TV seasons are a thing of the past, but the fall still sees a lot of new releases. Among the flurry of untested series — a.k.a. brand new shows — there are quite a few returning favorites ready to top their already stellar past seasons. They’re reliable picks for an audience already overwhelmed with options, but even these highly anticipated entries can still get lost in the shuffle.
So fear not, dear readers. The Very Good TV Podcast has got your back. On this week’s episode, IndieWire TV Editor Lisa Shannon Miller and TV Critic Ben Travers have collected the 10 most important, exciting, or intriguing returning series to make sure your favorites don’t go overlooked. Or, if you missed some of these the first time through, maybe there’s a new favorite to be had.
Listen to the episode below, or check out a truncated list of the series with return dates, networks, and a brief explanation for why they matter. These series represent the best of what we’ve seen before and hope to see again, for many years to come. Bottom line: No matter how you cut it, there’s still a lot of great television left in 2017.
Season 2 airs new episodes Thursdays on FX
Pamela Adlon returns as the mother you don’t want to mess with, desperately want to be friends with, and who loves in a way we can only aspire to emulate. Since it’s already debuted, we can safely say: This is a great season of television.
“The Good Place”
Season 2 premieres Wednesday, September 20 on NBC.
After a twisty opening few episodes, Michael Schur’s NBC comedy settled into an endearing groove before laying one whopper of a surprise in the series finale. Ted Danson and Kristen Bell can’t be beat when it comes to comic pairings, and the series itself has developed into a refreshing blend of goodhearted humor and invigoratingly original concepts.
Season 2 premieres Tuesday, September 26 on Fox
Listen, we know this reboot of the classic ’80s film franchise isn’t exactly reinventing the wheel when it comes to buddy cop shows, but Clayne Crawford and impressive action sequences make the Fox drama an enjoyable change of pace from more serious fall fare (and a very fun binge if you’re catching up via Hulu).
Season 5 premieres Tuesday, September 26 on Fox
If you had any doubts about how much you’ve missed “Brooklyn Nine-Nine,” Michael Schur’s second jovial ensemble comedy that we’re recommending, check out the new season of “BoJack Horseman.” Andre Braugher guest stars, and the second you hear his voice, you’ll realize, “Oh, I love Andre Braugher. I want more of him.” Well, here’s your shot.
Season 2 premieres Wednesday, September 27 on ABC
Kiefer Sutherland returns with Maggie Q and Kal Penn for another season of “The Accidental President.” Wait. That’s not the title? That should be the title. Well, here’s hoping there are more scenes where Maggie Q punches people. That’s really the best reason to watch.
Season 7 premieres Thursday, October 5 on ABC
It’s the end of “Scandal”! As Shonda Rhimes prepares to take her talents to Netflix, her landmark ABC series is closing its doors with one final go ’round the White House. The fate of Kerry Washington hangs in the balance.
Season 3 premieres Wednesday, October 11 on USA
Sam Esmail’s drama may have been snubbed at the Emmys for its second season, but that’s no reason to expect less from Season 3. The inventive, mysterious, and visually stunning series looks to have plenty more tricks up its sleeve.
Season 3 premieres in October on Amazon Prime
“Red Oaks” is great. Really, it’s great. Paul Reiser. Richard Kind. A talented cast of young ‘uns. This ’80s Amazon comedy is pure joy through and through, and you’re only hurting yourself if you choose not to watch. Give it a go, and don’t miss its premiere + panel conversation with David Gordon Green, Reiser, and more at the Tribeca TV Festival on September 24.
“The Girlfriend Experience”
Season 2 premieres Sunday, November 5 on Starz
If the rule-breaking first season of “The Girlfriend Experience” — from producers Steven Soderbergh, Lodge Kerrigan, and Amy Seimetz — wasn’t enough for you, Season 2 is changing things up even further. Two separate narratives play out with two different characters getting their own time to shine, as the new season devotes episodes entirely to one story or the other with no overlap. Get ready for some surprises.
Season 2 premieres Friday, December 8 on Netflix
Sneaking in right before Christmas is Netflix’s Emmy-winning drama, “The Crown.” This one wasn’t brought up on the podcast, but we couldn’t help but include Peter Morgan’s gorgeous series on the list. Think of it like a bonus pick; that extra present under the tree you missed on first glance.
Listen to the episode above, and don’t forget to subscribe to Very Good TV Podcast via Soundcloud or iTunes, and follow IndieWire on Twitter and Facebook for all your pertinent TV news. Check out Liz and Ben’s Twitter feeds for more, more, more. Plus, don’t forget to listen to IndieWire’s other podcasts: Screen Talk with Eric Kohn and Anne Thompson, Filmmaker Toolkit Podcast with Chris O’Falt, as well as Michael Schneider’s new podcast, Turn It On, which spotlights the most important TV of each week.