Fall 2021 TV Shows to Watch: “Sex Ed,” “Gossip Girl,” “Baby-Sitters Club” & More

·15 min read

If you're feeling overwhelmed by a never-ending queue of "must-watch" programming, you're not alone.

The fall TV season is in full swing, and that means you have to manage your time wisely. You can stream Hulu's goofy Only Murders in the Building in the morning, and catch FX's latest comic book adaptation Y: The Last Man in the evenings. Some shows are perfect for multitasking (bonjour, Emily in Paris), while others require uninterrupted focus (you don't want to miss those Marvel easter eggs in Hawkeye). This is all to say: Your viewing schedule is about to be packed.

To help you prepare for a busy TV season, here are the promising new shows, returning favorites, and future pop culture phenomenons to be on the lookout for this fall. Plan accordingly! Here are the fall TV shows you have to watch.

Only Murders in the Building 

Release date: August 31

Where to watch: Hulu

Selena Gomez returns to our screens in Only Murders in the Building, a killer whodunit about a trio of true crime obsessives who attempt to solve a, well, murder in their upscale Manhattan apartment building. Sel plays Mabel, a bored young woman blessed with sarcasm and a gift for podcasting. When her neighbor dies, allegedly by suicide, she's convinced there's more to the story, so she enlists the help of her fellow murder mystery enthusiasts at the Arconia (played by Steve Martin and Martin Short) to figure out what really happened on the ninth floor.

Despite its macabre premise, Only Murders in the Building is actually pretty funny and deceptively warm. It gives Sel a chance to flex her expert comedic timing alongside true comedy legends, and it gives this ragtag group of amateur sleuths a chance to break free from their gilded cages and find real connection.

The D'Amelio Show

Release date: August 31

Where to watch: Hulu

Every generation gets the reality TV family they deserve, and Hulu's The D'Amelio Show is a fitting glimpse through the looking glass of modern social media fame — both the mundanity of it all and the perils of garnering such influence seemingly overnight. "I get asked why I’m famous a lot," 17-year-old Charli D'Amelio, the most followed creator on TikTok (with over 120 million followers and counting) says in the first episode. "I don’t consider myself famous. I’m just a person that a lot of people follow for some reason." Therein lies the allure of Charli and her older sister Dixie: They are perfectly average, and if they can amass millions of followers on TikTok, then you can too.

Of course, that level of fame comes at a personal cost. Charli, Dixie, and their parents carry the emotional and mental weight of their visibility. There are multiple scenes in which Charli and Dixie sob over mean internet comments; Charli suffers an anxiety attack before the Kids Choice Awards — she says she used to have more than 10 panic attacks a day. It's in those unfiltered moments that The D'Amelio Show actually has something important to share, as if to say America's First Family of TikTok is here to stay — for as long as they can bear it.

Y: The Last Man

Platform: FX on Hulu

Premieres: September 13

What if one day you woke up and suddenly every living mammal with a Y chromosome vanished from the earth, leaving only women to run the world? It sounds kinda idyllic, right? Such is the premise of Y: The Last Man, a new series that follows the last two surviving creatures with Y chromosomes on the planet: a twentysomething slacker and amateur escape artist named Yorick Brown (Ben Schnetzer) and his pet Capuchin monkey Ampersand.

As Yorick and Ampersand try to get to the bottom of The Plague, they meet a host of characters, ranging from helpful to hostile. There's Agent 355 (Ashley Romans), a badass secret agent tasked with protecting Yorick from danger (turns out, when you're the last survivor everybody either wants you dead or to use you for their own purposes); geneticist and cloning expert Dr. Allison Mann (Diana Bang); Yorick's sister Hero (Olivia Thirlby) and her best friend Sam (Elliot Fletcher); and the President's daughter Kimberly Cunningham (Amber Tamblyn), who tries to uphold her father's conservative platform.

Adapted from Brian K. Vaughan and Pia Guerra's beloved series of graphic novels, Y: The Last Man expands upon the original plot of the comics with a richer, more diverse world.

"Yorick's maleness is not what sets him apart in this world — it's his Y chromosome that sets him apart," showrunner Eliza Clark said at an August 2021 TCA panel. "Gender is diverse and chromosomes are not equal to gender. In the world of the television show, every living mammal with a Y chromosome dies. Tragically, that includes many women; it includes non-binary people; it includes intersex people… We are making a show that affirms that trans women are women, trans men are men, non-binary people are non-binary, and that is part of the richness of the world we get to play with."

Sex Education season 3

Release date: September 17

Where to watch: Netflix

The beginning of a new school year is an opportunity for a fresh start, a chance to put your best foot forward and to show your friends that you're not harboring any lingering feelings for the girl who broke your heart when she didn't return your voicemail confession. Nope. Definitely not tormented by that anymore. Isn't that right, Otis?

When teen comedy Sex Education returns for its third season, Otis (Asa Butterfield) is amidst a personal rebranding. He's got more facial hair; he's having more casual sex; and he has significantly less patience for his peers and their intimacy issues. As for cool girl Maeve (Emma Mackey), well, she and Otis are still battling their unspoken feelings for each other — and that voicemail is still nowhere to be heard. Meanwhile, Eric (Ncuti Gatwa) and Adam (Connor Swindells) are official and ready to take the next step in their relationship.

Otis's patchy mustache isn't the only new addition to Moordale Secondary: Jemima Kirke steps in as the school's assiduous new headteacher Hope, an Umbridge-lite hardass. Speaking of, Harry Potter alum Jason Isaacs will play Mr. Groff's more successful and extremely arrogant older brother Peter. No amount of vulva cupcakes will prepare you for what's next.

Dear White People Volume 4

Platform: Netflix

Premieres: September 22

It's been more than two years since we last checked in with the Black Caucus of Winchester University, and while life looks considerably different than it did back then, so does the satirical world of Justin Simien's boundary-pushing Dear White People. When the Netflix comedy returns for its fourth and final season later this month, prepare for a full-blown musical.

The season will partially take place in the future, with Sam (Logan Browning) and her former classmates reminiscing over their last college semester when they all took part in a "corny sketch comedy" on campus called The Varsity Show (described as a "'90s musical but Black"). As the adult versions of Sam and Lionel (DeRon Horton) try to recapture the spontaneous magic of their youth, their senior year unfolds with a similar fondness for nostalgia, as the musical takes shape with plenty of finesse, '90s drip, dance numbers, and… glitter.

But their desire to return to the past is met with righteous ire from a new student union called Black AF, who deem the show an act of minstrelsy. Simien said the final 10 episodes will address themes of "virtue signaling" and "meritocracy," adding that the writers pondered the question of "what happens to a Black life after it’s been declared that it mattered?"

The Baby-Sitters Club season 2

Release date: October 11

Where to watch: Netflix

The Baby-Sitters Club is back in business! Our favorite tween entrepreneurs return for a second season of the celebrated Netflix adaptation of Ann M. Martin’s beloved chapter books. With business booming, Kristy, Mary Anne, Claudia, Stacey, and Dawn recruit two new junior members to the BSC: Mallory Pike (Vivian Watson) and Jessi Ramsey (Anais Lee).

Of course, a new school year presents new challenges: Mary Anne is navigating her heart-fluttering feelings for Logan (what happened at summer camp?); Dawn is adjusting to sisterhood; Stacey is facing her fears; Claudia is brazenly pursuing her art; and Kristy is processing the news that she's going to be a big sister… again. (At least she's an experienced babysitter.) So get your favorite cozy cardigan and mismatched, Claudia-approved earrings ready to watch the "year when everything changed" for Kristy and co.


Release date: October 15

Where to watch: Netflix

If you thought a quiet life in the suburbs would curb Joe's murderous instincts, think again. You Season 3 promises to up the body count because even a white picket fence can't stop Joe (Penn Badgley) and his new wife Love (Victoria Pedretti) from committing crimes of passion.

On the outside, Joe and Love look like the picture-perfect couple. Sporting a newborn baby and tepid smiles, they have everyone fooled. In actuality, the newlyweds are engaged in a lethal war of the roses, egregiously trying to one-up each other and fight for control. Complicating matters is the fact that Joe has his eye on the pretty young woman next door (girl, run).

Meanwhile, ​​there are still a few people out there who know what Joe is capable of. Could Ellie come back to expose his dastardly deeds? Or will Joe and Love continue to get away with murder?

Gossip Girl season 1, part 2

Release date: November

Where to watch: HBO Max

Things are predictably messy for our favorite Upper East Siders. In the midseason finale of Gossip Girl, there were hot 'n' heavy hookups (throuple Max, Audrey, and Aki took things to the next level), secret kisses (Julien and Obie are back… on?), and a scandalous sex tape (Max tries to take down Rafa for good). That left us with a lot of questions for the second half of the season, premiering later this fall: How will Zoya find out about Julien and Obie's kiss? Are Max-Audrey-Aki keeping things casual, or could there be something more between them? Why does Aki's dad want him to stay away from Julien? And will Kate and her colleagues be outed as the mysterious social media maven behind @gossipgirl?

Luckily, we have a few months to theorize before Gossip Girl returns later this year to answer our most pressing queries, serve peak fall fashion inspo, and deliver even more drama. We, personally, can't wait. See you soon, GG. XOXO.

The Great season 2

Release date: November 19

Where to watch: Hulu

Hulu's "anti-historical" comedy about Catherine the Great is back for another season, and this one picks up after the witty Empress's stunning coup. Catherine II (Elle Fanning) now sits alone atop the Russian throne, having deposed her dopey husband Peter III (Nicholas Hoult), but she soon finds out that ruling an empire is a lot easier in theory, especially in a country that is reluctant to change — politically and intellectually.

In Season 2, she'll go head to head with her court, her closest advisers, and even her nosey socialite mother (guest star Gillian Anderson) in order to bring the Age of Enlightenment to Russia. To make matters even more confusing, her husband/prisoner/adversary/favorite sparring partner might be her only ally. Huzzah?

The Wheel of Time

Release date: November 19

Where to watch: Amazon Prime Video

Could Amazon have the next Game of Thrones-sized hit on their hands? Adapted from a beloved book series (check), Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time is a sprawling fantasy epic (check) set in a world where magic exists (check) and only certain women are allowed to access it. There's prophecies and perilous journeys, magic and dueling kingdoms, and a host of powerful women, led by Rosamund Pike's Moiraine Damodred, a member of the Aes Sedai.

The Aes Sedai is an order of women who can bend the elements with their magic, and they're tasked with finding the latest reincarnation of the Dragon, a prophesied figure who can save humanity from an evil force known as the Dark One. Moiraine is sent on a voyage to Two Rivers to find the Dragon Reborn, where her fate intertwines with five young men and women — one of whom is the aforementioned Chosen One — and they embark on a trek to save the world from darkness.

It sounds like a lot. After all, there are 14 books of source material to pull from. But at its core, The Wheel of Time is a tale of good vs. evil. And there's a charismatic cast of young heroes to root for: Madeleine Madden's Egwene al’Vere; Marcus Rutherford's Perrin Aybara; Barney Harris's Mat Cauthon; Zoë Robins's Nynaeve al’Meara; and Josha Stradowski's Rand al’Thor. It's only a matter of time before they become household names.

Star Wars: Visions

Release date: November 22

Where to watch: Disney+

It's no secret that Japanese cinema has long influenced the Star Wars saga. Akira Kurosawa's 1958 samurai classic, The Hidden Fortress, initially inspired George Lucas's galaxy far, far away, and in the decades since, the richness of Japanese folklore and animation has continued to energize a generation of filmmakers at the Star Wars helm. (In turn, the interstellar space opera has left its own monumental impact on anime; there'd be no Gundam without it.)

So in some ways, Star Wars: Visions feels kismet. The ambitious, animated anthology series is a chance for some of Japan's greatest storytellers to leave their mark on a beloved franchise. But it also feels a bit like reclaiming a lost legacy. The best part? They're not beholden to the ironclad continuity of the Skywalker Saga, so expect Visions to bring to life exciting new characters and unexpected stories, while imbuing each episode with its own artistic and cultural lens. Every episode, nine in total, comes from a different creative team — including studios like Studio Trigger (Kill La Kill, Promare) and Science SARU (Space Dandy, Devilman Crybaby) — which will make Visions a must-watch for animation fans and Star Wars devotees alike.

You can watch the series in its original Japanese with English subtitles, or enjoy the dubbed version. The English voice cast includes Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Neil Patrick Harris, Alison Brie, David Harbour, Simu Liu, Lucy Liu, Henry Golding, Karen Fukuhara, George Takei, and more.


Release date: November 24

Where to watch: Disney+

In case you didn't think Hawkeye was going to be necessary viewing, we have two words for you: Kate Bishop.

Who is Kate Bishop? She's Clint Barton's (Jeremy Renner) protégé, a skilled archer and a master of martial arts. She has an amazing sense of humor, specializing in making fun of Clint. She's a feminist who's not here to be objectified. She's a bit of a smart-ass. She's a way better shot than Clint. She's a Young Avenger. Oh, and she's Hawkeye. Well, the new Hawkeye. And she's making her long-awaited debut in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, alongside her portrayer Hailee Steinfeld, in the forthcoming Hawkeye series. Consider it a "passing of the torch" from one Hawkeye to the next.

And if you need two more reasons to watch Hawkeye, consider: Florence Pugh. Fresh off her scene-stealing stint in Black Widow, Florence will reprise her role as Yelena Belova in the Marvel series — and Clint better watch his back. The last time we saw Yelena, she was off to get revenge on the Avenger who kinda sorta caused the death of her sister Black Widow.

In conclusion: Hawkeye will feature both Kate and Yelena using Clint as their physical and metaphorical punching bag. Sounds like a must-watch to us!

Emily in Paris season 2

Release date: TBD

Where to watch: Netflix

Emily in Paris was an unexpected pandemic-era hit for Netflix. Love it or hate-to-love it, the Parisian romp is likely coming back for a second season sometime this year. You can expect more social media hijinks, fashion faux pas, ménage-a-trois (quatre?) action, and perfectly flaky croissants. Things between Emily (Lily Collins), Gabriel (Lucas Bravo), and Camille (Camille Razat) are as deliciously complicated as ever, with Emily maybe pursuing a romantic relationship with her friend's ex. And what of Mathieu (Charles Martins), the handsome fashion businessman who's starry eyed over the clueless American expatriate?

And if two love interests weren't enough for one social media maven, Lucien Laviscount will join Season 2 as Alfie, a charming and cynical British finance bro who does not vibe with French culture. Playwright Jeremy O. Harris and French actor Arnaud Binard will also appear as guest stars; Harris will portray a fashion designer, while Binard will take on the role of a party boy nightclub owner in St. Tropez. Yes, Emily is off to the French Riviera this season. Bon voyage!

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Originally Appeared on Teen Vogue