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September traditionally marks the start of the new television season, and the return of some of our favorite shows. But like nearly everything else in this highly unusual year, fall’s TV slate will look a lot different because many series that shut down production in the spring have yet to resume.
There are exceptions, though — a few of which are on the list below. For everyone who’s been waiting patiently for the next seasons of “Fargo,” “The Boys” or “Pen15,” you have a lot to look forward to in September. This month also sees the arrival of new shows and movies created by some of the industry’s top talent, including Luca Guadagnino, Ridley Scott, Gillian Flynn and Antonio Campos.
Here are our picks for the best new films and TV series premiering this month, plus a roundup of some of the other notable titles that will be available to stream. (Note: Streaming services occasionally change schedules without giving notice.)
New to Netflix
Starts streaming: Sept. 4
Science fiction meets family drama — with a heavier emphasis on the drama — in the slick and involving “Away,” an outer-space adventure about people whose feet are firmly planted on Earth. Hilary Swank plays Emma Green, the commander of an international mission to Mars who is dealing with a skeptical crew and her anxiety over leaving her husband, Matt (Josh Charles), and their teenage daughter, Alexis (Talitha Eliana Bateman), back home for three years. The series’ creator, Andrew Hinderaker, works some realistic concerns and crises that might befall astronauts into the plot, but the show is primarily about the conflicting personalities of the characters and how their ordinary human weaknesses might jeopardize a potentially grand achievement for all humankind.
‘The Social Dilemma’
Starts streaming: Sept. 9
The cautionary documentary “The Social Dilemma,” about our loss of privacy in the internet age, may not change the behavior of anyone who watches it, but the movie should at least unsettle the parts of the brain that worry about nefarious forces secretly controlling the planet. The director Jeff Orlowski divides the film fairly equally between interviews and dramatizations. In the talking head scenes, Silicon Valley veterans describe in alarming and granular detail how the likes of Google and Facebook are constantly tracking users’ preferences and steering their interactions. The staged scenes illustrate how this plays out in reality, as actors portray a typical American family addicted to their phones. This unusual and engaging approach to a tricky subject helps explain the simple and mostly automated ways that big tech has changed our lives.
‘The Devil All the Time’
Starts streaming: Sept. 16
There’s a full season’s worth of story packed into the two-hour movie “The Devil All the Time,” a star-studded southern gothic drama based on Donald Ray Pollock’s decades-spanning 2011 novel. The director Antonio Campos (who also wrote the script with Paulo Campos, his brother) streamlines some of Pollock’s book but keeps its primary cast of hard-bitten Ohio coal country characters: a deeply religious, battle-scarred World War II vet (played by Bill Skarsgard); his rough-hewed crusader son (Tom Holland); a corrupt sheriff (Sebastian Stan); a sleazy preacher (Robert Pattinson); and a pair of thrill-killers (Jason Clarke and Riley Keough). Over the course of the 1950s and ’60s, a series of violent confrontations and gruesome murders tests the characters’ convictions and exposes how these multiple generations of churchgoing folk are bound together as much by their grim secrets as by their faith.
Starts streaming: Sept. 23
The “Stranger Things” phenom Millie Bobby Brown is both the star and one of the producers of “Enola Holmes,” an adaptation of Nancy Springer’s series of young adult novels about Sherlock Holmes’s kid sister. Taking great liberties with the Holmes mythology, the movie’s director, Harry Bradbeer, and the screenwriter Jack Thorne have Brown playing the clever teenage sleuth-in-training Enola, who runs away from home to track down her missing mother, Eudoria (Helena Bonham Carter), over the objections of her officious brother, Mycroft (Sam Claflin), and her more kindly brother, Sherlock (Henry Cavill). Bradbeer and Thorne keep the tone light, but they don’t skimp on the nifty mystery-solving. And when in doubt, they turn the camera on the remarkably likable Brown, whose Enola shows wit and pluck while exploring London’s demimonde.
“Felipe Esparza: Bad Decisions (Felipe Esparza: Malas Decisiones)”
“Chef’s Table: BBQ”
“I’m Thinking of Ending Things”
“Get Organized with The Home Edit”
“La Línea: Shadow of Narco”
“The Babysitter: Killer Queen”
“Julie and the Phantoms”
“Baby” Season 3
“Criminal: UK” Season 2
“A Perfect Crime”
“Michelle Buteau: Welcome to Buteaupia”
“The Boys in the Band”
New to Hulu
‘Pen15’ Season 2
Starts streaming: Sept. 18
The extreme emotional swings and the tawdry romantic crises of junior high school provided for some charmingly awkward comedy in Season 1 of “Pen15.” The co-stars Maya Erskine and Anna Konkle (who also created the show with Sam Zvibleman) put themselves back into their 13-year-old selves, circa the year 2000, remembering what it was like to obsess over every casual interaction with the opposite sex. The second season picks up where the first left off, with the girls struggling to act more mature than they actually are, in the aftermath of a big party that stirred up a lot of gossip among their classmates. The series is as funny, bittersweet and keenly observed as ever — and highly recommended for anyone who doesn’t mind cringing at their own icky memories of adolescence.
‘Fargo’ Season 4
Starts streaming: Sept. 28
It’s been more than three years since the Season 3 finale of the offbeat crime anthology “Fargo” aired. In the interim, the creator Noah Hawley stayed busy with his other TV series, “Legion,” while waiting for inspiration to strike for Season 4. Production was derailed by the pandemic just before the last few episodes were completed; but Hawley recently reconvened the cast and crew, to finish telling one of the show’s most ambitious stories yet, set in Kansas City, Mo., in 1950. Chris Rock plays a crime boss butting heads with the white establishment and the remnants of the city’s Jewish, Irish and Italian gangs. As always, Hawley takes some half-forgotten pieces of American history — from the invention of the credit card to the battles over racial segregation in the Midwest — mixes them with a little bit of pulp fantasy and presents them with the kind of stylistic and dialogue flourishes designed to appeal to fans of the original Coen brothers movie.
“Madagascar: A Little Wild”
“Archer” Season 11
“A Wilderness of Error”
New to Amazon
‘The Boys’ Season 2
Starts streaming: Sept. 4
The writer-producer Eric Kripke’s satirical action series, “The Boys,” is an adults-only takedown of the superhero genre, adapting the gleefully vulgar comic book, by the writer Garth Ennis and the artist Darick Robertson, into a surprisingly pointed critique of goody-goody caped crusaders. As Season 1 of “The Boys” made clear, this is a nuanced and all-too-relevant examination of the many faces of authoritarianism: from the telegenic heroes worshiped by the masses to the sketchy vigilantes who defy the law to achieve what they believe is a righteous outcome. Season 2 doubles down on the social commentary, making this not just an incredibly entertaining superpowered fantasy, but also one with something to say about how charismatic people can sometimes warp the public perception of right and wrong.
Starts streaming: Sept. 25
The stylish, frenetic and at times ultraviolent British drama “Utopia” aired two six-episode seasons in 2013 and 2014, telling a tangled and ultimately incomplete story about obsessive comic book fans who think they’ve discovered clues to a dark, apocalyptic conspiracy. Back when the show was drawing international buzz, the director-producer David Fincher was going to adapt it for the United States alongside the writer Gillian Flynn for HBO. Fincher and HBO both left the project, but Flynn remains on board for the American version, with a talented young cast that includes Sasha Lane and Dan Byrd, playing well-meaning nerds whose preoccupations with deep states and secret pandemics may be incredibly prescient — or it may be distracting them from what’s really going in the world.
“Dino Dana: The Movie”
“First One In”
“All In: The Fight for Democracy”
New to HBO Max
‘Raised by Wolves’
Starts streaming: Sept. 3
Though the science fiction series “Raised by Wolves” was created by the writer Aaron Guzikowski, the vision for the show is recognizable as the work of its executive producer, Ridley Scott, who directed the first two episodes. The stark appearance and the at times gory narrative recall Scott’s “Alien” movies, depicting a perilous future for humanity. An android named Mother (Amanda Collin) tends to a small group of children in hopes of starting a new civilization on a distant planet. But the mission runs into trouble; much of the story that follows is about the difficulties a high-functioning mechanical being has in understanding and controlling the fragile bodies, unpredictable emotions and wild superstitions of humans.
‘We Are Who We Are’
Starts streaming: Sept. 14
Created by the “Call Me by Your Name” director Luca Guadagnino, the drama series “We Are Who We Are” should look and feel familiar to fans of that sensuous romance. Jack Dylan Grazer plays Fraser, a socially awkward New York teen who in 2016 moves to a United States Army base in Italy with his two moms (played by Alice Braga and Chloë Sevigny) and spends his days ogling hunky soldiers while trying to fit in with his fellow military brats, across the ocean from a country enduring a contentious presidential election. Typical of Guadagnino’s work, “We Are Who We Are” is light on plot but strong when it comes to capturing indelible moments from the recent past. The director has a marvelous location to work with: an American outpost in Europe that is like a Midwestern small town, yet abuts a decadent seaside resort.
“The Third Day”
“Agents of Chaos”