The best part of fall isn’t your Pumpkin Spiced Latte or cozy knits or Halloween. It’s the return of our regularly scheduled TV programming after a long summer hiatus.
Here’s your definitive guide of where to watch your favorite actors of South Asian descent shine on-screen this fall, ranging from good ol’ favorite shows to some promising new ones.
1. “The Resident”
Starring: Manish Dayal, Matt Czuchry, Emily Van Camp, Bruce Greenwood, Shaunette Renée Wilson
The medical drama stars Dayal as Dr. Devon Pravesh, a new resident at Chastain Memorial Hospital. His doe-eyed dreams about his professional come crashing down when his mentor, Dr. Conrad Hawkins (Czuchry), helps him see just how corrupt the field can be. Nurse practitioner Nicolette (Van Camp), meanwhile, faces her own problems as she tries to bring down an oncologist she suspects is committing fraud.
The talented doctors and nurses soldier on despite these difficulties, in turn giving us an enjoyable show to binge. Tasie Lawrence recurs as Devon’s journalist fiancée Priya. A season 1 episode focusing on the two and their families tackled casteism in the Indian society.
“The Resident” returns for season 2 on September 24 on FOX.
2. “The Big Bang Theory”
Starring: Jim Parsons, Kaley Cuoco, Kunal Nayyar, Johnny Galecki, Mayim Bialik
The beloved comedy, as proven by consistent viewership over 11 years, will return for its final season this fall. It centers on a group of wacky friends who live in Pasadena and are obsessed with all things science and comic books.
Nayyar plays Rajesh Koothrappali, the resident Indian scientist, who for the first six seasons of the show couldn’t talk to women unless he was drunk. Despite a few badly failed romances, the show producers promise that Raj will finally get a happy ending as the show wraps up.
“The Big Bang Theory” returns for season 12 for a special premiere episode on September 24 before moving to it’s original slot starting September 27 on CBS
Starring: Josh Dallas, Melissa Roxburgh, Parveen Kaur, Athena Karkanis, J.R. Ramirez
This high-concept drama (think “Lost”) is quite the twisty thriller. It centers on the passengers of flight Montego Air 828, which after some turbulence, lands a safely at JFK. For those traveling, only a few hours have passed by. However, in reality, it’s been over 5 years and their plane was considered missing and passengers were considered dead. The drama looks into the mystery of what happened to them while those who were on the flight adjust to their new reality.
Kaur plays Saanvi, a doctor who, before she boarded the flight, was working on an important thesis. She returns home to see her work has yielded great results in the medicinal field but she has no control over it anymore.
“Manifest” premieres on September 24 on NBC
4. “New Amsterdam”
Starring: Ryan Eggold, Janet Montgomery, Anupam Kher, Tyler Labine, Freema Agyeman
In this new medical drama, Eggold plays Dr. Max Goodwin, the new medical director of New York City’s oldest public hospital. He completely shakes things up on his first day; including firing an entire department with the aim to reform and improve patient care.
Bollywood actor and true crossover star Kher plays Dr. Vijay Kapoor. He’s been with the hospital a long time and is set in his ways. Dr. Goodwin’s arrival makes things complicated for him.
“New Amsterdam” premieres on September 25 on NBC
5. “Grey’s Anatomy”
Starring: Ellen Pompeo, Justin Chambers, Chandra Wilson, Jesse Williams, Rushi Kota
Talking about medical dramas, TV’s current most popular one has finally started featuring doctors of South Asian descent. Kota and Sophia Ali began recurring last year as Dr’s Vik Roy and Dahlia Qadri, respectively. They even starred in the Emmy-nominated “Grey’s Anatomy: B Team.” Previously, Ravi Patel recurred for a few episodes in 2016.
The long-running show centers on the doctors on Grey Sloan Memorial Hospital in Seattle. This place must be the hotbed of all fictional activity because they’ve seen everything from epic relationships, deaths, weddings, fires, an earthquake, a shooting, a plane crash, a bomb blast, and all kinds of medical emergencies. Despite the years, it’s been pretty stable in maintaining its quality.
“Grey’s Anatomy” returns for season 15 on September 27 on ABC.
6. “The Good Place”
Starring: Kristen Bell, Ted Danson, Jameela Jamil, Manny Jacinto, William Jackson Harper
Hailing from the creators of hits like “Parks and Recreation” and “The Office,” this utopian comedy is one of the best TV shows airing right now. It centers on four humans – Eleanor, Chidi, Tahani, Jason – who are in heaven aka ‘the good place’ after their death. Despite seemingly leading the most perfect afterlives, they’re in for a whole lot of trouble. Danson stars as Michael, the architect of their heavenly neighborhood. The show prides on flipping its own script, giving us one too many smart twists.
In a breakout role, Jamil plays British-Pakistani philanthropist Tahani Al-Jamil. Tahani starts out as narcissistic and insecure, mainly because her parents put too much pressure on her. Over the course of the show, her character development is a total treat to watch. Indian-American actress Tiya Sircar also recurs on the show.
“The Good Place” season 3 returns on September 27 on NBC.
7. “Murphy Brown”
Starring: Candice Bergen, Faith Ford, Nik Dodani, Grant Shaud, Jake McDorman, Tyne Daly
CBS has revived its 1988-1998 hit sitcom, which was a pop culture phenomenon of its time. Bergen reprises her role as the titular character, a fearless investigative journalist and news anchor. The show will delve into modern mainstream topics like ‘fake news,’ the #MeToo movement, and how politics and media tend to clash.
“Atypical” star Dodani joins the cast as Pat Patel, the social media director at Murphy Brown’s news show. Pat is tasked with teaching Murphy how to best operate social media; he essentially helps bring the show over to the 21st century.
“Murphy Brown” premieres on September 27 on CBS.
8. “God Friended Me”
Starring: Brandon Michael Hall, Suraj Sharma, Violett Beane, Joe Morton, Javicia Leslie
The plot of this new dramedy begs some attention: Hall’s character Miles is an atheist, his father is a religious priest. One day, he receives a Facebook request from ‘God’ himself, and starts getting instructions. Reluctantly and unwittingly, Miles becomes an agent of change in the lives of friends and strangers.
Sharma, who previously starred in “Homeland,” plays Miles’s best friend and co-worker Rakesh Sehgal. He’s an excellent hacker, coder, and loves video games. No wonder they cast a talented Indian actor in this role. Rakesh uses his skills to help Miles figure out who is behind this ‘God’ account.
“God Friended Me” premieres on September 30 on CBS.
9. “I Feel Bad”
Starring: Sarayu Blue, Madhur Jaffrey, Paul Adelstein, Brian George, Aisling Bea
Blue joins the ranks of Mindy Kaling (“The Mindy Project”) and Tiya Sircar (“Alex Inc.) to lead her own TV comedy. She plays Emet, the ‘perfect’ mother, wife, and boss who is coming to terms with how it’s okay to be imperfect or as the title suggests, ‘feel bad’ about things.
Jaffrey, a famed actress and author, plays Emet’s slightly overbearing mother. “I Feel Bad” may seem like it covers all your basic sitcom tropes but it’s the first time we’ll see it through the eyes of an Indian-American woman.
“I Feel Bad” gets a special premiere on September 19 before moving to its original timeslot starting October 4.
10. “The Walking Dead”
Starring: Andrew Lincoln, Norman Reedus, Danai Gurira, Melissa McBride, Avi Nash
In this post-apocalyptic drama, the world is overrun by zombies or “walkers” after a virus spreads rapidly. The show focuses on a group of survivors who fight not just the undead but also the living in order to survive. “The Walking Dead” thrives on gore, mystery, and emotional upheaval.
Avi Nash joined the cast last year in a recurring role before being upped to series regular for this season. He plays a doctor named Siddiq. His arrival last year caused a game-changing twist for the show. He’s also the first Muslim character in this universe.
“The Walking Dead” returns for season 9 on October 7 on AMC.
Starring: Daniel Russell Rose, Matthew Davis, Karen David, Aria Shahgasemi
This show belongs to the fictional universe created by Julie Plec, starting with “The Vampire Diaries,” followed by “The Originals.” A spin-off of the latter, “Legacies” focuses on teenager Hope Mikaelson, a tribrid creature; part werewolf, part witch, part vampire. She studies at the Salvatore School for the Young and Gifted.
David, who recently appeared in “Timeless” and “Criminal Minds,” plays a therapist (who was a former witch!) at the school. She might also be the romantic partner of Alaric (Davis), the school’s principle and the only character to appear in all 3 shows.
“Legacies” premieres on October 26 on The CW.
These aren’t all, several shows with actors of South Asian descent will arrive mid-season, starting early 2019, including Vinny Chhiber‘s “The Red Line,” Rahul Kohli‘s “iZombie,” Sachin Sahel’s “The 100, and ” Mouzam Makkar’s “The Fix.”