FoCC Reactor: 2021 Fall TV Outlook – A Fall Filled with New Adventures and Excitement

By DRWHO42

Fall is officially upon us, which means a fresh batch of new series and movies are about to hit the small screen for us to check out. Yet when it comes to science fiction, fantasy, and broader fandoms overall, the streaming platforms have (definitely) flexed their financial muscles lately by creating many new content that have reached audiences everywhere and, more importantly, gained more subscribers for their platforms.

As I looked over what is on the horizon, the schedule ahead has many visual wonders, epic quests, and exciting adventures to watch. As such, this article will highlight several new series and a movie that are recommended to be added to your viewing list. There are also a few returning series that have been enjoyable to watch so far. So much so that I am marking my calendar in anticipation of their returns.

But let’s begin with the new series list to add to your viewing list:

The Wheel of Time [Debuts November 19th on Amazon Prime]

Amazon Studios is no stranger to bringing life to great new series such as Carnival RowJack RyanHanna, and The Boys. The latest addition, The Wheel of Time, is based on the 15-novel series from author Robert Jordan. The main plot of the series centers on a group of five people, led by Moiraine Damondred (Rosamund Pike), searching for a reincarnated dragon to fulfill the prophecy of “The Dragon Reborn.”

The trailer (shared below) for this series was jaw-dropping due to its fantastic visuals, vibrant costumes, and frightening monsters that have a feel of a big-budget film. We also caught a glimpse of its vast world that has rural villages and lavish cities. The trailer briefly introduced us to several characters; the potential of great future storytelling is there since the novel has over 2,000 named characters that should allow the writers plenty to work with later.

There are only eight episodes set for the first season, but Amazon Studios, which has shown their mighty investment into the series, has already given the green light for a second season. Also, with The Lord of the Rings series set to debut on Prime in late 2022, the streamer is planting the flag as the place to check out new fantasy shows for the next few years, and it gets going with The Wheel of Time

My take: If you are looking for a fantasy-based series filled with magic, mysticism, and monsters, this series should be up your alley. The series itself premieres with three episodes on November 19th and then moves to a weekly release model.

La Brea [Debuts September 28th on NBC]

This series was promoted heavily during this summer’s Olympic Games. The teaser (shared below) showed a giant sinkhole opening up in Los Angeles, California, with a person falling into it, only to awaken in a mysterious world in which we see the trailer faded to black with a background roar from a mysterious creature. Oddly enough, there has not been much more about the series, that was filmed in Australia. It (certainly) reminds me a little bit of the classic series The Land of the Lost, though!

My take: Due to its intriguing and mysterious marketing, my curiosity says give La Brea a watch. Now, I have had a little bit of apprehension with NBC and the other big three networks lately, due to their lack of patience with any genre series, with Debris and Manifest being recent cancel casualties from them. Luckily, Netflix came to the rescue for Manifest but, in the meantime, we can only hope that La Brea garners a large enough audience to justify a full season order and renewal. So, I recommend you tune in, and if you like it, make sure you jump on social media to make it be known for the executives to hear you so they do not pull the plug on the series and continue to invest in other sci-fi and fantasy series down the road.

Midnight Mass [Debuts September 24 on Netflix]

Mike Flanagan, the creator behind Haunting of Hill House and Haunting of Bly Manor, is back with an entirely new series that promises to leave you shaken and stirred. This series, set on an island community, centers on Riley Flynn (Zach Gilford), who returns to the community after a traumatizing event. As he begins to reconnect though, he notices odd, mysterious, and chilling events that seem to tie to a priest named Father Paul (Hamish Linklater), who recently joined the island community. Soon after, trouble is everywhere. Now, if you are a fan of the Haunting series, you should also expect a few surprises along the way.

My take: Haunting of Hill House left me with chills after watching it the first time, thus I anticipate more ‘edge of your seat’ chills and surprises with Midnight Mass. Also, talent Kate Siegel, Henry Thomas, Annabeth Gish, and Rahul Kohli from the prior Haunting shows are in the series, so there is plenty to be excited about (with some curiosity) on how they will be weaved into the main story. 

Foundation [Debuts September 24 on Apple TV+]

Apple TV+ has ramped up its entertainment lineup of quality programming with its adaptation of famed Issac Asimov’s book series, Foundation. Details for this futuristic show, which takes place on various planets, have been guarded with secrecy, and most of the actors are also not sharing much on their social media accounts. The visually stunning trailer (shared below), though, does hint at a scientist who predicts that an empire in the series will meet its demise very soon. Yet that warning is not heeded by those in power. However, there is one person on the mysterious planet who believes in the scientist. They set out to try to do something in saving civilization. It sure sounds like the planet Krypton from the Superman franchise, no?

The cast, meanwhile, is stellar, which includes actors Jared Harris (The Crown), Terrence Mann (Guardians of The GalaxyCaptain Marvel), Daniel MacPherson (Strike Back), Lee Pace (The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies), and actress T’Nina Miller (Haunting of Bly Manor).

My take: According to multiple reports, the creative team behind the series has hinted that the writers of the show will divert away from the books. Regardless, the visual effects, scenery, and stellar cast prove that Apple TV+ has invested a lot resources into this series. See has garnered a nice fan base on there, and we hope the same happens for Foundation. So, I recommend giving this new series a chance. Perhaps it might be a gem for all of us.

Invasion [Premieres October 22 on Apple TV+]

Actor Sam Neil joins an ensemble cast for this alien invasion series on Apple TV+. The show is billed as a character-driven sci-fi drama, and it will take viewers to different parts of the world to show how people respond and cope during an alien invasion. Not much information has been released thus far, but the trailer did give us some clues of things to come, like crop circles popping up and capping off with the appearance of a giant alien ship in the closing seconds before fading to black.

My take: Alien invasion series are sometimes a hard sell because they typically only focus on one destination like the Florida Everglades, or a small group of people. This type of storytelling can limit the plot and meaningful character development. This series, on the other hand, is going big by highlighting the United States, Europe, as well as outer space, so let’s see how well the new series balances multiple storylines.

4400 [Debuts October 25 on The CW]

This reboot of the 2004 series follows a group of 4,400 people who mysteriously disappeared over time and then suddenly returned, and each does not have a memory of what happened during the time they were gone. The original series featured a couple of established actors, including Peter Coyote and Billy Campbell, as well as several new faces at the time, including pre-Oscar Award winner Mahershala Ali.

The series was a standout for its grounded character-driven stories of the returnees as they assimilated back into society after being away for so many years. The reboot promises to do the same and touch on how the characters were marginalized before their disappearance, only to find the same treatment when they return. Lastly, there were some returnees with powers, and we hope there are a few in this reboot.

My take: I thoroughly enjoyed the original 4400, so I hope the magic can be recaptured with this new series while attracting a new audience. I hope this show does not get trapped in the “capture the returnee with powers” cycle each week.

Hawkeye [Debuts November 24 on Disney+]

Our favorite archer, Clint Barton, aka Hawkeye from The Avengers, is back! The series, which saw its first debut at San Diego Comic-Con in 2019, makes its way to fans on Disney+ this November. Details of the series were closely guarded before the first trailer was released, except for the occasional sneaky pictures of actor Jeremy Renner (The Avengers) and actress Hailee Steinfeld (True GritBumblebee) and as filming occurred in and around Manhattan.

The series will have six (6) episodes, and it sets up the premise of Hank enjoying time with his family, finally, to only be pulled back in to confront his past actions as Ronin. During his reemergence as as the titled character, he comes across Kate Bishop, who takes up the mantle as Hawkeye herself. This series is set during Christmas time, yet it appears that Hank is hoping to reunite with his family for the holidays, which the last episode of this inaugural season happens to align to the actual holiday itself.

My take: Disney+ has been creating new and interesting series offerings through Disney+ with much success. Based on the trailer, this series will have a blend of action and light humor which, not only, will be suitable for families but should win over Avengers & Marvel fans alike.

Star Wars: Visions [Debuts September 22 on Disney+]

Disney+ and Lucasfilm are taking the Star Wars saga in a new direction with this anime series. It will be comprised of nine short stories and includes some major star power in the voice cast including David Harbour, Jaime Chung, Kyle Chander, Neil Patrick Harris, Lucy Lui, Simu Liu, Allison Brie, and Temuera Morrison.

My Take: The trailer (shared below) was beyond breathtaking. This fusion of anime and Star Wars is long overdue and I hope this leads to other seasons, or maybe a film later. So, I definitely say check the series out.

Star Trek: Prodigy [Debuts October 28 on Paramount+]

Paramount+ is adding to its animated Trek lineup with this series which will be tailored towards younger viewers, while also appealing to the seasoned Trek fan. The story takes place in an unknown part of the galaxy where a group of teenage ‘aliens’ come across an abandoned Starfleet vessel.

Actress Kate Mulgrew’s holographic Janeway helps this group work together as a crew and to learn the ways of Starfleet. Another recognizable voice in this cast is John Noble (Fringe, Sleepy Hollow).

My take: Paramount+ is hoping to tap into the same audience who embraced the Star Wars animated shows. There is a lot of appeal for families and this series can help introduce younger viewers to the Star Trek franchise. Since this is an animated series and the events take place in a different part of the galaxy, there is a lot of imagination that can be tapped into visually and the stories can be writing without tripping over the traditional ‘cannon’ of the Star Trek universe.

Ghosts [Debuts October 7 on CBS]

Actress Rose McIver returns to television after the fan-favorite iZombie ended in 2019. Sarah (McIver) and Jay (Utkarsh Ambudkar) inherit a mansion, which they plan to convert into a bad-and-breakfast. Unbeknownst to them, it is haunted, and the spirits do not take kindly to the new couple or their house plans. An accident in the house also causes Sarah to gain the ability to see the ghosts, and this is where the fun begins.

My take: The trailer (shared below) gave me a few laughs, and it should give viewers something interesting to watch for a little bit. My only question is longevity, as some comedic series like this tend to lose creative steam as time goes by. As such, I am adding this to my viewing list to see how it goes.

Here are a few ‘must-see’ returning series I highly recommend putting on your list:

Locke & Key [Returns October 21 on Netflix]

My take: I was immediately hooked on this series from the very first episode. The show, which returns for its second season on October 21, centers on three siblings whose father was murdered, all three move into a family home in their father’s hometown with their mother. Soon after moving in, they begin to find mysterious keys which possess unique magical abilities. As the siblings find more keys, they begin to suspect there is a lot more to their ‘dull’ town than they previously thought. The first season ended with a bit of a cliffhanger, so I am looking forward to watching the next season kicking things off. I recommend checking out season one to see if this series gets your attention or not.

The Witcher [Returns December 17 on Netflix]

My take: This fantasy series starring Henry Cavill (aka Superman) as Geralt of Rivia has exceed many expectations, it was enthusiastically embraced by fans because of it. The three divergent main character storylines and timelines that played out over the course of the first season finally came together at the finale, yet also left a number of questions left unanswered.  So, we hope many things will be address in this upcoming season and beyond.

Honorable mentions:

There are so many movies out there currently, but I cannot pass up the opportunity to recommend one for you to check out:

Don’t Look Up [Movie – Premiering 12/24 on Netflix]

My take: This dark comedy centers on a pair of scientists who discover a comet the size of Mount Everest is on a collision course with the Earth and their unsuccessful attempts to warn people of their impending doom. The film, which premieres on Netflix Christmas Eve, features an A-List cast including Jennifer Lawrence, Leonard DiCaprio, Timothee Chalet, Jonah Hill, Cate Blanchett, Meryl Steep, and many and others. If you want something fun to watch over the holidays, this movie should be your thing.

That wraps it up for now. Looking over what is planned for this Fall there are plenty of great offerings to look forward to. So, what do you think of these fall shows and the one movie above? Let us know by joining the conversation over on the FoCC forum. You can also follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

DRWHO42

Kevin aka "DRWHO42" watches a lot of TV and avoids spoilers like the plague. He is an avid Whovian, Trekker, fanboy, gamer, traveler, planner, self-professed gym rat, and Starbucks espresso loyalist. When not plotting out his schedule for the next tent-pole movie or watching his favorite shows he is on the hunt for pop-culture TV & Movie media news. More importantly he is a frequent attendee of San Diego Comic Con (SDCC) and New York Comic Con (NYCC). Follow him on Twitter @kevinDW42 @FoCCBlog

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