If you like The Big Bang Theory … Young Sheldon (September 25, CBS) As far as I’m concerned, Big Bang is one of the worst shows in TV history, but it has a huge fanbase, especially for socially inept genius Sheldon Cooper (played by Jim Parsons). At least this Wonder Years-style show about Sheldon’s youth in suburban Texas (narrated by Parsons) ditches the shrill laugh track and the incessant nerd-pandering for something a little gentler and more humane, although Sheldon himself (played here by Iain Armitage) is just as obnoxious as a 9-year-old.
If you like season-long mysteries … Ten Days in the Valley (October 1, ABC) The pilot for this drama about the kidnapping of the daughter of a successful TV producer (played by Kyra Sedgwick) hits all the expected beats, dutifully setting up a number of viable suspects and teasing mysterious pasts and/or ulterior motives for nearly every character. But its meta-narrative (Sedgwick’s character is the creator of a popular TV cop drama) offers potential for commentary on its own genre, and the performances are strong enough that the characters might be able to break through their initial stereotypes.
If you like superheroes … The Gifted (October 2, Fox) Featuring characters from Marvel’s X-Men comic books (but not necessarily set in the same continuity as the X-Men movies), The Gifted takes a more grounded approach to superheroics while still showcasing plenty of uncanny powers. The story of two teenagers on the run from the authorities (with their parents in tow) after discovering they have mutant powers isn’t as adventurous as the most recent live-action X-Men series (FX’s Legion), but its straightforward action and likable cast (including genre favorites Amy Acker and Stephen Moyer) might provide some superhero comfort food.
If you like family-friendly comedy … The Mayor (October 3, ABC) With shows like Speechless, American Housewife and Black-ish, ABC has perfected the well-meaning, mildly funny family comedy, the kind of show that’s pleasant to watch but far from essential, and The Mayor fits perfectly into that mold. It has a goofy premise (an aspiring rapper runs for mayor of his small city as a publicity stunt, and suddenly has to tackle real issues when he’s unexpectedly elected), but the execution is warm and optimistic, with an especially lively performance from Yvette Nicole Brown as the new mayor’s mom.
If you like nighttime soaps … Dynasty (October 11, the CW) Gossip Girl creators Josh Schwartz and Stephanie Savage try to bring the iconic ’80s nighttime soap into 2017, with mixed results. Dynasty isn’t as clever or stylish as Gossip Girl, although it similarly focuses on the lives of the absurdly wealthy, and its efforts to mix social responsibility with conspicuous consumption don’t quite work. But the stars are gorgeous, the dialogue is often juicy, and there’s a full-on hair-pulling cat fight right before a surprise wedding.
On cable/streaming: Star Trek: Discovery (September 24, CBS All Access); Ghost Wars (October 5, Syfy); Mindhunter (October 13, Netflix); White Famous (October 15, Showtime); At Home With Amy Sedaris (October 24, Tru TV); The Last O.G. (October 24, TBS); Alias Grace (November 3, Netflix); SMILF (November 5, Showtime); Future Man (November 14, Hulu); Marvel’s Runaways (November 21, Hulu); Godless (November 22, Netflix); She’s Gotta Have It (November 23, Netflix).