While we typically say goodbye to summer over the Labor Day weekend, this week marks the true end of summer with the autumn equinox on Friday, September 22 (at precisely 3:02 pm central time in the northern hemisphere.) This holiday is also known as Mabon—a mid-harvest festival. Given the temperatures we’ll expect in south central Wisconsin this week, it sure doesn’t feel like fall. The corn and soybeans still stand in the field and gardens are still abundantly producing. That’s just fine with me. I’ll hold onto summer-like weather as long as possible!
What does tell me it’s fall has nothing to do with outdoorsy activities—it’s the new TV schedule and all the fall premieres that I’ve been waiting for. I was at a conference this weekend and my roommates and I had a conversation about the television shows we love and watch regularly. My list was rather long and I decided it was time to come clean. Yes, my name is Valerie and I am a TV addict. (In all fairness, I’m also a reading addict . . . so maybe I just like stories a lot no matter their medium.)
I decided to take stock and list all the shows I watch. (In my defense, not all of these shows run at the same time, or all I would do is watch TV.)
Outlander – Scottish time travel story based on the novels by Diana Gabaldon. This amazing show stays true to the books—I’m guessing because the author remains involved with the project. The third season has just started on STARZ and is just as good as expected. Here's the first season trailer to get you started if you've never watched this show.
The Walking Dead – Yes, zombies plus some really dumb people who keep making the same mistakes, but now I’m too invested to turn away. Premieres October 22.
Fear the Walking Dead – Same zombies, but different dumb people who keep making the same mistakes in the western part of the United States. I still watch because I need to know who dies next. The show is currently in its third season.
Midnight, Texas – This is a story about a town serving as a haven to a variety of supernatural creatures based on the novels by Charlaine Harris of True Blood fame. First season just concluded.
Good Behavior – Michelle Dockery makes this ex-con-but-I’m-still-a-thief show rather a delight to watch. This is about as far from Downtown Abbey as you can get. The second season premieres October 15.
Madam Secretary – Tea Leoni stars as the Secretary of State in this wonderfully realistic political drama. My husband will actually watch this one with me. The new season premieres October 8.
Stranger Things (Netflix) – If you liked the movie Super 8, you should like this retro creepy story. A Netflix original, all the episodes of the second season will be available on October 27—just in time for the Halloween weekend. I know what I’ll be doing.
The Americans – 1980s Soviet sleeper agents carry out their mission in a remarkably complex story line that keeps me checking for the next premiere date. It’s not until 2018 (big sigh).
Colony – With two seasons in, this USA Network original follows the human colonies created by an alien invasion of earth, with humans mainly becoming either collaborators or resistance. It doesn't hurt that one of my favorite actresses from the Walking Dead, Sarah Wayne Callies, is on this show now. The new season will be out in early January.
Shadowhunters – Based on the novels by Cassandra Clare this series has some mediocre acting, but I still watch just for the amusement value. (The Shadowhunters movie starring Lily Collins was much better but didn’t earn enough for the franchise to continue on the big screen.)
The 100 – Futuristic series when former space station survivors of a nuclear apocalypse on earth return to the surface. I’m behind by a season on this show, but now that means I can binge watch!
Shameless – I am equally appalled and entertained by the antics of the Chicago family in this drama. William H. Macy does a tremendous job as the alcoholic patriarch. Emmy Rossum stars as the eldest child and family glue and, one of my favorites, Joan Cusack has a supporting role. The whole cast is very talented. I’m waaaay behind on this show, but again this affords me the opportunity of a binge-watching weekend or two to catch up.
Westworld – This HBO series featuring a western-themed amusement park with artificial intelligence that mixes with the guests in unexpected ways contends with the AI’s growing self-awareness. I love how this show keeps you guessing. We’ll have to wait until 2018 for the new episodes.
The Young Pope – The Jude Law HBO limited series will be back as The New Pope sometime in the future, but there are a lot of unknowns on casting and timing. Reports say that the cast will all be new, but I trust that the director who so brilliantly shaped the first season will bring us another surprising show.
The Fosters – If you need a dose of teenage angst and bad decision making, this show’s for you. Each episode takes on a lot of issues. It can be exhausting to watch the actors continue to make bad decisions. But the acting is stellar and the premise is modern and fresh—the family is comprised of two moms, one biological son, four adopted foster children, and assorted biological parents.
And on top of all of these, I still like a good dose of reality television.
The Great British Baking Show – British amateur bakers fight to the finish. I cannot believe the things they are expected to make with basically no recipe. What’s not to love?
American Ninja Warrior – My kids like to remind me that they watch Ninja Warriors when it was still being broadcast from Japan. These obstacle courses are fierce and the fitness level is intense. The season has concluded for this fall.
Project Runway – Tim Gunn is a Rockstar. I’ve watched all the seasons, enjoying the drama, the strange challenges, the hanging threads, and the odd winners. I mean really?? Ashley Nell Tipton designs the most lovely gowns, but how her Carmen Miranda-esque collection put her on top of season 14 is a mystery to me. Season 16 is currently airing.
Survivor – You know this one, even if you don’t watch it—crazy starving people back-stab each other for a million dollars. My favorite parts are the challenges, which become increasingly difficult for the remaining cast as their strength ebbs. The new season premieres September 27.
The Amazing Race – In my opinion, this is the best reality show out there. If you haven’t given this one a try, you should tune in for the next season which will likely be in 2018 as it hasn’t been announced in any of the fall line ups.
Does the changing season and return of certain shows give you a thrill, too?
Do you refuse to miss a certain show? It’s time to fess up to your favorites!