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Super sofa fodder: the new, lesser-known TV shows you should watch this autumn

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Need an excuse to reach for the toffee popcorn and curl up on the sofa?

Autumn heralds the start of a whole new batch of TV delights coming our way.

Shows like Downton Abbey and Peep Show return for one final airing, while huge US dramas like Homeland and Empire hit television screens again.

Stylist contributer Colin Crummy suggests a few of the best new and lesser-known dramas and comedies to watch out for:

River

River

The BBC takes on Nordic Noir at its own game in this crime drama written by Abi Morgan (The Hour) and starring Stellan Skarsgård (of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo) as a police officer haunted by the work he does - while walking the line between brilliant and out-of-his-mind.

BBC One, autumn

The Returned

The Returned

The story of a French Alpine village where the dead come back as they’d never been away (no mad zombie looks, basically), The Returned posed some awkward questions about death, grieving and whether we’d be so inclined to move on if we knew our loved one might come back. Mostly though, it is a grippingly spooky drama. Series Two sees more undead pop up to less than a warm welcome home.

Channel 4, mid-October

London Spy

London Spy

Tom Rob Smith, writer of the bestselling thriller Child 44, is the brains behind this five-part spy drama. It stars Ben Whishaw as a young gay man drawn into a world of espionage when his boyfriend, who works for the Intelligence Services, disappears. With strong support from Jim Broadbent and Charlotte Rampling, this has great pedigree throughout.

BBC Two, October

The Leftovers 

The Leftovers

Mr Jennifer Aniston, Justin Theroux, leads this HBO drama about what happens when 2% of the global population simply disappears off the face of the earth in a ‘Sudden Departure’. The answer: people go a bit berserk. Series 2 moves the action to a new location and new levels of head scratching/madness.

Sky Atlantic, October

American Horror Story: Hotel 

American Horror Story Hotel

Glee creator Ryan Murphy gets his horror geek on in the glossy nightmare of American Horror Story. If you’ve not caught up on series one to four you can still get on board the self-contained horror show of season five starring Lady Gaga as the bisexual hotel owner. Also features one Naomi Campbell as a magazine editor. We suspect she might play a bit of a horror.

Fox, 20 October

Master of None 

Aziz Ansari

Aziz Ansari

Aziz Ansari (above) – late of Parks and Recreation – gets his own sitcom, in which he plays a 30-year-old actor in New York pondering what direction to go with his life. A Netflix original series, it promises cameos from Claire Danes, The Americans’ Noah Emmerich and Ansari’s mum and dad (aww).

Netflix, 6 November 

Catastrophe

catastrophe

Twitter may have given us trolls but it’s also given us Catastrophe, a comedy birthed from the friendship forged between comics Sharon Horgan and Rob Delaney. Series One showed what happened when a transatlantic fling results in a pregnancy and a decision from Horgan and Delaney’s hapless thirty-something characters to make a go of it. Funny, sharp and painfully honest, Series Two promises to be as strong.

Channel 4, end of October

Transparent

Transparent

Fans of Six Feet Under should head direct to Amazon for Transparent, its flagship original show. The story ostensibly revolves about the head of a Los Angeles family, Mort, and his decision to come out as transgender and the familial fallout. But Transparent is really about the journey all of us are on in this superbly humane show from writer/director Jill Soloway. Series Two starts in December, catch up on One on Amazon now.

Amazon Prime, Series Two premieres 4 December.

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