Summer is officially over, but don’t be completely bummed by it. Some of the most anticipated titles of the year will finally be released in the early days of fall. Plus, there’s a good combination of big mainstream blockbuster titles — yes, I’m talking about Marvel’s Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings — high-brow limited series and even adaptations of classic science fiction novels.
Also, we understand you’ve been busy, so here’s a link to our Coming Soon article from August in case you want to catch up on everything you didn’t have time to watch last month.
We’ve followed the pattern of previous months and have included on this list not only TV shows but also documentaries and movies released on streaming or only in theaters. Here’s our selection.
September’s Most Anticipated New Shows
Impeachment: American Crime Story (September 7), FX: Ryan Murphy’s anthology series American Crime Story revisits true crime events; the previous two seasons were dedicated to the O.J. Simpson trial and the murder of Italian designer Gianni Versace. This new season examines Bill Clinton’s (Clive Owen) impeachment from the perspective of Monica Lewinsky (Beanie Feldstein), Linda Tripp (Sarah Paulson) and Paula Jones (Annaleigh Ashford). The three women became part of the media conversation, were thrown into the public sphere and were often ridiculed for their physical appearance. Activist and public speaker Lewinsky is one of the producers of this 10-episode season.
Pretty Hard Cases (September 10), IMDb TV: Feeling confused with so many streaming services to choose from? Here comes a show from yet another one: IMDb TV, Amazon’s free, ad-supported streaming service. Pretty Hard Cases is a 10-episode buddy-cop series starring Meredith MacNeill and Adrienne C. Moore (Orange Is the New Black) as two detectives in their early 40s who end up having to team up — despite their many differences — to take down a Toronto street gang dealing drugs.
Scenes From a Marriage (September 12), HBO: Israeli screenwriter and producer Hagai Levi (The Affair, In Treatment) writes and directs this five-part limited series that adapts Ingmar Bergman’s classic Swedish series from the 1970s but with a contemporary American duo at its center. And while I’m not sure how I feel about yet another story about a crumbling couple after Adam Driver and Scarlett Johansson’s A Marriage Story, the idea of Jessica Chastain and Oscar Isaac playing wife and husband once again after 2014’s A Most Violent Year sure piques my interest.
Y: The Last Man (September 13), FX on Hulu: Based on DC Comics’ graphic novel series by Brian K. Vaughan and Pia Guerra, this FX on Hulu (FX-produced content available exclusively on Hulu) series was adapted for the screen by Eliza Clark (Extant), who’s made sure to update the binary premise of the original source material in which all the male mammals but two die. In the show, when Earth is hit by an event that kills all mammals with a Y chromosome, only one cisgender man, Yurick (Ben Schnetzer), and his pet monkey, Ampersand, survive. All 10 episodes of the first season of Y: The Last Man have been directed by women.
Dan Brown’s The Lost Symbol (September 16), Peacock: Devoured Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code and all its many sequels but didn’t quite enjoy the movie adaptations with Tom Hanks playing Harvard symbology professor Robert Langdon? Maybe you should check out this new show, which is based on Brown’s The Lost Symbol and stars Ashley Zukerman (Succession) as a young Langdon. In the show, the symbologist Langdon is forced to solve a series of puzzles to try and find his kidnapped mentor and prevent a conspiracy.
Foundation (September 24), Apple TV+: Mark this as one of 2021’s most ambitious shows. Based on Isaac Asimov’s science fiction series, the 10-episode first season of Foundation is run by David S. Goyer (Batman Begins). “When revolutionary Dr. Hari Seldon predicts the impending fall of the Empire, he and a band of loyal followers venture to the far reaches of the galaxy to establish The Foundation in an attempt to rebuild and preserve the future of civilization,” reads Apple’s official synopsis of the show. Jared Harris (Chernobyl) plays Seldon, and Lee Pace (Pushing Daisies) is the current Emperor of the Galaxy in the show.
Must-See Returning TV on Streaming
What We Do in the Shadows, Season 3 (September 2), FX, on Hulu the following day: Season three of the mockumentary comedy series based on Jemaine Clement and Taika Waititi’s 2014 film of the same name follows vampire roommates Nandor (Kayvan Novak), Nadja (Natasia Demetriou), Laszlo (Matt Berry) and Colin Robinson (Mark Proksch) and human familiar Guillermo (Harvey Guillén). This season, the old-fashioned bloodsuckers are still trying to figure out life in contemporary Staten Island while grappling with the idea that Guillermo is a vampire killer.
La casa de papel (Money Heist), Part 5 Vol. 1 (September 3), Netflix: The final season of the Spanish hit Netflix series kicks off right where Part 4 left things off: with our band of sexy red-coveralls-wearing thieves still inside the Bank of Spain. Lisboa (Itziar Ituño) has been rescued, but Sierra (Najwa Nimri) has found El Profesor (Álvaro Morte) and the whole plan could fall because of it. Will the gang be able to pull off such a heist?
Wu-Tang: An American Saga, Season 2 (September 8), Hulu: This drama series co-created by Wu-Tang member The RZA and by Alex Tse (Watchmen) depicts the inception of the influential hip-hop group. The second season deals with the Clan’s members trying to make it into the music business while struggling with everyday life.
Lucifer, Season 6 (September 10), Netflix: If you enjoyed Lucifer‘s second leg of its fifth season, you’ll probably be looking forward to the comedic procedural’s sixth and last season. Enjoy Chloe (Lauren German) and Lucifer’s (Tom Ellis) last exploits now that he’s gone from Devil to reluctant God and the apocalypse is fast approaching.
The Morning Show, Season 2 (September 17), Apple TV+: Reese Witherspoon, Jennifer Aniston and Billy Crudup return for a new 10-episode season of the drama show set in the world of morning news. Season two tackles the reaction at UBA after the story of sexual abuse at the network was revealed during the end of last season. Julianna Margulies, Hasan Minhaj and Holland Taylor are some of the prominent names to join the star-studded cast this season. In its first season two trailer, the show also hinted that it’ll be addressing the COVID-19 pandemic.
Sex Education, Season 3 (September 17), Netflix: Netflix’s most educational dramedy returns for a third season. Jemima Kirke (Girls) joins the cast as new headteacher Hope, who wants to return the school to a pillar of excellence. Meanwhile, sex therapist Jean (Gillian Anderson) is still very much pregnant. Her teenage son Otis (Asa Butterfield) is having casual sex, and we can only expect something will end up happening between him and Maeve (Emma Mackey) — even if a certain voicemail he left for her was lost.
Movies and Documentaries on Streaming
Happier Than Ever: A Love Letter to Los Angeles (September 3), Disney+: After this year’s Apple TV+ documentary Billie Eilish: The World’s a Little Blurry, now comes the turn for a short feature with the pop singer-songwriter sensation. Directed by Robert Rodriguez and Patrick Osborne, this concert experience and love letter to Billie Eilish’s hometown also includes performances by the Los Angeles Children’s Chorus and the Los Angeles Philharmonic conducted by Gustavo Dudamel.
Worth (September 3), Netflix: Based on true events, Worth follows the terrorist attack of September 11, 2001. Michael Keaton plays attorney and mediator Kenneth Feinberg, appointed by Congress to lead the Victim Compensation Fund. Amy Ryan plays Camille Biros, head of operations at Feinberg’s firm. Together, they “face the impossible task of determining the worth of a life to help the families who had suffered incalculable losses,” reads the Netflix synopsis.
The Mad Women’s Ball (September 17), Amazon Prime: Part of this year’s Toronto International Film Festival’s (TIFF) selection, The Mad Women’s Ball is directed and co-written by actress Mélanie Laurent (Inglourious Basterds). The movie stars Lou de Laâge as Eugénie, a young woman who is committed to an institution by her bourgeois family in the late 19th century.
Cry Macho (September 17), HBO Max and theaters: Clint Eastwood returns behind and in front of the camera for this contemporary western in which he plays Mike Milo, a former rodeo star and horse breeder. The film, set in 1979, follows Mike as he accepts a job from a former boss and tries to bring home the boss’ young son, Rafo (Eduardo Minett), from Mexico.
The Starling (September 24), Netflix and select theaters: Melissa McCarthy, Chris O’Dowd, Daveed Diggs and Kevin Kline star in this movie that has all the ingredients to make you cry. After suffering a tragic loss, Lilly (McCarthy) ends up finding solace in the most unlikely of creatures: a territorial starling that has taken over her garden.
And a Few Movies You’ll Only Be Able to Watch in Theaters
Shang-chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings (September 3): Marvel’s latest installment stars Simu Liu and Awkwafina in an action-packed origin story movie. We don’t only get to meet the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s first Asian lead (Liu), but also his best friend (Awkwafina), badass sister (Meng’er Zhang), charismatic dad (Tony Leung) and even more magnetic aunt (Michelle Yeoh). Read our full review of the movie here.
Queenpins (September 10): This comedy has a Hustlers vibe. Starring Kristen Bell (Veronica Mars) and Kirby Howell-Baptiste (The Good Place) and inspired by a true story, the movie tells the tale of two suburban housewives who end up embroiled in a big counterfeiting scheme by using fake coupons. The movie is expected to also be released soon on Paramount+.
The Card Counter (September 10): Paul Schrader (Taxi Driver) writes and directs this revenge thriller starring Oscar Isaac. He plays William Tell, an ex-military interrogator who can’t forget some of his past decisions (and who’s also become a professional gambler). Tiffany Haddish and Willem Dafoe round out the cast.
The Eyes of Tammy Faye (September 17): Another of the selections at TIFF this year, The Eyes of Tammy Faye is based on a 2000 documentary of the same name. The movie stars Jessica Chastain and Andrew Garfield as Tammy Faye and Jim Bakker, married televangelists who, in the 1970s and 1980s, created the world’s largest religious broadcasting network and built a multimillion-dollar empire.
The Nowhere Inn (September 17): Grammy-winning artist St. Vincent and actress Carrie Brownstein (Portlandia), who are friends in real life, play versions of themselves in this mockumentary. Brownstein is tasked with making a documentary about St. Vincent on tour, only to find out the pop star is actually a very boring person when she’s not on stage.