last night. (You can still watch it on HBO’s on-demand platforms if you’ve missed it.) HBO is banking big on Westworld — based on the 1973 Michael Crichton film of the same name — since its flagship drama, Game of Thrones, will end after its eighth season. Westworld is set in a hyper-real amusement park where wealthy guests can get a taste of life in the Old West — consequence-free. Their “hosts” are extremely lifelike robots who exist to “gratify the desires” of the guests. The show gives viewers a lot to chew on, too much for this blurb, but if you’re interested in sci-fi thrillers and/or the symbolism of the Wild West, this one’s for you.
10/9: Divorce (HBO)
A decade after Sex and the City went off the air, Sarah Jessica Parker returns to a starring role on HBO with Divorce, created by Catastrophe’s Sharon Horgan. Fans of Catastrophe will recognize that show’s somewhat bitter yet flippant tone in Divorce, which centers on a couple, played by Parker and Thomas Haden Church, going through a nasty separation. Fans of Sex and the City beware: This one’s a whole lot darker, and as the title indicates, it doesn’t appear to be heading toward a happy ending.
10/9: Insecure (HBO)
This one might be my favorite new fall show. Issa Rae — the creator of the popular web series The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl, the basis of Insecure — stars in this new HBO comedy about two best friends on the edge of 30 (Rae and Yvonne Orji) struggling to negotiate their careers and love lives in a not-so-glamorous version of L.A.. Created by Rae and Larry Wilmore, Insecure is very specifically about the experiences of contemporary black women — which is to say, no, it’s not like Girls.
10/14: Goliath (Amazon)
Amazon’s latest original drama is a legal thriller created by the king of legal thrillers, David E. Kelley, making his first foray into the wonderful world of streaming television after decades creating shows for the big four broadcast networks. Normally Amazon releases pilots of its original series and then decides, based on audience feedback, which will get full-series orders. Bu the streaming service went right ahead and ordered 10 episodes of Goliath, which stars Billy Bob Thornton as a down-and-out lawyer who, seeking redemption, attempts to take on two giant — you might even say goliath — businesses, an aerospace company and the big-time corporate law firm defending it.
10/17: Jane the Virgin Season 3 (CW)
Our beloved Jane the Virgin returns for its third season this month, and after the shock of the Season 2 finale, it can hardly come soon enough. The last season ended with Jane (Gina Rodriguez) and Michael’s (Brett Dier) wedding, but just as the two were finally, finally going to have sex, Michael stepped out of their hotel room to get ice — and was shot by Rose, a.k.a. Sin Rostro, the villain who had long ago been assumed dead. It remains to be seen if Michael survived the shooting, but one thing’s certain: Creator Jennie Snyder Urman has confirmed that Jane will finally lose her pesky virginity in Season 3. Praise the TV gods!
10/19: Chance (Hulu)
House fans will want to check out Chance, based on the novel by Kem Nunn, in which Hugh Laurie stars as a doctor…with an American accent…whose last name is also the name of the series. Laurie plays Dr. Eldon Chance, a San Francisco-based neuropsychiatrist lured into the city’s seedy underbelly when he gets a little too involved in one of his patient’s cases. Gretchen Mol co-stars as Jaclyn Blackstone, a patient who may or may not a multiple personality disorder. Hulu has already ordered two ten-episode seasons of Chance, which has an intriguing pilot.
10/20: The Rocky Horror Picture Show (Fox)
Technically Fox has titled its remake of this cult classic film The Rocky Horror Picture Show: Let’s Do the Time Warp Again, but hey, technically this is a list of TV shows, and Rocky Horror is a movie, so let chaos reign! The remake stars Laverne Cox as Frank-N-Furter, Victoria Justice as Janet Weiss, Disney star Ryan McCartan as Brad Weiss, Broadway performers Annaleigh Ashford and Reeve Carney as Columbia and Riff-Raff, respectively, Christina Milian as Magenta, and Adam Lambert as Eddie. Tim Curry — who played Frank-N-Furter in the original 1975 movie — plays the narrator. I’m weary of remakes in general, and one of this beloved, weird little monster of a film in particular, but Kenny Ortega — who’s directed and/or choreographed a number of beloved dance movies, including Dirty Dancing — is at the helm of this one. Fingers crossed he doesn’t mess it up.
10/21: Black Mirror Season 3 (Netflix)
The popular BBC anthology series Black Mirror returns for a third season, this time on Netflix. Each episode of Black Mirror is a standalone story, and, as I wrote when the show premiered at the Toronto Film Festival last month, the first two installments of the new season present competing visions of technology’s ability to augment reality. The new season features plenty of talent, from actors Mackenzie Davis, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, and Bryce Dallas Howard to Rashida Jones and Mike Schur, who wrote the very funny episode “Nosedive,” directed by Joe Wright. Enjoy, and don’t forget to take a breather from your devices when you’re done.
10/21: Crazy Ex-Girlfriend Season 2 (CW)
The first season of this gem of a musical comedy — which earned co-creator and star Rachel Bloom a Golden Globe for best actress — culminated with Rebecca (Bloom) finally admitting what we had known all along: She moved from New York City to West Covina, California just to be with her ex-boyfriend from camp, Josh (Vincent Rodriguez III). In the season finale, Rebecca and Josh sleep together at last, and she gets a little too comfortable, telling him she moved to town for him. Now that cat’s out of the bag, where will Crazy Ex go now? October 21st can’t come soon enough.
10/26: Rectify Season 4 (SundanceTV)
I wish more people watched Rectify, a beautiful, contemplative series about a man who’s released from prison after nearly 20 years on death row when DNA evidence exonerates him of the murder of his high-school girlfriend. When Daniel Holden (Aden Young) returns to his tiny Georgia hometown, he finds himself stuck: Half the townspeople think he’s a murderer, and his mother has since remarried, leaving him with new family members, some of whom don’t quite trust him. Rectify is a slow series, but I never find it boring, perhaps because of its uniformly excellent performances, and the fact that it sticks so close to its core cast of characters. (J. Smith-Cameron is particularly good as Daniel’s mother, Janet.) The SundanceTV original returns for its fourth and final season this month; all three previous seasons are on Netflix if you want to catch up.