From time travel to movie reboots, television's preoccupation with the past continues this fall, as networks, cable channels, and streaming services turn to familiar titles, faces, and ideas.
Kiefer Sutherland is back. So are Sarah Jessica Parker, Kevin James, Geena Davis, and Woody Allen.
But the news isn't all old.
Three of the shows I'm most excited about are dramas about an accidental president (Sutherland in Designated Survivor), a British monarch (The Crown), and the first woman to play major league baseball (Pitch). Two are set in a near future, one nearly 70 years in the past, but all touch on the clash of public and private lives and on ordinary people called upon to become extraordinary.
ABC, which 27 years ago put Christopher Burke, an actor with Down syndrome, at the heart of a new show called Life Goes On, expands its efforts to reflect a wider range of experiences with Speechless, a comedy whose stars include Minnie Driver and Micah Fowler, a young actor with cerebral palsy.
Here's some of what lies ahead, including a few favorites that return this week:
The Good Place (Hourlong preview at 10 p.m. Monday after The Voice, then moving to 8:30 p.m. Thursdays, NBC). Kristen Bell and Ted Danson star in a comic vision of an afterlife where even the best people apparently can make mistakes about who the best people are.
Kevin Can Wait (8:30 p.m. Monday, CBS). CBS can't wait for the return of King of Queens star Kevin James. In his new sitcom, he plays a recently retired cop whose post-job plans - surprise! - may not all work out.
Bull (9 p.m. Tuesday, CBS). NCIS fans won't have far to go to find the departed Michael Weatherly, who's starring as a know-it-all trial consultant, a role inspired by the pre-TV career of Dr. Phil McGraw.
This Is Us (10 p.m. Tuesday, NBC). Mandy Moore, Milo Ventimiglia, and Sterling K. Brown star in a heart-tugging pilot from Penn grad Dan Fogelman (Crazy, Stupid, Love.), who's practically begged critics not to give too much away about it, but the YouTube trailer has been hugely popular.
Lethal Weapon (8 p.m. Wednesday, Fox). Damon Wayans and Clayne Crawford (Rectify) take on the Danny Glover and Mel Gibson roles in the buddy-cop series that's one of the fall's better franchise reboots.
The Goldbergs (8 p.m. Wednesday, ABC). Season Four premiere of the sitcom inspired by Adam F. Goldberg's 1980s childhood in Jenkintown, which now leads off ABC's Wednesday night.
Speechless (8:30 p.m. Wednesday, ABC). Minnie Driver stars as a mother more than willing to make waves to get her oldest child (Micah Fowler), who has cerebral palsy, whatever he needs. Fowler is terrific as JJ, who has his own ideas about what those needs might be. How Speechless, whose pilot is already available online, fits into ABC's efforts to include all kinds of families.
Empire (9 p.m. Wednesday, Fox). Season Three of the music-fueled soap opera from West Philadelphia's Lee Daniels reportedly includes guest appearances by Mariah Carey and Phylicia Rashad.
Designated Survivor (10 p.m. Wednesday, ABC). Kiefer Sutherland trades his 24 action hero, Jack Bauer, for Tom Kirkman, a slightly nerdy accidental president, in a drama that begins with the destruction of the U.S. Capitol during the State of the Union address. (Here's what Sutherland had to say about his new role.)
Pitch (9 p.m. Thursday, Fox). This Is Us' Fogelman takes another big swing as cocreator of a drama about the first woman to play major league baseball. Kylie Bunbury stars as Ginny Baker, whose signing by the San Diego Padres puts her at the white-hot center of a media firestorm. Cherry Hill's Ali Larter (Heroes) is the agent who must help her navigate it. (Here's Fogelman talking about his two fall shows and his time in Philly.)
MacGyver (8 p.m. Friday, CBS). Ticking time bomb? Check. Inventive hero (Lucas Till) with symmetrical features and great hair? Check. Slightly obnoxious voiceover? Check. I wasn't looking for a remake of the 1985-92 series - this one costars George Eads (CSI), Sandrine Holt (House of Cards), and Justin Hires (Rush Hour) - but it should pair well with CBS's Hawaii Five-0, and the cancellation of Discovery's Mythbusters did leave an engineering void.
The Exorcist (9 p.m. Friday, Fox). The humans are more interesting than the demons, and the real-world problems at least as scary as the otherworldly ones, in this series, an offshoot of the 1973 horror classic. Geena Davis stars as a woman who fears her oldest daughter (Brianne Howey) may be possessed. Alan Ruck plays the girl's brain-damaged father, and Alfonso Herrera is the priest who wants to help.
Crisis in Six Scenes (Sept. 30, Amazon). Woody Allen, Elaine May, and Miley Cyrus star in Allen's not-yet-seen, six-episode half-hour series, which is set in the 1960s.
Luke Cage (Sept. 30, Netflix). Mike Colter's tough-exteriored Marvel character makes the leap from Jessica Jones to his own show.
Westworld (9 p.m. Oct. 2, HBO). Michael Crichton's 1973 sci-fi thriller about a western-theme park where humans interact with androids becomes a series starring Anthony Hopkins, Ed Harris, Evan Rachel Wood, Thandie Newton, Jeffrey Wright, and James Marsden.
Timeless (10 p.m. Oct. 3, NBC). Abigail Spencer (Rectify), Goran Visnjic (ER), Rufus Carlin, and Wyatt Logan star in a time-travel drama from Shawn Ryan (The Shield) and Eric Kripke (Supernatural) that involves saving the future from a villain (Visnjic) who's monkeying with the past. First stop: the 1937 Hindenburg disaster.
No Tomorrow (9 p.m. Oct. 4, CW). With so much of fall TV stuck on the past, this comedy, based on a Brazilian series, stands out for suggesting the present might be all we have. Tori Anderson (Killjoys) stars as a woman whose life is upended by a man (Joshua Sasse, Galavant) who's convinced the world will end in eight months - so why not have a good time?
Frequency (9 p.m. Oct. 5, CW). The 2000 movie about a father and son separated by decades and communicating by ham radio becomes a father-daughter story starring Riley Smith (Nashville) as the dead, disgraced detective and Peyton List (Blood & Oil) as the police officer daughter who tries to reach back over the years to save him.
Divorce (10 p.m. Oct. 9, HBO). Sarah Jessica Parker (Sex and the City) and Thomas Haden Church star as a couple in the throes of a marital breakdown. Funnier than that sounds, but then with these two (and Catastrophe's Sharon Horgan at the helm), it would have to be.
Insecure (10:30 p.m. Oct. 9, HBO). From Issa Rae (YouTube's Awkward Black Girl) and Larry Wilmore comes a show about two friends (Rae and Yvonne Orji) struggling with men, careers, and expectations.
Supergirl (8 p.m. Oct. 10, CW). Kara Danvers/Supergirl (Melissa Benoist) flies from CBS to the CW, where she'll be able to hang with the other superheroes.
American Housewife (8:30 p.m. Oct. 11, ABC). Former City Paper columnist Sarah Dunn's new sitcom stars Katy Mixon (Mike & Molly) as a wife and mother who's not completely at home in tony Westport, Conn.
Rocky Horror Picture Show (8 p.m. Oct. 20, Fox). Laverne Cox (Orange Is the New Black) stars as Frank-N-Furter in the latest TV musical. Tim Curry, who originated Cox's role more than 40 years ago, is the narrator.
The Walking Dead (9 p.m. Oct. 23, AMC). The first half of Season Seven of the hit zombie drama launches, reportedly with a resolution of that controversial cliffhanger.
The Great Indoors (8:30 p.m. Oct. 27, CBS). Joel McHale (Community) stars as an adventure magazine writer who's brought in from the cold by his boss (Stephen Fry) when the magazine goes online-only, and put in charge of a group of tech-minded twentysomethings. The pilot's millennial jokes are lazier than they are funny, but if anyone can make this work, it's McHale and the legendary Fry.
Good Girls Revolt (Oct. 28, Amazon). Moorestown's Dana Calvo (Made in Jersey), an ex-reporter, was inspired by Lynn Povich's book about a 1970 sex-discrimination lawsuit against Newsweek to write a semifictional show about the researchers who eventually rebelled against a company that reserved the best jobs - and the bylines - for men. Grace Gummer (Mr. Robot) guest-stars in the pilot as Nora Ephron.
The Crown (Nov. 4, Netflix). In one of the best - and reportedly most expensive - shows of the fall, Peter Morgan (The Queen) takes a deeper dive into the life of Britain's Queen Elizabeth II (Claire Foy, Wolf Hall). What's planned to be a six-season biography begins with her 1947 marriage to Prince Philip (Matt Smith, Doctor Who). Expect Masterpiece producers to be green with envy.
Good Behavior (9 p.m. Nov. 15, TNT). Downton Abbey fans might want to brace themselves. Michelle Dockery has shed Lady Mary's hat, gloves, and hauteur to play a con artist parolee whose attempt to do one good deed won't go unpunished.
Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life (Nov. 25, Netflix). Can we really go back to Stars Hollow? Lauren Graham, Alexis Bledel, Kelly Bishop, and Haddonfield's Scott Patterson are all on board for the four-episode mini-series, which reunites them with series creator Amy Sherman-Palladino, who didn't get to end the original show on her terms.