Television has become a year-round business, but fall is still a time to be overwhelmed by the sheer number of shows competing for our attention.
Among them are three new series focused on the members of elite military units, and a prequel to a hit comedy that’s like nothing its creator has done before.
Here, based on dozens of hours of screening — or in a few cases, cockeyed optimism — are some of the highlights:
“Star Trek: Discovery” (8:30 p.m. Sunday, CBS and CBS All Access). This original series for CBS’s streaming channel will get a one-episode airing on the broadcast network before going where no Star Trek TV show has gone before — to a subscription platform.
“Young Sheldon” (premiering 8:30 p.m. Monday, moving to its regular time slot at 8:30 p.m. Nov. 2). Jim Parsons narrates this charming, though not necessarily laugh-a-minute, prequel to “The Big Bang Theory,” which brings a “Wonder Years” vibe to the east-Texas childhood of Parsons’ Sheldon Cooper, played by Iain Armitage. Laurie Metcalf’s daughter Zoe Perry, who plays Sheldon’s mother, is eerily good as a younger version of her mother’s “Big Bang” character, doing her best to help her genius 9-year-old fit in — or at least remain safe — as he enters ninth grade.
“Me, Myself & I” (9:30 p.m. Monday, CBS). If you can get past the peculiarity of casting John Larroquette as an older version of a character played by “Saturday Night Live’s” considerably shorter Bobby Moynihan, this comedy about an inventor at three pivotal stages of his life is worth a look. Think “This Is Us,” but with maybe less crying.
“The Good Doctor” (10 p.m. Monday, ABC). New medical drama from “House” creator David Shore stars Freddie Highmore as a surgical resident with autism and savant syndrome; Richard Schiff as the mentor trying to make his colleagues focus on the doctor’s abilities, not his disabilities; and Hill Harper as a physician who has his doubts. Adapted from a South Korean series, its executive producers include Daniel Dae Kim, late of “Hawaii Five-0.”
“The Brave” (10 p.m. Monday, NBC). Mike Vogel stars as the leader of a special-ops squad in the first of the fall’s new military dramas to premiere. Anne Heche plays the deputy director of the agency overseeing the squad’s international activities. One way to tell this one apart from the other dramas about elite military teams: It appears to be less interested in the squad members’ home lives.
“This Is Us” (9 p.m. Tuesday, NBC). Last season’s breakout hit returns. It’s a family story from Dan Fogelman, told over multiple time lines, starring Milo Ventimiglia, Mandy Moore and Sterling K. Brown.
“Law & Order True Crime: The Menendez Murders” (10 p.m. Tuesday, NBC). In a departure for the “Law &Order” franchise, which usually fictionalizes events, Edie Falco stars as defense attorney Leslie Abramson in an eight-part treatment of the case of Erik and Lyle Menendez, convicted in the 1989 murders of their parents at their Beverly Hills mansion.
“Empire” (8 p.m. Wednesday, Fox) and “Star” (9 p.m. Wednesday, Fox). Lee Daniels takes over Fox’s Wednesdays this fall, as the network moves his established hit an hour earlier to give his girl-group show a stronger lead-in.
“SEAL Team” (9 p.m. Wednesday, CBS). David Boreanaz stars as a leader of Tier One Navy SEALs — the elite of the elite — in a drama that encompasses both the team’s missions and its members’ complicated home lives.
“Will & Grace” (9 p.m. Thursday, NBC). Forget the fast-forward from the 2006 finale, which co-creator David Kohan has now declared “more or less a fantasy”: Will (Eric McCormack), Grace (Debra Messing), Jack (Sean Hayes), and Karen (Megan Mullally) are back together, and not just for this season’s 16 episodes. A confident NBC has ordered a second (or, if you prefer, 10th) season of the once-groundbreaking comedy about a gay man and his best friend, navigating single lives in New York.
“Ghosted” (8:30 p.m. Oct. 1, Fox). Comedy stars Craig Robinson and Adam Scott play odd-couple investigators of the paranormal whose work could determine “the fate of the entire planet.” More fun than that sounds.
“Ten Days in the Valley” (10 p.m. Oct. 1, ABC). Kyra Sedgwick stars as a TV producer and single mother whose daughter’s abduction exposes all kinds of secrets. Sedgwick says, “I was interested in doing a show where I’m not solving a mystery. I am a mystery.”
“Curb Your Enthusiasm” (10 p.m. Oct. 1, HBO). Larry David, whose semi-scripted comedy hasn’t had a new episode since 2011, is back, along with regulars Jeff Garlin, Susie Essman and JB Smoove. Let the kvetching begin.
“Valor” (9 p.m. Oct. 9, CW). The third, and possibly the soapiest, of the season’s dramas to focus on elite military types, this one involves U.S. Army helicopter pilots and stars Christina Ochoa as one of her unit’s first female pilots and Matt Barr as the superior officer with whom she shares some dangerous secrets.
“Mr. Robot” (10 p.m. Oct. 11, USA). Rami Malek and Christian Slater return for a third season in Sam Esmail’s twisted tale of a highly conflicted computer hacker.
“S.W.A.T.” (10 p.m. Nov. 2, CBS). Shemar Moore stars as the new leader of a tactical police unit in Los Angeles. The series is more thoughtful than I’d expected (though no less action-packed).
“9JKL” (8:30 p.m. Oct. 2, CBS). Inspired by star Mark Feuerstein’s experiences living adjacent to his parents and other family in a Manhattan apartment building, this half-hour boasts strong supporting players — including Linda Lavin, Elliott Gould, Liza Lapira, and David Walton — who, along with Feuerstein, are the reasons I’m inclined to hang in past the so-so pilot.
“The Gifted” (9 p.m. Oct. 2, Fox). Marvel may be everywhere, but not everything it has is marvelous (the cartoonishly bad pilot for “Marvel’s Inhumans” on ABC, for instance, which debuts at 8 p.m. Friday). This one, set in the X-Men universe, isn’t up to the standards of Netflix’s “Jessica Jones” or “Luke Cage,” but it’s a solidly suspenseful family drama starring Stephen Moyer and Amy Acker as parents forced to take their family on the run after their children (Natalie Alyn Lind and Percy Hynes White) develop mutant powers.
“The Mayor” (9:30 p.m. Oct. 3, ABC). What if someone ran for public office to boost his celebrity and then unexpectedly won? Brandon Micheal Hall stars as a young rapper who does just that, and then, with the help of his mother (Yvette Nicole Brown), and his opponent’s manager (Lea Michele) is pushed into trying to become the leader his city deserves.
“Kevin (Probably) Saves the World” (10 p.m. Oct. 3, ABC). Jason Ritter stars as Kevin, a man who’s lived a selfish life that’s about to be transformed by the arrival of a messenger from God named Yvette (Kimberly Hebert Gregory). JoAnna Garcia Swisher plays Kevin’s twin sister, Amy, a widowed college professor who takes him in after he tries suicide, and Chloe East is her daughter, Reese, who doesn’t exactly greet her long-absent uncle with open arms. It’s a terrible title, but when the clever creators of “Reaper” — whose major characters included the Devil — turn toward the light, it’s worth a look.
“Stranger Things” (Oct. 27, Netflix). Just in time for Halloween, the boys, their friend Eleven (Millie Bobby Brown), and Winona Ryder are all back for nine episodes of supernatural 1980s scariness.
“The Crown” (Dec. 8, Netflix). One of 2016’s best dramas returns, with the second season promising to explore problems in the early years of the marriage of Queen Elizabeth II (Claire Foy) and Prince Philip (Matt Smith).