NME selects the best US and UK series launching before the end of the year
Autumn doesn’t just mean massive albums released in time for Christmas – it’s also when the most exciting new TV series launch and the biggest drama and comedy hits return for new seasons. Here’s NME‘s pick of what to watch on the box from now until December.
Fargo: Season two turns back the clock to 1979 and introduces a new cast led by Patrick Wilson, Ted Danson and Kirsten Dunst. The intriguing plot involves Wilson's police officer being assigned to protect then-Republican presidential candidate Ronald Reagan during his campaign stop in Fargo, so let's hope the Emmy-winning series can avoid a True Detective-style sophomore slump.
This Is England '90: The (final?) chapter in Shane Meadows' brilliantly gritty saga begins on Channel 4 this Sunday (September 13). Meadows has promised that the four episodes will feature "enormous transformation" in the lives of Lol, Woody, Shaun and the gang, all set against the backdrop of rave culture and the 1990 World Cup.
TFI Friday: June's TFI comeback episode was originally meant to be a one-off, but it proved so popular with viewers that Channel 4 has commissioned a new eight-part series to air in the run-up to Christmas. Chris Evans will be back presiding over what producers are calling a mix of "top celebrity guests, leading music acts and a variety of colourful segments."
The Muppets: Sky 1 has snapped up the UK rights to ABC's new The Muppets series, which is being billed as a "contemporary, documentary-style show" which will "lift the lid" on the Muppets' personal lives and romantic relationships for the first time. Kermit and Miss Piggy announced their separation in advance of the show's September 22 premiere, so expect plenty of tension...
American Horror Story: Hotel: TV's most deranged show should reach delirious new heights during season five, which features Lady Gaga in her first major TV role. She plays a glamorous hotel owner called Elizabeth who, co-creator Ryan Murphy teases, "has a nefarious plan that is revealed in the first episode and plays out over the season." Hotel opens its doors in early October.
Luther: The BBC has yet to announce when it's airing its new Luther two-parter, shot in London earlier this year, but it's definitely due this autumn. Idris Elba's morally dubious detective will be joined once again by Michael Smiley's Benny Silver and Dermot Crowley's DSU Martin Schenk, though we haven't been told if Ruth Wilson will be back as Alice Morgan. Fingers crossed.
Marvel's Jessica Jones: Following Daredevil's success, Netflix will be hoping for another huge hit with its second Marvel series. They've certainly nailed casting: Breaking Bad's Krysten Ritter stars as Jessica Jones, a former superhero who opens her own detective agency, while David Tennant and Carrie-Anne Moss appear in supporting roles. It launches on November 20.
Fresh Meat: We haven't heard from Jack Whitehall's JP and his mates at Manchester Medlock Uni since 2013, but the acclaimed comedy created by Peep Show's Jesse Armstrong and Sam Bain is due to return for a fourth series this autumn. Channel 4 hasn't confirmed when yet, but we do know there will be eight new episodes and – brace yourself – they're going to be the last ones ever.
Peep Show: Talking of Peep Show, Mitchell and Webb started shooting the ninth and apparently final series in July and it's expected to air on Channel 4 later this year. Fans who don't want to say goodbye shouldn't be totally disheartened, though – the show's creators have said, "We don't plan to kill them off so the opportunity to do more would be there if we chose to."
The Walking Dead: Hot on the heels of the successful launch of spin-off Fear The Walking Dead, the most-watched drama on US TV returns for its sixth season in October. Showrunner Scott M Gimple has revealed the new episodes will take "some direct stuff" from the original comic book, as well as offering some "backstory that you didn't get to see in the comic."
Scream Queens: Created by the American Horror Story team, this pitch-black comedy series is guaranteed to be a kitsch treat. It follows a series of murders at a sorority house whose residents include Emma Roberts, Lea Michele and Ariana Grande, but the real casting coup is iconic 'scream queen' Jamie Lee Curtis, who plays the university's dean. It debuts on Fox on September 22.
Empire: Don't expect season two of the hip-hop soap opera to tone anything down – Mariah Carey, Pitbull and Lenny Kravitz have all been lined up for guest appearances, while Oscar winner Marisa Tomei has been cast as a rival to Taraji P Henson's formidable Cookie Lyons. Ten episodes will air on Fox this autumn, followed by another eight early next year.