It has been a weird and unsettling year so far but even in the teeth of a health emergency that has made it normal to enter banks wearing face masks there are simple pleasures to be enjoyed as the nights draw in – notably the one that involves settling down in front of a good television show. Could be a Sunday night watercooler event, could just be a binge-worthy comedy series. Either way, here are 10 of the hottest dramas coming our way between now and Christmas.

His Dark Materials, BBC One (November)

A smash hit when it aired last year, the BBC’s adaptation of Philip Pullman’s HDM trilogy was always a dead cert for a second season given that series one only covered the events of the first book, Northern Lights. So expect the next eight-part instalment to follow Lyra Belacqua (Dafne Keen) as she encounters the new worlds and new characters laid out in book two of the series, The Subtle Knife. Chief among her new helpmates is Will Parry (Amir Wilson), who featured in season one though the pair never actually met. Joining the cast are Simone Kirby as Dr Mary Malone and – screen legend klaxon, please – Terence Stamp. Finally, a note to Fleabag fans: Phoebe Waller-Bridge voices the daemon of the character played by Andrew ‘Hot Priest’ Scott.

Two Weeks To Live, Sky One (from September 2)

Game Of Thrones star Maisie Williams joins Fleabag’s Sian Clifford in a black comedy about a mother and daughter with some very unusual skillsets. Kim Noakes (Williams) can skin a deer to make a sleeping bag and strip a semi-automatic pistol in six seconds flat thanks to a lifetime of training by survivalist mother Tina (Clifford). But when Kim sets out to try to join the real world and act like a normal 21-year-old things don’t go quite according to plan. There’s also the small matter of a dead father and a murder to avenge.

Roadkill, BBC One (late Autumn)

Although this four-part political thriller stars Hugh Laurie the bigger name is probably its creator: celebrated dramatist and screenwriter David Hare, whose le Carré-esque disdain for the Establishment and its many grubby compromises will doubtless be given free rein in this tale of a conscience-free Tory politician ruthlessly cutting a path to the top job even as private scandal snaps at his heels. Hard to imagine who inspired the character of Peter Laurence, though one of Laurie’s fellow Old Etonians does spring to mind. Roadkill also benefits from an exemplary supporting cast which includes Helen McCrory, Saskia Reeves, Patricia Hodge, Borgen’s Sidse Babett Knudsen and Sarah Greene.

Ratched, Netflix (from September 18)

From writing team Ian Brennan and Ryan Murphy, whose credits include everything from Glee to anthology series American Horror Story, comes this suspenseful psychological drama set in 1940s California. Mildred Ratched (Sarah Paulson) is a psychiatric nurse who lands a job at a shadowy clinic where certain shadowy experiments are being conducted. And if her name sounds eerily familiar, it’s because this is an origins story of sorts: Mildred is better-known in cinematic history as Nurse Ratched, Jack Nicholson’s vicious antagonist in the celebrated film version of Ken Kesey’s 1962 novel One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest. A woman whose bedside manner leaves a little to be desired, in other words.

The Sister, ITV (mid-Autumn)

Written by Neil Cross, the creator of Luther, and starring Russell Tovey The Sister airs as part of what’s shaping up to be a pretty muscular autumn drama schedule from ITV. Tovey plays Nathan, an inoffensive family man whose life is turned upside down one night with the arrival of an old friend – Bob (Bertie Carvel), who has some news for Nathan that he really doesn’t want to hear involving a shared incident in the men’s past (a girl, a party, something bad). On top of that, Nathan has some fresher secrets of his own that he wants to keep out of the light. Based on Cross’s own novel, Burial, the four-part thriller also features Amrita Acharia.

Away, Netflix (from September 4)

Hilary Swank stars as astronaut Emma Green who’s preparing to lead a mission to Mars – and say goodbye to NASA engineer husband Matt and 15-year-old daughter Lex, played by Josh Charles and Talitha Bateman respectively. Relatively short by Netflix standards – a mere 10 one hour episodes – it also features actors Mark Ivanir, Ato Essandoh, Ray Panthaki, Vivian Wu and Monique Curnen as her League of Nations crew-mates.

Des, ITV (September)

David Tennant dons a pair of creepy glasses to play Fraserburgh-born serial killer Dennis Nilsen in this true-crime drama written by Luke Neal and based on the book Killing For Company by Brian Masters. A civil servant living in London when he committed the first of the 15 murders he eventually confessed to when he was arrested in 1983, Nilsen’s story is told from three points of view: that of Nilsen, of Masters (played here by Jason Watkins) and of investigating detective Peter Jay (Daniel Mays).

Singapore Grip, ITV (September)

Based on JG Farrell’s satirical 1978 novel The Singapore Grip and adapted by Oscar-winning playwright and screenwriter Christopher Hampton, this looks like being the heavy hitter in ITV’s Autumn schedule. Set in Singapore on the eve of the Japanese invasion in 1941 it follows the ups and downs of young Matthew Webb (Luke Treadaway), whose ailing father (played by Charles Dance) is in business with ruthless rubber merchant Walter Blackett (David Morrissey), who in turn wants to marry Matthew off to his daughter Joan (Georgia Blizzard). It’s all going more or less to plan until Matthew meets Chinese refugee Vera (Elizabeth Tan). The title, by the way, refers to a sexual technique (just Google it).

Moscow Noir, Channel 4/All 4 (September 13)

This stylish Swedish thriller screens as part of the Walter Presents strand of top-notch Euro drama and stars Adam Pålsson as a young investment banker in Moscow in 1999, when the Russian capital was even wilder and more lawless than it is now. One for fans of McMafia and all those Scandi Noir dramas that BBC Four (and Walter Presents) have made their own – talking of which, Pålsson can also be seen playing the young Inspector Wallander in Young Wallander, Netflix’s ‘origins story’ re-boot, which start on September 3.

The Third Day, Sky Atlantic (from September 15)

If you loved Channel 4’s weirdo conspiracy thriller Utopia (now being remade for Amazon with John Cusack starring) then you’ll adore this new six-part series from its creator, Dennis Kelly, served up in two distinct halves titled Summer and Winter. The first stars Jude Law as a man who arrives on a mysterious island somewhere off the coast of the UK only to find that the islanders have some strange ideas about how to preserve their traditions. The second story, unconnected apart from the fact that it takes place on the same island, stars Naomie Harris as a woman who arrives with questions for which she wants answers. Will she get them? If it’s anything like Utopia, the answer is sort of, but probably not.