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The 30 TV shows to look out for in 2019

From cable dramas to Netflix originals to live-action Star Wars and some anime picks for good measure

The new reality of television production means that no month is a true slow month. Now, there’s pretty much a new TV show happening somewhere every week, as the balance of 2019 — a breakneck collection of big premieres, revivals, anime fan favorites, and major series finales — reminds us.

Following a monster spring-summer television season headed up by HBO’s Game of Thrones, Stranger Things, and sleeper hits like The Boys, it’s time for fall, the traditional window for tons of new shows. How will you spend your off-hours over the next four months? Here are some contenders.


the stranded victims of i-land circle a dead body as one woman tries to revive them Courtesy of Netflix

The I-Land

Netflix, premieres Sept. 12

Lost meets ... Fyre Festival? In this eerie new thriller, 10 people find themselves lured to a tropical paradise, seemingly stranded, and forced to survive for someone’s amusement. The seven-episode series comes from writer Neil LaBute (The Wicker Man remake), and stars Kate Bosworth, Alex Pettyfer, and Natalie Martinez.

undone animation gets surreal as rosa salazar floats through blue nothingness Amazon Video

Undone

Amazon Video, premieres Sept. 13

The latest series from Kate Purdy and Bojack Horseman creator Raphael Bob-Waksberg uses rotoscope animation to tell a trippy introspective tale. According to the official synopsis, Alma (Rosa Salazar) nearly dies in an accident, which “induces visions of her late father, Jacob. Through these persistent visions he urges her to tap into a mysterious ability that allows her to travel through space and time with the hopes of preventing his untimely death. This quest challenges Alma’s relationships and brings into question her mental wellbeing with those closest to her.”

lilly singh wields a hammer as she puts her feet up on a desk in a promo shot for her new late night show NBC

A Little Late With Lilly Singh

NBC, premieres Sept. 16

Prolific YouTuber-actress Lilly Singh brings her antics to late-night, filling the spot vacated by Carson Daly. Can she bring the next generation to a traditional time slot? The uphill battle makes this compelling, must-watch TV.

American Horror Story 1984 logo FX

American Horror Story: 1984

FX, returns Sept. 18

The ninth installment of America’s favorite horror anthology, AHS: 1984, has been notably sparse on the details thus far. An homage to the slasher films of the 1980s rather than George Orwell’s most famous entry into the dystopian canon, the season is the first that AHS mainstay Evan Peters will not return for. A notable addition to the cast is American Olympian and freestyle skier Gus Kenworthy, who has been cast to play returning cast member Emma Roberts’ boyfriend. Sliding back to realistic horror from the more supernaturally focused American Horror Story: Cult, the new season is sure to be a delight.

david tenent sits on the wrong side of a police interrogation in netflix’s criminal Courtesy of Netflix

Criminal

Netflix, premieres Sept. 20

Netflix’s new police procedure boils down the drama to a police interrogation. Only time will tell if cat-and-mouse drama can play out in the suffocating chamber of a question-answer interview, but there’s talent behind this experiment, which will jump from country to country between episodes. Jim Field Smith (UK), Frederic Mermoud (France), Oliver Hirschbiegel (Germany), Mariano Barroso (Spain) are directing, while George Kay (Killing Eve, The Hour) and Jim Field Smith (Endeavour, The Wrong Mans) are the writers making good on the promise.

allison tolman’s police chief character in emergence clings to a young girl ABC Studios

Emergence

ABC, premieres Sept. 24

Michele Fazekas & Tara Butters created the underrated Reaper, produced Agent Carter, and spearheaded the short-lived Kevin (Probably) Saves the World. We’ll follow them anywhere — including to this conspiracy-tinged mystery thriller starring Fargo’s Allison Tolman as a police chief who picks up an amnesiac child (Alexa Swinton) in the aftermath of a mysterious accident. No, we don’t know where it’s going! That’s the point!

the cast of mixed-ish does a goofy sitcom jaw drop ABC Studios

Mixed-ish

ABC, premieres Sept. 24

Black-ish is good. Young-ish is good. Mixed-ish, a prequel set in the 1980s and following a young Rainbow Johnson, is probably good. This is science.

Cake

FX, premieres Sept. 25

Imagine the Animation Roadshow on actual TV. Or Love Death and Robots ... on actual TV. Or just whack animation and live-action experiments popping on the battleground that is actual TV. At this year’s TCAs, FX Networks Chairman John Landgraf said that Cake is “its own unique series as well as incubator for shorter shows that could be developed into half-hour series.”

creepshow revival installment featuring giancarlo esposito and tobin bell investigating something creepy and blue-hued Shudder

Creepshow

Shudder, premieres Sept. 26

This fall, horror boutique Shudder revives the George Romero and Stephen King’s 1982 horror anthology as a series. This version features new stories (including an adaptation of the King story “Gray Matter” and stars Giancarlo Esposito, Tobin Bell, Adrienne Barbeau, Tricia Helfer, Jeffrey Combs, Big Boi, Kid Cudi, Bruce Davison, Dana Gould, David Arquette, and DJ Qualls among others. The Walking Dead’s Greg Nicotero steps in to direct one installment, adding even more cherries to the cake.

Good Place

The Good Place (season 4)

NBC, returns Sept. 26

NBC’s critically-acclaimed The Good Place has gone from “what if the afterlife were quirky and funny” to “there is no ethical consumption under capitalism” in three seasons flat. Creator and executive producer Michael Schur announced in June that the series had reached the end of its story and would conclude at the end of its fourth season. The Good Place stars Kristen Bell, Ted Danson, William Jackson Harper, Jameela Jamil, Manny Jacinto, and D’Arcy Carden.

Superstore 409 - Amy and the gang in the warehouse Colleen Hayes/NBC

Superstore (season 5)

NBC, returns Sep. 26

Another addition to NBC’s stellar sitcom slate, Superstore eschews The Good Place’s existential pondering in favor of delving into the realities of the working class. The show digs into the day-to-day lives of a group of Walmart-esque employees led by floor supervisor Amy Sosa (America Ferrera). The fact that nearly every episode takes place within the store contextualizes complex issues within everyday, capitalistic struggles. One of the best sitcoms currently on television, it’s worth picking up.

the politician pilot finds ben platt begging his cancer-stricken class mate (Zoey Deutch) for help Netflix

The Politician

Netflix, premieres Sept. 27

Imagine Election combined with Heathers and the zany lifeblood of Ryan Murphy’s other shows (specifically Scream Queens) and you’ll get the gist of this new satire. The show stars Broadway sensation Ben Platt as a high school president wannabe doing whatever it takes to get ahead. In the pilot, his first order of business is to recruit the local cancer patient to be his running mate in order to counter his running mate’s recent addition of a black, gender queer VP. Can of worms, consider yourself ripped open.

Bob’s Burgers: Louise, Gene, Tina Image: Fox

Bob’s Burgers (season 10)

Fox, returns Sept. 29

Bob’s Burgers is one of the most beloved animated comedies of the past decade. With a cast of characters ranging from the slightly deranged Louise to the “extremely relatable” and boy-obsessed Tina, the series focuses on the Belcher family’s shenanigans at a burger restaurant. In addition to the upcoming season, the Emmy Award-winning series has a feature film in the works that’s set to premiere on July 17, 2020.

peaky blinders Photo: BBC/Netflix

Peaky Blinders (season 5)

Netflix, returns Oct. 4

Pehhhhhhhhkaaaaaay Bliiiiiiiiiiiiindaaaaaaaaahs

ruby rose as batwoman The CW

Batwoman

The CW, premieres Oct. 6

Despite the fact that Batman has “yeeted out of the Arrowverse” and given up on Gotham City, danger still remains. Ruby Rose takes on the shadowy hero mantle as Kate Kane, who makes it her mission to take down Wonderland-esque villain Alice after discovering the disappearance of an old lover. In addition to being extremely cool and deadly, Kate is also an open lesbian, marking an important moment for LGBTQ inclusion in mainstream superhero media.

Carol (Melissa McBride) sits with her bow and arrow, waiting and looking over her shoulder AMC

The Walking Dead (season 10)

AMC, returns Oct. 6

Despite the core cast drifting away, and a YA-themed spinoff gunning for its place in younger viewers’ hearts, AMC’s OG Walking Dead series is still trucking. In season 10, Daryl (Norman Reedus), Carol (Melissa McBride) Michonne (Danai Gurira) and the survivors prepare to take on Alpha (Samantha Morton) and the Whisperers.

Nancy Drew The CW

Nancy Drew

The CW, premieres Oct. 9

The newest addition into the “what if [insert old property], but more Riverdale” canon, Nancy Drew throws the eponymous protagonist into an ominous ghost town. Complete with a watery disappearance to kick off the mystery and a full cast of teenage characters, the new series tasks Nancy Drew with unraveling a murder case that is seemingly tied to a supernatural threat. Newcomer Kennedy McCann takes on Nancy Drew mantle, with Leah Lewis playing George, a girl from the “wrong side of the tracks,” and Tunji Kasim as Nancy’s love interest Ned Nickerson.

Supernatural Sam and Dean The CW

Supernatural (season 15)

The CW, returns Oct. 10

Supernatural has been on-air for 14 years and is due for a graceful retirement. The series, which has been both a fandom mainstay and sore spot for years, tracks the misadventures of demon hunter brothers Sam (Jared Padalecki) and Dean (Jensen Ackles) Winchester, with Misha Collins’ Castiel making a recurring appearance. Famously known as the textbook case for “queerbaiting,” a phenomena in which series tease potential queer relationships without the intention to realize them in order to draw in and retain viewers, the final season will perhaps most important reveal whether or not the tension between Dean and Castiel — however you choose to read it — will ultimately come to fruition.

Deku punching a rock, MHA S3 opening. Image: Bones

My Hero Academia (season 4)

Crunchyroll and FunimationNow, returns Oct. 12

One of the most popular and beloved anime series of the past several years, My Hero Academia returns for its fourth round during the fall anime season. The season picks up with the hero work internships that were teased at the end of the third season as Izuku Midoriya struggles to further refine and control his quirk. Introducing new heroes and villains alike, the season will dig into the fan-titled “Shie Hassaikai” arc of Kōhei Horikoshi’s source manga. Crunchyroll and Funimation haven’t confirmed that they will simultaneously air and dub (respectively) the series, but it’s likely given that both platforms have done the same for previous seasons.

jessica biel gasps into her microphone Facebook Watch

Limetown

Facebook Watch, premieres Oct. 16

Facebook will try to get you to actually watch serious television on its Watch platform with this adaptation of the popular paranormal podcast. Jessica Biel stars as Lia Haddock, a public radio journalist who goes poking around where she probably doesn’t belong to figure out what happened to 300 people at a neuroscience research community in Tennessee who suddenly went missing.

A blue hand reaches down to pick up a Dr. Manhattan mask in the middle of the remnants of a street fair. HBO

Watchmen

HBO, October

The newest adaptation of Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons’ Watchmen was somewhat controversial from the beginning given that it goes against Moore’s desire for his work to remain free of adaptations. In an extensive letter posted on Instagram, showrunner Damon Lindelof defended his decision to take on the epic comic, writing that he was “compelled [to adapt the novel] despite the inevitable pushback and hatred.” The series, however, will not follow in the footsteps of the previous 2009 film adaptation, shifting the focus away from the original cast of heroes with a present day setting. Following the platform’s giant 2019 hits like Game of Thrones and Chernobyl, Watchmen is looking to be the HBO show to watch in late 2019.

jim carrey in the second season of kidding holding an action figure with long hair that looks like his character from season 1 Nicole Wilder/SHOWTIME

Kidding (season 2)

Showtime, premieres Nov. 3

The first season of Kidding was a singular, balancing the brightness of the Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood-esque world of Mr. Pickles’ Puppet Time with the darkness harbored in the heart of its anchor, Jeff Piccirillo (Jim Carrey). Following his separation from his wife, the death of one of his twin sons (Cole Allen), and the sense that control over his own show was slipping away from him, Jeff’s life was in havoc at the beginning of the series. The show practically weaponizes Carrey as we dive into this beloved children’s show staple’s mind, using his elastic features and our collective impression of him as a funnyman to make it all the heartbreaking when the whimsical layers of Puppet Time peel back to reveal that Jeff is just as human — just as fallible, just as selfish, just as mean — as anyone else. The first season ended on a cliffhanger that irrevocably proves as much, and the second season (which boasts Ariana Grande as a guest star) is set to take things to the next level. —Karen Han

the mandalorian Lucasfilm

The Mandalorian

Disney Plus, premieres Nov. 12

The Mandalorian will not only be Disney’s first live-action Star Wars television show, but it will also headline the company’s new streaming service, Disney Plus. The series, which takes place between the original Stars Trilogy but before the newest, follows a Mandalorian warrior in a story heavily inspired by Boba Fett and his father, Jango. Helmed by Jon Favreau (of Iron Man fame), The Mandalorian stars Pedro Pascal (Game of Thrones) as the eponymous protagonist.

queen elizabeth II and her hubby walk the royal floor in the queen series Netflix

The Crown

Netflix, premieres Nov. 17

The third season of Netflix’s royal drama jumps ahead in time, and recasts Queen Elizabeth II. Claire Foy is out, Oscar-winner Olivia Colman is in, as the show documents 1964 through ’77. Helena Bonham Carter joins the show as Princess Margaret, and the rest is history.

the l word generation q cast assembles on the balcony of an la apartment Hilary B Gayle/SHOWTIME

The L Word: Generation Q

Showtime, premieres Dec. 8

For many a Gen X-er and millennial, The L Word communicated an internal logic and emotion that no other mainstream television show could. Now Showtime’s bringing the series back, with Jennifer Beals, Katherine Moennig and Leisha Hailey returning for the sequel series, a showrunner Marja-Lewis Ryan (The Four-Faced Liar, 6 Balloons) taking over for creator Ilene Chaiken, who executive produces. The official synopsis for the series promises “love, heartbreak, sex, setbacks and success in L.A..”

Work in Progress

Showtime, premieres Dec. 8

Lilly Wachowski won’t return to co-direct The Matrix 4, probably because she has her hands full helming episodes of this new comedy. The series follows stars Chicago improv vet Abby McEnany as a “45-year-old self-identified, fat, queer dyke” who finds herself in a transformative relationship with a millennial transman (Theo Germaine). McEnany produced an indie version of Work in Progress that screened at Sundance earlier this year. Showtime flipped, and now it’s a show we’ll all be keeping on our radars.

the cast of the expanse Amazon Studios

The Expanse (season 4)

Amazon Video, premieres Dec. 13

Jeff Bezos is apparently a huge fan of this sci-fi series, and to be fair, so are we. So we’re happy the billionaire saved the show from Syfy’s cancelation pile and brought over the new season to the streaming service.

henry cavill as geralt in netflix the witcher Image: Netflix

The Witcher

Netflix

The Witcher, per Netflix, is “an epic tale of fate and family.” Based off of the fantasy series of the same name (which famously sparked a video game franchise adaptation by CD Projekt Red), the series tracks Geralt of Rivia as he struggles to navigate an increasingly unstable Continent alongside Ciri and Yennefer. While reactions to early images of Henry Cavill’s Geralt look were a mixed bag, the series still holds promise with Freya Allan and Anya Chalotra rounding out the main cast as Ciri and Yennefer, respectively. The Witcher also fills an epic fantasy hole in Netflix’s original slate.

Devs

FX

Devs is about computers and murder. Following a young computer engineer named Lily Chan, the series digs the potential connections between her employer, a cutting-edge, San Francisco based tech company, and the murder of her boyfriend. Alex Garland, who most recently directed brilliant science-fiction adaptation Annihilation, is at the controls, with Andrew Macdonald and Allon Reich of DNA TV as well as Eli Bush and Scott Rudin, who also worked on both Annihilation and Ex Machina.

Paget Brewster as Emily Prentiss, Shemar Moore as Derek Morgan, and Kirsten Vangsness as Penelope Garcia in the season finale of season 12 CBS

Criminal Minds (season 15)

CBS

Criminal Minds parallels Supernatural’s American television lifespan, having debuted in September 2005 and airing its final season this fall. The series focuses on a group of behavioral profilers who work in the Behavioral Analysis Unit in the FBI, investigating both criminals and victims alike. A longtime ratings hit for CBS, the series seems to always be around on television if you commit to flipping through channels long enough. It’s been clear that the series has been winding down over the past several seasons — the final season has only been confirmed for 10 episodes. Despite this, the end of Criminal Minds is the end of an era, and the final season, which takes place after a time jump, will hopefully tie any of the series remaining loose ends.