There’s a whole lot of #scifi and #fantasy on the schedule for this Fall (as you can see here), and it is getting harder and harder to keep up with everything that is airing / streaming. Not only are there around thirty returning shows, I currently count thirteen new entries scheduled to have their debuts between now and the end of November. I have all of those listed here (and could add more if I learn of some that slipped off the radar) and I rank them based on how I will prioritize my viewing going in to the season. Note that I have only seen the same trailers you have up to this point, so my opinion is pretty subjective, but hopefully this will inform you of the new sci fi on the way and help you decide which ones you will be checking out. And be sure to keep up with the latest news and updates with my column This Week In Sci-Fi TV on Fridays (sometimes Saturdays) as well as the renewal / cancellation prospects of your favorite shows with the Sci-Fi TV Status Report on Tuesdays.
1. Star Trek: Discovery
- Premieres: September 24th
- Streaming: CBS All Access
- Starring: Sonequa Martin-Green, Doug Jones, Michelle Yeoh, Anthony Rapp
- About: Star Trek returns to television as this show follows the adventures of the starship Discovery and focuses on the Lieutenant Commander Michael Burnham played by Sonequa Martin-Green. Note that it will debut on CBS on September 24th then be available only on that network’s streaming service CBS All Access.
- Comments: No matter where you stand on this one, you know you are going to at least watch the premiere. That will air on CBS before you have to pay to see it on the network’s All Access streaming service. I have high hopes for this show and will give it some time to find itself, because remember how bad the first season of Star Trek: TNG was.
2. The Orville
- Premieres: September 10th
- Airs: FOX, Thursdays 9 PM EST
- Starring: Seth MacFarlane, Adrianne Palicki, Scott Grimes, Peter Macon
- About: This Galaxy Quest-type series from Seth MacFarlane follows the crew of the “mid-level exploratory spaceship” The Orville as it sets off into the galaxy for mundane adventures in the 25th century. Note that the show is getting an early premiere on September 10th at 8 PM EST before taking up its regular timeslot on Thursdays at 9 PM EST.
- Comments: Hey, if you end up not liking the new Star Trek series, at least you can laugh at the franchise with this show. I’m not quite sure how they are going to get this to work on a weekly basis (hopefully they will not stretch out the first season beyond thirteen episodes), but I like what I have seen from this one so far. I will definitely be tuning in.
3. The Inhumans
- Premieres: September 29th
- Airs: ABC, Fridays 9 PM EST
- Starring: Anson Mount, Serinda Swan, Iwan Rheon, Ken Leung
- About: Based on the Marvel comic books, this series will focus on the “royal family” of Inhumans. Note that the first two episodes of this showing are debuting in IMAX theaters for a limited run starting on September 1st.
- Comments: Yeah, I know this one hasn’t had the best rep so far and some people are not happy with the show’s take on the Inhumans. But that group has always been a favorite of mine, so I am hoping for the best. I’m heading to the IMAX this weekend to see it on the big screen and will stick with the series once it debuts on the tube later this month.
4. The Gifted
- Premieres: FOX, October 2nd
- Airs: Mondays 9 PM EST
- Starring: Stephen Moyer, Amy Acker, Jamie Chung, Blair Redford
- About: In this X-Men spin-off series, two human parents discover that their children are mutants and the family must go on the run from government agents trying to contain them.
- Comments: Another superhero series worth checking out, this one has ties to the current X-Men movies and has plenty of potential to explore some interesting storylines from the comic books. Hopefully it draws heavily from its source material and doesn’t slip into the teen angst / family drama pitfalls that have ruined far too many genre shows. The cast is definitely strong for this one.
5. The Punisher
- Premieres: Fall
- Streams: Netflix
- Starring: Jon Bernthal, Ben Barnes, Ebon Moss-Bachrach, Amber Rose Revah
- About: This spin-off from Netflix’s Daredevil follows the vigilante assassin known as The Punisher who fights crime by any means necessary.
- Comments: Yet another comic book based show, this one spins out of The Defenders series and should be worth of watch if it follows the same level of quality we have seen from those shows so far.
- Premieres: September 28th
- Streams: Shudder
- Starring: Hélène Viviès, Clément Aubert, Mathias Mlekuz
- About: This French-made science fiction series follows the crew of the first mission to Mars which runs into trouble upon approaching the Red Planet.
- Comments: The French trailer for this one looks pretty good and it could be the sci fi sleeper of the Fall. I will have to do a free trial with Shudder to see if this show lives up to its promise. A second season is already in the works (with American network AMC onboard as a partner) and will air at some point in 2018.
- Premieres: October 1st
- Airs: FOX, Sundays 8:30 PM EST
- Starring: Craig Robinson, Adam Scott, Ally Walker
- About: This paranormal comedy series follows a skeptic and a “true believer” tasked by the mysterious organization known as the Bureau Underground to investigate unexplained cases in the Los Angeles area.
- Comments: Sci fi so rarely gives us something to laugh about, but maybe two shows will deliver this season if The Orville is as funny as its seems (more on that one above) and this show measures up to its promise. It is basically an X-Files spoof and I believe that Craig Robinson and Adam Scott can pull it off. Hoping for some good laughs from this one.
- Premieres: October 1st
- Airs: BYU TV, Sundays 9 PM EST
- Starring: Chad Michael Collins, Victoria Atkin, Jaclyn Hales, Yorke Fryer
- About: This show follows a group of humans revived from extinction by aliens who want to rebuild human civilization.
- Comments: BYU TV? Is this sci fi or Sunday school? It comes from Orson Scott Card, writer of Ender’s Game and proudly Mormon, and the trailer looks intriguing. I will give it a look at least because it turns out my satellite service includes BYU TV.
9. Ghost Wars
- Premieres: October 5th
- Airs: Syfy, Thursdays 10 PM EST
- Starring: Vincent D’Onofrio, Kim Coates, Avan Jogia, Kristin Lehman, Meatloaf
- About: In a remote Alaskan town, a man must learn to harness his repressed psychic powers to save the inhabitants from a mass haunting.
- Comments: This one seems to check off all the usual boxes for a supernatural drama these days, but the trailer actually makes it look interesting. Plus it has Vincent D’Onofrio in the cast and Meatloaf! It’s at least worth a watch for that pairing alone!
- Premieres: November 29th
- Airs: Syfy, Wednesdays 10 PM EST
- Starring: Christopher Meloni, Lili Mirojnick, Patton Oswalt
- About: Based on the Grant Morrison comic of the same name, the life of a down-on-his-luck ex-cop changes when he finds himself followed by a perpetually happy blue-winged horse.
- Comments: Um . . . I’ve not read the comic, and this one sounds like it is really pretty far out there. Not certain it is going to make me happy, but I will check out an episode or two because of the Grant Morrison connection.
11. Future Man
- Premieres: November 14th
- Streams: Hulu
- Starring: Josh Hutcherson, Eliza Coupe, Derek Wilson, Ed Begley Jr.
- About: Josh Futturman is a janitor who also loves to play video games and he finds himself recruited to travel through time to help save the human race.
- Comments: Another sci fi comedy, I don’t have a good feel for this one yet because the “trailer” is just Seth Rogen and Josh Hutcherson talking about the show. Could be worth a look at least.
12. Marvel’s Runaways
- Premieres: November 21st
- Streams: Hulu
- Starring: Rhenzy Feliz, Lyrica Okano, Virginia Gardner, Ariela Barer
- About: A group of super-powered youths must unite to fight against their own parents.
- Comments: Yet another superhero show and this one will be skewing to the younger crowd. Might be worth a look, but could get lost in the mix, especially if it goes heavy on the teen angst.
- Premieres: October 6th
- Airs: Syfy, Fridays 10 PM EST
- Starring: Mario Van Peebles, W. Earl Brown, Demetria McKinney, Diamond Dallas Page
- About: The Hastings family owns a funeral home in the town of La Rochelle and has a special talent for battling evil from beyond the grave.
- Comments: At one point, Syfy claimed that it was returning to its science fiction roots, but you don’t see much evidence of that from all its supernatural / horror Fall entries (this show, Ghost Wars, Van Helsing, Z Nation). If I watch Ghost Wars, can I pass on this one?
14. The Gospel of Kevin
- Premieres: October 3rd
- Airs: ABC, Tuesdays 10 PM EST
- Starring: Jason Ritter, JoAnna Garcia Swisher, India de Beaufort
- About: A man’s life changes when a mysterious “celestial being” appears before him and gives him a mission to save the world.
- Comments: ABC has allegedly changed this show’s title to Kevin (Probably) Saves the World, but I bet they change their mind on that mouthful of a moniker before this one debuts. It looks like another Touched by an Angel or Highway to Heaventype show, though with a snarkier attitude. It may be worth a look, but I’m not certain I will find the time to work it in.