Our Guide To The Overwhelming Fall TV Premieres: October’s New And Returning Shows



The television schedule is already packed. There were dozens and dozens of premieres in September, and depending how you feel about having more options to choose from than you can possibly consume, there’s good and/or bad news: October is jam-packed, too.

From new series like HBO’s trio of Westworld, Divorce, and Insecure to returning ratings giants like The Walking Dead, your DVR is going to get quite a workout. And that’s before we even get to the new streaming network dropping hours of binge-worthy options. We’ve done our best to help you make sense of it all, laying out all the premiere dates below, with write-ups for the new shows. Good luck out there, gang.


Versailles (Ovation)

At a glance: Louis XIV (George Blagden), still a young man and the untested king of France, has to defy petty nobles, palace intrigues, and scandals to turn his father’s hunting lodge into a modern beacon for a new France.

Should you give it a shot?: For all the dozens of scripted shows on the air, there’s a surprising dearth of costume dramas, and fans of the genre will definitely enjoy the elaborate production design and sprawling cast, but with more modern touches like plenty of sex and nudity and a brutal spymaster (Tygh Runyan) weeding out an assassin’s plot.

Chances it will be worth sticking with: A lot will depend on your love of French costume and palace intrigue. Costume drama fans will eat it up, but there may not be enough here to bring in any other audiences.

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Saturday Night Live (NBC)


Westworld (HBO)

At a Glance: HBO’s big futuristic sci-fi Western is finally here after an extended delay. Developed by Jonathan Nolan, the creator of Person of Interest and a collaborator on brother Christopher’s Dark Knight trilogy, the series is based on a 1973 film directed by Michael Crichton and follows the human guests and robotic hosts at an immersive Wild West theme park. Stars include Evan Rachel Wood, James Mardsen, Anthony Hopkins, and Ed Harris.

Should you give it a shot?: Absolutely. Even if sci-fi isn’t your thing, it’s an enough interesting premise to warrant a glance. (Murderous robot cowboys in the future!) HBO needs a hit on a big swing after the failure of Vinyl, especially with Game of Thrones coming to an end soon.

Chances it will be worth sticking with: Well, that’s the rub. The story quickly becomes layered and complicated as the various pieces start moving around the board, which can be successful and captivating when done right, but which can drive viewers mad if it drags. It’s earned a few weeks at least just on premise and pedigree, so let’s see if it can pull it off.


Madam Secretary (CBS)
Elementary (CBS)
Ash vs Evil Dead (Starz)
Blunt Talk (Starz)
Shameless (Showtime)


Timeless (NBC)

At a glance: What do you do when a bad guy steals a top secret time machine to travel back in time and change the outcomes of huge world events in order to destroy modern America? You find two smart people and an ass-kicking soldier to use the other top secret time machine to go back and stop him. Duh! The bad guy in question is master criminal Garcia Flynn (great villain name), played by Goran Višnjić, and Abigail Spencer, Matt Lanter, and Malcolm Barrett, respectively, play the history professor, soldier, and scientist who will chase him across time. Sure, this could be a lot more fun with Carmen Sandiego as the main villain, but Višnjić is a good actor.

Should you give it a shot?: It can’t hurt, but don’t get too attached. This is an incredibly ambitious idea for the Peacock, and it’s a fun one, too. Who doesn’t love when chaos theory is used as a plot device to ask, “What if?!?!” The problem, though, is that this series will presumably depend on a lot of special effects, and sometimes science fiction doesn’t look that great on television. Even when it does look good, people just don’t seem interested. (You were gone too soon, Almost Human.) But we should at least hope that Timeless has the same creative execution of, say, the first season of Heroes and not, you know, everything after.

Chances it will be worth sticking with: Coin flip. It’s so hard to commit to a network drama these days, especially one with this kind of premise. Timeless will have to wow viewers right out of the gates, but even then, will enough people watch to make NBC treat it like The Blacklist?

Conviction (ABC)

At a glance: Hayley Atwell plays a bad girl former First Daughter who gets busted with drugs and blackmailed by the district attorney — her “sexy nemesis,” in ABC’s own words — into using her brilliant legal mind to work on the most difficult of cases. That’s really what the show is about.

Should you give it a shot?: Only if you are the type of person who likes shows about lawyers who have bad attitudes and a sexy nemesis.

Chances it will be worth sticking with: There is a much greater chance that you will become livid that ABC canceled Agent Carter and put Atwell in this. Let’s just say the trailer does not look promising.


Scorpion (CBS)

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