September arrives fairly quietly in TV land: the first new show of the networks’ fall season, Fox’s reality experiment Utopia, gets an early start, but it’ll be another few weeks before most new and returning shows get rolling.
Monday, September 1
Houdini (9-11 pm, History)
Adrien Brody stars as Erik Weisz, the Hungarian-born illusionist and escape artist who became known to the world as Harry Houdini, in this two-part biographical movie. (The conclusion airs Tuesday, also at 9 pm.)
Tuesday, September 2
Pi (8-9:30 pm, Flix)
Darren Aronofsky’s feature directing debut (he was also a co-writer) is a full-strength head trip about a troubled mathematician seeking a numerical key that he believes will unlock the secrets of the universe.
Wednesday, September 3
The League (10-10:33 pm, FXX)
Pete, Ruxin, Taco, Jenny, Kevin, and Andre are back for season six of their Shiva-fueled shenanigans.
Thursday, September 4
Kill Your Darlings (7:10-9 pm, Starz)
This biographical drama about the formative collegiate years of the Beat writers William Burroughs, Allen Ginsberg, and Jack Kerouac stars Ben Foster, Daniel Radcliffe, and Jack Huston.
Also tonight: the NFL season kicks off (on a Thursday, as it has for the past several years) with the Green Bay Packers visiting the Super Bowl Champion Seattle Seahawks (8:30 pm-midnightish, NBC). (CBS’s early-fall Thursday-night game package begins next week.)
Friday, September 5
Kehinde Wiley: An Economy of Grace (9-10 pm, PBS)
A visual artist who recreates paintings of 18th and 19th-century society women, using women he meets on the street as models, is profiled.
Saturday, September 6
The Chair (11 pm-12 am, Starz)
In the tradition of Project Greenlight comes a new filmmaking competition series. The conceit of The Chair is that the two competing directors are working on separate movies from the same screenplay.
Sunday, September 7
Utopia (8-10 pm, Fox)
Yes, it’s a reality show, but it is also an attempt to do something a bit different with the format: 15 people are sent off to live together in an isolated agrarian setting for a year, with the intent of creating a sustainable society. Following tonight’s premiere, Fox’s plan is to air the show twice a week: Tuesdays at 8 and Fridays at 9 (though this is subject to change depending on ratings).
Also tonight: the fifth and final season of Boardwalk Empire premieres (9-10 pm, HBO), with the story moving forward in time to 1931.
Upstairs, Downstairs (1971-75)
If you enjoy Downton Abbey, this Masterpiece Theatre production about the lives of an aristocratic London family and their household staff is its ancestor and template. (Five seasons, 68 episodes total.)
(Note: this information is accurate as of publication time, but programming is subject to change at the discretion of channels and networks. All times listed are Eastern time.)