Fall 2018 TV: Here’s when your favorite shows are returning

As the summer winds down, it’s time for some of our favorite series to return to the small screen.

From sitcoms to dramas, streaming services and network television, here are some of best series returning in late September and through the end of 2018. Mark your calendars, set your DVRs, and plan accordingly.

Note: There are some spoilers ahead, so read at your own risk.

‘Lethal Weapon’ (Fox)

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Lethal Weapon

By the time you read this, Lethal Weapon will have already returned for its third season, which debuts September 25. The buddy cop drama initially starred Damon Wayans and Clayne Crawford as Roger Murtaugh and Martin Riggs, respectively, for its first two seasons — the same mismatched detective characters that were played by Danny Glover and Mel Gibson in the popular film franchise of the same name. Crawford was dismissed from the show after reports of behind-the-scenes drama last year, and is being replaced by Seann William Scott (American Pie, The Dukes of Hazzard) for season three, who will be playing a new character, Wesley Cole, opposite Wayans.

‘Empire’ (Fox)

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The fifth season of this musical drama about a hip-hop mogul suffering from a debilitating disease and his family’s fight to take over the multimillion-dollar business debuted September 26. The acclaimed show stars Terrence Howard as Lucious Lyon, CEO of Empire Entertainment (and former drug dealer), and Taraji P. Henson as his outspoken ex-wife, Cookie. The series has seen a revolving door of guest stars through its run, from Alicia Keys to Gladys Knight, Jennifer Hudson, Cuba Gooding Jr., and Ne-Yo, some playing themselves, and some portraying fictional characters. So we can expect to see some more this season, too.

‘How to Get Away With Murder’ (ABC)

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Multiple Emmy winner Viola Davis returns September 27 to reprise her role as disgraced and troubled, yet fiercely efficient, lawyer Annalise Keating for the fifth season of this Shonda Rhimes drama. Her portrayal of a (now former) university law professor who gets herself and her team of law students into murderous hot water multiple times over earned Davis the honor of being the first black woman to win a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series back in 2015.

‘Saturday Night Live’ (NBC)

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No. 4 — Melissa McCarthy ($18 million) in season 42 of "Saturday Night Live" (2017)

With 43 seasons under its belt, this sketch comedy series will return for its 44th season on September 29. The guest host and musical guest for the premiere have not yet been announced. The series received several Primetime Emmy Award nominations at this year’s ceremony, which was hosted by cast members Michael Che and Colin Jost, including five for supporting actors Kenan Thompson, Leslie Jones, Kate McKinnon, and Aidy Bryant, and guest star Alec Baldwin for his recurring role as Donald Trump. Baldwin has confirmed that he will return as Trump for the new season.

‘Bob’s Burgers’ (Fox)

Bob Belcher, Bob’s Burgers
Bob Belcher, Bob’s Burgers (Fox)

Running strong for eight seasons, this animated sitcom about Bob Belcher (voiced by H. Jon Benjamin) and his family-run hamburger restaurant will return for its ninth season on September 30. The well-received series has been nominated seven times for Outstanding Animated Program at the Emmy Awards, winning in 2014 and 2017. A film adaptation is also in the works, scheduled to be released in the summer of 2020.

‘The Man in the High Castle’ (Amazon)

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The Man in the High Castle

As one of Amazon’s most talked-about series, this dystopian alternate history will return for its third season October 5. Based on the 1962 novel of the same name by Philip K. Dick, it portrays an alternate version of the year 1962, with the Axis powers having won World War II. Thanks to widespread critical acclaim, the series received a fourth season renewal, even before the third season debuted.

‘The Walking Dead’ (AMC)

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Gene Page / AMC

Heavily promoted as lead character Rick Grimes’ (Andrew Lincoln’s) final season, the next story arc of the post-apocalyptic zombie drama will finally reveal what happens to the survivors’ fearless leader when the ninth season commences on October 7. With Rick set to depart along with Maggie Green (Lauren Cohan) in the upcoming season, and popular character Morgan (Lennie James) crossing over to the spinoff series Fear the Walking Dead, few of the original cast members remain. Having already experienced a drop in ratings ahead of Lincoln’s departure, season nine needs to hit things out of the park if we’re to see a season 10.

‘Doctor Who’ (BBC)

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BBC America

Get ready for more of this British sci-fi series on October 7 when it returns for another season of adventures with its titular, time- and space-traveling extraterrestrial known as The Doctor. The series has developed an intensely loyal, generation-spanning following over the years since its debut way back in 1963. The Doctor’s knack for regeneration in new bodies has allowed the role to be played by multiple actors over the years, but the new season brings the first female iteration of the character, now portrayed by Jodie Whittaker.

‘Riverdale’ (The CW)


With racy scenes, mature storylines, and plenty of horror, drama, and violence behind the lives of high school students in this seemingly perfect little town, the series based on Archie Comics characters returns for its third season on October 10. Dubbed a teen drama, it’s more like 90210 meets Desperate Housewives, with a bit of classic horror flick fodder thrown in for good measure. In addition to the teenage cast (or actors playing teenagers) of the series, former teen drama stars Luke Perry, Skeet Ulrich, Robin Givens, and Molly Ringwald play some of the characters’ parents.

‘Marvel’s Daredevil’ (Netflix)

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This popular Marvel series centers around Matt Murdock (Charlie Cox), a blind lawyer who fights crime at night as the vigilante known as Daredevil. The series that kicked off the partnership between Marvel and Netflix which spawned Jessica JonesIron Fist, Luke Cage, and The Punisher, and eventually led to the crossover event The Defenders (which left Matt Murdock’s fate somewhat uncertain), Daredevil will return for a third season October 19, more than two years after the release of the show’s second season.

‘Ray Donovan’ (Showtime)

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Michael Desmond/SHOWTIME

With Susan Sarandon returning to reprise her recurring role, this crime drama will debut its 12-episode sixth season on October 28. It stars multiple Emmy-nominated Liev Schreiber as the title character, a Boston-born, Irish-American “fixer” in Los Angeles whose shady activities on behalf of his wealthy clients often include bribes, threats, and extreme violence. It’s all par for the course, however, for this crisp-suit-wearing, heavy drinking troubled soul, who grew up with a drug-dealing father (Jon Voight). When we left Ray in season 5, he was reeling from the death of his wife. If the trailer is any indication, however, he’s back to his old tricks, as trouble continues to follow him.

‘StartUp’ (Sony Crackle)

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Starring Martin Freeman, Adam Brody, Edi Gathegi, and Ron Perlman, this drama about three clueless tech entrepreneurs who get caught up with gangs and crooked FBI agents after developing a controversial new digital currency called GenCoin, will return for an action-packed third season on November 1.  While the show has received mixed reviews, the star-studded cast — particularly Gathegi, who has been lauded for his performance as a criminal who desperately wants out — may just have some miles left.

‘House of Cards’ (Netflix)

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What will the political thriller look like without its lead character, Frank Underwood (Kevin Spacey)? We’ll find out come November 2, when the series returns for its final season, focused primarily on the character of Claire Underwood (Robin Wright.) As one-half of the corrupt and ambitious political power duo, Claire is now president. Meanwhile, Frank was set to go to jail, awaiting a pardon from his wife that, given the casting shake-up, likely won’t happen.

‘Narcos: Mexico’ (Netflix)

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Technically a companion series to Narcos, this crime drama will debut (or return) on November 16. With drug kingpin Pablo Escobar (Wagner Moura) now dead, the series features an entirely new cast of characters involved in the illegal drug trade in Mexico (instead of Colombia), including Michael Peña as DEA agent Kiki Camarena, and Diego Luna as Felix Gallardo, head of the Guadalajara Cartel. Its predecessor, Narcos, ran for three seasons.

‘Vikings’ (History)

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It has a niche following, but fans of this historical drama about the saga of Norse hero Ragnar Lothbrok are passionate about the series. They’ll be happy to know that the series, which saw Irish actor Jonathan Rhys Meyers join the cast in season five, will return on November 28 for its 20-episode, sixth season.

‘Marvel’s Runaways’ (Hulu)

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This series based on the Marvel Comics superhero team of the same name and ostensibly set in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) will debut its 10-episode second season on December 21. It follows the story of six teenagers — some with powerful abilities — who find themselves on the run and with no one to trust but each other after they discover their parents’ secret status as the leaders of a powerful super-villain cabal in the show’s first season.

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