The fall TV season is officially underway, bringing a swath of new TV shows and movies with it. Fresh series are dropping faster than the autumn leaves on broadcast, cable and streaming services like Netflix, Disney Plus, Apple TV Plus and more.
This weekend’s lineup is led by the series premiere of the sprawling sci-fi epic Foundation, adapted from Isaac Asimov’s seminal novel. In advance of Halloween, Mike Flanagan has a new horror tale to keep us all awake and terrified, Midnight Mass. And Star Wars: Visions puts a completely new, anime spin on the beloved franchise.
Also on deck are the final seasons of the college comedy Dear White People and the legal drama Goliath.
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And that’s not all: There are a ton of new TV shows and specials available on broadcast and cable. If you’ve cut the cord, just sign up for one of the best cable TV alternatives for access to your favorite channels.
Here are our picks for the new movies and TV shows to watch this weekend.
Foundation (Apple TV Plus)
Series premiere | Episodes 1-2 (TV-MA) | How to watch Foundation
Isaac Asimov’s classic book has long resisted adaptation. Which is probably why showrunner David S. Goyer decided against a strict interpretation. The series is a spectacle, to be sure, but also focuses deeply on its characters — some of whom have been changed to women. The story kicks off with mathematician Hari Seldon (Jared Harris) using a theory he developed to confirm that the Galactic Empire, which rules all of humanity, is on the verge of collapse. It is not too big to fail. Seldon wants to start a “foundation” preserving knowledge at the edge of the galaxy, but the powers that be, led by Brother Day (Lee Pace), are violently opposed.
Midnight Mass (Netflix)
Series premiere | Episodes 1-7 (TV-MA) | Watch now (opens in new tab)
The Haunting of Hill House creator Mike Flanagan delivers yet another spine-tingling tale, relying on his stable of usual suspects like Henry Thomas, Rahul Kohli, Kate Siegel (also Flanagan’s wife). Midnight Mass is set on Crockett Island, a sleepy and disaffected locale roiled by the return of the disgraced Riley Finn (Zach Gilford) and the arrival of charismatic priest Father Paul (Hamish Linklater). When unexplained miracles start taking place, the community slips into the grip of religious fervor and zealotry that soon beget darker, disturbing occurrences.
Dear White People (Netflix)
Season 4 premiere | Episodes 1-10 (TV-MA) | Watch now (opens in new tab)
For its final season, Dear White People transforms into a ‘90s jukebox musical featuring the cast performing song and dance. Performance of all kinds dominate the last chapter, which delves even deeper into what it means to be Black in white spaces. As graduation looms and a new class of radical thinkers arrives at Winchester University, Sam (Logan Browning) grapples with her own activism versus gaining the influence to effect change within the system. The music may be throwback, but the themes and questions that are raised are all extremely of the moment.
Star Wars: Visions (Disney Plus)
Series premiere | Episodes 1-9 (TV-PG) | Watch now (opens in new tab)
Luke, this is not your father’s (or mother’s) Star Wars. The anthology series presents nine shorts from Japanese anime studios, pushing the bounds of how Star Wars looks and feels. The compelling stories mostly stick to canon, though only one of them uses existing characters. Otherwise, these are refreshing, visually bold takes on the familiar galaxy far, far away. One of the episodes is a rock opera set on Tatooine! Another focuses on lightsaber-smiths, while “The Twins” is a jaw-dropping thriller about the fight between Dark Side twins over a kyber crystal. George Lucas took a lot of inspiration from Akira Kurosawa, and Star Wars: Visions brings that back full circle.
Goliath (Amazon Prime Video)
Season 4 premiere | Episodes 1-8 (TV-MA) | Watch now (opens in new tab)
After a break of nearly two years, Billy Bob Thornton returns as crusading lawyer Billy McBride — who, yes, survived being shot by Diana in the season 3 finale. Now, returns to his Big Law roots when Patty (Nina Arianda) lands a job at a prestigious firm in San Francisco. They set their sights on one of America’s most loathsome giants: the opioid industry. It’s a monumental task made tougher since Billy is still dealing with his history of addiction as well as chronic pain. Patty is distrustful, their partnership is tested and they will both have to risk it all to do what’s right.
Doom Patrol (HBO Max)
Season 3 premiere | Episodes 1-3 (TV-MA) | Watch now (opens in new tab)
The scarred, disfigured, traumatized superheroes of the Doom Patrol are back. The pandemic shortened filming on the second season, causing it to leave off on a huge cliffhanger. The team was encased in wax, while Niles (Timothy Dalton) could only watch in horror as Dorothy (Abi Montgomery) was snatched into the fire by Candlemaker. In season 3, the troubled heroes struggle with internal questions of who they are and who they want to be. Things get really complicated when Madame Rouge (Michelle Gomez) shows up in a time machine with a mission. Only problem is, she can’t remember what it is.
The Starling (Netflix)
Movie | 1 hr 42 min (PG-13) | Watch now (opens in new tab)
What is grief, if not love persevering? It seems like writer Matt Harris and director Theodore Melfi took that line from WandaVision and made a sentimental Hallmark melodrama out of it. Melissa McCarthy stars as a woman who has suffered a terrible tragedy. While her husband (Chris O’Dowd) takes his grief to a psychiatric facility, Lilly remains behind to hold things together. She’s not very successful at it, especially after a starling in her yard begins to torment her. Obsessed with quieting or killing it, Lilly turns to a local vet (Kevin Kline) who just happens to be a former therapist.
The Great British Baking Show (Netflix)
Season 12 premiere | Episode 1 (TV-PG) | How to watch The Great British Baking Show
Television’s most delightful comfort food returns with a dozen new bakers, who take on confectionary challenges under the big white tent. Like the installment, this one was filmed in a bubble so you can have peace of mind while drooling over all the cakes, cookies, tarts, pies, loaves, rolls and candies. Judges Paul Hollywood and Prue Leith are back, as are hosts Noel Fielding and Matt Lucas. And no need to feel any guilt about binge-watching; the show is rolling out one episode at a time, in both the U.K. and stateside.
Love on the Spectrum (Netflix)
Season 2 premiere | Episodes 1-6 (TV-14) | Watch now (opens in new tab)
The charming and sensitive docuseries continues following people on the autism spectrum as they navigate dating and romance. Season 2 brings back some familiar faces, like Michael, still searching for a girlfriend who appreciates his old-fashioned, gentlemanly ways. Mark and Chloe, both very likeable faces from the last round, find themselves matched on a date this time. There are newcomers, too, like Kassandra, an outgoing cosplayer who collects teeth. Teo is 22 and new to romance, so she must first go on dates with people of different genders to figure out her preference.
The Walking Dead: World Beyond (AMC Plus)
Season 2 premiere | Episode 1 (TV-MA) | Airs Sunday, Sept. 26 at 3 a.m. ET
The second and final season of this Walking Dead spinoff gets a week-ahead early premiere on AMC Plus, before it bows on cable. It concludes the journey of young friends Iris (Aliyah Royale), Hope (Alexa Mansour), Elton (Nicolas Cantu) and Silas (Hal Cumpston). The group has contended with the mysterious Civic Republic Military, but now one of their own has been taken into CRM custody. They must find a way to free Hope and stop whatever Elizabeth Kublek (Julia Ormond) and the CRM are planning. And somehow involved in all of this Jadis (Pollyanna McIntosh), first introduced in the flagship series as the leader of the trash people.
The 74th Annual Tony Awards (Paramount Plus)
Special | Airs Sunday, Sept. 26 at 7 p.m. ET
Broadway and the theater industry was hit hard by the pandemic. But the show must go on! The bright lights are shining once again, and the Tonys are finally celebrating the best productions and performances from the 2019-2020 season. Yes, it feels a bit like ancient history, but just go with it. The bulk of the Tony Awards will stream exclusively on Paramount Plus, which will be followed by The Tony Awards Presents: Broadway’s Back!, on both Paramount Plus and CBS. The live concert event will feature special performances by the three Best Musical contenders (Jagged Little Pill, Moulin Rouge: The Musical and Tina: The Tina Turner Musical), as well as the presentation of the three major Tonys for Best Musical, Best Play and Best Revival of a Play.