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When the Nerds Took Over the Airwaves:

When the Nerds Took Over the Airwaves

From network to cable to streaming, fall TV is rich with gifts for sci-fi and horror fanatics. Here are four of our favorite current or upcoming shows.

El Rey

El Rey

Robert Rodriguez returns! From Dusk Till Dawn has a different relationship to its source material—the campy 1996 horror film of the same name—than, say, FX’s Fargo does to its own. Whereas that show places new stories firmly in the world of the original Coen brothers film (also a 1996 cult classic), Dusk is a darker, more mysterious retelling. The Gecko brothers, the Titty Twister strip club and the culebras vampires are all here, but the series is more cerebral than madcap.

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TV is crawling with effects-heavy spectacles—zombies (The Walking Dead), vampires (The Strain) and even the devil himself (Lucifer)—but shows about inner demons, such as A&E’s Damien and WE’s South of Hell, haven’t yet connected. Enter The Exorcist, Fox’s adaptation of the 1973 horror masterpiece. The pilot sets a tempered, religious tone with unexpected bursts of violence, opening up rich story lines for a haunted matriarch (Geena Davis), her husband and two daughters, as well as a pair of priests.

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Sam and Ivan Raimi’s refresh of the Evil Dead films they’ve been making since the early 1980s once again gives us Ash Williams, played by paunchy 58-year-old franchise star and national treasure Bruce Campbell. From the beginning you know you’re in good hands—including one old-school prosthetic that prompts Ash to ask a demon-possessed woman, “You like my wood?” Ash’s road trip to his hometown in the season two opener, which includes a fight in a haunted crematorium, is bloody hilarious.

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With only two seasons of Game of Thrones remaining and Vinyl failing despite a $100 million budget, HBO desperately needs a hit. Westworld, the sci-fi Western series whose cast includes Anthony Hopkins, James Marsden and Evan Rachel Wood, may be the answer to its prayers. Early looks portend a series bursting with sex, violence, humanoid robots and Truman Show–like surveillance. Prepare to lose sleep thinking about how artificial intelligence threatens our sense of what’s real.