Once upon a time, the Fall television season typically started the last week or so of September and you were lucky if you could pick out four or five shows of interest to sci fi and fantasy fans. That’s ancient history though with Peak TV running full speed ahead, and guess what? You’re already behind if you haven’t been paying attention to the schedule. Three shows got an early September start and more will keep coming in rapid-fire succession. But that’s okay. Get your double-double expressichino macchiato in its recycled, recyclable cup and knuckle down because I’m taking you on a caffeine-infused, lightspeed tour of the Fall shows (42 and counting) that will get you prepped and wired because you’re going to need a lot of the java-juice if you are going to try and watch all of these shows (or even half) over the next few months.
Quick catchup from last week: American Horror Story returned for its seventh season (FX, Tuesdays 10 PM EST) with the subtitle “Cult”. And it is delivering a true horror tale born right here in the U.S.: the 2016 presidential election. On Sunday, Starz’s Outlander returned for its third season (9 PM EST) continuing the tale of a woman from the 1940’s who goes back in time to 18th century Scotland and then goes back to her original time and now wants to go back again. You may need a scorecard to keep track of things there.
Also on Sunday, Fear the Walking Dead returned to continue its third season (AMC, 9 PM EST). But it’s really a Summer show, so nevermind that one.
Still catching up, the Star Trek-like comedy series The Orville had its debut on Sunday (FOX, 8 PM EST). That one is not to be confused with the actual upcoming Star Trek show Discovery that debuts on CBS on September 24th (before you will have to pony up six bucks a month to see the rest of the episodes on the CBS All Access streaming service). The Orville is also not to be confused with Amazon’s reboot of the Star Trek parody series Galaxy Quest that won’t debut until some point in 2018. And don't blink at the schedule because The Orville moves to Thursday 9 PM EST starting September 21st.
Still to come in September, Syfy’s season-long horror anthology Channel Zero (subtitled "No-End House") returns for its second year (Wednesdays 9 PM EST) on September 20th. That one is not to be confused with FX’s season long horror anthology series American Horror Story which has already started this season. Or Hulu’s season-long horror anthology series Freakish (S2 debuts October 18th) which is apparently no longer a season-long horror anthology series.
FOX’s Batman-prequel-without-Batman, Gotham, returns for its fourth season (Thursdays 8 PM EST) on September 21st. That show is not to be confused with, nor is it connected to, Syfy’s upcoming Superman-prequel-without-Superman Krypton which debuts in 2018.
FOX’s sequel series to The Exorcist returns on September 29th (Fridays 9 PM EST) as Father Ortega and Father Keane set off on new adventures with those wacky, possessed kids. On that same night the CBS reboot of MacGyver is back for its second year (Fridays 8 PM EST). That one is about as close as CBS will get to sci fi this season.
NBC’s The Good Place is back for its second season on September 20th before moving to its regular Thursday 8:30 PM EST timeslot. That one is about a woman who goes to the good place after she dies even though she should have gone to the bad place but she wants to stay in the good place so she tries to convince everybody in the good place that she doesn’t belong in the bad place. Got it?
French sci fi / horror series Missions debuts on AMC's streaming service Shudder on September 28th (I'm assuming they will include English subtitles). Like me, you probably never heard of Shudder, and you may start to shudder at the thought of yet another streaming service you will have to make a monthly payment to.
Lastly for September, ABC’s The Inhumans debuts on September 29th (Fridays 9 PM EST) after a not-so-big debut in IMAX theaters over Labor Day weekend. The good news: the bad CGI used for Medusa’s hair may not be so obvious on the small screen. Later in Fall, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. will take over that 9 PM EST Friday hour (hopefully with Ghost Rider still in tow) after The Inhumans wraps up its eight episode run.
On to October and out out of left field comes the Orson Scott Card penned series Extinct (Sundays 9 PM EST) which debuts on the first of the month on BYU TV (yes, you read that right). That show is about humans revived from extinction by aliens who want to rebuild human civilization. Turns out I actually have BYU TV as part of my satellite service, so I guess I'll give it a look. No word on whether that one will be worked into Sunday school services at the Mormon churches . . .
Also in October, The CW’s superhero shows will be back. Arrow moves to a new Thursday 9 PM EST timeslot starting October 12th. That show’s spin-off The Flash returns for its fourth season on October 10th (Tuesday 8 PM EST). Both of those shows’ spin-off Legends of Tomorrow returns the same night at 9 PM EST. Supergirl returns on October 9th (Mondays 8 PM EST) and it’s really not a spin-off of any of those shows because it started on CBS before the network execs said “Hey, this isn’t a cop show or sitcom!” and shifted it to the channel that they co-op with The WB. She still shows up in those other shows when a cross-over ratings boost is called for.
Also for The CW, the impossibly long-lived Supernatural returns for its thirteenth season on October 12th (Thursdays 8 PM EST). After Sam and Dean have fought demons, devils, angels, monsters, Leviathans, gods, overzealous fans and more, and have gone to Heaven, Hell, Purgatory and vintage TV land, the show is taking the next logical step. They will team up with Scooby Doo (no really).
Speaking of The Walking Dead (well, I was talking about that show’s prequel series a few paragraphs back), that one is back for its eighth season on October 22nd (Sundays 9 PM EST) sans the baseball-bat-skull-crushing cliffhanger, though viewers still appear to be dropping from the show like body parts off a zombie.
Over on FOX, comic book-based Lucifer is back for Season 3 on October 2nd (Mondays 8 PM EST) and will be followed by new comic book-based series The Gifted at 9 PM EST. That one is about young superheroes who must go on the run with their family from the government. It is not to be confused with Hulu’s Runaways (streaming premiere November 21st) about young superheroes on the run from their evil parents. Neither of those are to be confused with the young superhero shows New Warriors or Cloak and Dagger, both of which will debut on Freeform in 2018, or the young superhero shows Titans and Young Justice which will arrive on DC’s new streaming service next year.
Syfy’s vampire-pocalypse series Van Helsing (Thursdays 10 PM EST) returns for its second season on October 5th. That one is not to be confused with FX’s vampire-pocalypse series The Strain which is wrapping up after the Summer. It is also not to be confused with Syfy’s zombie-pocalypse series Z Nation (which returns at some point this Fall, but no premiere date yet). It is also not to be confused with Syfy’s paranormal-pocalypse series Aftermath which was cancelled last Fall.
New to Syfy this Fall is Ghost Wars (Thursdays 10 PM EST), about one or more people with exceptional supernatural powers who must fight off a great evil power and it debuts on October 5th. The next night, new series Superstition, about one or more people with exceptional supernatural powers who must fight off a great evil power, debuts at 10 PM EST. If you happen to miss an episode of one, the other will probably cover pretty much the same material . . .
Debuting later in Fall (November 29th) on Syfy is Happy! (Wednesdays 10 PM EST), the tale of a down-on-his-luck ex-cop whose life changes when he finds himself followed by a perpetually happy blue-winged horse . . . I have nothing more to say about that one . . .
By the way, about a year and a half ago Syfy claimed that it was going back to its science fiction roots. Here’s the scorecard on that based on their Fall programming: supernatural / horror shows – 4, WTF shows – 1, science fiction shows – 0.
Back to October premieres, on October 6th Once Upon A Time returns for its seventh season as it gets moved to Fridays at 8 PM EST after jettisoning the majority of its cast (and its audience). Another show that is still hanging on somehow, FOX’s end-of-the-world-comedy The Last Man on Earth (Sundays, 9:30 PM EST) returns on October 1st. That one will be preceded by FOX’s new paranormal comedy Ghosted (Sundays 8:30 PM EST) which debuts the same night.
On October 3rd, ABC’s Touched-by-an-Angel-with-snark series The Gospel of Kevin debuts (Tuesdays 10 PM EST). Though actually they have changed the name of that one to Kevin (Probably) Saves the World. They probably will change that title again before the show debuts, and it probably will need help from an angel to survive in that timeslot.
Coffee is starting to run low, so I’m going power through the rest of these: On October 11th, The Shannara Chronicles (Tuesdays, 10 PM EST), which used to be on MTV, will move to Spike which will soon be called the Paramount Network. And on that same night fans of Mr. Robot can say domo arigato because that show will be back for its third season on USA (10 PM EST).
Netflix’s 80’s throwback series Stranger Things returns for its second season on October 27th. BBC America’s mouthful of a series Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency is back for its second season October 14th (Saturdays 9 PM EST). Disney XD’s Star Wars: Rebels returns for its fourth and final season on October 16th (Mondays, 8:30 PM EST).
Late Fall entries will include Hulu’s time travel comedy Future Man which debuts November 14th. That one is not to be confused with FOX’s cancelled time travel comedy Making History nor NBC’s cancelled then uncancelled time travel series Timeless nor ABC’s cancelled and still cancelled time travel series Time After Time. Lastly, TNT’s The Librarians, Netflix’s The Punisher, and Amazon’s The Man in the High Castle will have late Fall debuts, though no official dates have been set yet.
And there you have it. In the span of a mucho-grande java drink, I’ve given you the rundown of the Fall sci fi and fantasy shows (you can see it in a more organized schedule-like format here). Now it’s time for a double Irish espresso shot with a chocolate coffee stout chaser. You’re going to need plenty of caffeine if you’re going to try and tackle any significant part of that schedule. But hey, it’s a great time to be alive if you love watching television! Let’s rev up that DVR and get the Wi Fi humming. Fall is here, I’m wired on coffee bean products, and I’m psyched! Let’s do this!