Kiefer_Sutherland_Gage Skidmore
Kiefer Sutherland, above, plays President Tom Kirkman on the show Designated Survivor. The series debuts on September 21st on ABC. GAGE SKIDMORE/FLICKR VIA CC BY-SA 2.0

Although fall means the end of summer vacation and the start of another semester, it brings a new set of shows to help you cope with the stress of school work.

Here are a few upcoming shows to check out:

“Designated Survivor” – Kiefer Sutherland, star of the action-series “24,” returns with another tense thriller on Sept. 21 on ABC. Sutherland stars as Tom Kirkman, a member of the presidential Cabinet who is deemed the “designated survivor” in case of an attack. After an explosion kills the President and many other government officials, Kirkman is forced to assume the presidency and maintain control over a country turning to chaos. The series also stars Kal Penn, Natasha McElhone and Maggie Q.

“Luke Cage” – Netflix’s newest Marvel show focuses on a superpowered ex-convict who uses his powers to fight crime and restore peace to Harlem. While the series takes place in the same universe as films like “The Avengers” and “Captain America,” the characters and events of “Luke Cage” will only directly interact with Netflix’s first two explorations into the Marvel world, “Daredevil” and “Jessica Jones.” “Luke Cage” takes a more grounded and gritty approach to the genre. Actor Mike Colter reprises his role as the hero Luke Cage, with upcoming actor Mahershala Ali as the crime lord “Cottonmouth” and Alfre Woodard as a local politician who gets involved in the Harlem-based conflict. The thirteen episode season will drop Sept. 30.


“Westworld” – Starting on Oct. 2, HBO’s “Westworld” is the network’s first foray into high budget science-fiction. Set in a futuristic and immersive theme park, the show follows the park’s creators, guests and the lifelike androids that unknowingly inhabit an artificial world modelled after America’s Wild West. The series is based on author Michael Crichton’s 1973 film by the same name, which featured veteran actors like Yul Brynner and James Brolin. HBO’s version of the original film boasts great talent both in front of and behind the camera. The series was created by Jonathan Nolan, who co-wrote films like “The Dark Knight” and “Interstellar” with his brother Christopher Nolan. J.J. Abrams, who has recently received praise for reviving “Star Trek” and “Star Wars,” serves as executive producer. Acclaimed actors like Anthony Hopkins, Ed Harris, Evan Rachael Wood and James Marsden are set to inhabit this genre-bending world. With its intriguing premise and talented cast and crew, “Westworld” has the potential to become HBO’s next big hit.

“Black Mirror” – This other Netflix original is a science-fiction anthology series in which every episode takes place in a different reality. This is reinforced by the constantly changing cast and extreme tone shifts between episodes. With many critics describing “Black Mirror” as a modern update to “The Twilight Zone,” the show has received critical acclaim and widespread attention. The third season, which premieres Oct. 21, will contain six episodes and feature actors like Bryce Dallas Howard, McKenzie Davis, Michael Kelly and Alice Eve. Although very few details are known about the upcoming season, the show’s creativity and mesmerizing atmosphere have kept fans anxious for more. Newcomers can choose to go back to the first two seasons or dive right into the third because each episode is self-contained.

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