Ghosted (Fox, Oct. 1)
Executive Producers: Tom Gormican, Kevin Etten, Craig Robinson, Adam Scott, Naomi Scott, Mark Schulman and Oly Obst
Stars: Craig Robertson, Adam Scott, Ally Walker, Adeel Akhtar, and Amber Stevens West
Cynical skeptic Leroy Wright (Robinson) and genius “true believer” in the paranormal Max Jennifer (Scott) are recruited to save the human race from aliens by a secret agency known as The Bureau Underground. Sure, this Los Angeles-set comedy’s premise sounds familiar, and there will be a healthy dose of nods to “The X-Files,” but the strength of the performers and the lighthearted cheekiness makes this one worth keeping tabs on.
Ten Days in the Valley (ABC, Oct. 1)
Creator: Tassie Cameron
Stars: Kyra Sedgwick, Abigail Pniowsky, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, Erika Christensen, Felix Solis, Francois Battiste, Josh Randal, Kick Gurry, Malcolm-Jamal Warner, and Ella Thomas
Kyra Sedgwick plays a TV writer and producer whose young daughter goes missing right from her house, an experience that creator Tassie Cameron (a Canadian writer/producer who previously worked on “Rookie Blue,” “Mary Kills People,” and “Flashpoint”) said at the Television Critics Association press tour was directly inspired by a recurring nightmare. “I was working alone late at night in my writing shed about 10 feet away from my house, and that it would be I’d finish writing, and I would come, and my back door would be locked, and I’d break in, and my kid would be gone,” she said to critics — a scene which literally opens the first episode. The showbiz setting offers an interesting edge to this psychological thriller, and Sedgwick has always been a captivating lead. It’s not an obvious show for ABC, but that makes it all the more exciting.
The Gifted (Fox, Oct. 2)
Executive Producers: Matt Nix, Singer, Lauren Shuler Donner, Simon Kinberg, Jeph Loeb, Jim Chory
Stars: Stephen Moyer, Amy Acker, Natalie Alyn Lind, and Percy Hynes White
As Marvel’s rapid TV takeover stretches into a new network with newer characters, this might be the show under that banner that has the best chance to succeed outside of any superpower intrigue. A family drama about parents and children dealing with the aftermath of some unexpected abilities, this takes the mutant allegory in a slightly different direction that its X-Men TV forebears. Yes, there’s still a government conspiracy and the four-person family follows a recognizable two parents-two kids dynamic. But this seems to have the particular blend of the ordinary and the extraordinary to support an ongoing, evolving series that can take that familiar framework and make it its own entity.
The Mayor (ABC, Oct. 3)
Stars: Brandon Micheal Hall, Lea Michele, Bernard David Jones, Marcel Spears, Yvette Nicole Brown, and David Spade
Mindhunter (Netflix, Oct. 13)
Executive Producers: David Fincher, Joshua Donen, Charlize Theron, Cean Chaffin
Stars: Jonathan Groff, Holt McCallany, Anna Torv, Hannah Gross
“Mindhunter” sounds a lot like “Minority Report,” except instead of taking place in a fictionalized future, this story actually happened in the not-too-distant past. Adapted from a book by Mark Olshaker and John E. Douglas, “Mindhunter” follows two FBI agents who are asked to dissect the fractured minds of serial killers so they can use what they find to help with existing investigations and prevent future murders. Jonathan Groff will play Special Agent Holden Ford and Holt McCallany is his partner, Bill Trench, who work to upend accepted ways of thought in terms of how serial killers become who they are and do what they do. Throw in a dose of David Fincher — who’s directing three episodes — and Netflix is hoping to have another “House of Cards”-sized hit on its hands. And it doesn’t even need Tom Cruise to get there.
Lore (Amazon, Oct. 13)
Executive Producers: Gale Anne Hurd, Ben Silverman, Howard T. Owens, Brett-Patrick Jenkins, Glen Morgan, Jon Halperin, Mark Mannucci
Stars: Robert Patrick, Adam Goldberg, Colm Feore, Campbell Scott, Kristin Bauer, Holland Roden
One of the hottest new trends in TV is…podcasts. With a TV version of “Homecoming” in the works (also from Amazon), “Alex, Inc.” on the horizon at ABC, and an upcoming set of “2 Dope Queens” specials set for next year at HBO, plenty of stories and shows from the podcast world are making the jump. But with “Lore,” TV is looking to add some visual, genre-mixed spookiness to go along with a few familiar skin-crawling stories. As Aaron Mahnke’s podcast anthology series comes to life in six installments, this could be an under-the-radar, pre-Halloween hit.
Queers (BBC America, Oct. 14)
BBC / Richard Ansett
Executive Producer: Mark Gatiss
Stars: Alan Cumming, Ben Whishaw, Rebecca Front, Russell Tovey, Gemma Whelan, Ian Gelder, Kadiff Kirwan and Fionn Whitehead
This series of eight short films from eight different writers have been curated and directed by Mark Gatiss. To observe the 50th anniversary of The Sexual Offences Act, which partially decriminalized homosexual acts between men in the UK, each of the films will examine the life of various British gay men in poignant, hilarious, tragic, a riotous ways. Besides the fact that almost anything with Ben Whishaw and Russell Tovey has our vote, Gatiss has earned a good reputation for storytelling with “Sherlock,” which is essentially three feature-length films each season. Although three of the writers, including Gatiss, are seasoned TV-writing veterans, five of them are newcomers, whose fresh voices will be welcome on a topic that still needs to be discussed today.
White Famous (Showtime, Oct. 15)
Executive Producers: Tom Kapinos (showrunner), Jamie Foxx
Stars: Jay Pharoah, Utkarsg Ambudkar, Cleopatra Coleman, Lonnie Chavis, Jacob Ming-Trent
Loosely based on Jamie Foxx’s experience as a successful comedian who developed a huge mainstream following, “White Famous” stars Jay Pharoah as a rising comic who is slowly becoming “white famous.” The show, the latest Hollywood comedy to come from Showtime, will guest star Meagan Good, Jack Davenport, Kendrick Sampson, Lyndon Smith and Natalie Zea. “Though issues of identity and race, I think, are intrinsic to the show, ‘White Famous’ is, more than anything, a comedy about the madness that comes with making it in Hollywood,” Showtime president/CEO David Nevins said at last month’s Television Critics Association press tour. “’White Famous’ is not timid, and the show doesn’t shy away from difficult topics.”
Up next: More from our Fall TV preview, including new projects from Spike Lee, Sarah Polley, and Amy Sedaris