So many shows, so little time.
Yes, another fall television season has arrived, and, as usual, the broadcast networks, cable channels and streaming sites are about to bombard us with an insane amount of fresh programming.
Of course it’s overwhelming. You’ve only got two eyes, after all, and your poor DVR is flat-out exhausted.
But no worries. We have your back.
To help you narrow your focus and ease your stress, we’ve taken a deep dive into the massive fall TV crop to uncover 10 potential gems that appear to be extra see-worthy.
Keep in mind that, for the most part, we’ve viewed only pilot episodes and/or preview clips available at press time. In a few cases we’re making judgment calls based on the show’s premise and the talent involved.
But at least it’s a start. Here, then, listed in order of their premiere dates, are 10 shows we’re most excited to see:
6 p.m. Sunday,HBO
You get two James Francos for the price of one in this compelling drama series about the birth of modern pornography.
Franco plays twin brothers — one an enterprising bartender, the other a gambler in debt to the mob. They become pioneers in the rough-and-tumble flesh trade developing in New York’s Times Square during the early 1970s, when the area was at its seediest.
The porn industry might seem a bizarre topic for a TV show, but when it involves the guys behind “The Wire” — David Simon and George Pelecanos — you take notice.
“STAR TREK: DISCOVERY”
Sept. 24, CBS; CBS All Access
Trekkies, rejoice. Set 10 years before the original series, this highly anticipated prequel is an ambitious endeavor to reboot the sci-fi franchise on television after a 12-year absence.
And it will boldly go where the other shows haven’t. It’s the first “Star Trek” series to star a woman of color — “Walking Dead” alumna Sonequa Martin-Green — and the first with a lead character who is not a captain (she’s a Starfleet first officer who was raised by Spock’s father). It’s also the first to be fully serialized, and the first to feature an openly gay character (played by Anthony Rapp).
“THE GOOD DOCTOR”
Sept. 25, ABC
“House” creator David Shore introduces us to another unconventional medical hero in this San Jose-set drama.
Freddie Highmore, hot off his magnetic performance on “Bates Motel,” is emotionally engaging as Shaun Murphy, a young surgeon with autism and savant syndrome. Unable to personally connect with those around him, Shaun uses his extraordinary medical gifts to save lives and defy his skeptical colleagues.
The exposition-laden pilot had its rough spots, but there’s plenty of promise here.
Sept. 25, CBS
This warmly funny prequel to “The Big Bang Theory” whisks us back to 1989 to inform us on how Sheldon Cooper became the brainy oddball we all know and (sometimes) love.
When we meet the precocious, pint-size version — played by the oh-so-adorable Iain Armitage (“Big Little Lies”) — he’s living with his parents and two relatively normal siblings in East Texas. A socially awkward child prodigy, he’s about to enter high school at the ripe old age of 9, and he has absolutely no idea what he’s in for.
In a nice touch, Jim Parsons — the adult Sheldon — narrates the story.
“LAW & ORDER TRUE CRIME: THE MENENDEZ MURDERS”
Sept. 26, NBC
This eight-episode anthology series combines the powerhouse appeal of producer Dick Wolf’s long-running procedural franchise and the dynamic presence of Edie Falco (as tenacious defense attorney Leslie Abramson), with one of the most notorious trials of the 1990s.
Sept. 27, Sundance
In this taut and provocative psychological thriller, Joanne Froggatt (best known as gentle Anna Bates on “Downton Abbey”) plays Laura Nielson, a dedicated schoolteacher who goes on a seemingly innocent date with Andrew Earlham (Ioan Gruffudd), a renowned surgeon and pillar of the community. But following their get-together, a series of volatile accusations rock their world. Secrets and lies unravel over the course of a suspenseful saga in which everyone seems to have their own version of the truth.
“TEN DAYS IN THE VALLEY”
Oct. 1, ABC
Kyra Sedgwick (“The Closer”) makes a triumphant return to series television in this intense and moody whodunit.
She stars as Jane Sadler, a stressed-out television writer who is in the middle of a bitter separation when her young daughter goes missing late one night. Naturally, suspects abound, and just like the controversial police show on which she works, everyone has a secret and no one can be trusted.
“Ten Days” will air for 10 episodes, each covering a single day, and when it’s over the central mystery will be solved.
Oct. 3, ABC
“Hamilton” star Daveed Diggs is an executive producer for this buoyant comedy about a young wannabe rapper named Courtney Rose (Brandon Micheal Hall), who is tired of waiting for his big break to happen. So he hatches a crazy plan to run for political office in his struggling Bay Area community as a way to build some buzz for his music.
Oops. Courtney is shocked when he actually wins the job he never really wanted. But now what?
With the help of his mother (Yvette Nicole Brown) and eager young adviser (Lea Michele), Courtney eventually realizes that he just might possess some skills that could benefit his city.
“THE LAST O.G.”
Oct. 24, TBS
Tracy Morgan makes a highly welcome return to scripted television in this irreverent comedy. He plays Tray, an ex-con who is stunned to see how much the world has changed after serving a 15-year prison stint.
His hometown of Brooklyn is gentrified and full of hipsters. And his former girlfriend is married to a successful white guy who is helping to raise Tray’s twin sons, whom he never knew existed.
The premise is certainly ripe for edgy humor, and there are other hopeful signs here: Jordan Peele is an executive producer, and the cast includes one of Hollywood’s rising young comedy stars in Tiffany Haddish (“Girls Trip”).
Nov. 3, Netflix
Hulu experienced considerable success with its impressive take on “The Handmaid’s Tale.” Now Netflix takes a shot at adapting another literary offering from Margaret Atwood.
A work of historical fiction, “Alias Grace” is a six-hour miniseries that follows Grace Marks (Sarah Gadon), a poor, young Irish immigrant and domestic servant in Canada who, along with a stable hand, was convicted of the brutal murders of their employer and his housekeeper in 1843 — even though she may not have been guilty.
If the show’s chilling trailer is any indication, we’ll obsessively binge our way through this one — perhaps with the lights turned on.