Feeling the pressure of an overabundance of great, buzzworthy TV?
Narrowing down what you should be adding to your DVR queue each fall is tough. So why not cater your TV watching to your tastes? Sometimes, you want something big and meaty to chew on all night, and sometimes you’re more in the mood for something light and fluffy. To help you decide on your evening meals, here’s our menu for all the new shows you can watch this fall.
When you want to spend time watching people (or puppets) who look familiar, these are the shows to veg out with.
There aren’t many creative properties as beloved as the Muppets, who return for a new show this fall. The premise: It’s an “Office”-style mockumentary about the filming of a late night talk show Miss Piggy is hosting. Backstage hijinks abound, and the Internet was afire a few weeks ago with the news that Kermit and Piggy had split, and Kermit was seeing a new pig. Is all of this a bit too 2015 for a group of puppets from the ’70s? You’ll have to decide for yourself.
Tuesday, Sept. 22, 8 p.m., ABC
‘Life in Pieces’
Sitcoms about families are nothing new, but this show debuts a new way of making sure everyone in the family gets equal attention. Each episode is split into four vignettes, with each one following a different member of the family, from the adult children, played by Thomas Sadoski, Colin Hanks and Betsy Brandt, to the parents, played by Dianne Wiest and James Brolin.
Monday, Sept. 21, 8:30 p.m., CBS
Rob Lowe’s career has taken a lot of turns over the years, but recently he’s been having fun making fun of his own sheer attractiveness, as he did on “Parks and Recreation,” and now on “The Grinder.” He plays an actor best known for portraying an over-the-top TV lawyer, who has since decided to move back to his hometown to help out his actual lawyer brother, who’s played by Fred Savage. Not surprisingly, Savage is not thrilled by the presence of his older, famous sibling.
Tuesday, Sept. 29, 8:30 p.m., FOX
“Brilliant, eccentric man outsmarts everyone around him” gets another turn with this new procedural, with Morris Chestnut starring as the titular Rosewood, who runs a private, high-tech autopsy business, and is brought in to consult with the local police department. He’s more “Castle” than “House,” but with a twist: He’s got a series of serious, life-threatening health issues, none of which affect his day-to-day functioning, but which you can expect to arise at dramatic moments.
Wednesday, Sept. 23, 8 p.m., FOX
Cocktails after work
Sometimes you’re just looking for a good time. Try these for tart — but occasionally hard-hitting — takes on a range of unusual topics.
The latest superhero show is finally, for once, starring a woman. Supergirl is a little Ally McBeal-esque — Melissa Benoist’s Kara Danvers (Clark Kent’s cousin) is smart and competent, but lacking a little bit in confidence. Fitting, then, that Calista Flockhart returns to network television as her “Devil Wears Prada”- channeling boss. Though the show has its romcom side, it also devotes a whole scene to discussing whether “girl” is really an appropriate name for its heroine.
Monday, Oct. 26, 8:30 p.m., CBS
‘Crazy Ex Girlfriend’
This dark dramedy is exploring what leads someone to fit the stereotype of the “crazy ex girlfriend.” Oh, and the crazy ex frequently imagines that parts of her life are a musical. Have you already stopped reading? Hopefully not, because the show, at least in the pilot sent to critics, is pulling off that mix of genres perfectly, with music comedy star Rachel Bloom stepping into her first starring TV role. It might be the most unusual show on this fall.
Monday, Oct. 12, 8 p.m., CW
Hulu seems to be interested in dark comedies for its original programming, between this and the catty “Difficult People.” This show comes from Jason Reitman, of “Juno” fame, and stars Michaela Watkins (“Saturday Night Live,” “Trophy Wife”). Here, she’s a therapist trying to adjust to the changes in her own life, after her husband leaves her for a younger woman and she and her teenage daughter have to move in with her possibly suicidal brother, who created a popular dating site. It’s a lot of premise, but the show is mostly about hanging out with their small, struggling, but always funny, family.
Wednesday, Oct. 7, Hulu
John Stamos returns to TV in this show about a playboy restaurant owner who discovers, in one of the all-time weirdest days, that he’s both a father and a grandfather, as his previously unknown son has a baby. Can he adjust to being a family man? Stamos is very much playing to his own persona, but when that’s as charming as it is here, we’re not going to complain. Seriously, does the man never age? Extra credit here for the always-welcome presence of Paget Brewster, who plays the mother of his son, and perhaps the lost love of his life (of course).
Tuesday, Sept. 29, 8 p.m., FOX
For the carnivores
If you’re looking to really indulge in your TV time, and you like your steak rare and bloody, these are the shows for you.
Fans of “Sons of Anarchy” should check this one out, since it comes from ‘SOA’ creator Kurt Sutter. It also stars Katey Sagal, his real-life wife, who played Gemma on the earlier show. This one seems likely to be just as dark and gory as the first, but with a big change: It’s set in the medieval era, which we assume means significantly fewer motorcycles will appear. Stephen Moyer of “True Blood” also stars, and newcomer Lee Jones takes on the starring role.
Tuesday, Sept. 15, 10 p.m., FX
While people might have been a little hesitant about the idea of a “Fargo” TV adaptation, the huge critical and popular success of the first season put those concerns to rest. The new season jumps back in time to the ’70s, and features a whole new cast, with Patrick Wilson as your stoic lawman, accompanied by Ted Danson. There’s a range of other familiar faces, playing characters of varying morality that we don’t want to spoil here, from Kirsten Dunst to Nick Offerman and Brad Garrett.
Monday, Oct. 12, 10 p.m., FX
Not to be confused with the more supernaturally inclined “American Horror Story,” this new series from Ryan Murphy both stars the official Scream Queen herself, Jamie Lee Curtis, and pays homage to the clever meta commentary of the “Scream” movies. Emma Roberts plays a sociopathic sorority queen bee, who would lead her group of girls to greatness if only they weren’t getting brutally murdered one by one. Prepare to be offended, amused and grossed out, all at once.
Tuesday, Sept. 22, 8 p.m., FOX
‘American Horror Story: Hotel’
The latest incarnation of Ryan Murphy’s somehow interconnected horror anthology series is sadly missing longtime star Jessica Lange, who decamped to work on a play. But there are plenty of other familiar faces from the course of the show’s run, with Angela Bassett, Kathy Bates, Chloe Sevigny and Sarah Paulson all stepping back in for the latest go-round, which takes place in a presumably haunted hotel. Oh, and a young unknown actress called Lady Gaga owns the hotel, and is in a relationship with both Bassett and Matt Bomer, to which we can only say, kudos!
Wednesday, Oct. 7, 10 p.m., FX
Erika Christensen is making quite the jump from the tearful melodrama of her last show, “Parenthood.” Here, she’ll be playing the paramour of an extremely murderous Ed Westwick, set against the backdrop of the LA club scene in the ’80s. Elton from “Clueless” (fine, Jeremy Sisto) plays the cop who will be trying to hunt them down. Expect ’80s music homages, poufy hair and a lot of violence.
Tuesday, Oct. 27, 10 p.m., ABC
Sushi and fusion
Sometimes, you want something tasty but light that’ll keep you moving into the night. This is what you should watch if you’re on the run.
We have to give Jaimie Alexander the “devoted to her craft” award for this one: It takes hours to apply the full body fake tattoos she wears as the main character in this thriller. She plays an amnesiac who’s discovered completely naked and covered in tattoos in a bag in the middle of Times Square. And it’s really too bad she can’t remember anything. All those tattoos seem to be clues about potential crimes, and she and her FBI keepers have to decode them. Couldn’t the people who tattooed her have just sent a nice clear email instead?
Monday, Sept. 21, 10 p.m., NBC
Remember that 2011 Bradley Cooper movie about a man who takes a magical drug that helps him use more of his brain power? This is the same thing, but with a new young dude trying the drug. B. Coop will be stopping by for occasional guest spots as his character from the movie, but this is mostly a cop procedural starring Jake McDorman, who teams up with a tough FBI agent played by Jennifer Carpenter of “Dexter.” We’re hoping this round of police work doesn’t involve her accidentally working with a murderer.
Tuesday, Sept. 22, 10 p.m., CBS
Get ready for timeline confusion: Each episode of “Quantico” swings between the aftermath of a terrorist attack, and the training of a group of FBI recruits, one of whom may have committed the attack. The series features Bollywood star Priyanka Chopra as the recruit accused of the crime, who must scramble to figure out who the actual perpetrator was. Place your bets now on which recruit you think might have done it.
Sunday, Sept. 27, 10 p.m., ABC
Remember how frustrated you were with the way “Heroes” ended? NBC is hoping you’ll forgive them. This new series reboots the show after the events of the original series, but you’ll still see some familiar faces, including Jack Coleman, Masi Oka and Sendhil Ramamurthy. Zachary Levi joins the cast, but we’re guessing if they have to save another cheerleader to save the world, it won’t be him.
Thursday, Sept. 24, 8 p.m., NBC
This show is the first TV adaptation of one of Steven Spielberg’s movies, and picks up where his 2002 adaptation of the Philip K. Dick story left off. Here, instead of Tom Cruise, the action centers on one of the psychics (played by Broadway star Stark Sands), who decides to go back to solving future crimes, even though the movie argued that that was a bad idea. The downside is that he won’t have his siblings to help him out, so he turns to a cop played by Meagan Good for help.
Monday, Sept. 21, 9 p.m., FOX
‘Blood and Oil’
Don Johnson returns to TV as a fracking entrepreneur, torn between his son, an arrogant screwup, and a new surrogate son, played by Chace Crawford, who has all the initiative and good heart he wishes his real son had. The show takes place in North Dakota, but we’re assuming “North Dakota” just didn’t ring as a title the way “Dallas,” the show’s most obvious precursor, did.
Sunday, Sept. 27, 9 p.m., ABC