Two takes on ‘Star Trek,’ a creepy clown and more

12:00 a.m. Tuesday, Sept. 5, 2017 Austin360
Penny Johnson Jerald, Seth MacFarlane and Peter Macon star in “Star Trek” spoof “The Orville.” Contributed by Michael Becker/Fox

Here are some of the best and highest-profile new releases in music, movies, TV and more on the horizon in September. As always, dates are subject to change without notice.

“Star Trek: Discovery” (CBS)

Well, here we (boldly) go. “Discovery” is the first new “Star Trek” series since “Star Trek: Enterprise” arrived in 2001 (and if you’ve never seen it, the four-season “Enterprise” became a really fun program — the final two years contain some of the best “Trek” around).

Set roughly 10 years (and at least one uniform iteration) before the original program and in the middle of the Federation and Klingon cold war, “Discovery” plays with the formula a bit in that the focus will be on the ships’ first officer, a human woman named Michael Burnham (Sonequa Martin-Green) raised as a Vulcan by none other than Spock’s father, Sarek. (The show swears it will have an explanation as to why Spock never mentioned having a sister). Burnham will also serve on two ships as the show goes one, first the Shenzhou and then the Discovery.

Look for Michelle Yeoh as Shenzhou captain Philippa Georgiou and Jason Isaacs as Discovery captain Gabriel Lorca (and please let the rumors that Isaacs plays this guy with a Southern accent be false). Doug Jones shows up as a member of a brand-new alien race, and Anthony Rapp plays a gay science officer. And feel free to ignore anyone who says the show’s interest in having non-white, non-straight characters is somehow going against traditional Star Trek — whatever that means. The original show, which debuted in 1966, featured African-American, Asian and Russian characters — diversity has literally always been built into the program.

The show will debut on CBS before moving to the CBS All Access streaming service, with seven additional new episodes airing weekly this fall. The second half of the 15-episode season will debut in January. One hopes for the best. (Sept. 24)

“American Horror Story: Cult” (FX). This year’s cast includes “Girls” creator/star Lena Dunham, Billy Eichner of “Billy on the Street” fame and Billie Lourd (aka Carrie Fisher’s daughter). They join such “AHS” frequent fliers as Sarah Paulson, Evan Peters, Frances Conroy and Mare Winningham. The show is about … wait for it … a cult. (Sept. 5)

“The Golden House” by Salman Rushdie (Penguin/Random House). This new doorstop from Rushdie promises to be part American epic and part American satire. In January 2009, a mysterious millionaire named Nero Golden and his three weird adult sons take up residence is a very tony section of New York, soon to be joined by a young Russian woman who marries Golden. A whole mess of very good sentences ensues. (Sept. 5)

Tori Amos, “Native Invader” (Decca). It’s Tori’s 15th studio album and first since 2014. (Sept. 8)

The National, “Sleep Well Beast” (4AD). The new album from a band that, let’s be frank, many indie rock watchers were not expecting to make it as long as they have. Expect cavernous singing and terrific drumming. (Sept. 8)

The Specials, “Specials,” “More Specials,” “In the Studio With the Special AKA” (Chrysalis). Hey, giggle at ska all you want; the Specials were a spectacular band. The first album comes reissued with a second CD, a 14-song “BBC in Concert at the Paris Theatre 15/12/79,” the second with a second CD containing John Peel BBC Radio 1 sessions and other rarities and their final record with a second CD of BBC John Peel sessions and instrumentals. (Sept. 8)

Neil Young “Hitchhiker” (Reprise). It has been moved around a bit, so don’t be too surprised if it vanishes again, but here, finally (?) is Young’s previously unreleased album from 1976. A few of the songs have appeared on other Young albums; two songs (“Hawaii” and “Give Me Strength”) are making their debut. (Sept. 8)

“It.” The new and completely terrifying adaptation of the Stephen King classic is here. That is one creepy looking clown. (Sept. 8)

“Con Man” (Syfy). This show started as a web series starring Alan Tudyk (of “Serenity” fame) as an aging genre/B-movie actor doing the sci-fi convention circuit. I cannot imagine where this idea came from. It shows up on Syfy as a 13-episode marathon with a second season to air in the future. Guest stars include Seth Green, Felicia Day, Sean Astin, James Gunn and Tricia Helfer. (Sept. 9)

“The Deuce” (HBO). This is the much-hyped, much-advertised new series from David Simon (creator of “The Wire” and “Treme”) and DC-centric crime novelist George Pelecanos (who also wrote and produced on “The Wire”). Set in midtown New York during the porn industry’s 1970s and 1980s birth, it stars James Franco playing twins, Maggie Gyllenhaal as an entrepreneurial hooker and Simon regulars Gbenga Akinnagbe and Chris Bauer. (Sept. 10)

“The Orville” (Fox). “Family Guy” creator Seth MacFarlane (shudder) produces and stars in a live-action homage to and parody of “Star Trek.” Look, maybe it will be funny, but one cannot possibly improve on that which did this the first time around, the still-hilarious “Galaxy Quest.” With Adrianne Palicki, Scott Grimes, Penny Johnson Jerald and Chad L. Coleman. The first two episodes are on Sundays; the rest will air on Thursdays. (Sept. 10)

“What Happened” by Hillary Clinton (Simon & Schuster). We, the people, remain curious ourselves. It’s already a best-seller. (Sept. 12)

“Devotion” by Patti Smith (Yale University Press). A small book about Smith’s relationship with writing. Her last two books, “Just Kids” and “M Train,” are essential reading. (Sept. 12)

“Broad City” (Comedy Central). It’s back, baby! Fourth-season guests include Steve Buscemi, RuPaul, Amy Ryan, Wanda Sykes, Mike Birbiglia, Jane Curtin, Susie Essman and Shania Twain. (Sept. 13)

“Better Things” (FX). This wonderful, under-discussed comedy starts its second season. Pamela Adlon directs all 10 episodes and writes or co-writes a bunch of them. A terrific show that is absolutely worth your time. (Sept. 14)

“Mother!” Starring Jennifer Lawrence, Javier Bardem, Ed Harris and Michelle Pfeiffer and written and directed by Darren Aronofsky, this is a psychological thriller about which almost nothing else is known. (Sept. 15)

Hot Water Music, “Light It Up” (Rise). A new album from this 1990s emo-core outfit was not exactly expected in 2017. However, this does match with the idea that underknown, Clinton-era indie rock bands have a new audience. (Sept. 15)

“Battle of the Sexes.” Emma Stone and Steve Carell as tennis legend Billie Jean King and tennis goofball Bobby Riggs in an adaptation of their 1973 match? Are you kidding me? I am there opening night. With Andrea Riseborough, Elisabeth Shue, Austin Stowell and Sarah Silverman. (Sept. 22)

“Flatliners.” Yes, this is a remake of the 1990 movie “Flatliners.” I have no earthly idea why someone thought this was a thing that should exist, but here we are. (Sept. 29)

The Rolling Stones, “Their Satanic Majesties Request (50th Anniversary Edition)” (ABKCO). Aka the Stones attempt to make a big psychedelic concept album a la “Sgt. Pepper’s,” released the same year. Not considered one of the band’s finest hours, there are still some great songs on it. An audiophile edition includes two 180-gram vinyl LPs and mono and stereo versions on Hybrid SACD, newly remastered by Bob Ludwig, complete with a 20-page book. I like the idea that this thing is simply an elaborate and expensive troll of the “Sgt. Pepper’s” reissue.

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