The fall TV season was already way too overwhelming, what with its tidal wave of brand-new shows.
And now Disney and Apple are both poised to leap into the streaming pool — as if your attention (and wallet) weren’t strained enough. How can anyone possibly keep up? To help narrow your focus, we’ve laboriously sifted through all the fresh fare from the broadcast networks, cable channels and streamers to uncover these gems that are worth your while. Keep in mind that in most cases we’ve seen only the pilot episode and, in a couple cases, just preview clips. So some of our picks could fall short of expectations.
Robert King and his wife Michelle, the masterminds behind “The Good Wife” and “The Good Fight,” venture out of the courtroom to dabble in a chilling psychological mystery.
The series follows a skeptical forensic psychologist (Katja Herbers, “Westworld”) who joins a priest-in-training (Mike Colter, “Luke Cage”) as they investigate the Catholic Church’s backlog of mysteries, including supposed miracles, demonic possessions and hauntings. Michael Emerson (“Lost”; “Person of Interest”) is also on board.
Network television could use a few more squirm-inducing scares and “Evil” delivers on that front. But it also serves up some doses of humor that make the show creepy in a fun sort of way. (Airs Thursdays, episode 1 repeats tonight at 9 p.m.).
‘BACK TO LIFE’ (SHOWTIME)
This offbeat British comedy, which first aired on the BBC, has been compared by some to the darkly hilarious hit “Fleabag.” That’s a high bar to reach, but it has lots of fun trying.
Like “Fleabag,” this six-episode series follows a woman (Daisy Haggard, pictured) struggling with existential angst. In this case, she’s fresh out of prison after serving 18 years for murder. (Did we mention it’s a comedy?) Now she’s trying to lead a normal life in her lovely but claustrophobic seaside hometown, where the mystery of her past hangs in the air.
Of course, problems abound — some in the form of foul neighbors who want her gone. You’ll cringe almost as much as you laugh. (Oct. 6).
‘NANCY DREW’ (THE CW)
The iconic mystery book character who was introduced to readers in 1930 comes to prime time with a contemporary, CW-style makeover. Think “Riverdale” with its attractive teens, romantic entanglements and lots of moody intrigue.
Newcomer Kennedy McMann, pictured, is both appealing and convincing as the brilliant young sleuth who works troubling criminal cases — including one in which she’s a prime suspect. She gets plenty of help from her posse of pals in Horseshoe Bay, Maine. And in a neat bit of casting, Pamela Sue Martin — TV’s original Nancy Drew — appears in the pilot episode as a psychic. (Oct. 9).
‘MODERN LOVE’ (AMAZON PRIME)
The popular New York Times column (and podcast), which features reader-submitted essays about relationships, marriage and dating, is the inspiration for this star-studded, instantly addictive anthology series.
Among the high-profile performers appearing in Season 1 are Tina Fey (as a wife in a rocky marriage), Anne Hathaway (a bipolar woman looking for love), pictured, and Cristin Milioti (a single book critic who bonds with the doorman of her building). Also dropping by are John Slattery, Dev Patel, Catherine Keener, Emmy Rossum and Andy Garcia, among others.
Executive producer John Carney sifted through the Times’ archive of 700-plus essays to come up with eight stories that range from uplifting to heart wrenching while exploring love in all its complex and fascinating forms. (Oct. 18).
‘THE MORNING SHOW’ (APPLE TV+)
Jennifer Anniston (pictured, “Friends”) and Steve Carell (“The Office”) return to television in this juicy drama series that explores the high-stakes world of daybreak news, along with the bloated egos and ruthless power plays that go with it.
Aniston plays a morning-show host who deals with the messy fallout after her longtime co-host (Carell) is fired for sexual misconduct (shades of Matt Lauer). Enter Reese Witherspoon (pictured at right), who plays a fiery local TV reporter who gets invited for a job interview and a shot at the big time.
The series, which promises to delve deeply into #MeToo issues, includes Billy Crudup, Mark Duplass and Gugu Mbatha-Raw among its impressive cast. But will it be enough to get you to subscribe to yet another streaming service? (Nov. 1).
‘THE MANDALORIAN’ (DISNEY+)
Disney clearly is trying to make a big splash as it enters the streaming fray with the first-ever live-action “Star Wars” TV series.
“Game of Thrones” veteran Pedro Pascal plays the title character — a mysterious, armor-clad gun fighter who hails from Mandalore (the home of bounty hunter Boba Fett) and works in the outer reaches of the galaxy. Pascal will be joined by Giancarlo Esposito (“Breaking Bad,” “Better Call Saul”), Gina Carano (“Deadpool”), Carl Weathers (“Rocky”) and Nick Nolte.
Written by Jon Favreau (“Iron Man”), “The Mandalorian” is set after the fall of the Empire and before the emergence of the First Order, which would place it somewhere between “Return of the Jedi” and “The Force Awakens.” The series will appear in weekly doses, rather than the binge-‘em-all method. (Nov. 12).