- Fargo (FX)
Monday, Oct. 12 (FX)
Season Premiere: The 2014 debut season of Fargo recaptured and redirected the dark humor of the 1996 Coen Brothers film; Season 2 refines and expands upon it. Set in 1979—a year rife with hilarious hair and clothing choices, all exploited here—this Fargo story follows an escalating turf war between small-town thugs and big-city crime bosses, adding to the headaches of local cop Lou Solverson (Patrick Wilson, playing the younger version of Keith Carradine's character from Season 1), who not only has a child and cancer-striken wife (Cristin Millioti) at home, but also a new assignment to protect a visiting presidential candidate on the campaign trail, one Ronald Reagan (Bruce Campbell—yes, really). And those are only three of multiple intersecting storylines and characters (colorfully delivered by Kirsten Dunst, Jesse Plemons, Ted Danson, Jean Smart, Jeffrey Donovan, Nick Offerman, Bokeem Woodbine, Brad Garrett and more). It's a seemingly overwhelming abundance of people and predicaments, but series creator/writer Noah Hawley again makes it all flow effortlessly. If you're still feeling let down by True Detective (I stand by Season 2, but we're not getting into that here), Fargo might well be the American crime-anthology series you're looking for.
Thursday, Oct. 8 (Crackle)
Series Debut: Geezer superhero Titanium Rex (voiced by Bryan Cranston) and his equally creaky League of Freedom live together in the SuperMansion when not out fighting crime and/or the battle to remain relevant. This senior-citizen stop-motion Avengers looks like Robot Chicken because it's from the same creators, but the humor is geared toward (slightly) longer attention spans. Best of all, the League of Freedom counts among its members American Ranger, Black Saturn, Cooch and ... RoboBot.
Friday, Oct. 9 (Amazon Prime)
Series Debut: If Netflix's Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp revival didn't satiate your hunger for retro-'80s comedy, here's Red Oaks, the Caddyshack 2 we deserved all those 27 years ago. College student David (Craig Roberts) takes a tennis instructor job at Red Oaks country club in the summer of 1985, and every glorious coming-of-age lesson, fashion catastrophe and cheesy music underscore of the era unfolds—in a surprisingly earnest, non-parodic manner. Killer pilot, but Amazon's Hand of God proved you can't always trust the first up-voted taste.
The Last Kingdom
Saturday, Oct. 10 (BBC America)
Series Debut: He was raised by Vikings as a Norseman, but Uhtred (Alexander Dreymon) was originally a Saxon—and King Alfred is now coming for him. This torn-between-two-cultures epic is based on the historical novels of Bernard Cornwell, which gives The Last Kingdom a thinkier edge on History's Vikings. But really, you want blood, and you got it: The Last Kingdom has plenty of sword-swinging action to go with its history lessons, not to mention a bigger budget and better actors—and yet it still can't quite match the odd, gritty appeal of Vikings. Upside: It's easier to follow than The Bastard Executioner.
Monday, Oct. 12 (The CW)
Series Debut: Originally developed as a half-hour comedy for Showtime, but now a full-hour dramedy on The CW, where you'll have to imagine your own profanity and nudity (try it, it's fun). The setup: A successful-but-lonely New York City lawyer (Rachel Bloom, a "YouTube Star," but don't hold it against her) impulsively moves to California to pursue/stalk her high school sweetheart. And not the good part of California, if there is such a thing: Los Angeles suburb West Covina, "Two hours from the beach! Four with traffic," as the song-and-dance number goes. Did I mention that Crazy Ex-Girlfriend is also a musical? Just like Jane the Virgin last season, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend is a wild, original swing that could hit big or fail spectacularly. Either way, there's nothing else like it on TV—maybe you shouldn't have taken a pass, Showtime.
Listen to Bill on Mondays at 8 a.m. on X96 Radio From Hell; weekly on the TV Tan podcast via iTunes and Stitcher.