Ahh, fall. Keats called it the “season of mists and mellow fruitfulness.” We totally agree. Fall is a time of cooler temperatures, turning leaves, “fun size” candy bars and TV premieres. Many of the 2016 fall season premieres have aired, but some notables are still coming up. So refer to the TV premiere schedule below, find your favorites and check out our Emmy-worthy TV watch party ideas. They may not be able to lessen the blow that “Lucille” is likely to inflict, but at least there is comfort in numbers.
Falling for TV
Bringing people together over TV and snacks is a long-standing tradition—cocktail wieners, anyone? Why, yes. A little history: The post-war economic boom of the 1950s made TV sets more affordable for Americans, so new programming was in high demand. Networks started offering contracts to old radio celebrities who, in their radio star days, had their summers off—some people never outgrow the desire for summer vacation. The celebs wanted to ensure that their schedules remained the same, so TV networks, like radio, took breaks after May and then premiered shows in September when vacation was over. Thus, the Fall TV premiere was born.
Small screen, big fun
Throwing a good watch party is a bit like a cliffhanger—both are time-honored TV traditions that, if done wrong, will result in a seriously disappointed crowd that will not hold back on social media. Not sure how to host a watch party? Spoilers ahead!
Finger food makes for good party snacks and nothing is more finger-friendly than pizza. Getting pizza delivered isn’t going to win you extra hosting points, so get hands-on with The Pizza Grilling Crate. Hearty, homemade pizza never disappoints, even if they insist on using utensils.
Throwing a Walking Dead watch party? Take the finger-food game up a notch with Bloody Pizza Fingers.
¼ oz. dry yeast
1 cup lukewarm water
1 tsp. sugar
3 cups bread flour
½ tsp. salt
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 28 oz. can crushed tomatoes
2 tbsp. tomato paste
I small white onion finely diced
1 peeled and minced garlic clove
1 tsp. dried oregano
1 tbsp. fresh basil, chopped
2 tbsp. olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
1 red bell pepper, cored and sliced and cut into finger nail shapes
Combine yeast, water and sugar in a glass bowl; stir to dissolve the yeast and let it bloom for 15 mins.; stir in 1 cup flour; put the mixture onto a board and work in the remaining flour, kneading until dough is elastic but not sticky; form dough into a ball. Pour olive oil into a second bowl and spread around; coat the dough ball with olive oil and cover with a damp towel; let dough rise for 40 mins.
Add olive oil to a 2-qt. sauce pot and heat a bit over medium flame; add onions and sauté until slightly translucent; add garlic and sauté until golden; add crushed tomatoes, stir well and bring to a simmer; season with oregano, basil, salt and pepper and simmer on low flame for 15 mins., stirring often.
Punch down dough and divide into pieces and roll into 4-inch fingers (adventurous types may want to fill each finger with a slice of fresh mozzarella cheese); place on a parchment-paper lined baking sheet; cover with a clean towel and let rise until double; preheat oven to 400° F; press red pepper fingernail into each finger; bake for approx. 20 mins., or until golden brown; serve with pasta sauce.
Hunger sated, thirst must also be addressed. Creating a special themed drink shows true dedication to making a viewing party extra awesome. Try a Fire and Brimstone for a Supernatural or Exorcist party.
1 tsp. black lava salted brim
3 oz. jalapeno-infused tequila
2 oz. lime juice
1 oz. simple syrup
½ - 1 tsp. orange liqueur
To make jalapeno-infused tequila, thinly slice 3 medium jalapenos (don’t discard seeds); place jalapeno slices into a quart-sized jar; add bottle of tequila and screw on lid and shake; let sit in a room temperature, dark space for at least 24 hours; when fully infused, pour tequila through a mesh strainer to remove jalapenos and seeds and put back into jar.
Fill cocktail shaker with ice, add the tequila, lime juice, simple syrup and orange liqueur and shake until mixed and chilled, approx. 30 seconds. Cover rim of glass with salt, strain drink into glass.
Variations on a Theme
Food and drink arranged, it’s time to show real commitment to hosting the best TV watch party. That means decorations and games. Not the traditional bits, like The Hokey Pokey or balloon animals, although that IS what it’s all about, but something to match the show’s theme. Walking Dead party? Put a sign on a door (maybe the refrigerator) saying “Don’t Open, Dead Inside.” Empire? Place some extra pillows around to commemorate Cookie’s attempt to smother Lucious. Bonus points for also serving cookies. Going in on The Rocky Horror Picture Show movie? Get plenty of toast, water pistols and newspaper for guests to play along with the show.
It ain’t over ‘til it’s over
Just because the show is over doesn’t mean the fun has to end. Plus, everyone may need a little distraction after a big reveal. Keep the party going with one of our newest gifts for men,The Game Night Crate. It’s packed with popular games and savory snacks that will have friends inviting themselves over again and again.
Need help scheduling a party? Below are some upcoming Fall premiere dates to plan around, as well as some shows that have already premiered, but are still good for hosting a party.
SNL, October 1, 11:30pm, NBC
Westworld, October 2, 9 pm, HBO
Ash vs Evil Dead, October 2, 8pm, Starz
Shameless, 9pm, October 2, Showtime
Divorce, October 9, 10 pm, HBO
Channel Zero, October 11, 9pm, SyFy
Supernatural, October 13, 9pm, CW
Rocky Horror Picture Show (movie), October 20, 8pm, Fox
Black Mirror, October 21, Netflix
Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency, October 22, 9pm, BBC America
Walking Dead, October 23, 9pm, AMC
The Affair, November 20, 10 pm, Showtime
The Simpsons, Sunday, 8pm, Fox
Son of Zorn, Sunday, 8:30pm, Fox
Masters of Sex, Sunday, 10pm, Showtime
Gotham, Monday, 8pm, Fox
Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Tuesday, 8pm, Fox
Atlanta, Tuesday, 10pm, FX
Drunk History, Tuesday, 10:30pm, Comedy Central
Empire, Wednesday, 9pm, Fox
Black-ish, Wednesday, 9:30pm, ABC
American Horror Story, Wednesday, 10pm, FX
South Park, Wednesday, 10pm, Comedy Central
The Exorcist, Friday, 9pm, Fox