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The Fall Entertainment You Should Be Watching

If you’re anything like me, you love the perfect fall day: slight breeze in the air, bundled in blankets, and a mug of hot cocoa within your reach. These days are also the perfect time to catch up on great TV shows and movies, as well as rediscover some past favorites. I’ve compiled a list below of the ones that I highly recommend for your viewing pleasure. 

1. Stranger Things

The hit 2016 series follows a group of friends in 1980s Indiana, where supernatural forces, secret government exploits, and mysterious disappearances lead them on the adventure of a lifetime. Stranger Things is perfect for helping bring in the spooky fall spirit, but isn’t too overwhelmingly scary where you can’t stand to watch it. The first three seasons of this show are on Netflix, and the fourth is soon to come!

2. Only Murders in the Building

This brand-new show features Selena Gomez, Steve Martin AND Martin Short, who play neighbors investigating a murder in their building. This series is available on Hulu and is an autumnal-feeling murder mystery with a comedic twist and a great cast. I highly recommend it for your more cozy autumnal tv watching.

3. What We Do in the Shadows

What We Do in the Shadows focuses on a house of vampires and their family, who are living on Staten Island in New York. It’s a documentary-style comedy that features a great cast and comes from the mind of Taika Waititi, who created the original movie that this series follows. The show’s 3 seasons are available on Hulu, and I highly recommend that you check them out. What We Do in the Shadows is my favorite show of all time, and screams spooky Halloween theme while also being a humorous take on traditional vampire/zombie/werewolf hijinks. It’s got some mature themes, though, so if that isn’t your cup of tea, I’d stay away from it.

4. Twin Peaks

This series literally screams fall. Twin Peaks is about a small town in Washington state, and the mysterious murder of young teenager Laura Palmer, investigated by FBI Agent Dale Cooper. Kyle Maclachlan plays the role of Agent Cooper, and rounds out an amazing ensemble cast. With a great score, and gripping storyline, this series provides the thrills of fall while also capturing eye-catching shots of the landscape of the Pacific Northwest. Twin Peaks is available to watch on Hulu!

5. Gilmore Girls

To be honest with you all, I have never watched Gilmore Girls. However, if I didn’t put it on this list, my roommates would yell at me. It’s available on Netflix and follows mother-daughter duo Rory and Lorelai Gilmore as they navigate life in a storybook Connecticut town. If you’re looking to get swept away in gorgeous fall foliage, this series is a great place to start.

6. St. Elmo’s Fire

I’ve seen this movie about a hundred times and it just keeps getting better each time I watch it. St. Elmo’s Fire follows a group of college friends who have recently graduated and are making their way in the world. A lot of misadventures commence, starting from the first minutes of the film, and the group learns to grow and adapt to the world around them. It’s a great watch for any college student struggling with “adulting”, and I have found that, recently, I relate to it more than any time I’ve seen it before. St. Elmo’s Fire is available on Starz or to rent on Amazon Prime, and I highly recommend you watch it!

7. Sabrina the Teenage Witch

No, this isn’t The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, the recent take on the Sabrina Spellman storyline featuring Kiernan Shipka. Sabrina the Teenage Witch is the 1996 series that took the comic book storyline of Sabrina and transitioned it to the TV screen. While The Chilling Adventures is a decent show, The Teenage Witch is a bit more light-hearted and easier to watch, with less murder, horror, and witch rituals. The first season, available on Paramount +, follows Sabrina as she tries to keep the balance between being a teenager and possessing magical powers. If you’re a fan of the witchy fall aesthetic, Sabrina the Teenage Witch is the show for you! Sabrina’s cat, Salem, is also meme-famous, so you’ll likely recognize the little black cat as he dashes around the screen.

8. Knives Out

You thought I’d forgotten about Chris Evans in his knit sweater, didn’t you? Knives Out is a murder mystery film by director Rian Johnson that follows a family caught in a murder investigation. The family patriarch, crime novelist Harlan Thrombey, dies under suspicious conditions, which leads Detective Benoit Blanc to see everyone in this terribly dysfunctional family as a suspect. If you’ve ever hated those mandatory family gatherings growing up, or you just want to see Chris Evans in a knit sweater, this move is definitely for you! It’s not super scary, which is a huge plus, and the ensemble cast is hilarious – it includes Daniel Craig, Jamie Lee Curtis, Katherine Langford, and Christopher Plummer. You can watch Knives Out on Amazon Prime Video!

9. Fantastic Mr. Fox

This Wes Anderson film is one of my favorites, and I still remember seeing it in theaters with my mom. With a fantastic voice cast that includes George Clooney, Meryl Streep, Bill Murray, and Owen Wilson, this imaginative, family-friendly fall film will have you laughing and crying all in the same two-hour time span. Wes Anderson is known for creating the most amazing cinematic experiences, and this movie is no different. From the film’s creative approach to the sound recording, to the finished product, this movie goes above and beyond in transitioning the well-loved Roald Dahl novel to the screen. Fantastic Mr. Fox can be found on Disney+ for your streaming pleasure.

10. Good Will Hunting

Ah, Good Will Hunting. This classic movie follows Will Hunting, a janitor at MIT with a genius-level IQ. When Hunting solves a graduate-level math problem at MIT, Professor Gerald Lambeau decides to help the misguided janitor. Lambeau later enlists a therapist named Sean Maguire to treat Hunting when he is arrested for violence. With a great cast – Lambeau is played by Stellan Skarsgard, Maguire by Robin Williams, and Hunting by Matt Damon – Good Will Hunting reflects on the future and what one’s purpose is in life. It also has plenty of quotable lines (“How do you like them apples?”) and features Massachusetts’ beautiful fall foliage. Good Will Hunting is available on Starz, or you can rent it with Amazon Prime Video.

11. Dead Poets Society

Dead Poets Society is an all-time classic film about English teacher John Keating, played by Robin Williams, who gets a new job at an all-boys prep school. Keating proceeds to use unorthodox ways to reach out to his students and help them succeed despite the enormous societal pressures they face from parents and school staff. Keating helps his students break out of their shells, and realize their dreams, all on the backdrop of fall foliage and school building silhouettes. Dead Poets Society is available to stream for free on Youtube.

12. Garden State

I saved the best for last! The 2004 film Garden State features Zach Braff and Natalie Portman in what I would call one of their best performances ever. With an amazing soundtrack containing artists from The Shins to Simon & Garfunkel, I could watch Garden State on repeat. While this film doesn’t have a ton of “cozy” fall feelings, it still captures some of the essences of fall, of those new beginnings yet to come, and a reflection on the lives we leave behind when we venture away from home and into our own adult worlds. I used a Garden State quote as my senior quote in high school, and I have never let go of this film since. You can watch Garden State on Amazon Prime Video!

— Sam Lacey

**Edited by Kiera O’Brien

Sam Lacey is a current third-year student at the University of Vermont majoring in Public Communications with a concentration in Strategic Writing. Sam loves all things music and film-related, and is also the manager of UVM's alternative radio station, WRUV. She's super excited to write for HerCampus (which she's been dreaming of since she was 16).
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