Hello, 2017! With the new year, tons of new and returning shows will soon clog up your DVR. Here are some of the binge-worthy series that have new episodes that have just hit or are coming back soon. Get to watching…
What it is: This sci-fi drama follows a group of imprisoned teens who are returned to Earth from a space station years after the planet has been devastated by nuclear war in order to determine if the planet is habitable again.
Why you should watch it: The 100, which posits that the greatest threat to humanity in a post-apocalyptic world comes from humanity itself, doesn’t break any new ground, but it utilizes familiar themes to deliver creative, sharply written storylines played out by a committed cast. It’s a fun, inventive alternative to the bleak, gory pleasures of The Walking Dead, and its fourth season premieres on February 1, which gives you plenty of time to catch up.
Commitment: About 31 hours
What it is: Zach Galifianakis stars in this dark comedy about a man who returns home to Bakersfield, California, to become a rodeo clown after failing to graduate from a prestigious clown school in Paris.
Why you should watch it: Louis C.K. co-created Baskets with Galifianakis and showrunner Jonathan Krisel, the latter of whom also serves as director and co-writer on Portlandia, so that tells you the comedy credentials are legit here. On top of that, Galifianakis offers a surprisingly multi-layered dual performance as twin brothers Chip and Dale Baskets, and co-star Louie Anderson just picked up an Emmy for his performance as Chip and Dale’s mother. If you like the low-key, deadpan dramedy of Louie, you’ll feel right at home here, and with only one season to its name, Baskets should be an easy binge ahead of its season 2 premiere on January 19.
Commitment: About 3.5 hours
What it is: A chronicle of the adventures of a pirate captain, his shipmates, and his deadly rivals in the early 18th-century Caribbean. The series is a prequel to Robert Louis Stevenson’s Treasure Island and is set 20 years before the events depicted in that literary classic.
Why you should watch it: The final entry in Starz’s swashbuckling pirate saga debuts January 29. Before it does, catch up with Captain Flint (Toby Stephens), Long John Silver (Luke Arnold), and Blackbeard (Ray Stevenson) in its first three seasons of epic storytelling, bad pirate behavior, beautiful rogues, political intrigue, and powerful women who break hearts and plunder treasure in equal measure with the series’ swarthy ocean-voyaging men.
Commitment: 26 hours
What it is: Set in the near future, the series documents one family’s struggle to survive in an alien-occupied Los Angeles.
Why you should watch it: This Certified Fresh offering comes from writer-producer Carlton Cuse, who reached into his uber-producer history to grab Lost alum Josh Holloway for the male lead, Will, and enlisted Sarah Wayne Callies (The Walking Dead, Prison Break) to play opposite as his wife, Katie. With season 2 revving up, it’s a good time to try the first season on for size. Cuse, in a recent interview with Rotten Tomatoes, promised “We definitely are embracing the science fiction aspect of the show much more in season 2.” So you have that to look forward to once you finish your binge.
Commitment: 7 hours
What it is: Set in a colonized solar system 200 years in the future, the series documents rising tensions between Earth, Mars, and the resource-rich Asteroid Belt. The Syfy original is based on the international best-selling book series by James S.A. Corey (the pen name of collaborators Daniel Abraham and Ty Franck).
Why you should watch it: Stars Thomas Jane, Steven Strait, and Shohreh Aghdashloo anchor a realistic near-future grappling with political intrigue, resource battles, and corporate dominance – so it’s just like today, but with space road trips and weirdly shaped people who grew up in gravity-deficient environments. Season 2 kicks off February 1, so there’s still time to binge season 1 before the next chapter begins.
Commitment: 7 hours
What it is: A supernatural twist on crime procedurals inspired by classic fairy tales, Grimm follows detective Nick Burkhardt (David Giuntoli), who discovers he is a descendant of elite hunters tasked with protecting humankind from dark mythological forces.
Why you should watch it: Dark, spooky, and thrilling, Grimm has earned a passionate niche audience, rewarding its fans with a thoroughly fun and entertaining show that boasts both humor and horror. If you love tension and splendidly weird, not-so-happy fairy tales, this is the perfect show to catch up on as it enters its sixth — and final — season on January 6.
Commitment: About 75 hours
What it is: Bipolar counterterrorism specialist Carrie Mathison (Claire Danes) attempts to balance personal and professional interests as she engages in high-stakes espionage, first for the CIA and later for private employers.
Why you should watch it: Aside from the stellar work from its Emmy-winning cast, which has also included Damian Lewis, Mandy Patinkin, Monica Baccarin, and F. Murray Abraham, Homeland has consistently delivered compelling narratives with propulsive storytelling and jawdropping cliffhangers. This is addictive drama at its finest, and it’ll likely be difficult to stop watching once you start.
Commitment: 51.5 hours
What it is: Civil War volunteer nurses on opposite sides of the conflict are thrown together when the Union Army takes over a luxury hotel in Alexandria, Virginia, and turns it into a hospital.
Why you should watch it: The period drama is part medical show, part soap, and part horror series given its portrayal of crude surgeries often without benefit of anesthesia. Series leads Josh Radnor (How I Met Your Mother), Mary Elizabeth Winstead (10 Cloverfield Lane), and Gary Cole (The Good Wife) fully commit to this PBS period drama that counts Ridley Scott among its executive producers. At under six hours, it’s a light snack as binges go. Series returns for season 2 on January 22.
Commitment: Just over 5 hours
What it is: Based on Lev Grossman’s New York Times best-selling fantasy trilogy, the series centers on a group of 20-something friends as they explore their magical abilities and fight off evil entities in order to save the existence of magic.
Why you should watch it: It’s “Harry Potter meets Gossip Girl,” according to one critic. The Magicians boasts a handsome young cast, adult humor, sexy situations, dangerous villains, and magical mysteries to be solved. The series returns for season 2 on January 25, so conjure up some time to get to know Quentin Coldwater and his crew.
Commitment: 9.5 hours
What it is: This musical drama centers on a fading country star (Connie Britton) and an up-and-coming new talent (Hayden Panettiere) as they struggle with stardom, romantic entanglements, and familial relationships.
Why you should watch it: A soap opera set in the music industry? We can dig that. As much as Empire is not solely for hip-hop fans, Nashville is appealing not only to country music devotees — although it certainly doesn’t hurt. With soapy melodrama and shocking twists, the series focuses on the corrosive effects of fame and fortune and does it very well. After ABC canceled the series, CMT picked it up for its fifth season, which premiered on January 5.
Commitment: A little over 61 hours
What it is: A family struggles with relationships, marriage, and power during a controversial religious movement in this drama series.
Why you should watch it: Aaron Paul (Breaking Bad) stars with Michelle Monaghan (True Detective) and Hugh Dancy (Hannibal) in this Hulu streamer that scored Certified Fresh status in its first season for its portrayal of life in a religious cult. Series returns for season 2 on January 25.
Commitment: 8.5 hours
What it is: Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein star in this sketch comedy series that skewers pop culture conventions, gender stereotypes, political and religious ideologies, and more.
Why you should watch it: First of all, it’s hilarious. Armisen and Brownstein display such impeccable comic timing and potent chemistry that it’s difficult not to smile even when the typically sharp writing doesn’t hit all its notes perfectly. The show also benefits from some inspired recurring characters played by Kyle MacLachlan and Steve Buscemi, as well as appearances by an eclectic roster of guests that includes the likes of Jeff Goldblum, Eddie Vedder, Olivia Wilde, Gus Van Sant, Aubrey Plaza, and Jack White, just to name a few. In other words, it’s a perfect binge for anyone looking for some noncommittal laughs.
Commitment: A little over 21 hours
What it is: Loosely based on the Washington Irving story and set in present-day Sleepy Hollow, New York, this supernatural drama follows Ichabod Crane (Tom Mison), who awakens from a centuries-long slumber and teams up with local law enforcement to help thwart an impending apocalypse.
Why you should watch it: If you like your police procedural with a healthy dose of scares and some fun lighter moments, Sleepy Hollow is for you. Prepare to be whisked between the past and present — with a few detours into Purgatory — and expect to encounter witches, demons, and of course, the Headless Horseman himself. It’s all shockingly good fun, with a game cast that lend a lot to the story and atmosphere of the show’s fantastical world. The series returned for its fourth season on January 6.