Fall TV season serves up what viewers want: sci-fi, fantasy
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Fickleness is paying off for the young.
Because Generation Z and a slice of millennials are more likely to drop and add streaming services in pursuit of tempting new shows, media companies are striving to give those restless customers what they want this fall.
The apparent answer: sci-fi and fantasy. With broadcast and cable outlets eager to keep pace, get ready for a galaxy of shows including a saga based on the venerated work of Isaac Asimov (“Foundation”), one with a “Lost” echo (“La Brea”), and additions to the Disney+ “Star Wars” family.
Not that older viewers don’t count. Last December’s season-two finale of “The Mandalorian” became the first non-Netflix offering to top Nielsen’s weekly list of streaming shows as measured by overall minutes watched, demographics aside.
As the fall TV season arrives in all its head-spinning, gazillion-outlets glory, there’s even a “Star Trek” spinoff for the really young set — kids — that demonstrates how strategically the industry is thinking.
“When you are able to capture a particular group, what you’re hoping for is as they move through life stages, that they continue to subscribe,” said Jennifer Chan, global insight director for Kantar Entertainment on Demand, a research service of consulting firm Kantar.
For those who prefer more grounded TV, whether dramas, comedies or docuseries, there’s plenty of choices to be had — but not all at once. While broadcast has its fall ducks in a row, some in the streaming world arrive fashionably late, as with “Just Like That ...” from HBO Max. The “Sex and the City” sequel has yet to set a debut date.
Here’s an overview of the new shows by genre, with premiere dates unless otherwise noted:
SCI-FI AND FANTASY
“La Brea,” NBC, Sept. 28. Mid-city Los Angeles has a sinking feeling, as a massive sinkhole pulls hundreds of people and buildings into a dangerous primeval land. With Natalie Zea and Jon Seda.
“Star Wars: Visions,” Disney+, Sept. 22. The space saga is reimagined again, through Japanese anime. The anthology series can be seen with the original Japanese voice actors or dubbed in English by a cast including Lucy Liu and Neil Patrick Harris.
“Foundation,” Apple TV+, Sept. 24. Isaac Asimov’s novels about a prolonged quest to save civilization have eluded adaptation no longer. Jared Harris stars as Hari Seldon, Lou Llobell as Gaal Dornick and Lee Pace as the galactic empire’s leader.
“Y: The Last Man,” Hulu, Sept. 13. In this adaptation of the comic book series, the apocalypse has wiped out all mammals with a Y chromosome — except for one man and his pet monkey. Ben Schnetzer and Diane Lane star.
“Invasion,” Apple TV+, Oct. 22. An alien invasion is tracked across the world and from different perspectives. The sprawling cast includes Shamier Anderson, Golshifteh Farahani, Sam Neill, Firas Nassar and Shioli Kutsuna.
“4400,” CW, Oct. 25. In a follow-up to “The 4400,” thousands of disappeared people return en masse to Detroit — all without memories of what occurred and all, like a Black WWII Army surgeon, from among society’s marginalized.
“The Book of Boba Fett,” Disney+, December (date to be announced). Set within the timeline of “The Mandalorian,” the spinoff follows bounty hunter Fett (Temuera Morrison) and his partner, mercenary Fennec Shand (Ming-Na Wen).
“Star Trek: Prodigy,” Paramount+, (date to be announced.) They don’t check driver’s licenses in space, as young alien outcasts gain control of a ship and gradually learn of Starfleet and its ideals in this kid-oriented animated series.
“Impeachment: American Crime Story,” FX, Sept. 7. President Bill Clinton’s impeachment trial is viewed from the viewpoint of Monica Lewinsky (Beanie Feldstein), Linda Tripp (Sarah Paulson) and Paula Jones (Annaleigh Ashford).
“Kin,” AMC+, Sept. 9. It’s the tight-knit Kinsella family vs. a drug kingpin in this Dublin-set gang drama from the makers of “Judas and the Black Messiah.” Charlie Cox and Ciarán Hinds are in the cast.
“American Rust,” Showtime, Sept. 12. Jeff Daniels and Maura Tierney star in an adaptation of the eponymous Philipp Meyer novel about a last-legs Rust Belt town and its residents, with a police chief’s family the focus.
“Scenes from a Marriage,” HBO, Sept. 12. Ingmar Bergman’s acclaimed 1973 Swedish series about marriage and divorce and what comes between is adapted as a modern American couple’s story. Oscar Isaac and Jessica Chastain star.
“Finding Alice,” Acorn TV, Sept. 13. Her husband’s sudden death leaves Alice (Keeley Hawes) to cope with widowhood, unhelpful family and police questions about the night Harry died. Hawes co-created the darkly comic drama.
“Dan Brown’s The Lost Symbol,” Peacock, Sept. 16. Young Harvard symbologist Robert Langdon’s mentor has been kidnapped and a global conspiracy is afoot in this adaptation of Brown’s eponymous novel. Ashley Zukerman stars.
“The Big Leap,” Fox, Sept. 20. Dogged by misfortune, people try to turn their lives around by competing in a reality dance show that could make or break them. Scott Foley, Teri Polo, Piper Perabo and Ser’Darius Blain star.
“NCIS: Hawai’i,” CBS, Sept. 20. Vanessa Lachey stars as a trailblazer in this franchise addition. Lachey’s Jane Tennant is the first female special agent in charge of the NCIS Pearl Harbor bureau and protecting national security.
“Ordinary Joe,” NBC, Sept. 20. How the course of a man’s life and those around him can be affected by a single decision is explored in three parallel timelines. James Wolk stars in the title role.
“Our Kind of People,” Fox, Sept. 21. A family revelation throws an upper-class Black community on Martha’s Vineyard into turmoil in what’s described as a “soapy” look at race and class in America. With Yaya DaCosta and Morris Chestnut.
“FBI: International,” CBS, Sept. 21. Meet the FBI’s “international fly team,” based in Europe and ready to protect American citizens from threat wherever that may be. The cast includes Luke Kleintank and Heida Reed.
“CSI: Vegas,” CBS, Oct. 6. Original “CSI” stars William Peterson and Jorja Fox are back on their old Sin City stomping grounds for this reboot, working with a new forensics team led by Paula Newsome.
“Dopesick,” Hulu, Oct. 13. America’s opioid addiction crisis is examined from the vantage points of Big Pharma drug companies, a Virginia mining community and the federal government. With Michael Keaton, Peter Sarsgaard, and Rosario Dawson.
“Queens,” ABC, Oct. 19. Four women who were hip-hop legends in the 1990s decide age is just a number, uniting to regain their former fame and glory. Eve, Naturi Naughton, Nadine Velazquez and Brandy star.
“Dexter: New Blood,” Showtime, Nov. 7. The Miami blood-spatter analyst and serial killer (Michael C. Hall) is hiding in a small New York town in what’s been deemed a second chance to give the original “Dexter” a proper ending.
“Yellowjackets,” Showtime, Nov. 14. A high school girls soccer team survives a plane crash in a remote area, setting the table for a combo survival, horror and coming-of-age saga. Melanie Lynskey, Juliette Lewis and Christina Ricci star.
“Cowboy Bebop,” Netflix, Nov. 19. Three bounty hunters are after the galaxy’s most-wanted and running from their pasts in a live-action adaptation of the popular anime series. John Cho, Mustafa Shakir and Daniella Pineda star.
“The Hot Zone: Anthrax,” National Geographic, Nov. 28. A deadly, post-9/11 series of disease-laced letters has America on edge, and a FBI agent (Daniel Dae Kim) and scientist (Tony Goldwyn) are on the killer’s trail.
“Doogie Kamealoha, M.D.,” Disney+, Sept. 8. There’s a teenage doctor in the house once more, with a dramedy based on “Doogie Howser, M.D.” This time, the prodigy is Lahela aka Doogie (Peyton Elizabeth Lee) of Hawaii.
“The Premise,” Sept. 16, FX on Hulu. Created by B.J. Novak (“The Office”), the anthology series promises a provocative and comedic take on issues including sex, capitalism and social justice. Ben Platt and Tracee Ellis Ross are among the stars.
“The Wonder Years,” ABC, Sept. 22. Like the original narrated by Daniel Stern, this is about a boy and his middle-class family during the 1960s. But this time the family is Black, the setting is Alabama and Don Cheadle does the voiceover.
“Ghosts,” CBS, Oct. 7. Rose McIver and Utkarsh Ambudkar star as couple who ambitiously decide to convert a rundown old mansion into a B&B. Then the ragtag group of ghosts who live there weigh in.
REALITY SHOWS AND CONTESTS
“Frogger,” Peacock, Sept. 9. The video game franchise born circa 1980 comes to TV, promising to drop viewers and contestants into the “wild, whimsical” and challenging Frogger world. Damon Wayans Jr. and Kyle Brandt are the hosts.
“Alter Ego,” Fox, Sept. 22. Motion-capture technology helps singing contestants create their ideal avatars, with their performances to be judged by Alanis Morissette, Nick Lachey, Grimes and will.i.am.
“Home Sweet Home,” NBC, Oct. 15. Filmmaker Ava DuVernay is the creator-producer of this life-swap series that puts two families per episode in each other’s shoes, or houses, to gain a new perspective.
“The Activist,” CBS, Oct. 22. A competition series with a social conscience: Teams vie to bring change to the arenas of health, education or the environment, seeking funding from world leaders at an international summit.
“Meet Your Makers Showdown,” Discovery+, Nov. 27. Artists compete in media including paper and stained glass, judged by LeAnn Rhimes and Mark Montano. The host is craft enthusiast and “This Is Us” star Chrissy Metz.
“LulaRich,” Amazon, Sept. 10. Multi-level marketing business LuLaRoe, which denied allegations of operating as a pyramid scheme in a recent settlement with the Washington state attorney general’s office, is scrutinized in this four-part series.
“Muhammad Ali,” PBS, Sept. 19. The legendary boxer and activist gets the Ken Burns treatment in a four-part film described as a portrait of a man who was “unconditionally himself.” Directed by Burns with Sarah Burns and David McMahon.
“Among the Stars,” Disney+, October (date to be announced). Go along for the ride with astronaut Chris Cassidy as he undertakes his final mission to space, helping to repair a science experiment aimed at finding the universe’s origins.