Crime stories are the true American TV backbone, and this season is filled with plenty of new takes on the classic genre.
The Confession Tapes (Streaming on Netflix): This new true crime docuseries investigates cases where people convicted of murder claim their confessions were coerced. It also explores how false confessions can happen and aims to shed light on the horrific killing of Catherine Fuller in 1984. Streaming on Netflix
American Vandal (3 a.m. Friday, Sept. 14, Netflix): True crime gets a healthy dose of satire with American Vandal, a new Netflix series about a case of vandalism. The series explores the aftermath and investigation into a high school prank that left 27 faculty cars tagged with phallic images.
Law & Order True Crime: The Menendez Murders (10 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 26, NBC): Two brothers undergo a high-profile trial in 1994 for the 1989 murders of their wealthy parents. Law & Order dips into the wildly popular true-crime genre with this dramatization starring Edie Falco as the Menendez brothers' defense attorney.
Riviera (Midnight Friday, Sept. 14, Sundance Now): Sundance TV has a streaming network that has its own original shows, but this one caught our attention, thanks to its lead star, Julia Stiles. She plays Georgina, a newlywed whose billionaire husband dies in a yacht explosion. Together with her husband's first wife, played by the wickedly impressive Lena Olin (Alias), they discover his secret criminal life. It's beautifully shot and styled against the lavish world of the French Riviera. This thriller was a ratings success across the pond, so don't wait to watch. You'll definitely want to binge the 10 episodes over a weekend.
Liar (10 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 27, Sundance TV): Forget docile Anna Bates from Downton Abbey. Golden Globe winner Joanne Froggatt plays Laura, a dedicated schoolteacher who goes out on a date with a seemingly perfect heart surgeon named Andrew (Ioan Grufford). When Laura accuses Andrew of rape, this superb psychological thriller explores the idea that there are two sides to every story, and everyone has their own perception of the truth. It's an uncomfortable six-episode watch, but worth it.
Tin Star (Midnight Friday, Sept. 29, Amazon): This Canadian dramedy stars Tim Roth (The Hateful Eight) as a former British detective-turned-police chief who moves to Little Bear for a quieter life. That quiet doesn't last long when Elizabeth Bradshaw (Christina Hendricks) moves her oil refinery to town, bringing organized crime with it.
Wisdom of the Crowd (8:30 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 1, CBS): Emmy and Golden Globe Award winner Jeremy Piven lands a starring role in this network high-tech crime drama. Piven plays a visionary innovator who creates a crowdsourcing app to help solve his daughter's murder and revolutionizes the crime-solving process. In typical Piven fashion, he fast-talks his way out of legitimate logistical questions, like how any of this evidence is usable in court. But it's only TV, so we don't necessarily need it to be believable.
Ten Days in the Valley (10 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 1, ABC): Kyra Sedgwick makes a triumphant return to TV, this time as an overworked TV writer and distressed mother going through an intense custody battle. When her daughter is abducted one night, a series of events unfolds, revealing lots of secrets in Jane Sadler's world. The producers have promised to take the title literally. There will be 10 episodes, each covering a single day, and the main mystery will be solved. Thankfully.
Mindhunter (3 a.m. Friday, Oct. 13, Netflix): Based on the novel by John Douglas and Mark Olshaker, Mindhunter investigates how serial killers think. The new David Fincher series is set in 1979 and follows two agents (Jonathan Groff and Holt McCallany) in a serial crime unit and a criminal psychologist who aids them (Anna Torv).
Alias Grace (3 a.m. Friday Nov. 3, Netflix): More true crime and Margaret Atwood? Sign us up. Alias Grace, inspired by Atwood's 1996 novel and the story of convicted murderer Grace Marks, is a six-hour miniseries coming to Netflix later this fall. Sarah Gadon is Grace, a poor Irish immigrant and servant in northern Canada who was convicted with stable hand James McDermott (Kerr Logan) of brutally murdering their employer, his housekeeper and his lover in 1843. True Blood's Anna Paquin is the lover Nancy Montgomery, who was initially friends with Grace before she fired her in a jealous rage. After their convictions, James was hanged and Grace was sentenced to life in prison before she was exonerated after 30 years.