J.J. Abrams created this epic sci-fi adventure, set in a postapocalyptic world that soldiers on despite the sudden, mysterious absence of all forms of electrical power, batteries included, and has to deal with widespread squalor and roving bands of warlords, one of whom is played by Breaking Bad’s icy-cool Giancarlo Esposito. Sept. 17 at 10 p.m., NBC.
2. The Mindy Project
Mindy Kaling of The Office is the creator-star of this new series about a workaholic doctor who has a chaotic, comic love life. A show like this rises or falls based on the charisma of its lead and the dedication of whoever’s driving its vision; luckily, Kaling is aces in both departments. Sept. 25 at9:30 p.m., Fox.
3. Last Resort
Andre Braugher and Scott Speedman play officers on a nuclear submarine who take the sub awol rather than obey directives to fire nuclear missiles at Pakistan and … hole up on a tropical island. This is a hugely expensive series with an odd premise, and intriguing for precisely those reasons. Sept. 27 at 8 p.m., ABC.
All About Eve goes country. An established C&W singer (Connie Britton) tries to protect her turf against a rising star (Hayden Panettiere). My most anticipated fall show, hands down, the fact that it’s biting a Robert Altman title notwithstanding. Oct. 10 at 10 p.m., ABC.
5. Save Me
Anne Heche plays a woman who has a near-death experience and comes out of it thinking she’s a prophet. In other words, a slow, fat pitch over home plate for Heche, whose distinctively weird energy has rarely been well-used. The previews for this show pretty much scream “low-stakes, uncategorizable kook-fest,” but I have a soft spot for shows like that, because broadcast networks rarely make them anymore. Date TBA, NBC.
And We’re Also Anticipating
The New Normal
Because Glee and American Horror Story creator Ryan Murphy needed one more TV show (this one’s about a gay couple having a baby through a surrogate). And because we’re very pro–Andrew Rannells (Book of Mormon, Girls). Sept. 11 at 9:30 p.m., NBC.
Because this single-camera support-group sitcom feels like Community Lite, and the law of averages says star Matthew Perry is due for a hit. Sept. 11 at 9 p.m., NBC.
Because if CBS has to make another Vegas-set cops-and-robbers show, at least this one takes place in the sixties and stars Dennis Quaid, Michael Chiklis, and Carrie-Anne Moss. Sept. 25 at 10 p.m., CBS.
Because the human stars (Justin Kirk, Tyler Labine) of this veterinary sitcom are great, but Crystal the Monkey (The Hangover Part II) will almost certainly steal the show from under them. Sept. 26 at 8 p.m., NBC.
Because Lucy Liu was so badass on Southland last season that we can’t wait to see her as Watson on this modern take on Sherlock Holmes. Sept. 27 at 10 p.m., CBS.
Call the Midwife
Because Downton Abbey won’t be back until January, but in the meantime there’s this fifties-set British import. Sept. 30 at 8 p.m., PBS.
Because the star of this superhero drama, DC Comics’ Robin Hood–esque Green Arrow, is the liberal antidote to Christopher Nolan’s conservative Batman. Oct. 10 at 8 p.m., the CW.
Because this earnest family drama warms even our cynical hearts. Lauren Graham and Jason Ritter are so stinking cute together. Sept. 11 at 10 p.m., NBC.
The X Factor
Because Britney. Sept. 12 at 8 p.m., Fox.
Because we’ve been waiting more than a year for the third season of David Simon’s New Orleans drama. Sept. 23 at 10 p.m., HBO.
Because the first season took everything we loved about 24 and added Claire Danes, Mandy Patinkin, and Damian Lewis (who we’re pretty sure is a bad guy now). Sept. 30 at 10 p.m., Showtime.
Because we want to meet Emily’s mom, especially if she’ll help Emily murder more of the Hamptonites who framed her dad. Sept. 30 at 9 p.m., ABC.
Because it’s the final season! Oct. 4 at 8 p.m., NBC.
Ditto! XOXO forever. Oct. 8 at 9 p.m., the CW.
Because we want to know if Community can still be Community without creator-showrunner Dan Harmon, who won’t return for this fourth season. Oct. 19 at 8:30 p.m., NBC.
Because this former Friends clone found itself last season, and we’re dying to see how they resolve the Penny-Dave-Alex love triangle. Oct. 23 at 9 p.m., ABC.
American Horror Story: Asylum
Because this second season of Ryan Murphy’s horror-anthology show is set in a mental hospital, and Chloë Sevigny plays a nymphomaniac.Oct., FX.