7 TV Shows to Watch (and 7 to Skip) This Fall

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It’s fall again at last, which means it’s time to wear your favorite sweaters, eat the crispest of crisp apples—and snuggle in to watch the best TV of the year. There are a lot of shows premiering or coming back for a new season this fall, and we watched hours of them to separate the wheat from the chaff and advise you on what to watch immediately (and what to skip completely).

To be frank, we’re not about to recommend mainstream shows like Kevin Can Wait, though there are certainly enough of those to give you something to watch pretty much every waking hour from dawn till dusk all month. But if you are looking for seven truly excellent shows—and seven to pass on, regardless of what your cousin or neighbor or best friend has to say—click through to discover some treasures (and tragedies).

  • Younger

    If you haven’t watched Younger yet, we’re jealous, because it means you have two full seasons to binge-watch before you get to season 3, which premieres September 28 at 10 p.m. EST on TV Land. Created by Darren Star, the mastermind behind Sex and the City, the show has all of the delight of that classic show—fashion, frivolity, fabulousness—only updated for the latest generation. Sutton Foster stars as a 40-something pretending to be 26 for a better job (and a better life), and Hilary Duff as her BFF. Expect smart plotlines, pithy dialogue, and the best outfits on TV right now.

  • Transparent

    Season 3 of Transparent came out September 22, and if you like, you can sit down and watch all 10 episodes back to back—they’re available on Amazon now. But this funny, smart, sad show isn’t a break from reality like much TV; instead, it acts as a magnifying glass, reminding us of our humanity and shining a light on those who don’t always have a voice, especially not in pop culture. Jeffrey Tambor as a transgender woman, Maura Pfefferman, is as superb as ever, and the series kicks off with an unflinching storyline that won’t let you escape from your day, but might bring out a good, cathartic cry.

  • Crisis in Six Scenes

    Woody Allen has made approximately 500 films, but has never written anything for TV before now, which is reason enough to check out Crisis in Six Scenes, starring, of all people, Miley Cyrus (alongside Allen himself). Taking place in the Sixties, Allen plays his usual character and Cyrus shakes things up (sample line from Cyrus: “I don’t dislike you; it’s just everything that you stand for”). Six episodes—er, scenes—available September 30 on Amazon.

  • Jane the Virgin

    Jane the Virgin has some issues—sometimes the writers forget about plot and focus far too heavily on drawing out romance, for example—but the series is super watchable, and as easy to down as a bowl of ice cream. If you’re looking for something serious, look elsewhere; but if you want something fun, get ready for the season 3 premiere on October 17 at 9 p.m. EST (and be sure to catch up on the first two seasons before then). The best character on the show by far is Jaime Camil‘s Rogelio De La Vega, who plays a seriously self-involved telenovela actor; the titular Jane is played by Gina Rodriguez.

  • Insecure

    Issa Rae‘s Insecure is relatable, hilarious, and supremely awkward. Makes sense, because Rae is the creator and star of seriously applauded webseries Awkward Black Girl, and her new series, premiering on HBO October 9, promises more of the same—and then some. Watch the pilot now and get stoked for the soon-to-be-released first season.

  • Fleabag

    Fleabag premiered in the U.K. in July, but was just released (with much fanfare) to Amazon last week. With some of the same humor as the excellent sleeper hit Love from earlier this year, this show stars Phoebe Waller-Bridge, who based the series off her play with the same name; to give you an idea of what you’re in for, her character calls herself a “greedy, perverted, selfish, apathetic, cynical, depraved, morally bankrupt woman who can’t even call herself a feminist.” But somehow, through all the drama, she manages to make it funny—if a little too real.

  • Divorce

    Honestly, Divorce is a difficult show to watch. If you were hoping Sarah Jessica Parker would return to TV with something even half as delightful as Sex and the City, you will be sorely disappointed. But she and Thomas Haden Church are both such good actors that it’s still worth watching, and Flight of the Conchords’ Jemaine Clement offers some sorely needed comic relief. Premieres on HBO October 9 at 10 p.m. EST.

  • Man with a Plan

    Man with a Plan has a deeply outdated premise—a guy takes care of his kids, LOL, how crazy!—and Matt LeBlanc is downright annoying. DNR.

  • Kevin Can Wait

    Starting with the terribly punny title and continuing out from there ad infinitum, there’s a lot to dislike about Kevin Can Wait. The sexist premise (a schlubby cop retires, excited to live a life of leisure, only to discover that his family needs gluing back together) suggests that only men can really save a family; if you need more reasons to pass, watch the trailer.

  • MacGyver

    It should surprise no one that MacGyver is awful. You probably weren’t considering watching this show in the first place, so learning that it’s unwatchable should be no low blow, but in case your little brother/weird cousin/ex-boyfriend has the terrible idea of watching this show, talk them down from the ledge and try something else.

  • The Great Indoors

    CBS is seriously striking out this fall, and though we could go on, we’ll leave their misses here, with The Great Indoors. The network recently apologized for their lack of diversity, which starts with this show and ripples on out from there; a TV network apologizing for lack of diversity—something they could’ve avoided in the first place—is a lot like someone intentionally stomping on someone’s foot and then saying they’re sorry. Also, star of the show Joel McHale is beyond annoying. That is all.

  • American Housewife

    American Housewife was originally called The Second Fattest Housewife in Westport when it was a pilot. Do you really need to know anything more about this show?

  • The Exorcist

    If you want the daylights scared out of you, watch the 1973 film The Exorcist. If you want the daylights scared out of you for completely different reasons, watch the fall 2016 TV show The Exorcist. It’s scary bad.

  • Berlin Station

    Ah, another espionage thriller on TV. Berlin Station seems as though it wants to be Homeland, but took a wrong turn somewhere and just floundered out somewhere around day one of filming. Definitely skip.


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