Gone are the days of appointment viewing — or are they? TV audiences are increasingly fragmented, with some viewers choosing to watch on demand, others streaming live programming, and still a handful committed to sitting down in front of the television three nights a week to watch “Big Brother” on linear CBS.
The editors at CordCutting.com have a wide range of watching habits and tastes. With the fall TV season shaping up to be far different than any in recent memory thanks to the dual writers and actors strikes, some of our TV schedules have been thrown for a loop — and some of us don't have TV schedules at all.
Below, check out what we’ll be watching as summer gives way to the season of getting cozy in front of your screen of choice.
Stephen Lovely, Editor-in-Chief
‘How to With John Wilson’
This is cheating a little bit. John Wilson’s strange and beautiful little show just wrapped its last season — the final episode aired Sept. 1 — but even a small dose of this HBO series is a beautiful thing.
Wilson obsessively films day-to-day life in New York City and assembles the footage into video collages loosely organized around a how-to concept — how to be spontaneous, for example, or, more practically, how to clean your ears — mixing rapid-fire visual gags and bizarre one-off scenes with strikingly personal interviews of the everyday weirdos who populate the city. It is, for my money, the single best show on TV right now.
‘The Continental: From the World of John Wick’
The John Wick films are brilliant spectacles built on and around the best action choreography in cinema. They’re also about world-building. Movie by movie — and with increasing intensity in each successive entry — the Wick flicks have built a complex lore around the assassins who appear on screen, fleshing out a rich world of comic-book coolness and absurdity. That world includes the Continental, a hotel in downtown Manhattan where the Wick universe’s countless assassins can network and relax, protected by a code that keeps them from offing each other while they’re inside.
The upcoming Peacock series “The Continental: From the World of John Wick” serves as a prequel to the films and will explore earlier days at the revered hotel for killers. Will it be good? I'm not sure. It remains to be seen whether the explosive choreography of the Wick theatrical series will work with smaller screens, smaller budgets, and few of the people who made the movies so great. That the TV series is also serving as the Mel Gibson career revival vehicle nobody asked for is a strike against it.
But will I give it a shot in a fall season that Hollywood’s work stoppages have left otherwise pretty barren of decent TV options? Sure. I’ll be watching when it drops Sept. 22.
Honorable mentions: “Bob’s Burgers” (Oct. 1)
Deanna Nguyen, Streaming Editor
I’m the resident anime watcher at CordCutting.com, so my first fall pick is the Netflix animated series “Castlevania: Nocturne,” which debuts Sept. 28. It’s a spinoff of the “Castlevania” animated series (also on Netflix) and follows Richter Belmont (Edward Bluemel), the last descendant of the Belmont Clan, during the French Revolution.
Full disclosure: I haven’t played the “Castlevania” games, but I devoured the hell out of the anime. Plus, I’m a sucker for good-looking vampires and, by extension, vampire hunters. The jaw-dropping fight sequences in the original series wowed me, so I’m expecting those to appear in the spinoff. I’m also one of those annoying people who makes spooky season their personality all year long, so what better way to celebrate the fall than to sit back and watch anime vampires and vampire hunters kill each other? It’s certainly a cozy watch for me.
‘The Apothecary Diaries’
On the Japanese anime side, I’m excited for “The Apothecary Diaries,” which will air in Japan and simulcast on Crunchyroll this October. I read the manga a while back and loved the premise, which is about a young pharmacist named Maomao who’s sold to the imperial palace as a servant. She tests the imperial court’s meals for poisoning while solving the mystery behind the emperor’s infants’ illnesses.
Based on what I’ve seen from the trailer, I have high hopes for this show. The animation looks stunning, which means the production company set the budget pretty high for a non-action story. I would love to hear the characters speak Mandarin rather than Japanese, but given the historical setting, it doesn’t take away from the court politics that are usually front and center in the Chinese dramas I’ve watched. The romance is subtle, which is perfect for me because I love a good slow burn.
Honorable mentions: “Spy x Family” (October), “The Saint’s Magic Power Is Omnipotent” (October), “The Ancient Magus’ Bride” (Oct. 5), “Scott Pilgrim Takes Off” (Nov. 17; see below), “Percy Jackson and the Olympians” (Dec. 20)
Andrew Cole, Internet Editor
‘Archer: The Final Season’
This one may be a little bit of a stretch for the fall calendar since the final season started airing on FXX on Aug. 30, but let’s be honest: I’m still going to be watching it well into the fall.
Thinking back to 2009, when “Archer” premiered, I was a different person. I was in my first year of college, I had an actual hairstyle, and the euphemistic humor and debonair glamor of Sterling Archer (voiced by H. John Benjamin) was like a well-developed tiramisu (or maybe a much less complex dessert) for a teenage Andrew.
In the same way I’ve changed since then, so has “Archer.” From its plots and settings to the characters themselves, “Archer” has developed into something more profound, more striking, more…sterling. Beyond the phallic quips, deep-cut references, and gunplay buffoonery from the early seasons, “Archer” has transformed its hodgepodge of dysfunctional operatives into characters I care about. This fall, I’ll be tuning in to the last season of “Archer” to complete a long ride of animation delight. I’ll miss it, but, hey, if “Futurama” gets to come back every couple of years, maybe “Archer” will take one more victory lap in the Danger Zone in the future.
‘Scott Pilgrim Takes Off’
As anyone here at CordCutting.com will tell you, I’m a sucker for rom-coms. When you mix top-level animation, a stacked cast, and a romantic entanglement with a mysterious neon-haired girl, I’m in. That’s why I won’t miss an episode of “Scott Pilgrim Takes Off” once it premieres Nov. 17. You got me, Netflix. Just when I thought maybe I could live without you, you pulled me back in with this soon-to-be masterpiece.
Lightning doesn’t usually strike twice, but it may be possible this time around. The original “Scott Pilgrim vs. the World” movie garnered over 70 nominations and awards and was viewed as a cultural phenomenon for bending genres and styles into something never seen before. To follow that up with a TV series could be a mistake, but the entire original cast is coming back to voice the characters and the animation style looks incredibly similar to the inside of a comic book. Will it be as amazing? Will Ramona (voiced by Mary Elizabeth Winstead) don at least 14 hair colors? Will the music of the Bob-Ombs and the soundtrack to the series rock half as hard? We’ll just have to find out in November.
Honorable mentions: “The Walking Dead: Daryl Dixon” (Sept. 10), “Monday Night Football” (Sept. 11), “The Continental: From the World of John Wick” (Sept. 22; see above), “Frasier” (Oct. 12), “Mr. and Mrs. Smith” (November), “Invincible” (Nov. 3)
Shari Weiss, Editor
I’m somewhat of a sucker for Chad Michael Murray, even though some members of the CordCutting.com team would argue he had the worst character development on “One Tree Hill.” His latest show, “Sullivan’s Crossing,” premiered on Canada’s CTV earlier this year. Now, thanks to the CW, the series is coming stateside Oct. 4, as the network has wisely filled much of its fall schedule with foreign imports and reality shows due to the WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes halting scripted production in the U.S.
Even though the previews I’ve seen haven’t wowed me, “Sullivan’s Crossing” seems to have vibes that harken back to the golden days of the WB, the CW’s predecessor. The show will give me a reason to tune back in to the CW, which was once the home of iconic teen dramas such as “One Tree Hill” and “Gossip Girl” before becoming overrun by comic-book fare and, lately, LIV Golf.
I may also check out the CW’s new season of “FBoy Island,” which previously streamed on Max. I’m not sure if I’ll watch “Sullivan’s Crossing” live each week or DVR it, but it’s a huge vote of confidence that the network has already renewed it for Season 2 before the first season even debuts in America.
I’m a relative newcomer to “Survivor” given that the series premiered in 2000 but I didn’t start watching until Season 34 aired in 2017. I’ve been hooked since, and now Season 45 will air on CBS starting Sept. 27. Like the previous four installments of the new era of “Survivor,” Season 45 doesn’t have a theme. There will, however, be one substantial difference from past editions:
With CBS, like the CW, leaning on reality shows to fill its fall schedule amidst the writers and actors strikes, the network will air expanded 90-minute episodes every week. That runtime was previously granted only for season premieres. Extra-long editions week in and week out have me feeling a little wary, since it feels like a much bigger time commitment even though, if you skip commercials, it’s probably only an extra 15 or 20 minutes. I likely won’t be watching live, but I’ll still watch the same night to avoid getting spoiled.
I’m also a little nervous that the additional time will be filled with more fluff instead of meaningful content, but maybe host and showrunner Jeff Probst will deliver the goods. One thing I’m looking forward to is the return of Probst’s companion podcast, “On Fire,” which launched last season and was a wonderful way to expand the franchise. Now just bring back the Ponderosa videos, please!
Honorable mentions: “MasterChef” (premiered in August), “The Challenge: USA” (premiered in August), “Dancing With the Stars” (TBA), “The Golden Bachelor” (Sept. 28), “Bachelor in Paradise” (Sept. 28)