As Hollywood movies devolve into a steady parade of craptastic mediocrity, TV has stepped up to fill the cultural void with some of the best programming the medium has ever produced! That’s not an oversell. Some are calling it the second “Golden Age” of TV.
TV is so good right now that one person cannot possibly watch all the good stuff on a week-to-week basis during the season. Fortunately, the good old Interweb lets us catch up on our own schedule, or, better yet, binge-watch a series’ entire back catalogue to get ready for the new season.
And the new seasons are starting now, with a whole slew of hit shows picking up where they left off months ago. To help you be the best TV watcher you can be, TechHive has prepared the ultimate fall TV binge-watching guide! Below you’ll find quick primers on all the hottest returning shows, along with links to streams of past episodes.
Season 3 premieres Sunday, Sept. 29 at 9 PM ET on Showtime
Quick primer: Homeland follows the crazy-faced adventures of CIA analyst Carrie Mathison played by Claire Danes. Things start to get complicated when Carrie starts to suspect that the man she is falling in love with is a secret terrorist agent. Did I mention Carrie’s love interest is a former P.O.W. who everyone else considers a national hero? Also, he’s a married man and Carrie has bipolar disorder so no one takes her seriously.
Where to catch up: You can watch the season 2 premiere for free on Showtime’s site (or just click play below). If you have a Showtime subscription, you can catch up on past episodes on Showtime’s website or through the network’s mobile Anytime app. Otherwise you’ll have to shell out some coin on Amazon, iTunes, or Google Play.
Season 3 premiered September 17, Tuesdays at 9 PM ET on FOX
Quick primer: If you like quirky and adorable characters who are inching frighteningly close to being too old to be quirky and adorable, you’ll love the colorful big-eyed playground of Zooey Deschanel’s, New Girl.
Where to catch up: You can watch a handfull of episodes for free on Fox’s website or on Hulu (a Hulu Plus subscription gets you access to all episodes). The first season is available on Netflix, but you can catch everything else on Amazon, iTunes, and Google Play.
Season 4 premiered September 8, at Sundays at 9 PM ET on HBO
Quick primer: Steve Buscemi plays a prohibition-era gangster who rules old-time Atlantic City with an iron fist. Beyond the crime drama, Boardwalk is a visually breathtaking snapshot of a bygone era that showcases exactly how far we’ve come—and how far we haven’t.
Where to catch up: If you are an HBO subscriber, you can catch up on past seasons via the network’s HBO GO service, which works on selected phones, tablets, gaming consoles and Smart TVs. For everyone else, you can find all the past episodes on Amazon and iTunes.
The Walking Dead
Season 4 premieres Sunday, October 13 at 9 PM ET on AMC
Quick primer: The Walking Dead is the story of a bunch of boring characters trying to survive the zombie apocalypse. I love zombie stuff and really want to like this immensely popular show, but the sad truth is it’s just not very good. The first season started strong (despite having stole its entire premise from 28 Days Later), but it quickly went downhill. The unremarkable seasons that followed have found little to distinguish them from all the better zombie stuff out there. Tweet your fan boy hate mail here.
Where to catch up: The first two seasons are available on Netflix. All the past episodes are available on Amazon and iTunes.
Sons of Anarchy
Season 6 premiered Sept 10, Tuesdays at 10 PM ET on FX
Quick primer: Violence, motorcycles, and Peggy Bundy. All this and more in the series that follows the founding chapter of the ficitonal Sons of Anarchy motorcycle club.
Where to catch up: The first four (out of five) seasons can be streamed on Netflix. All previous episodes are available on iTunes, Google Play, and Amazon.
American Horror Story
Season 3 premieres Wednesday, October 9 at 10 AM on FX
Quick primer: I tried watching the first season of this erotic horror ghost tale, but gave up on it after finding it to be a bit of an unfocused mess. However, I have it on good authority that the premiere season known as “American Horror Story: Murder House” eventually turned itself around, and the second season, “American Horror Story: Asylum” got even better.
Where to catch up: You can watch previous episodes on Amazon, iTunes, Google Play, and Netflix.
Parks and Recreation
Season 5 premieres Thursday, September 26 at 8 PM ET on NBC
Quick primer: Parks and Recreation transports the mockumentary approach of The Office to a wacky band of city government bureaucrats in the fictional town of Pawnee, Indiana. The cast includes Amy Pohler, Aziz Ansari, Adam Scott, and Nick Offerman—you can’t go too far off the delightful scale with those folks.
Where to catch up: Past episodes and seasons are available with a Hulu Plus or Netflix account, and for sale or rental at Amazon, iTunes and Google Play.
Season 2 premieres Wednesday September 25 at 8 PM ET on NBC
Quick primer: What if all the electricity around the globe suddenly went out and no one knew why? All order would systematically breakdown and society would devlove into a postapocalyptic dystopia run by strongmen and militias. In other words: Great TV!
Where to catch up: The first season episodes are available on Amazon, iTunes, Google Play, and Netflix.
The Mindy Project
Season 2 premiered September 17, Tuesdays at 9:30 PM ET on FOX
Quick primer: Here’s another show about young single people in the big city. This one’s about doctors. Not without its charm, The Mindy Project isn’t quite as quirky and adorable as New Girl, but it may be able to get to that level with its second season. It’s earned a second chance.
Where to catch up: Several episodes from the previous season are available on Fox.com and the entire first season is available for free on Hulu. Or, if you like spending money, the episodes are available on Amazon, iTunes, and Google Play.
Season 5 premieres Wednesday September 25 at 9 PM ET on ABC
Quick primer: The critically acclaimed sitcom that I’ve never actually seen, but everyone seems to love. It’s won a whole bunch of awards. Sounds like it’s high time I caught up . . .
Where to catch up: A few recent episodes are available free on ABC’s website or on Hulu (a Hulu Plus subscription gets you all the back episodes). Past seasons are also available on Amazon, iTunes, and Google Play for a price.
Season 5 premieres Thursday, September 26 at 9 PM ET on FOX
Quick primer: You know who likes to sing? The fictional characters of the William McKinley High School glee club. At its core, the show is an old-school musical review that reinterprets the popular songs of the day. As an added bonus, the show has been known to host A-list guest stars like Gwyneth Paltrow, Britney Spears, and Neil Patrick Harris.
Where to catch up: A handful of previous episodes are available for free on Fox’s website. The first three seasons are on Netflix, but you can get everything on Hulu (with a Plus account), Amazon, iTunes, and Google Play.
The Good Wife
Season 5 premieres Sunday, September 29 at 9 PM ET on CBS
Quick primer: A political drama surrounding the wife of a disgraced politician sentenced to prison in a very public sex and corruption scandal. If only Anthony Weiner and Eliot Spitzer would have watched The Good Wife before breaking bad.
Where to catch up: You can watch all 22 episodes of the fourth season for free on CBS.com. Past seasons are available with a Hulu Plus account, and for rental on Amazon and iTunes.
Season 3 premieres Thursday, Oct. 3 at 10 PM ET on ABC
Quick primer: Kerry Washington plays Olivia Pope, the head of a DC-based crisis management firm that helps “fix” the problems of the nation’s political elites. Maybe the guy from The Good Wife could have used her. Anthony and Eliot certainly could have.
Where to catch up: You can stream a handful of recent episodes for free on ABC’s ABC.com or on Hulu (a Plus account will give you access to the whole shebang). You can also rent any and all episodes through Amazon, iTunes, Google Play, and Netflix.
The Eric Andre Show
Season 2 premiers Thursday, October 3 at 12:30 AM on Adult Swim
Quick primer: The most bizarre 15 minutes on television. The show aires at 12:30 in the morning because its aggressively dissociative non-sequiturs appeal to stoned college kids who don’t have to be at work in the morning. But you should watch it too.
Where to catch up: You can watch a handful of full episodes from the first season on Adult Swim’s website. You can also rent all episodes of the premiere season at Amazon, iTunes, and Google Play.
Season 2 premieres Wednesday, October 9 at 8 PM ET on The CW
Quick primer: After honing his bow-and-arrow skills while stranded on a desolate island, billionaire Oliver Queen returns to civilization and becomes a street vigilante. Based on the DC comic, the show occasionally features some crossover from the DC-verse.
Where to catch up: A handful of episodes are available to stream on The CW’s site or on Hulu (with more content for you Plus subscribers). Past episodes and full seasons can also be streamed at Amazon, iTunes, and Google Play.
Season 3 premieres sometime this year on PBS
Quick primer: Not to be confused with Elementary, Sherlock, the BBC’s modern-day take on Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes is a big winner, and worth catching up on. The show centers on “consulting detective” Sherlock (Benedict Cumberbatch) and his flatmate Dr. John Watson (Martin Freeman) as the pair solve a variety of crimes in contemporary London using modern CSI-ish technology.
Where to catch up: Find all six past episodes (three per season) on Amazon, iTunes, Google Play, and Netflix.