7. Hello Ladies.
The premise: Stephen Merchant takes off the Gervais stabilisers for his first solo series, as an Englishman looking for love in Los Angeles. The series is adapted from his stand-up show of the same name.
The laughs: You know what you’re getting with Merchant, and separated from his comedy partner he gets the room to come over less cynical and more likeable.
What’s in store: Reviews have been mixed, but goodwill toward Merchant and his collaborators from the American Office should at least earn it a second series.
Tuesdays, 10 p.m., Sky Atlantic.
The premise: Either a female Inbetweeners of a British Girls: Three young women from Leeds try to establish a life for themselves after university, and don’t get very far with it.
The laughs: Drifters, according to the creators, is “all about the fear that comes with knowing you should take more responsibility and the excitement that comes with knowing that you still don’t really have any at all.”
What’s in store: This preview clip below goes some way to living up to its promise of the worst date ever.
Thursdays from Oct. 31, E4.
5. The Wrong Mans.
The premise: James Corden reunites with Gavin & Stacey alum Matthew Baynton for this very English action parody. Bracknell council workers Sam and Phil become entangled in a far-fetched but deadly serious web of crime, conspiracy, and corruption after Sam answers a ringing phone at the site of a car crash.
The laughs: Corden pulls off the switch to big budget and high concept; this works as a comedy thriller but really shines for the Pegg and Frost style buddy dynamic, whose Cornetto Trilogy it owes a lot to.
What’s in store: The series is almost over, but it’s still available to watch at BBC iPlayer.
4. The Big Bang Theory.
The premise: Two science geniuses share an apartment and are awkward with…well you know all about Big Bang by now. But as it approaches its seventh season, its status as the new Friends isn’t in any danger.
The laughs: Big Bang works because beyond the geekery it’s still a warm-hearted ensemble piece. It really hit its stride when the female cast as expanded, but Sheldon is still the undisputed star of the show.
What’s in store: With Leonard lost at sea, Sheldon and Penny start to bond, but it looks like there may be trouble ahead for Howard and Bernadette.
Thursdays from Oct. 31, E4.
The premise: With Peep Show on its way out, Mitchell and Webb grow up in this new three-parter set in the world of diplomacy. In the fictional Central Asian Republic of Tazbekistan, Mitchell is the British ambassador, while Webb is the deputy head of mission.
The laughs: This isn’t just a grown-up Peep Show actually, since both characters are competent human beings, caught up in serious situations that turn farcical. We need to win this contract because these ‘stans are the future. I want you to get very close to this president. Sniff the armpit. But not too close. I don’t want any embarrassing Blair-Gadafi handshakes.
What’s in store: Everything from lobbying presidents for billion-dollar helicopter contracts to babysitting high-maintenance minor royals.
Wednesdays, 9 p.m., BBC One.
The premise: U.S. Vice President Selena Meyer tries to wield power in a job that doesn’t wield very much power at all. The American Thick Of It, but you knew that already.
The laughs: Julia Louis-Dreyfus has secured her second great comedy role after Seinfield as Selena, while the skewering of D.C. politics is probably even more savage than what creator Armando Iannucci did to Westminster.
What’s in store: Season 2 sees Selena get an expanded foreign policy role and has to deal with a hostage crisis, despite the best efforts of everyone around her. Later in the series, the show inadvertently predicted the U.S. government shutdown.
Tuesdays, 10.30 p.m., Sky Atlantic.
1. Man Down.
The premise: Dan is a fortysomething teacher who hates his job and still lives with his parents. Cornering the market in rubbish teachers after playing Mr. Gilbert in The Inbetweeners, Greg Davies mines his own hellish years as a drama teacher for the most awkward comedy of the year.
The laughs: The lead character may be an idiotic child in a man’s body, but you root for him as he continually gets himself into situations you do not think can get any more painful, then do. This is quite brilliant.
What’s in store: Look out for Rik Mayall’s star turn as his willfully insane father, and Gwyneth ‘Mrs. McClusky from Grange Hill’ Powell as his mother.
Fridays, 9 p.m., Channel 4.