Summer’s gone, which means cold air, school, and Halloween. It also means that after resting in their cocoon all summer, new TV seasons spread their wings to deliver the next installment of your favorite shows. Like every year, there’s plenty of good, geeky TV to watch on a weekly basis, and in addition to the geeky movies that’ll be hitting theaters.
Whatever you’re in the mood to watch, 2019 likely has you covered. Do you want teenage titans fighting one-eyed mercenaries? Some of your favorite characters returning for more universe-hopping adventures? A good reason to pay monthly for yet another subscription service? You’ve got plenty to choose from as the year winds down.
This is Polygon’s most anticipated movies and shows based on comics in the fall of 2019.
Season 2 premieres Sept. 6; new episodes weekly
Like Jason Todd said himself: Titans are back, bitches!
DC Universe’s gritty (and often goofy) take on the Teen Titans returns for a sophomore season. In the first season, Dick Grayson (Robin), Garfield Logan (Beast Boy), and Kory Anders (Starfire) found themselves come together to protect Rachel Roth (Raven) and ensure her father, the demon Trigon, wouldn’t be summoned to Earth and take over the world. That, of course, didn’t happen, and the first thing Trigon did was manipulate Dick to embrace the inner darkness within him. The last season ended on a cliffhanger with Rachel’s father, Trigon, being summoned to Earth.
Along with the core four, the new season will add more heroes to its cast. Expect more of the superhero couple Hawk and Dove, plus Donna Troy (Wondergirl) and Jason Todd, the second Robin who may possibly become the Red Hood. Superboy, teased in the final moments of last season’s finale, will make his debut, along with Aqualad, Ravager, and Jericho. Throw in the debut of Titans Tower and appearances from Batman and Deathstroke, and Titans is shaping up for a solid second outing.
Premieres Sept. 25 on ABC
You may not know it, but ABC’s upcoming crime procedural Stumptown is based on a 2009 comic by Greg Rucka, Matt Southworth, and Lee Loughridge. The comics were spawned from Rucka’s love for detective stories and shows he grew up with: think Magnum, PI, and Dennis Lehane novels.
Cobie Smulders has spent years as a supporting player in other people’s franchises, from Avengers to How I Met Your Mother and Jack Reacher. With Stumptown, Smulders steps into the spotlight as Dex, a military veteran who becomes a private investigator in Portland to get her and her brother out of debt. Everything she’s been given small chances to do in action franchises — shoot guns, crack jokes, bust heads — she gets to do here, but she’s front and center. The TV landscape has so many crime dramas, but there’s no harm in adding another to your weekly queue.
In theaters Oct. 4
The Joker has been in many a DC movie, but not like this. Rather than being the villain for Batman or a presence in Harley’s life, he’s the protagonist in Todd Philips’ 1980s version of Gotham City. Joaquin Phoenix has the lead role as comedian Arthur Fleck who will eventually rise to become the Clown Prince of Crime.
Joker exists at an interesting time for DC’s movie slate, as the first film under its umbrella to be truly unconnected from the DC Extended Universe. You won’t see any superheroes here, but you will see Thomas Wayne and his son Bruce. Inspired by films like The Godfather or King of Comedy, Joker could end up another winner for WB after the stellar Shazam from April, or it could be a joke no one laughs at. Whatever happens, it’s sure to be one of the most interesting films of the year.
The Walking Dead
Season 10 premieres Oct. 6 on AMC
It’s been a full decade since AMC’s post apocalypse series The Walking Dead shambled onto our screens, and the tenth season promises to be the bloodiest yet. Last season saw the debut of Alpha and the Whisperers, a group of survivors who disguise themselves as zombies to avoid being eaten. When the Whisperers met the people of Alexandria, they made their intentions clear by murdering several fan favorite characters. Now, the Alexandrians are gearing up to fight back, even though all the war is wearing on our heroes.
Season nine saw the departure of Andrew Lincoln and Lauren Cohan, and now the katana-wielding badass Michonne will be next to go. With Danai Gurira departing the show this year, the only remaining long-time characters on the show are Daryl Dixon and Carol Peletier. Fans of the comics will notice that this season will take material from the bloody Whisperer War of the comics series, so prepare for the show to face even more casualties.
The final moments of last season’s finale also saw the Alexandrians make brief radio contact with another community of survivors. In doing so, the show gets closer to the Commonwealth, the last stretch of story from the comics before its sudden end. The show won’t end this year, but the end may be closer than fans think.
Premieres Oct. 6 on the CW
This list would not be complete without the return of the CW’s Arrowverse slate. For the first time in years, there’s a new spinoff in the mix: Batwoman, starring Ruby Rose and spinning out of her debut in last year’s Elseworlds crossover. With Batman missing and Gotham City in turmoil, Kate Kane dons a cape and cowl to protect the city from a private security firm called the Crows, made up by Kate’s father, and the villainous Alice.
Like the rest of the Arrowverse shows, Batwoman’s first episode shows a promising ability to be gritty and confident in what elements from the comics it borrows. Fans of the character will be pleased to know that the show isn’t just queer, but digs into the nuances of integrity and who can afford to have it. If Batwoman can keep that nuance alongside its weekly heroics, the CW will have yet another hit show on their hands.
Season 5 premieres Oct. 6 on the CW
Just when it seemed Supergirl and the DEO had beaten Lex Luthor, he got the last laugh. Before he died, he told his sister Lena that her best friend Kara has been Supergirl all along. Lena didn’t take it well, obviously, and expect that to be one of the key conflicts of the fifth season.
Supergirl won’t just have to make amends with Lena. She’ll have to help the Martian Manhunter fight his evil brother Ma’alefa’ak, put loose on the world, courtesy of The Monitor. She’ll also face off against Leviathan — the offshoot group of the League of Assassins headed up by Talia al Ghul — who were manipulating Lex through last season. All of this, plus the show’s 100th episode and frequent team ups with Batwoman, are in store for Supergirl this fall before she gets swept up into the Crisis.
Season 3 premieres Oct. 7 on The CW
Black Lightning and his heroic family return for a third outing that promises even more danger for Freeland. After two seasons of fighting Tobias Whale, Jefferson Pierce and his family finally got a chance to relax and bask in their win for a few minutes, before they became forced into a metahuman war with the Markovians. If that sounds slightly familiar, it’s because Lightning and Markov were key players in the recently concluded Young Justice: Outsiders. Will Terra or her brother Geo-Force show up? Never say never.
Black Lightning has sat out the last two crossovers, mostly because of where the show is shot, but its characters will make an appearance during the events of Crisis on Infinite Earths. The show has always been coy about what universe it’s set in, but expect the fallout from the crossover to include giving a firm answer as to what Earth the Pierce family has been saving the day in.
Season 6 premieres Oct. 8 on the CW
The Flash’s fifth season ended on a hell of a downer, with Barry and Iris’ future daughter Nora evaporating in their arms after defeating Reverse Flash. And the bad vibes will continue thanks to the debut of the big bad for the season. Bloodwork, one of the more recent additions to the Flash comics, will be around to terrorize Team Flash with his ability to control blood. For the first time, there’ll be more than one villain to fill the season: Bloodwork only takes up the first half of the year.
Like Arrow and Supergirl, expect the Scarlet Speedster to feature heavily in the events of Crisis on Infinite Earths. In the final moments of last season’s finale, a newspaper from the future showing Barry’s disappearance shifted its date from 2024 to 2019. It’ll also be where Barry and Reverse Flash have a reunion — one that may get ugly, since Reverse was responsible for Nora’s disappearance from the timeline in the finale.
Season 4 premieres Oct. 9 on The CW
Depending on who you ask, Riverdale is one of the most fun and ridiculous shows on TV, or one of the worst. Is it a fun update of the old Archie Comics, or a train wreck that needs to be put out of its mystery? Either way, its fourth season is coming with more mystery and madness for this idyllic town.
After preaching football to teenage prison convicts and escaping a murder cult, you’d think Archie and friends could finally get to relax. Maybe they’d have a stable senior year before they all go off to college. But that’s not happening — the final minutes of last season’s finale saw Archie, Betty, and Veronica throw Jughead’s iconic beanie into a fire before swearing to go their separate ways to avoid getting caught. These kids commit crimes every season, but they may have finally done too much crime to escape from.
The Addams Family
In theaters Oct. 11
You know how it goes: they’re creepy, spooky, and altogether ooky. The Addams Family films were delightful films for many a ’90s kid, and this new film wants to deliver the same experience for new audiences.
Unconnected to the old films and more inspired by Charles Addams’ original New Yorker cartoons, the new movie will see the family move to the suburbs of New Jersey and trying to fit in. And as a recent pair of trailers show, that might be a bit of a challenge. Backed by a cast including Oscar Isaac and Charlize Theron as Gomez and Morticia Adams, the new Addams Family may scare up some fun this Halloween.
Final season premieres Oct. 15 on the CW
Arrow has lead the Arrowverse charge since 2012, but with season eight, Oliver Queen will don the hood and use that bow one final time, in a shorter, 10-episode run that ties up the remaining threads from the previous season. Just minutes after his daughter Mia was born, Oliver was conscripted by the Monitor to help prepare for the Crisis on Infinite Earths crossover in December.
The specifics of that preparation are unclear, but we do know that Oliver will come across some old friends and enemies during his last adventure. In the meantime, the rest of Team Arrow will continue to have adventures, in both the present and future. Team Arrow of 2049, made up of the now adult kids of the original members, will fight a Deathstroke gang in what’s sure to be a ridiculously fun way to close out the series.
Premieres Oct. 20
This fall, we’ll finally see just what it is HBO and Damon Lindelof are doing with a TV show of Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons’ Watchmen. With a star studded cast that includes Regina King — as well as Jeremy Irons, and Jean Smart as older versions of Ozymandias and Silk Spectre — Watchmen will pick up the story of the graphic novel 34 years after its ending, remixing and continuing rather than directly adaptating.
Since Doctor Manhattan and Ozymandias succeeded in their scheme to prevent nuclear war, masked vigilantes have become outlawed, but that hasn’t stopped a white supremacist group called the Seventh Circle from taking up Rorschach’s iconic mask and going on a cop killing spree. Now cops have decided to dress up as vigilantes themselves. Lindelof is playing with fire, and all eyes will be on whether it turns out to be fireworks, or just a conflagration.
Premieres in October; new episodes weekly
Everyone’s favorite clown, Harley Quinn, is getting her own animated series — starring Kaley Cuoco, Alan Tudyk, and Lake Bell — that sees the antihero try to join up with the Legion of Doom.
Since she first showed up in Batman: The Animated Series, Harley has taken a life of her own that DC Comics has studiously capitalized on for close to a decade. She’s had a solo ongoing series since 2011, is the star of a highly anticipated upcoming YA book, and also found time to break into the movies, with 2016’s Suicide Squad and next year’s Birds of Prey (And the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn). When you look at all that, it’s only natural that a TV show would follow.
Like everything involving Harley these days, her solo series will see her dump the Joker and get into hijinks with her gal pal Poison Ivy. Even though the show is about her, plenty of DC characters from the Batman corner will pop up, from the Caped Crusader and Robin themselves to Scarecrow, Clayface, and Riddler. If the show’s trailer is anything to go by, you can expect plenty of wacky and crass humor to follow Harley and company.
Season 3 premieres Dec. 13 on Hulu
It hasn’t been a great year for Marvel Television. While Agents of SHIELD will get to bow out with next summer’s final season, the entire slate of Netflix shows and Fox’s The Gifted all got canceled. Fortunately, fans can still look forward to the Hulu adaptation of Brian K. Vaughn and Adrian Alphona’s Runaways for their weekly Marvel fix.
The third season will see the teen heroes fight both the alien Gibborim, who are trying to kill Karolina Dean’s pregnant mother Leslie and may have ended up possessing one of the Runaways themselves. Thanks to Nico Minoru, they’ll also have to contend with Morgana le Fay, an old student of the wizard Merlin who will be played by Elizabeth Hurley.
Runaways has been set in the MCU, but the third season will strengthen those ties to the larger world, according to showrunners Josh Schwartz and Stephanie Savage. In addition to that, expect a crossover episode that features the heroic duo Cloak and Dagger from Freeform’s titular series. If you haven’t given the show a chance, this Christmas is a good time to check out.
Crisis on Infinite Earths
Premieres in December on The CW, concludes in January 2020
Last year’s Arrowverse crossover, Elseworlds, ended with the tease of one of DC Comics most famous events: Crisis on Infinite Earths, the 1985 maxiseries from George Perez and Marv Wolfman. The event saw various DC heroes and villains take a stand against the world-consuming Anti-Monitor, and it’s getting its own small screen adaptation for the Arrowverse. All five shows, plus 2020’s Legends of Tomorrow, will come together for a fight to save reality.
The most important thing about Crisis is that it led to the creation of a single DC Universe in the comics, from the merging of multiple parallel realities. No doubt that’ll be what happens at the end of the crossover, but everything else is up in the air. One thing we do know is to expect plenty of cameos, from Brandon Routh playing the Kingdom Come version of Superman, to Kevin Conroy and Burt Ward respectively showing up as older versions of Batman and Robin.
For all intents and purposes, Crisis is the CW’s answer to Avengers: Endgame, since it’ll be the final crossover adventure for Arrow and see some status quo changes in its fallout. For the first time in a long time, the Arrowverse’s future is uncertain, and that makes Crisis one of the most interesting events on TV this fall.