Television doesn’t sleep. The sheer amount of content—over 450 scripted programs aired in the year 2017!—can prove overwhelming for even the most dedicated TV buffs. Television Academy voters make Emmy selections in August, and SAG-AFTRA members vote on SAG Awards in January, but their job requires tuning in all year long. Backstage is breaking down, month by month, the buzzy shows and performances that merit awards attention in the ever-growing landscape of the small screen. Mark your calendar and become a couch potato along with us!
While streaming services still have a lot to offer this month, September still belongs to the big broadcast networks. This month is all about the return of fan favorites, with new seasons of ABC’s “Black-ish” and “Modern Family,” CBS’ “Mom,” and NBC’s “The Good Place.” Alongside the familiar offerings, networks welcome a bevy of new comedies; CBS launches “Carol’s Second Act,” starring sitcom veteran Patricia Heaton alongside Kyle MacLachlan and Lucas Neff; ABC has spinoff “Mixed-ish,” and NBC has “Sunnyside,” just to name a few.
It’s not all about the comedies this month, though; procedurals abound, with “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit” launching its record-breaking 21st season (American TV’s longest-running primetime live-action show), and three iterations of “NCIS” returning to CBS at the end of the month. Streaming services and premium channels aren’t staying silent either. HBO launches the third season of “The Deuce,” while Netflix hosts its first Ryan Murphy project, “The Politician,” with an all-star cast. Check out the full list of September debuts below.
The end of September is busy for ABC, which welcomes the third season of Freddie Highmore’s “The Good Doctor” on the 23rd. The next day, the broadcast network debuts new seasons of comedy juggernaut “Black-ish,” starring current Emmy nominee Anthony Anderson, “The Conners” (in its second season without former titular star Roseanne Barr), and Season 2 of last year’s midseason replacement “Bless this Mess.” The evening also marks the debut of two new shows: “Mixed-ish,” a “Black-ish” prequel following the story of the childhood of Tracee Ellis Ross’ character Rainbow Johnson, and new drama “Emergence,” starring Allison Tolman as a Long Island police chief unraveling the mystery of a child suffering from amnesia at an accident.
The 25th is another big night for the network as it launches new seasons of its stalwart comedies “The Goldbergs” and “Modern Family,” and second seasons of promising comedies “Schooled” (a “Goldbergs” spinoff), and “Single Parents.” New crime drama “Stumptown” debuts the same night, adapted from the Oni Press comic book; the show stars sitcom veterans Cobie Smulders and Jake Johnson. Two Shonda Rhimes properties return Sept. 16: long-running medical drama “Grey’s Anatomy” for its 16th season on the 26th, and the Emmy-winning Viola Davis’ “How to Get Away With Murder” for its sixth and final season. These premiere alongside Season 2 of family drama “A Million Little Things.” The newest seasons of sitcoms “American Housewife” and “Fresh Off the Boat” finish out the week on the 27th, while the second season of Nathan Fillion vehicle “The Rookie” closes out ABC’s first month of fall debuts.
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Following controversy with its lead, Jeffery Tambor, “Transparent” will return for its finale, starring the great Gaby Hoffmann, Jay Duplass, Amy Landecker, and Judith Light. Forgoing a full fifth season, the acclaimed show with return with a single two-hour episode on the 27th featuring original music.
This broadcast network kicks off fall with two new shows on the 23rd. “All Rise” stars Marg Helgenberger, Simone Missick, Jessica Camacho, and Wilson Bethel in a LA-based legal procedural, and newest sitcom “Bob Hearts Abishola” features Billy Gardell and Folake Olowofoyeku. That same night, Michael Weatherly’s “Bull” returns for its fourth season, and Cedric the Entertainer and Max Greenfield reprise their roles in Season 2 of “The Neighborhood.” Three iterations of successful CBS franchise “NCIS” return this month, including the original “NCIS” and “NCIS: New Orleans” on the 24th, alongside Season 2 of Dick Wolf’s “FBI”; and on the 29th, “NCIS: Los Angeles” launches its newest season.
Sitcom veteran Patricia Heaton debuts her newest on the 26th; “Carol’s Second Act” also stars Kyle MacLachlan and Lucas Neff. CBS will launch two other new shows on the 26th: supernatural drama “Evil” starring Katja Herbers and Mike Colter, and comedy “The Unicorn” staring Walton Goggins, Rob Corddry, Michaela Watkins, and Omar Benson Miller. That same evening Anna Faris and the Emmy-winning Allison Janney return for Season 7 of “Mom,” as does “Big Bang Theory” prequel spinoff “Young Sheldon.” The broadcast network rounds out the month with new seasons of “Blue Bloods,” “Hawaii 5-0,” and “Magnum P.I.” on the 27th, plus Season 2 of “God Friended Me” on the 29th.
The second season of “Titans,” based on DC Comics’ “Teen Titans,” debuts on the 6th starring Brenton Thwaites, Anna Diop, Teagan Croft, and Ryan Potter.
Hulu’s Sept. 4 drama, “Wu-Tang: An American Saga,” is a take on the origins of the legendary hip-hop group Wu-Tang Clan, and stars Ashton Sanders of “Moonlight” as RZA alongside Shameik Moore, Siddiq Saunderson, Marcus Callender, Zolee Griggs, and Erika Alexander. On the 6th, the newest iteration of Hulu’s horror anthology “Into the Dark” premieres; “Into the Dark: Pure” presents a supernatural take on a classic coming-of-age story.
Fox kicks off the month on the 23rd with “Prodigal Son,” a dark comedy police procedural starring Tom Payne as an NYPD criminal psychologist with a serial killer for a father, played by Michael Sheen. Returning that same night for its third season is “9-1-1”; the first responder ensemble drama features a fabulous cast including Angela Bassett, Peter Krause, Oliver Stark, Aisha Hinds, Kenneth Choi, Rockmond Dunbar, Jennifer Love Hewitt, and Ryan Guzman. On the 24th, fan favorite “Empire” returns for its sixth and final season with Terrence Howard and Taraji P. Henson and without star Jussie Smollett. That same evening, the third season of “The Resident,” starring Matt Czuchry, Emily VanCamp, and Manish Dayal, begins.
On the 18th, “American Horror Story” returns for its ninth season; “American Horror Story: 1984” brings back stars Emma Roberts, Billie Lourd, Cody Fern, Leslie Grossman, and Angelica Ross. John Carroll Lynch, Matthew Morrison, and Gus Kenworthy join this season’s cast. Both returning for their second seasons, “Sons of Anarchy” spinoff “Mayans M.C.” begins new episodes on the 3rd, and Australian dark comedy “Mr. Inbetween” premieres on the 12th.
“It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia,” starring the hilarious Charlie Day, Glenn Howerton, Rob McElhenney, Kaitlin Olson, and Danny DeVito, returns for its 14th season Sept. 25. This premiere ties the show with “The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet” for longest-running live-action sitcom in U.S. TV history.
The third and final season of 1970s NYC drama “The Deuce” starring Maggie Gyllenhaal and James Franco (who plays identical twins) begins airing on the 9th. Also back for its third season Sept. 13 is the Duplass brothers’ anthology series “Room 104,” with each episode set in one hotel room exploring a different genre.
NBC launches its newest legal drama “Bluff City Law,” starring procedural veteran Jimmy Smits, on the 23rd. Ryan Eggold’s “New Amsterdam,” a medical drama based on the book “Twelve Patients: Life and Death at Bellevue Hospital,” debuts on the 24th; the same night critical darling “This Is Us” launches its fourth season. Sterling K. Brown, Milo Ventimiglia, Mandy Moore, Chris Sullivan, and Ron Cephas Jones are among those up for Emmy Awards Sept. 23.
On the 25th, the network welcomes new seasons of “Chicago Fire,” “Chicago Med,” and “Chicago P.D.” On the 26th NBC’s Thursday night lineup launches new seasons of “The Good Place” starring Kristen Bell, William Jackson Harper, Manny Jacinto, Jameela Jamil, D’Arcy Carden, and Emmy nominee Ted Danson, coming back for its fourth and final season; America Ferrera’s “Superstore,” in its fifth season; and Mariska Hargitay’s “Law & Order: SVU.” Two new comedies debut on the 26th: “Perfect Harmony,” starring Bradley Whitford as a former music professor-turned-small town resident, alongside Anna Camp, Tymberlee Hill, and Will Greenberg, and “Sunnyside,” starring and co-created by Kal Penn, centered around a New York politician fallen from grace, rebuilding his life in the borough of Queens.
On the sixth, the titan streaming service adds “The Spy,” a historical crime miniseries starring Sacha Baron Cohen as an Israeli Mossad agent in 1960s Damascus, from “Homeland” creator Gideon Raff. On the 12th, Kate Bosworth, Alex Pettyfer, and Natalie Martinez star in sci-fi drama “The I-Land,” and on the 13th, the final season of Ashton Kutcher’s sitcom “The Ranch” will be added. Also on the 13th, Kaitlyn Dever, Toni Collette, and Merritt Wever star in “Unbelievable,” a drama adapted from the Pulitzer Prize-winning article “An Unbelievable Story of Rape.”
“Criminal,” a new police drama, will be added on the 25th featuring a multilingual format, with the 12-episode season divided into four parts; each part takes place in a different country and stars a different cast. And Ryan Murphy’s first Netflix series debuts Sept. 27: “The Politician,” a dark comedy anthology featuring an impressive cast led by Ben Platt, Gwyneth Paltrow, Jessica Lange, Dylan McDermott, Lucy Boynton, Zoey Deutch, Bette Midler, Bob Balaban, January Jones, and Laura Dreyfuss.
British comedy-drama “The Durrells in Corfu,” from writer Simon Nye and originally on the U.K.’s ITV, starts its final season on the 29th.
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