How is it September and is this the real-life (is this just fantasy?) we’ve been dreaming of? I’m not quite sure yet, but what I do know is that things still feel tentative as our kidlets head back to school, pumpkin spice returns for its annual invasion, and the dog days of summer are already behind us. As the days grow shorter, we’ll have plenty of evening time for a September of superlative storytelling. As you peruse the highlights of this month’s television offerings, I expect I’ll hear your gasps from all the way across the room, street — or country — because these series are not messing around. These are the shows that will kick off your autumn with a phenomenal line-up of incredible actors in truly inspired projects, so grab your remote and get cozy with your favorite picks (all of them).
September 1, 2021 (Disney+)
Adorable Dug the dog (Bob Peterson) from Up — don’t cry! — branches out on his own for continued adventures with Carl (Ed Asner) — okay, now you can cry. Squirrrrrrrrel (Simon Helberg) and many puppies will bring relief and laughter. Gather the kids and the snacks — and any stray pets — and enjoy!
Impeachment: American Crime Story
September 7, 2021 (FX)
Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk are back with what they do best: tantalizing us with reenactments of some of our nation’s most scandalous historical events. This round covers that infamous blue dress, Bill Clinton’s “I did not have sexual relations with that woman,” and the demonization of 22-year-old intern Monica Lewinsky (who’s behind the scenes as producer and advisor). With another standout cast — Beanie Feldstein, Sarah Paulson, Annaleigh Ashford, Clive Owen, Edie Falco, Billy Eichner, Judith Light, Mira Sorvino, Cobie Smulders, Margo Martindale, Blair Underwood, Kevin Pollak, Dan Bakkedahl, and Rae Dawn Chong — and a pocketful of Emmys, ours is but to tune in.
September 9, 2021 (AMC+)
Holy forkin’ WOW is about all I can utter at this jaw-dropping cast headed up by Mance Rayder, Littlefinger, and Daredevil …er, I mean Ciarán Hinds, Aidan Gillen, and Charlie Cox, and we’re just getting started. This original crime drama from Ciaran Donnelly (Vikings, Altered Carbon, Spooks, The Tudors) and Peter McKenna (The Last Kingdom, Red Rock, EastEnders) follows an Irish crime family up against another Dublin crew in the usual gang war type situation — only there’s nothing usual about this group of actors that also includes Maria Doyle Kennedy, Clare Dunne, Sam Keeley, Emmett J. Scanlan, Anthony Kinahan, Hannah Adeogun, Baz Black, and Keith McErlean. I’m not drooling; you’re drooling.
September 12, 2021 (HBO)
Before you even attempt to pick up your jaw after the last cast, let me lay this on you: Jessica Chastain and Oscar Isaac. NO, I’M NOT KIDDING. The award-winning A-listers reunite (after starring together in A Most Violent Year) for this adaptation of Ingmar Bergman’s 1973 Swedish miniseries about a married couple (what else) falling apart. Set over the course of ten years … oh never mind, just get a couple of boxes of tissues and prepare to cry and cry and cry. This five-part miniseries is directed by Hagai Levi (The Affair) and written by Levi and Amy Herzog (4000 Miles, Mary Jane).
September 13, 2021 (FX on Hulu)
The heavy-hitters keep on coming with this adaptation of Brian K. Vaughan and Pia Guerra’s apocalyptic comic series, starring Diane Lane as president and mother to the only surviving biologically male mammal, Yorick Brown, played by Ben Schnetzer (Happy Town, Snowden). Co-starring Olivia Thirlby, Amber Tamblyn, Diana Bang, Marin Ireland, and Elliot Fletcher, the story will also focus on how its particular deadly event affected trans people, as survivors try to rebuild society with changed attitudes towards gender. As transgender actor Fletcher notes: “ …post the event, Yorick can walk around without a mask on because he’s assumed to be trans, rather than pre-the event people are assumed to be cisgender. And so, I just think it flips the traditional idea of gender completely on its head, and so I was very comfortable joining a project that knew that ahead of time and committed to it fully.” These shared details plus the idea of Diane Lane leading a society of women mean I’m ready to fully commit to this series.
September 16, 2021 (FX on Hulu)
B.J. Novak created and hosts this experimental anthology that delves into a host of hot-button issues like social justice, identity, guns, and sex, and brings in some of our favorite people to take on each subject in self-contained stories. Lucas Hedges, Kaitlyn Dever, Jon Bernthal, Ben Platt, Tracee Ellis Ross, Daniel Dae Kim, Lola Kirke, O’Shea Jackson Jr., Soko, Ed Asner, George Wallace, Jermaine Fowler, Ayo Edebiri, Boyd Holbrook, Eric Lange, and Beau Bridges are just some of the folks dropping in to explore Novak’s take on sex tapes, celebrity, social media, revenge, love, and loss. This looks unlike anything else out right now and again, the slew of great names demands checking this series out.
September 24, 2021 (Apple TV+)
Based on Isaac Asimov’s Hugo Award-winning novels about a group of exiles up against the Galactic Empire, this sweeping science-fiction saga (expected to be over eighty episodes) boasts Jared Harris as mathematician and master psychohistorian Hari Seldon and Lee Pace as his brother, who just happens to be the current Emperor. Spearheaded by David S. Goyer (Batman Begins, The Dark Knight, and Blade trilogies) and Josh Friedman (Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, The Black Dahlia) and co-starring Lou Llobel as Gaal Dornick, Terrence Mann as Brother Dusk, Laura Birn as Eto Demerzel, this looks to be the epic space show we’ve been longing for.
September 21, 2021 (Netflix)
I don’t know about you, but the minute I heard that Hamish Linklater (Legion, Fargo, The Big Short) is playing a “charismatic priest” in a supernatural mystery, I was all in on this creeptastic new series from The Haunting of Hill House creator Mike Flanagan (Doctor Sleep, Absentia, The Haunting of Bly Manor). Add Friday Night Lights’ Zach Gilford as a bad boy not-so-coincidentally returning home around the same time Father Paul (Linklater) shows up, and I’m thinking the devil is in Linklater the details.