TV continues to surprise us by offering up a slew of new shows this October. The months-long production shut down may mean a delay of many returning shows, but networks and streaming platforms still have plenty of treats (and no tricks!) to offer viewers this October.
We here at Paste will be covering the new AMC series Soulmates (October 5), the new Disney+ series The Right Stuff (October 9), and Nicole Kidman and Hugh Grant in HBO’s The Undoing (October 25). And there’s no way we would miss Baby Yoda and the second season of Disney+’s The Mandalorian on October 30, or the new installation of Netflix’s The Haunting of Bly Manor on October 9. But we also wanted to highlight some more under-the-radar picks as well in our list below!
Despite the pandemic, we hope you are able to enjoy all that October has to offer and that after you are done raking leaves, picking apples, and carving pumpkins, you can sit back and enjoy these five new shows you can’t miss this month:
Executive Producers: Charlie Pattinson, Ben Richards, Jonathan Young and Nicola Larder
Stars: Robert Carlyle, Victoria Hamilton, Richard Dorme , David Haig and Lucy Cohu
Premiere Date: October 4 at 10 p.m. on PBS
Is now the time to watch a competent, compassionate leader deal with a crisis? Will it be too depressing? Make us too wistful? Robert Carlyle stars as British Prime Minister Robert Sutherland who must protect his constituency when an unprecedented geomagnetic solar storm (basically solar flares that can take out power grids and take down planes) is headed straight for his country. Cobra is a bit of an unfortunate title. I kept thinking of the Sylvester Stallone movie or extending your health insurance, but it’s actually an acronym for Cabinet Office Briefing Room A, where those in charge convene during a crisis. The six-episode series follows government officials including Chief of Staff Anna Marshall (Victoria Hamilton) and Home Secretary Archie Glover-Morgan (David Haig) as they deal with their personal crises amid a catastrophe.
Executive Producers: Manny Coto, Charlie Gogolak, Glenn Ficarra & John Requa
Stars: John Slattery, Fernanda Andrade, Eve Harlow, Aaron Clifton Moten, Jason Butler Harner, Gerardo Celasco, Elizabeth Cappuccino, Michael Mosley And Evan Whitten
Premiere Date: October 6 at 9 p.m. on Fox
This series was originally intended for last spring before the shutdown found networks whisking their shows off their schedules in the fear of how long it would be until television resumed production. Now the drama, from 24 producer Manny Coto, finds itself part of the fall line-up. John Slattery, beloved forever for his role as Roger on Mad Men, stars as Silicon Valley guru Paul LeBlanc. All of his innovations have advanced society until he creates an artificial intelligence known as “neXt” which may be a little too intelligent. When Paul tries to shut down the program, his brother (Jason Butler Harner) kicks him out of the company. What’s he to do but join the cyber-crime task force? If you’ve ever worried that perhaps Alexa and/or Siri knows a little too much about you, this show is for you.
3. Connecting and Social Distance
Executive Producers: Martin Gero, Brendan Gall / Hilary Weisman Graham, Tara Herrmann, Blake McCormick, Jenji Kohan
Stars: Otmaro Marrero, Parvesh Cheena , Keith Powell Preacher Lawson / Danielle Brooks, Mike Colter, Marsha Stephanie Blake, Oscar Nunez, Becky Ann Baker, Dylan Baker, Guillermo Diaz
Premiere Dates: October 8 on NBC / October 15 on Netflix
Our lives have become one big Zoom call and now our TV shows have, too. In NBC’s Connecting, Pradeep (Parvesh Cheena) and his friends including Ben (Preacher Lawson from America’s Got Talent) and Ellis (Shakina Nayfack) meet over Zoom calls to navigate their lives—be it raising children or telling someone you are dating you love them—in a pandemic. The show was shot on iPhones in the actors’ real homes (again I feel the need to mention my house is 1000% not camera ready). Over on Netflix, the eight-episode anthology series Social Distance takes place in the early days of the pandemic (which is both recent and a million years ago). Each episode will feature a different story. First up Oscar Nunez as a man who must bring his family together to hold an online funeral for a loved one.
4. Supermarket Sweep
Executive Producer: Leslie Jones
Stars: Leslie Jones, Hunter Seidman and Jennifer Mullin
Premiere Date: October 18 at 8 p.m. on ABC
The saying “everything old is new again” has defined TV for the past couple of years. But especially now there’s a comfort in familiar television and even more comfort in fun, goofy television that offers you an escape from the daily onslaught of bad news. Supermarket Sweep gives us all that plus the nostalgia of what it was like when we could go to a grocery store without a mask—we’ve already written about how the original was one of the most absurdly American game shows ever made. The game show originally aired on ABC from 1965-1967 and has gone through several iterations since then. Now Leslie Jones brings her infectious enthusiasm to this reboot as three teams of two compete to have the highest cart total for a grand prize of $100,000. Jones is a self-proclaimed fan of the show and was instrumental in bringing about this latest revival. The production also donated around 4,600 pounds of food to local food banks and organizations. The show was filmed with strict COVID protocols, where a hanger at the Santa Monica Municipal Airport as a stand-in for a real grocery store.
5. The Queen’s Gambit
Executive Producers: Scott Frank, William Horberg and Allan Scott
Stars: Anya Taylor-Joy, Marielle Heller, Thomas Brodie-Sangster, Moses Ingram, Harry Melling and Bill Camp
Premiere Date: October 23 on Netflix
Seriously I really think I could have a career in naming TV shows. It just doesn’t seem that smart to name a show The Queen’s Gambit on the same platform that brings you The Crown. It made me think the series had something to do with the royal family. But it does not! It’s about an entirely different type of queen, one found in the game of chess. Based on the novel by Walter Tevis, follow young chess savant Beth Harmon (Anya Taylor-Joy) from her roots in a Kentucky orphanage through her addiction to tranquilizers to her domination in the field of chess.
Amy Amatangelo, the TV Gal®, is a Boston-based freelance writer, a member of the Television Critics Association and the Assistant TV Editor for Paste. She wasn’t allowed to watch much TV as a child and now her parents have to live with this as her career. You can follow her on Twitter (@AmyTVGal).
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