The end of summer marks three important milestones: 1. The kids go back to school; 2. the return of sweater weather; and 3. NEW FALL TV! And while classrooms and cashmere are fine and dandy, let’s not pretend: TV is the only thing really keeping us going these days. The thing is, thanks to television’s waning golden age, there is just so much content. How will you ever know where to dedicate your precious time? But fear not. Based on the dozens of new shows coming your way, these nine have a distinct and unique queer appeal. Turn on, tune in, and deathdrop to the fall 2018 TV preview.
What better time than now to bring back Murphy Brown, a show about the inner workings of TV news and its intersections with socio-political issues? And who better than the titular left-leaning firebrand to lead the conversation? Candice Bergen, who won five Emmys for her portrayal of Brown, sees the reboot as a “counterweight” to the current administration and thinks that “the country might be in need of another fact-based voice.” I won’t get into how disappointing it is that we have to look to a sitcom and to fictional characters for some semblance of truth in the media, but Murph and the gang (and some new faces) are ready to tackle the hot-button topics of the day. Sadly they don’t have a bumbling fool like Dan Quayle in the White House to use as a foil. They have it much worse. Or better, depending on their foiling. Premieres September 27 on CBS.
The Cool Kids
Well, well, well, Leslie Jordan—back in primetime, I see, and finally as a regular on your own show. The Will & Grace scene-stealer, otherwise known as Beverly Leslie, stars with fellow comedy legends David Alan Grier, Martin Mull, and Vicki Lawrence in this sitcom about a trio of bros at a retirement home who must contend with a new ladyfriend infiltrating their inner circle. From the gloriously deranged minds behind It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, The Cool Kids looks like a not-too-distant cousin of The Golden Girls—and perhaps in a nod to that classic series, its retirement home, Shady Meadows, sounds a helluva lot like Sophia Petrillo’s formidable Shady Pines. Premieres September 28 on Fox.
At first glance, a show about high school football doesn’t sound like essential queer viewing, but power gay/mega-producer Greg Berlanti—known for The CW’s biggest hits like Riverdale and the entire Arrowverse, as well as the rom-com Love, Simon—has yet to lead us astray. Look for rapper/actress Bre-Z (aka Freda Gatz of Empire fame) as Tiana “Coop” Cooper, the tough, funny, loyal lesbian BFF to protagonist Spencer James (Daniel Ezra) who has to contend with a homophobic mother and a crush on a girl from church. That sounds as American as apple pie. Premieres October 10 on The CW.
When Amazon severed ties with The Weinstein Company, it left at least one show, by David O. Russell, out in the cold, but they soldiered on with Matthew Weiner’s anthology series, though Weiner himself was accused of harassment, and subsequently denied the charges. That hasn’t seemed to put a damper on Weiner’s first major project since Mad Men, which is suitably ambitious in scope: an eight-part series about the alleged descendants of the tragic Russian family, with a reported budget of $70 million and an all-star cast that includes Sterling Cooper alums John Slattery and Christina Hendricks, as well as Diane Lane, Isabelle Huppert, and Aaron Eckhart, and openly gay thesps Andrew Rannells and Clea DuVall, who will hopefully queer up what already appears (from the trailer, anyway) to be an ostentatious exercise in camp. Premieres October 12 on Amazon.
This reboot has a lot going against it, like the stars of the original (some of them) and fan expectations, and a lot going for it, like pretty much everything else. Featuring a Latinx cast, and co-developed by the creator of Jane the Virgin, Charmed follows sisters Mel and Maggie Vera and their newly discovered half-sister Macy Vaughn through their journey into the occult. Of particular interest is Mel (Melonie Diaz), a passionate lesbian activist and self-proclaimed feminist, who is sure to put a spell (or two) on you. Premieres October 14 on The CW.
Jennifer Garner may be Hollywood’s most supportive spouse (how many people do you know would drive their ex to rehab?) but she plays one hyper-controlling monster in Camping, from the creators of Girls, Lena Dunham an Jenni Konner. Garner is Kathryn Siddell-Bauers, a type-A’s type A who organizes a weekend camping trip for her husband’s (David Tennant) 45th birthday. Shenanigans, as they are wont to do, ensue. We’ve got lovely character actors sprinkled throughout, including Juliette Lewis, Brett Gelman, and Bridget Everett, who plays “Harry, the tough-talking, nature-loving queen of the campsite who came out as a lesbian at age 3. Her passion for her wife Nan is only beaten by her passion for all other women and an assortment of guns.” Sign me up, counselor. Premieres October 14 on HBO.
Did we really need this spin-off of the ill-fated Roseanne? Hell, did we need a reboot of Roseanne at all? After its creator and star went off the rails and reminded everyone she’s kinda the worst, ABC shuffled some things around and came up with this solution that follows the Conner clan after its matriarch kicks the bucket. All eyes will be on whether national treasure Laurie Metcalf and co. can carry the series. Though if we’re being honest, Laurie Metcalf could carry a caravan of elephants if she so chose. Premieres October 18 on ABC.
Chilling Adventures of Sabrina
Time for CAOS. Oct 26. pic.twitter.com/uLgXFMLX0t
— Chilling Adventures of Sabrina (@sabrinanetflix) July 29, 2018
Netflix is keeping most of the details about its bewitching new supernatural drama under wraps, but at least it looks like the kids are having fun. Mad Men’s Kiernan Shipka plays Sabrina, noted teenage witch, but this isn’t a reboot of the ’90s sitcom, but rather an adaptation of the comic book by Riverdale scribe Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa. The series is pretty dark in tone and features, like 55% of shows on TV today, the fingerprints of Greg Berlanti. Look for Chance Perdomo who plays Sabrina’s pansexual morlock cousin and partner in crime Ambrose. He’s under house arrest by the Witches Council so it’ll be interesting to see what tricks he has up his cloak. Premieres October 26 on Netflix.
Tell Me a Story
Hollywood never gets tired of a macabre, modern-day retelling of classic fairy tales, lest we forget that ABC’s Once Upon a Time literally just wrapped a seven-season run. From Kevin Williamson, beloved gay behind ’90s touchstones like Scream and Dawson’s Creek, Tell Me a Story takes “Hansel and Gretel,” “The Three Little Pigs,” and “Little Red Riding Hood” down a rabbit hole of debauchery. The trailer is rife with images of go-go boys and cocaine, signaling this is a CBS All Access show and not the Eye Network proper. I, however, am keeping an eye on Davi Santos, who plays (the possibly gay) Gabe, “a damaged and vulnerable young man with abandonment issues” who finds “himself lost in a lifestyle filled with sex and drugs in an attempt to shut out his reality.” I mean, same. Also, Sex and the City’s Kim Cattrall makes her return to American TV playing an unconventional grandmother. That Big Bad Wolf better watch his back. Premieres October 31 on CBS All Access.