What to Watch This Fall

Welcome. It’s the first week of fall here in the Northern Hemisphere, and while it’s not as life-changing as returning to in-person school or work, nor as crucial as, say, weatherproofing your windows before the first frost, it’s nonetheless exciting to check out the season’s TV lineup, back to something approximating normal this year.

Lee Daniels has a new show on Fox, inspired by Lawrence Otis Graham’s book “Our Kind of People: Inside America’s Black Upper Class” and set on Martha’s Vineyard. The show, also called “Our Kind of People,” stars Yaya DaCosta, and from the trailer it looks like a good time. Ry-Russo Young’s HBO documentary series, “Nuclear Family,” “about her life with her two mothers, and about the sperm donor whose decision to sue for paternal rights threatened the family they had built,” appears to be right up my street. Michael Keaton stars in the new Hulu series “Dopesick.” Jon Stewart’s coming back with a biweekly show on Apple TV+. Michael C. Hall and his “dark passenger” are back, too, with “Dexter: New Blood,” on Showtime.

I’m looking forward to new shows, new routines, new plotlines. Last week, I asked what you were anticipating for the fall, and your responses were hopeful and cautious in equal measure. Here are some selections, edited for length and clarity.

“I started in May 2021 with a weekly 5- to 10-minute plunge in an inlet of the Pacific Ocean here in British Columbia. As fall arrives, I have amassed a gaggle of friends and family (including my 75-year-old mother) for these dips, which are getting colder and more frequent. Dipping brings me to the awareness that I am alive and there is nothing but the moment I am in. I am exhilarated by the anticipation of the fall and winter dips that await me.” —Allison Dunnet, Vancouver

“When I think about what I will most enjoy about the transition from summer into fall, at the top of the list is the opportunity to spend time with my husband. Recently diagnosed with small cell lung cancer, which has spread, he has also been in a wheelchair for 46 years because of a spinal cord injury, and we have chosen to forego treatment that would buy him a few extra months at most, as they would be miserable. Our greatest gift is waking up each day next to each other and ending the day the same way. We’ve been married 44 years, and we have certainly had our ups and downs, but we will enjoy each and every day.” —Mary Miller, New Port Richey, Fla.

“Daytime temperatures in the 80s and mornings in the 60s. Planting the winter garden.”—Helene Sorkin, Tucson, Ariz.

“I am looking forward to my continued celebration of the Halloween season, which began Sept. 1 for me. Living in Texas, the heat lasts long into October and even November, but Halloween prepares me for the downswing of the year. Pumpkin-flavored everything is great, but I’m on a steady diet of “Spooked” stories (by Snap Judgment), horror flicks and shows from across the decades and contemplation of the mysterious and unknown.” —Poonam Dubal, Dallas

“At 87, I’m replacing a stenotic aortic valve next week. Though these surgeries are 98 percent successful, the two percent is worrisome. Should/when I survive, I plan to celebrate all the folk who have supported me on this journey. And that is as far as I have been able to plan. Hoping.” —Anne Seltz, Minneapolis

“My retirement gift to myself was to take my grandniece to N.Y.C. to ‘do it up right’ in March 2020. All reservations made, including tickets four rows from the front, center, to ‘Hamilton.’ As disappointing as it was for me, I felt so badly for that 11-year-old, stuck at home like all the other schoolkids. Well, she is now 12, vaccinated, and we are GOING FOR IT, Nov. 4 to 11.” —Liz Quam, Maple Grove, Minn.

“Apple cider donuts and pecan pie with bourbon whipped cream, maple-glazed pork roast with roasted veggies, spiced cider and whiskey. And football season: something our whole extended family looks forward to. We’re more different than alike in most ways — interests, careers, politics, lifestyles. Football is the one common denominator that bonds us together.” —Jessica Jones, Seattle

“In Northern California, my baseline hope is avoiding fires, earthquakes and Covid. At a less lizard-brain level, I hope we have a fall that feels like the word autumn, one with enough cold to turn the leaves and enough rain to water the plants. At the happiest level, I look forward to our annual viewing of Hitchcock’s ‘The Trouble With Harry,’ with its glorious Vermont foliage and fine disregard for death. —Leslie McLean, Sonoma, Calif.

Keep writing in! I love to hear from you.

Changing the subject.

For every 100 calories we might expect to burn as a result of working out, most of us will actually net fewer than 72 calories burned, according to an eye-opening new study of how physical activity affects our metabolisms.

—From “Your Workout Burns Fewer Calories Than You Think,” by Gretchen Reynolds.

P.S.

Thank you to the Studio Neat Gazette for reminding me of the “Walk of Life Project,” which was dedicated to the premise that “‘Walk of Life’ by Dire Straits is the perfect song to end any movie.” “Chinatown” is pushing it, if you ask me, but “North by Northwest” I’ll buy.

Uses This is a collection of short interviews in which people discuss the hardware and software they use to do their particular jobs. If you’ve ever been curious about what sort of equipment a beekeeper uses, this site’s for you. (“Hardware” and “software” are not necessarily computer-related here.)

The Instagram account of the dancer and choreographer Yoann Bourgeois is thrilling. Here’s Wesley Morris, from 2017, on Bourgeois’s work.

Tell us.

What cultural happenings or events, books, TV shows, films and the like are you enthusiastically marking on your fall calendar? Tell us: [email protected] Be sure to include your full name and location and we might feature your response in a future newsletter. We’re At Home and Away. We’ll read every letter sent. More ideas for passing the time, wherever you are, appear below. I’ll be back on Friday.

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