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The 25 Most Anticipated TV Shows of Fall 2018

Netflix, Amazon, cable, and network TV all have a few shows worth getting excited about

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It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, FX
It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, FX

    We don’t have to tell you that TV’s coming back. At this point, you already know, especially given that TV is selling itself to you in more places than it ever has before. From the highest echelons of streaming to the most obscure cable networks, television as a medium is as expansive as it’s ever been. If you’re overwhelmed, don’t fret; we do this for a living, and even we have a hard time keeping up with the changes.

    It’s impossible to watch all the great TV happening right now, let alone all the good TV, or the bad TV you’d really like to make time to watch. When we started setting up this feature alone, we had a shortlist of about 90 series that had our attention for one reason or another, a list we had to cull down to its most essential items. Below you’ll find a few returns, a couple network shows, several new endeavors by A-list filmmakers and showrunners, a couple outstanding documentaries, and a few things we know just enough about to be excited.

    It’s gonna be freezing soon, so let’s figure out what you’ll be ripping through when the outdoors are entirely uninhabitable. Without further preamble, here are the 25 series we’re most excited to see before the end of 2018.

    –Dominick Suzanne-Mayer
    Film Editor

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    America to Me

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    Premiere: Currently Airing on Starz

    For years, Steve James has been a Chicago staple. The storied filmmaker made one of the all-time great American documentaries in Hoop Dreams and one of the most powerful modern statements about the South Side of Chicago with The Interrupters. Now, with his Starz series America to Me, James uses a diverse public high school in nearby suburban Oak Park, Illinois, to examine the issues of race, class, and social inequality that have fueled his work for years. This is one of the only entries on this list that’s already gotten started (as of this writing), so we can verify firsthand that this is not something you’re going to want to miss. –Dominick Suzanne-Mayer

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    Ozark

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    Premiere: Currently Streaming on Netflix

    Ozark, it appears, is following Stranger Things‘ lead when it comes to discussing the traditional season structure. Star and executive producer Jason Bateman says that the second season is not a season, but rather a sequel. That distinction seems to be in response to Netflix’s binge-friendly, roll-out format, which is to drop every episode at once. Judging by its first outing, Ozark isn’t quite as binge-worthy as Stranger Things, but it’s compelling enough in its story of a crooked financier who moves his family to the titular sticks while trying to appease both a Mexican drug cartel and a Missouri crime family. The bones of a good show are there; the first season has a strong sense of place, even if it struggled to get audiences emotionally invested in the central family. Frankly, we’re more excited to check in with Julia Garner’s Ruth Langmore, who seems more capable than any of her myriad cohorts. –Randall Colburn

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    The Purge

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    Premiere: September 4th on USA

    What’s always been enviable about The Purge franchise is its own transmutability. Seeing how the core premise — a 12-hour period in which all crime, including murder, is legal — takes place over an entire dystopian nation, the opportunities are endless. So far, writer James DeMonaco hasn’t missed a beat, and his stories have only gotten better with each entry, from 2014’s expansive Anarchy to 2016’s all-too-prescient Election Year to this summer’s topical prequel, The First Purge. Now, he’s primed the series for television and it looks like little has been lost in translation. –-Michael Roffman

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    It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia

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    Premiere: September 5th on FX

    Don’t worry, Dennis Reynolds is still a part of the gang. No, Paddy’s Pub will not be sans the D.E.N.N.I.S. System and there will be more than enough implications to leave us shaking our heads in disbelief. For this season — the show’s 13th, if you can believe that — the Gang will once again be up to no good and get involved in all sorts of hi-jinx we’ll DVR and re-watch again and again and again. Without spoiling too much, expect to see sex dolls, muscle-y Macs, and one hilarious commentary on female-led reboots. Oh yeah, the magic’s back again. –Michael Roffman

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    The Deuce

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    Premiere: September 9th on HBO

    Grab your smokes and flask of whiskey: David Simon and George Pelecanos’ ’70s-set Times Square drama returns this Fall. For this go-around, they’re shooting five years ahead to 1977, a time when New York City is still a total shithole and danger is on every street corner. That’s good news, though, because part of that first season’s charm was the grit and grime. You’ll get plenty of that once again, in addition to some good ol’ vintage pornography — the kind your fathers likely grew up with! If that makes you cringe, well, good luck with the episodes. –Michael Roffman

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    Kidding

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    Premiere: September 9th on Showtime

    Michel Gondry and Jim Carrey’s previous collaboration, 2004’s Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, cemented the actor as a performer with depths beyond the slapstick comedy that made him a superstar and the filmmaker as one of the rare directorial voices working today who still believes in the wistful old magic of the past while understanding its more painful underpinnings. Now, the two return with Kidding, a series about a Mr. Rogers-esque daytime host called Mr. Pickles, who struggles to reconcile the benign innocence and sweetness of his series with the real-life death of his son, an ensuing divorce, and a Los Angeles that seems crueler than ever. Carrey isn’t the star he was twenty years ago, but if the episodes of Kidding we’ve seen are any indication, that’s going to be a good thing, and make for some compelling TV. –Dominick Suzanne-Mayer

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    American Horror Story: Apocalypse

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    Premiere: September 12th on FX

    Apocalypses are endings, yeah? And, Jesus Christ almighty, do we hope this is the end of Ryan Murphy’s American Horror Story, a series that has cemented itself across eight seasons as a vessel for compelling ideas that can’t help but (usually about mid-season) slaughter each of them in a vat of bubbling, acidic excess. This season will bring together characters from the series’ watchable first season, Murder House, and its irredeemable third, Coven, all while introducing a whole new set of characters who we’re sure won’t clog up the narrative at all. Sure, it’s cool that Stevie Nicks is reprising her role, but we’re pretty positive her scene will blip by as quickly as the rest of the season’s stories, giving way to new, unnecessary diversions that give that old adage of “throwing it all against the wall to see what sticks” a bad name. –Randall Colburn

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    Bojack Horseman

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    Premiere: September 14th on Netflix

    As BoJack returns for a fifth season, the trajectory of its title character seems to have changed. What was once a show about BoJack’s steady bottoming out as a person has turned into the character slowly rebuilding himself, through better understanding his family history, the friends who’ve tolerated him for so long, and his sister, Hollyhock, who still wants to be a part of his life. Alongside Princess Carolyn’s next adventure, Todd’s always-amusing antics, and the steady dissolution of Diane and Mr. Peanutbutter’s relationship, we’re excited to see whether BoJack and BoJack can keep getting better in season 5. –Andrew Bloom

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    Maniac

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    Premiere: September 21st on Netflix

    Quite a bit of speculation surrounds Maniac, the new series from True Detective season one showrunner Cary Fukunaga. A dark comedy starring Emma Stone and Jonah Hill (for the first time since Superbad!), Maniac follows them as participants in a pharmaceutical trial which promises a miracle cure. Drawn by their own demons, and by a course of pills which promise to fix any and every abnormality in the human mind, the duo are roped into worlds beyond their wildest imaginations. Everything about this has “endless op-eds speculating about What’s Actually Going On” written all over it. –Dominick Suzanne-Mayer

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    Jane Fonda in Five Acts

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    Premiere: September 24th on HBO

    There are icons out there, but sometimes an icon’s an icon several times over. That’s the argument behind Jane Fonda in Five Acts, documentarian Susan Lacy’s intimate look at a woman who’s been a fitness guru, activist, two-time Oscar winner, author, TV star, and wife and divorcée three times over. But while Fonda has worn many hats, Lacy’s portrait is equally as interested, if not more so, in the woman behind these iconic moments — Fonda’s decades-long struggle with an eating disorder, her relationship with father Henry Fonda, her mother’s suicide, and the fallout from her antiwar protests all get a look. “This is the beginning of my last act,” Fonda says in the film’s arresting trailer. “In order to know how to go forward, I’m gonna have to know where I’ve been.” She’s willing to look back in front of a camera, and odds are, we’ll all be richer for it. –Allison Shoemaker

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