The 15 New TV Shows You Have to Watch This Fall
HOW TO GET AWAY WITH MURDER
Sept. 25, ABC
When hard-driving legal professor Annalise Keating (Viola Davis, right) recruits a bevy of brilliant law students to intern at her firm, a murder mystery and cover-up quickly follow. "I found her messy, mysterious and strangely vulnerable,” Davis tells PEOPLE of her character, created by TV veteran Shonda Rhimes. Adds costar Aja Naomi King (second from left), "We definitely find ourselves in a little bit of trouble." (We expect that's an understatement.)
A TO Z
Oct. 2, NBC
"I read a lot of sitcom scripts, but this was special," says star Ben Feldman, who plays Andrew. "This show is just really happy and fun. You can't watch it and be in a bad mood." The series tells the story of his nearly nine-month relationship with Zelda (HIMYM's Cristin Milioti) – and both stars promise lots of chemistry. "When we read together, it was instantly there," Milioti says.
Sept. 21, CBS
Téa Leoni returns to TV as former CIA analyst and working mom Elizabeth McCord, who tries to balance family life with being secretary of state. "This is a show about diplomacy – with children, with grown-ups, with childish grown-ups, with grown-up children," explains Leoni. "Ultimately everything, including politics, is about relationships."
RED BAND SOCIETY
Sept. 17, FOX
"When I heard the show takes place in a pediatric hospital, I assumed it was going to be a depressing drama," says Octavia Spencer, who plays a no-nonsense nurse on the hour-long dramedy. "But it follows the ups and downs of the teenagers [in the children's ward], so there are both poignant moments and laughs."
Sept. 22, FOX
What was Batman's hometown like before Bruce Wayne became the Dark Knight Detective? This prequel to the hero's story features a future Commissioner Gordon (Ben McKenzie) fighting crime without a mask. The baddies include younger versions of Catwoman (Camren Bicondova, second from left), Penguin (Robin Lord Taylor, second from right) and the Riddler (Cory Michael Smith, far right). Will fans miss the Caped Crusader? "There are a lot of eyebrows raised," says Jada Pinkett Smith, who plays mob queenpin Fish Mooney. "But I'm willing to work hard to turn people over to my side."
Sept. 30, MTV
Lucy (Bianca Santos) works with her mom at a Disneyesque theme park, but a dark family secret could ruin their harmonious relationship. "Lucy grew up in a place where dreams come true," says Santos (right, with costar Shane Harper). "But her world is crashing around her."
Sept. 24, ABC
Anthony Anderson (left, with costar Tracee Ellis Ross) is psyched to bring a black family comedy back to network TV – but he hopes viewers of all backgrounds identify with this sitcom, which centers on a father raising his kids in a life of privilege he didn't have as a child. "This show isn't about being black," he says. "It's about the '-ish' everyone deals with."
Oct. 2, FOX
In this adaptation of the hit British series Broadchurch, Det. Emmett Carver (David Tennant, right, who starred in the U.K. version) arrives in a seaside town to investigate the murder of a young boy. Anna Gunn (left) – in her first role since Breaking Bad – plays his working-mom partner, Det. Ellie Miller. "It was hard to say goodbye to Breaking Bad," she says, "but we've all moved on to extraordinary things. I've hit the jackpot."
Oct. 14, NBC
Casey Wilson stars in this relationship-centric sitcom that happens to be written by her real-life husband, David Caspe. "It's rare to get to work with your husband, but it's really special that we get to collaborate," Wilson says. "I think we only talk about it 23 hours a day!" She spends nearly as much time with her on-screen spouse, Ken Marino, whom she calls "one of the funniest guys on the planet."
Oct. 24, NBC
Based on the comic book series Hellblazer, the show stars British import Matt Ryan as John Constantine, a tough-as-nails demon hunter who roams the country battling supernatural terrors. "He's a normal bloke," says the actor. "But he'll do anything in order to achieve his objective."
Oct. 12, Showtime
Told from two different perspectives, the drama centers on an illicit romance between a schoolteacher (Dominic West, left) and a waitress (Ruth Wilson, right). "People get hurt in relationships," says Joshua Jackson, who plays one of the wronged spouses. "And everyone has their version of the truth."
Oct. 30, CBS
Tyler Ritter (son of the late John Ritter) stars as Ronny, a single gay man from a family of sports-loving Irish Bostonians who freak when he decides to move away. "Ronny is ready for a change and for some love in his life," says Ritter (far left) of the comedy, which also stars former New Kids on the Block idol and Bay State native Joey McIntyre. "He has come out of the closet, and his family has accepted him, but they don't know how to express that, so we're all trying to find our sensitive ways – or at least somewhat sensitive ways – to grow as a family."
JANE THE VIRGIN
Oct. 13, The CW
Devoutly religious Jane (Gina Rodriguez, left, with costar Andrea Navedo) is a 23-year-old virgin who keeps the faith after being accidentally artificially inseminated during a routine checkup. "She's not afraid of being different," the star says of her character's celibacy. "She's strong and independent."
STATE OF AFFAIRS
Nov. 17, NBC
Charleston Tucker (Katherine Heigl, in her first TV series since Grey's Anatomy) is a CIA analyst who advises President Constance Payton (Alfre Woodard) and has a close personal relationship with the Commander in Chief, having been engaged to her son. "She's a woman who is very smart and in a powerful position in a very intense, high-pressure, high-stakes job," explains Heigl. "But she is also very emotionally complicated and is a little bit of a rebel."
Nov. 15, Starz
Consumed with finding his lost son, Tony (James Nesbitt, right, with costars Tchéky Karyo and Frances O'Connor) risks everything to track him down. "It's the most horrific thing that can happen to a family," says Nesbitt. To prep for the intense role on location, he covered his apartment walls with photos of his on-screen child. But on weekends, "It was important to get home to my kids to escape the show."