Summer has passed us by, and while it was far from the kind of summer most people expected for 2021—for pop culture or otherwise—now that the nights are drawing in there’s a whole plethora of genre television to be excited for in the coming months. io9 has collected the hottest sci-fi, fantasy, and genre shows, new and familiar, to look forward to for the rest of the year.
What We Do in the Shadows Season 3 (Now airing, FX): Staten Island’s misfit crew of vampire roommates face an intriguing new status quo as their hit comedy continues its third season—instead of being hunted by the Vampiric Council, they now are the Vampiric Council, despite their dubious leadership skills and general lack of knowledge about how the modern world works. Meanwhile, Guillermo’s (Harvey Guillén) formerly secret status as a Van Helsing-descended vampire slayer is out in the open, something that earns him a promotion from familiar to bodyguard.
Q-Force (Now streaming, Netflix): After American Intelligence Agency agent superspy Steve Maryweather is sidelined as a consequence of his coming out as gay, he resolves to form his own team of queer agents who make their cis, hetero peers look like chumps by comparison.
Adventure Time: Distant Lands - Wizard City (Now streaming, HBO Max): The fourth and final installment of this Adventure Time miniseries is a weird one. Instead of ending with May’s “Together Again,” a final adventure shared by Finn and Jake that would have provided some real closure for the series, “Wizard City” is an odd tale about Pep, formerly the mysteriously sinister Peppermint Butler. After being doused in Dum-Dum Juice in the regular TV show, Pep has lost his dark magic and become a kid again, so he heads to the WizArts magic school to relearn what’s he’s lost. But even more sinister forces have plans for his future…
Kid Cosmic Season 2 (Now streaming, Netflix): Kid and the rest of the Crew are headed into space in Kid Cosmic’s latest season as they continue to learn how to wield superpowers as the galaxy’s newest superheroes. In season two, portal-creator Jo steps into the spotlight in an arc about learning how heroes have to care about the things they’ve sworn to protect.
Lucifer Season 6 (September 10, Netflix): It’s the swan song for Los Angeles’ favorite nightclub impresario/LAPD homicide consultant/king of the underworld. Though that last factoid may need some adjusting as Lucifer (Tom Ellis) apparently became God at the end of season five? So that’ll take some sifting through, alongside the show’s usual mix of romance, cheeky humor, and supernatural shenanigans. Also—not to be outdone by last season’s musical episode—the final season will feature an animated episode.
Pokémon Journeys Season 5 (September 10, Netflix): In its fifth season, Pokémon Journeys gets an upgrade as Ash, Goh, and their friend Chloe continue to journey around the different regions of the Pokémon world in search of new discoveries. The season kicks off with Chloe finally catching a Pokémon of her very own after relying on her father’s Yamper to stand in as her unofficial partner, and the boys continue to pursue their respective goals of catching every monster in the Pokédex and becoming the ultimate trainer.
Y: The Last Man (September 13, Hulu): After many fits and starts, Hulu’s live-action Y: The Last Man series—based on the comic book series by Brian K. Vaughan and Pia Guerra—is finally making its big debut. (It also happens to come at a time when its premise about a devastating global pandemic is sure to hit differently with audiences.) After a mysterious plague wipes out the planet’s entire population of mammals with y chromosomes save for Yorick Brown and his pet monkey Ampersand, the world becomes a fundamentally different, more chaotic place. With the fear of the human race’s extinction looming over everyone’s heads, Yorick’s existence represents a certain degree of hope for the future to people like his sister Hero and Agent 355, a bodyguard tasked with keeping Yorick alive.
He-Man and the Masters of the Universe (September 16, Netflix): We know what you’re thinking. “Didn’t Kevin Smith just release a Masters of the Universe show?” The answer is yes but this is a new, completely unrelated show with different animation and aimed at a younger audience. But if you’re a fan of all the Etheria action, now you have two options.
Squid Game (September 17, Netflix): A variety of people throughout Korea are invited to compete in a special game show for the U.S. equivalent of $40 million. There’s a catch, of course, though none of the contestants read the fine print: while they are playing a variety of childish games from the ‘70s and ‘80s, including the titular one (it’s kind of like tag), the losers of the games will die until a single winner is crowned. From the director of the highly acclaimed movie The Fortress, Hwang Dong-hyuk’s K-drama looks to go hand in bloody hand with another Netflix series, Alice in Borderland.
Star Wars: Visions (September 22, Disney+): Star Wars hands over the reigns of a galaxy far, far away to Japanese animation studios and creatives for an anthology of tales outside of current canon, covering epic duels between light and dark, Tatooine rock concerts, and more, all with an anime twist.
Doom Patrol Season 3 (September 23, HBO Max): With villains like the Candlemaker, the Brotherhood of Evil, and the Sisterhood of Dada on the loose, the Doom Patrol will find themselves stretched especially thin in the upcoming season as the heroes are pushed once again to use their grotesque powers to save the universe from annihilation.
Creepshow Season 3 (September 23, Shudder): The latest installment of Shudder’s breakout horror anthology series based on the Stephen King-George A. Romero cult movies looks chock full of the chilling delights we’ve come to expect, with Michael Rooker, Ethan Embry, and James Remar among the actors mixing with the ghosts and ghouls this season.
Midnight Mass (September 24, Netflix): After the twin successes of The Haunting of Hill House and The Haunting of Bly Manor, Mike Flanagan declared he wasn’t doing another “haunting” show… which we were sad about very briefly until we learned Midnight Mass—which features several Haunting alumni in its cast, as well as a premise that probes the darkness of the human mind (along with, you know, supernatural stuff)—was on the way. When a priest (Hamish Linklater) arrives in an isolated island community, a series of odd events makes some believe miracles are afoot, while others suspect the opposite. Yep, sounds like an essential and spooky binge.
Foundation (September 24, Apple TV+): Isaac Asimov’s acclaimed sci-fi epic began with 1951’s Foundation; in 1966, the books were given a special Hugo for “Best All-Time Series,” beating out a little something called The Lord of the Rings. The author continued exploring the world he’d created with sequels and prequels, the last of which was published posthumously in 1993. Adaptation attempts have been made over the years, but at long last Apple TV+ is giving Asimov’s masterpiece the series treatment, and hopefully, the wait will be worth it. Jared Harris and Lee Pace star.
Wolfboy and the Everything Factory (September 24, Apple TV+): Joseph Gordon-Levitt is among the executive producers of this 10-episode animated series inspired by the work of artist Toff “Wirrow” Mazery. It’s a fantasy about an imaginative oddball named Wolfboy (Kassian Akhtar), who discovers a wondrous place at the center of the planet where every component of life that eventually manifests on the surface (including trees, animals, and intangible things like memories and time) is created by a group of magical beings.
The Walking Dead: World Beyond Season 2 (September 26, AMC): In The Walking Dead: World Beyond’s season one finale, young protagonists Hope, Iris, and Felix all ended up learning what sort of long con that Huck—a member of the Civic Republic Military—was playing from the jump. After sowing distrust between Iris, Hope, and Felix, she was able to get Hope alone and effectively deliver her to the CRM, which had been plotting to capture her for her brilliant mind. The season one finale ended with a now Hope-less Felix and Iris learning that the Campus Colony safe zone they once called home had seemingly been destroyed, and when World Beyond returns this fall, the show’s set to start explaining what went wrong.
The Simpsons Season 33 (September 26, Fox): Springfield’s most beloved family is back, and maybe the 33rd time’s the charm. This season is kicking off with the show’s first-ever fully musical episode, as Kristen Bell guest stars as Marge’s internal singing voice.
Bob’s Burgers Season 12 (September 26, Fox): Maybe Bob’s Burgers isn’t as laugh-out-loud funny as it used to be, but it’s still the most consistently funny animated series on TV, which is no small feat. Season 12 doesn’t look to break that trend—upcoming episode titles include “The Pumpkining,” “Driving Big Dummy,” “Seventween Again,” “Beach Please,” “Lost in Bedslation,” and “Fomo You Didn’t”—except in one way: a two-part season finale that according to creator Loren Bouchard says primarily “takes place in Tina’s erotic fiction in which she’s exploring a kind of Blade Runner dark fantasy.” Yes, please.
La Brea (September 28, NBC): Gotta love any premise that begins with the sudden appearance of a giant sinkhole gobbling up a large portion of Los Angeles—including several of its residents, who find themselves battling for survival amid a sort of Land of the Lost-Lost World-Journey to the Center of the Earth-Jurassic Park scenario. The main characters are a family who’s trying to reunite, so don’t expect this one to skew too horrifying, but the first teaser did promise some ferocious beasts.
Lego Star Wars Terrifying Tales (October 1, Disney+): After the success of last year’s Christmas special, Lego Star Wars turns its eye toward another holiday, in the form of a haunted trip to Darth Vader’s castle on Mustafar, a place full of ancient, spooky artifacts.
The Ghost and Molly McGee (October 1, Disney Channel): A grumpy, unpleasant ghost named Scratch has made it his mission to make the world worse. But when he tries to cast a spell on a positive-minded do-gooder named Molly, he accidentally binds them together. It’s a true odd couple—good/evil, optimist/pessimist, compassionate/selfish, alive/dead—that will now need to navigate the world together. Hopefully, you’ll like it, because Disney has already ordered a second season.
Nancy Drew Season 3 (October 8, CW): As a matter of fact, the CW’s supernaturally enhanced, Riverdale-ish adaptation of the long-running teen detective book series is indeed still on the air! And it’s even getting a spin-off series based on another classic book series, Tom Swift! So even though we haven’t tuned in for a while, Nancy and company must be doing something right?
Muppets Haunted Mansion (October 8, Disney+): The Great Gonzo can’t say no when he’s presented with the opportunity to spend a night in the Haunted Mansion, a house filled with both the spirits of departed people and more than a few other Muppets. Hilarity, of course, will ensue.
Ghosts (October 8, CBS): iZombie star Rose McIver keeps things supernatural with her latest series, a sitcom about a couple who inherits a haunted mansion (populated by wacky, era-specific ghosty stereotypes, like a 1960s hippie, a 19th-century robber baron, a 1920s jazz chanteuse, etc.) and decides to turn it into a bed and breakfast.
Legends of the Hidden Temple (October 10, CW): Calling all Red Jaguars, Blue Barracudas, Green Monkeys, Orange Iguanas, Purple Parrots, and Silver Snakes. The cult 1990s physical game show is back for a new generation. Cristele Alonzo will host and Star Wars animation mainstay Dee Bradley Baker will reprise his role as the voice of Olmec.
Chucky (October 12, Syfy): Child’s Play creator Don Mancini brings his gory, increasingly campy killer-doll saga to the small screen for what looks like both an update of the Chucky saga and a love letter to fans of the long-running franchise. Though the main characters are teens who encounter you-know-who after he turns up looking remarkably well-preserved at a yard sale, the eight-episode series will also feature Jennifer Tilly, original Chucky foe Alex Vincent, and Brad Dourif as the voice of Chucky, among other series veterans.
Legends of Tomorrow Season 7 (October 13, CW): Wait, didn’t Legends of Tomorrow just air its season six finale on September 5? How can the next season begin after a mere month? You can thank the pandemic for this unusual airtime, which 1) is admittedly appropriate for the time-traveling Legends, but 2) will hasten a great many other CW series, too. Little is known about the seventh season other than Dominic Purcell, who’s played Mick “Heat Wave” Rory since season, has departed the series, along with Matt Ryan’s John Constantine. Ryan, however, will be back as a new character, Dr. Gwyn Davies, an early 20th-century scientist with a secret. Hopefully, it’s how to fix the Waverider, which was blown up in the season six finale by… the Waverider?
Batwoman Season 3 (October 13, CW): The sad saga of the Kane family is (mostly) finished after the facially reconstructed, de-brainwashed former Batwoman Kate (Wallis Day) left Gotham to hunt for Bruce Wayne while actor Dougray Scott elected to not come back as Kate’s father Jacob. Beth (Rachel Skasten) will still be around to mess with the new Batwoman (Ryan Wilder), but the villains won’t be alone—Agent Carter’s Bridget Regan will play major Bat-foe Poison Ivy, with the possibility of the Penguin to come. Luckily, Batwoman will have the new help of Luke Fox’s Batwing (Camrus Johnson) protecting the city, along with GCPD detective and comics favorite Renee Montoya (Victoria Cartagena, who also played the role on Gotham!).
Legacies Season 4 (October 14, CW): The final four season three episodes of the second-generation spin-off of The Vampire Diaries were so derailed by covid that they now will make up the beginning of season four. So you can rest easy that the werewolf-vampire-witch hybrid Hope (Danielle Rose Russell) vs. the walking hell-portal Malivore (Aria Shahghasemi) confrontation that season three teased will be revealed. On the plus side, it looks like Hope might be getting help from Omono Okojie’s muse Cleo, as the actor has been promoted to series regular.
Aquaman: King of Atlantis (October 14, HBO Max): The animated trilogy kicks off as Arthur Curry (Cooper Andrews) has to wrestle with his first day as the titular ruler of the ocean kingdoms. While he faces challenges from his brother Orm (Dana Snyder) and... struggles to sit in the throne right, he’s guided by his closest allies Mera (Community’s Gillian Jacobs) and Vulko (Reno 911's Thomas Lennon) as he swims, spears, and punches his way to legend as the rightful King of Atlantis.
Day of the Dead (October 15, Syfy): George A. Romero’s 1985 horror classic inspired this new series, which takes its title literally, following six different characters as they try to survive the first 24 hours of a zombie outbreak. It aims to tell a new story while paying homage to Romero—starting with the fact that it will feature old-school zombies slowwwwwly shambling around.
I Know What You Did Last Summer (October 15, Amazon Prime Video): This update of the spooky Lois Duncan YA classic—which inspired a 1990s slasher film that’s also since become a classic—follows a group of teens who do something very bad (presumably, like the source material, it will involve an accidental death…or so they think), and then find themselves stalked by someone hellbent on revenge. The pre-Halloween release should be a hint as to how deep into horror this one’s gonna venture.
Fear the Walking Dead Season 7 (October 17, AMC): Seven seasons in, the companion series to AMC juggernaut The Walking Dead is still going strong, with a lot to follow up on after the season six finale ended with a nuclear explosion. As always, the people cause most of the conflicts here…but there are also still plenty of undead “walkers” roaming around too.
Invasion (October 22, Apple TV+): There’s been exactly one trailer for this sci-fi series, and all it consisted of was a bunch of weird things happening, a bunch of people around the world looking increasingly tense, and a fuzzy shot of some sort of structure that may have just landed on Earth. According to Apple, Invasion is a “sci-fi drama that will make you question what you would do under extraterrestrial threat.” That’s still incredibly vague, so let’s hope more info or footage is forthcoming before it premieres.
4400 (October 24, CW): A reboot of the 2004 USA series, the story focuses on a massive group of abductees from various points throughout the recent past who are all suddenly returned together in the present with no recollection of who took them or where they were. As you might expect, their reappearance alone is cause for alarm, wonder, and confusion. As these people—the 4400—begin to manifest a variety of strange, superhuman abilities, the world has to reckon with the possibility that the 4400 have a larger purpose to change the world in ways society isn’t ready for.
Behind the Monsters (October 16, Shudder): Shudder’s new docu-series explores the movie monsters that terrify us the most, with episodes dedicated to Candyman, Freddy Krueger, Jason Voorhees, Pinhead, Chucky, and Michael Myers. Guess they’re saving Leatherface for season two?
Star Trek: Prodigy (October 28, Paramount+): Star Trek boldly ventures into the realm of kids and family programming with a CG animated series aimed squarely at younger audiences, the first for the franchise since The Animated Series. Following a cast of young Delta Quadrant species as they discover an experimental Starfleet ship, the USS Protostar—featuring a command training hologram of none other than Voyager icon Captain Janeway (a returning Kate Mulgrew)—Prodigy will blast them off to new adventures in the still under-explored quadrant.
Locke & Key Season 2 (October TBD, Netflix): Netflix’s breakout hit about a family that moves into their ancestral home following a devastating tragedy… only to get pulled into a mystery involving the supernaturally powered keys that keep turning up in its many rooms… finally returns to address all of those cliffhangers that season one left us screaming about.
Animaniacs Season 2 (November 5, HBO Max): Hulu must really like its reboot of the classic ‘90s cartoon Animaniacs. After all, the streamer already ordered a 10-episode third season back in February. Besides the return of Yakko, Wakko, Dot, Pinky, and the Brain, season three will feature “pop culture parodies, musical showstoppers, takedowns of historical baddies, and even some important safety tips” according to Hulu. Which, admittedly sounds like the same thing they do every night, try to—er, the same thing they do every season. It’s fine by us.
The Flash Season 8 (November 16, The CW): Even though Crisis on Infinite Earths is over, that doesn’t mean the DC CW crossovers are. The Flash season eight begins with a five-part special titled “Armageddon”—you can probably guess the subject matter—that will bring together heroes like Batwoman (Javicia Leslie), Black Lightning (Cress Williams), the Atom (Brandon Routh), Ryan Choi (Osric Chau), and more. Even better are the returning villains, Damien Darhk (Neal McDonough) and the Reverse-Flash (Tom Cavanagh). Alas, Cavanagh will not be returning as a regular in season eight, nor will Carlos Valdes’ Cisco. But after “Armageddon,” Justice League foe Despero (Tony Curran) will arrive to make Team Flash’s lives a merry hell.
Riverdale Season 6 (November 16, The CW): Riverdale’s fifth season hasn’t even finished airing yet, so there are understandably few details about what’s coming to season six. We do have one clue from show creator Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, who posted this on Instagram on August 30: “Forces are gathering for the ultimate battle between Good and Evil as the cameras begin to roll on Riverdale season six. But who will stand on which side? And who will live, and who will die? Everything has been a prelude to this.” So there’s clearly a lot of wild things going down in season six, but we wouldn’t expect anything less from Riverdale.
Star Trek: Discovery Season 4 (November 18, Paramount+): New Captain on the Bridge! After traveling to the 31st century last season, Discovery is back in action as Michael Burnham (Sonequa Martin-Green) finally takes the captain’s chair. The vanguard of the dwindled Federation’s rebuilding efforts, Michael’s gonna have a lot on her plate coming into the new season—especially without her best friend Saru (Doug Jones) by her side, as he spends some time recuperating on his homeworld.
The Wheel of Time (November 19, Amazon Prime Video): A live-action adaptation of Robert Jordan’s giant, sprawling fantasy book series has been in the works forever, but it was Amazon that managed to conquer the beast first. In a world where magic is ruled by women, a sorceress named Moiraine (Rosamund Pike) discovers a group of children, one of whom is prophesied to potentially save the world… or destroy it. A mix of high fantasy, politics, war, and apocalypse, The Wheel of Time is an old-school epic that ran 15 giant books. It should be very interesting to discover how the show might alter and update the source material.
Cowboy Bebop (November 19, Netflix): Get everybody and the stuff together, because Netflix is about to blow this scene—the legendary sci-fi anime Cowboy Bebop is re-imagined as a live action-adventure series, as the crew of the Bebop (lead by John Cho’s Spike Spiegel) jets off into the stars in search of fame and fortune.
Hawkeye (November 24, Disney+): The man Natasha Romoff’s younger sister Yelena wants to murder is the next Avenger headlining their own Disney+ series. He’ll be joined by a young aspiring hero who dreams of becoming the next Hawkeye. In a world full of superhumans and aliens who regularly save the world, Kate Bishop sees Clint Barton as the Avenger she most wants to be like, something Clint will have trouble understanding when they first meet. Aside from detailing Kate’s journey to becoming a hero in her own right, Hawkeye will also delve more into the time Clint spent as Ronin during the time between Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame.
The Witcher Season 2 (December 17, Netflix): Geralt (Henry Cavill) is back in action, as he finds himself returning to his home at the Witcher fortress of Kaer Morhan with young Princess Cirilla (Freya Allan) in tow. She now must learn to embrace her hidden powers and the ways of monster hunting herself.
The Book of Boba Fett (December TBD, Disney+): Set after the events of The Mandalorian season two, the next live-action Star Wars series sees Boba Fett (Temuera Morrison) and Fennec Shand (Ming-Na Wen) team up as the duo try to carve out a slice of the intergalactic underworld for themselves.
Cobra Kai Season 4 (Netflix): Two words: Terry. Silver. That’s the headline for this fourth season of Cobra Kai. The uber-villain of the Karate Kid universe, first introduced in The Karate Kid Part III, is coming to town to team up with John Kreese (Martin Kove) against the newly formed mega dojo combining Miyagi-Do, lead by Daniel LaRusso (Ralph Macchio) and Eagle Fang, lead by Johnny Lawrence (William Zabka).
Doctor Who Season 13 (BBC America): It’s the beginning of the end for the Doctor! Jodie Whittaker’s final days as the 13th Doctor begin to play out in a new season promising a singular story across its six episodes. She won’t be alone though—at least Yaz (Mandip Gill) and new friend Dan (John Bishop) are along for the ride.
What shows are you looking forward to the most this fall? Let us know in the comments!
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