Must-Watch TV Shows for Fall 2018: Cable and Streaming

J.D. Pardo in "Mayans MC" on FX
J.D. Pardo in "Mayans MC" on FX, Photo: FX

With Labor Day behind us, and the North Fork TV Festival underway, it’s a good time to focus on what could be the best new fall shows of 2018. Not wanting to steer our readers wrong, even if it’s not officially fall, we’ve put together a list of shows that have already started—either debut series or shows returning with new seasons—on cable and streaming television, such as Netflix, Amazon Prime or Hulu.

Mayans MC – Season 1, FX
Following the lackluster ratings of writer Kurt Sutter’s 14th century drama The Bastard Executioner in 2015 (it was actually a good show), he’s capitalizing on the success of his motorcycle gang hit Sons of Anarchy (SOA), which ran from 2008-2014. Mayans MC, an SOA spinoff, debuted Tuesday with a viewership of 2.53 million, matching its predecessor’s premiere. The show focuses on a Latino motorcycle club, The Mayans, and a fresh-out-of-prison prospect named Ezekiel “EZ” Reyes (J.D. Pardo). The new recruit hopes to get “patched in” alongside his brother, a trusted longtime member. Without spoiling anything, EZ carries a big secret, and by the end of Episode 1, the stage is set for all sorts of intrigue and double dealing. SOA fans will also notice a significant cameo from one of that show’s major characters, Gemma Teller Morrow (played by Sutter’s wife Katey Sagal), clearly placing the timeline before SOA‘s tragic conclusion. It’s very likely a number of SOA bikers could make additional cameos or even take part in full fledged storylines. The Mayans and their founder Marcus Alvarez (Emilio Rivera) were regular characters on SOA, so the door is wide open for all sorts of crossover fun and bad behavior. Catch up on Sons of Anarchy and, if you love it, get to watching this quality successor Tuesdays at 10 p.m. on FX.

Ozark – Season 2, Netflix
Season 1 of Netflix’s Ozark, starring Jason Bateman and Laura Linney, follows financial adviser/drug cartel money launderer Marty Byrde (Bateman) who drags his family from Chicago to the Missouri Ozarks, where he must launder $500 million in five years to appease a drug boss who caught his partner stealing from their organization. The first season delivered all sorts of thrills, obstacles and personal dramas—not to mention Marty’s incredible skills talking his way out of potentially fatal trouble—as the Byrd family gets settled in their new home. Ozark‘s motley cast of characters including an array of colorful locals, including the scene-stealing Ruth Langmore (Julia Garner) and undercover FBI agent named Roy Petty (Jason Butler Harner) who struggles to put his case before a relationship with his informant. Season 2 picks up just as things get really crazy, and dangerous, for Byrd, his wife Wendy (Linney) and their two children. Catch up and then start watching this continuation of a great show as it introduces the world of local politics and takes a deeper look at some of its most compelling characters.

The Purge – Season 1, USA Network
Based on the popular film franchise, The Purge is popcorn television that’s difficult to stop watching. For those who don’t know, the premise establishes a dystopian era in the Unites States, now led by the New Founding Fathers of America, a political group that, among other things, creates a holiday where all crime is legal, including murder. Called the Purge, this annual event invites the population to get out their bloodlust and baser desires during a horrific 12-hour spree of death and madness with no consequences. The show, which debuted on September 4, starts just hours before the Purge begins and the entire season takes place around these 12 hours. It follows several characters in different positions and walks of life as they attempt to survive the hellish night. Unfortunately, The Purge airs at the same time as Mayans MC, every Tuesday at 10 p.m. on USA.

Wentworth – Season 6, Netflix
Of the many shows on Netflix, it’s amazing so few people seem to watch, let alone know about, Wentworth. Set in a women’s prison in Melbourne, Australia, the show is a nonstop marathon of drama and bingeworthy fun. The first five seasons follow a rotating cast of prisoners (some remain constant) and corrections officers as they try to maintain control of, and survive in, their difficult environment. Season 6, released on September 5, picks up after 57 episodes, so it’d be hard to really explain all that’s happened, but at this point everyone is corrupt in one way or another, even the prison’s warden Vera Bennet (Kate Atkinson) has had to compromise her morals. Franky Doyle (Nicole da Silva) is on the run trying to exonerate herself from a false murder charge, and her lover/former prison psychologist Bridget Westfall (Libby Tanner) is helping her do it. Meanwhile, psychotic cosmetics magnate Sonia Stevens (Sigrid Thornton) is back and ready to do some serious damage after nearly getting killed in Season 5. But where’s former warden and escaped prisoner Joan “the freak” Ferguson (Pamela Rabe)? Ask kind but recently troubled CO Will Jackson (Robbie Magasiva). Also look for some interesting new characters, including a pair of women with a deep connection and a sex industry crime boss who previously had no record.

Kidding – Season 1, Showtime
The first episode of this darkly comic series starring Jim Carrey is already available to stream via Showtime Anytime, though it officially premieres this Sunday, September 9 at 10 p.m. Carrey stars as Jeff, also known as Mr. Pickles, an icon of children’s television and beacon of kindness and wisdom to America’s impressionable young minds. We meet him at a critical point, shortly after one of his twin sons is killed in a car accident and his grieving wife leaves him for another man. Driven to the brink, the affable-to-a-fault TV star begins to act out and show some deep anger and pain simmering just beneath the “aw shucks” surface. Carrey, of course, is an immense talent who emerged out of semi-retirement to do this show, so it has to be good, right? Judging by the first episode, yes. Everyone loves seeing a character grow and evolve into something better and stronger, and we’re expecting that’s where Kidding is headed. Plus it has a strong cast, including TV and film veteran Judy Greer (Married, Ant-Man) as Jeff’s estranged wife Jill Piccirillo; Frank Langella as Jeff’s father and executive producer Seb Piccirillo; and Catherine Keener as Deirdre, the head puppet maker of Mr. Pickles’ Puppet Time and Jeff’s sister. Kidding airs Sundays at 10 p.m. on Showtime.

More from Our Sister Sites