Fall's Best New Shows

Above Image | The Good Place's Kristen Bell and Ted Danson, Westworld's Evan Rachel Wood, Atlanta's Donald Glover, This Is Us' Mandy Moore, and Designated Survivor's Kiefer Sutherland.

Fall TV Preview 2016

Watching every single fall pilot isn't easy, but someone's gotta do it. EW's TV critic Jeff Jensen makes his picks for the series that rise to the top.

By Jeff Jensen
Photo illustration by Carly Klaire


SEPT. 19 | 10PM | NBC

Bad person Kristen Bell dies and gets mistakenly sent to something like heaven, a buggy designer community of assigned soul mates and fro-yo shops, meticulously imagineered by Ted Danson. A sharp satire of goodness from Parks and Recreation co-creator Michael Schur, The Good Place risks being too high-concept. But Bell and Danson are winning, and Schur's vision is truly inspired.


OCT. 2 | 9PM | HBO

Your next prestige geek obsession? Jonathan Nolan (Person of Interest) and Lisa Joy (Burn Notice) transform a cult classic about a high-tech Wild West theme park gone haywire into epic sci-fi existentialism and allegory about reality-blur entertainment. Anthony Hopkins, Ed Harris, and Jeffrey Wright ground the headiness, but it was Thandie Newton's arc in episode 2 that made me care.


SEPT. 6 | 10PM | FX

Community's Donald Glover graduates to showrunner-auteur, and with high honors. The creator/writer/EP/star plays a college dropout seeking purpose by managing his rapper cousin (Brian Tyree Henry) into a star. Brilliantly directed by Hiro Murai, Atlanta captivates with bluesy moodiness, dark comedy, and poignant takes on hustle and struggle. It's a risky, personal work in the vein of Louie, and just as rewarding.


SEPT. 20 | 10PM | NBC

A new-century generational drama, This Is Us is a moving marvel with an extraordinary cast, an intriguing approach, and a pretentious title that shouldn't be held against it. A diverse band of thirtysomethings who happen to have the same birthday struggle with issues of identity, personal history, and profound life events in a wise, grounded, funny story chockablock with surprise. Trust me. Just watch it.


SEPT. 21 | 10PM | ABC

Stripped of gruff and grumble, 24's Kiefer Sutherland plays a nerdy, earnest Cabinet secretary who gets elevated to prez when POTUS and almost everyone else in government gets blown up in a presumed terrorist attack. The slick, gripping pilot hooks you, and Sutherland—energized by the change of pace—is commanding and convincing. Not Jack Bauer, yet crackerjack as ever.