Binge Guide

11 TV Shows You Should Binge-Watch This January

The X-Files, Portlandia, and Nashville are among the month's top binge TV offerings.

by | January 2, 2018 | Comments

New year, new you — and new series on your streaming queue. Below, we’ve rounded up 11 returning series that will help you start your 2018 the right way: entertained. Happy New Year, everyone!


black-ish 91% (ABC)

BLACK-ISH – “The Name Game” (ABC/Kelsey McNeal)

 

What it is: ABC’s Anthony Anderson-starrer Black-ish returns from its midseason break this month and also gets a buzzed-about spin-off with Grown-ish, which will follow his on-screen daughter Zoey Johnson (Yara Shahidi) as she makes her way off to college. Its debut season premieres its 13-episode rollout Jan. 3 on Freeform, but catch up with Black-ish in the meantime! (Anderson and Tracee Ellis Ross are also slated to guest star as Zoey’s parents, Dre and Rainbow.)

Why you should watch it: You should watch Black-ish before catching the premiere of Grown-ish because over its 3.5 seasons (season 4 returns to ABC Jan. 2), it’s showcased the heavyweight comedic talents of Anderson and Ellis Ross, sure. But it’s also become so much more than just a family-friendly laughfest, breaking the mold and tackling of-the-moment social and political issues with heart and humanity.

Where to watch it: Amazon, Google Play, Hulu, Microsoft, Vudu

Commitment: Approx. 30 hours


The X-Files 74% (Fox)

What it is: We all know by now what to expect with David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson as FBI agents Mulder and Scully — that is: the unexpected. Chris Carter’s genre-defining paranormal crime drama made such an impact with 2016’s season 10 reboot that Fox is bringing it back for a 10-episode 11th season. The truth is out there, and even if Mulder the believer and Scully the skeptic don’t always see eye to eye, you can bet this new installment will bring us that much closer to finding it.

Why you should watch it: In its heyday, The X-Files redefined the very best of what must-watch network television could be. For that reason alone it’s worth committing yourself to catching up on its original episodes from 1993–2002. Season 11 premieres Jan. 3.

Where to watch it: Amazon, Google Play, Hulu, Microsoft, Vudu

Commitment: Approx. 155 hours


Nashville 91% (CMT)

What it is: Ever wonder what kind of real-life pain, heartache, and personal tragedy is needed to make some of today’s biggest achy-breaky country hits? Nashville takes that question and plays it out on the small screen with fictional country music superstars Rayna Jaymes (Connie Britton) and Juliette Barnes (Hayden Panettiere) at the forefront.

Why you should watch it: Deliciously soapy with a killer soundtrack to match, Nashville has embraced its status as a fan-favorite primetime guilty pleasure over the course of its five seasons, the most recent of which was picked up by CMT after ABC pulled the plug. Season 6 will be the series’ final season. It premieres Jan. 4.

Where to watch it: Amazon, Google Play, Hulu, Microsoft, Vudu

Commitment: Approx. 87 hours


The Magicians 89% (SyFy)

The Magicians - Stella Maeve, Summer Bishil as Margo, Hale Appleman, Jason Ralph, Olivia Taylor Dudley, Arjun Gupta (Lorenzo Agius/Syfy)

What it is: Based on the acclaimed fantasy series by Lev Grossman and from producers Michael London, Janice Williams, John McNamara, and Sera Gamble, The Magicians follows Quentin Coldwater (Jason Ralph) after he enrolls in Brakebills University for Magical Pedagogy in New York City. What follows for the young magician is a collision between the world we know and a threatening fantasy world with nothing less at stake than reality as we know it.

Why you should watch it: Feeling just as at home here as it would alongside the teen-oriented programs of The CW, The Magicians has all the drama that comes with young adults, magic, secret academies, and battles between good and evil. It doesn’t break the well-trod mold of such young adult mainstays, but it does an excellent job in keeping that magic alive and well. Season 3 premieres Jan. 10.

Where to watch it: Amazon, Google Play, Microsoft, Vudu

Commitment: Approx. 19 hours


Crashing 95% (HBO)

What it is: Much like the semi-autobiographical half-hour dramedies from comedians of years past, Crashing is the ring-thrown hat of Pete Holmes. He stars as Pete, a New Yorker who turns to stand-up comedy for comfort after he catches his wife cheating on him, and he ends up homeless in the process.

Why you should watch it: Executive produced and partially directed by Judd Apatow, Crashing feels like a long-in-the-making homecoming for Holmes, who himself has stalked the stand-up trenches for years as a well-kept secret and industry favorite. Season 2 premieres Jan. 14.

Where to watch it: Amazon, Google Play, HBOMicrosoft, Vudu

Commitment: Approx. 4 hours


Divorce 77% (HBO)

What it is: Sarah Jessica Parker makes her way back to prestige TV’s small screen with Divorce on HBO, where she stars as Frances, a middle-aged mother and beleaguered wife to Robert (Thomas Hayden Church), who, after having an affair, realizes they’d both be better off without having a ring on it. Season 2 premieres Jan. 14.

Why you should watch it: Parker has always been a fine actress, and she puts her well practiced on-screen skillset to excellent use here, mining creator Sharon Horgan’s (Catastrophe) emotionally hefty and darkly humorous scripts with empathetic aplomb.

Where to watch it: Amazon, Google Play, HBOMicrosoft, Vudu

Commitment: Approx. 5 hours


The Path 77% (Hulu)

What it is: From creator Jessica Goldberg (Parenthood), Hulu’s original streaming series stars Aaron Paul, Michelle Monaghan, and Hugh Dancy as members of an unlikely love triangle who live within a controversial, cult-like religious commune dedicated to Meyerism. Paul takes top-billing here as Eddie Lane, a troubled father and husband married to Monaghan’s Sarah Lane who’s undergoing a crisis of faith.

Why you should watch it: After his Breaking Bad breakout, Emmy winner Paul had us holding our collective breath to see what he’d do next. With his starring turn on The Path, he doesn’t disappoint. Now going into its third season, the series gifts Paul the same slow-burning and unexpected character development we saw him tackle in Breaking Bad. And the entire ensemble here shines, together making a strong case for why you should walk your way down The Path before Season 3 premieres Jan. 17.

Where to watch it: Amazon, Google Play, HuluMicrosoft, Vudu

Commitment: Approx. 20 hours


Portlandia 94% (IFC)

Portlandia
(Photo by IFC)

What it is: They say in the comedy world that one of the biggest honors is to be subject of a good old fashioned roast. So it’s safe to say that the city of Portland, Oregon should be flattered by Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein’s Emmy-winning Portlandia, which pokes fun at life in the city with a rotating queue of comical sketches and characters. It enters its eighth and final season Jan. 18.

Why you should watch it: Even if you’ve never seen and episode of Portlandia before, you’re likely familiar with the city it’s named after and lovingly parodies. That’s in part because Armisen and Brownstein have put its granola hipster culture on the map with their equally incisive and irreverent humor. If you’re a fan of the skits and multitude of Saturday Night Live characters that first made Armisen famous, you’ll be a fan of Portlandia

Where to watch it: Amazon, Google Play, HuluMicrosoft

Commitment: Approx. 25.5 hours


Grace and Frankie 89% (Netflix)

What it is: Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin star as the titular Grace and Frankie, respectively, in this odd couple comedy turned on its head. When both of their husbands reveal that they’re more than just work partners and have been having a years-long affair, the two wives left in their dust are forced to reconcile their differences and come together as one another’s unlikely rock and friend. Season 4 premieres Jan. 19.

Why you should watch it: How often do women aged 78 and 80 get the platform to play strong-minded, funny, sexy protagonists on television? Grace and Frankie and its stars prove not nearly often enough. More than just being a story for a certain generation by a certain generation, it’s Grade-A entertainment: laugh-out-loud funny and at times even eye-opening.

Where to watch it: Amazon, Google PlayMicrosoft, Netflix, Vudu

Commitment: Approx. 20 hours


High Maintenance 98% (HBO)

What it is: From husband-wife co-creators Katja Blichfeld and Ben Sinclair, High Maintenance began as a hit web series starring Sinclair as a traveling weed deliveryman living in New York City. He’s the one constant of the series while all other characters are weaving in and out of his daily clients. HBO picked it up to series in 2016 and largely retained its original format, just made its episodes longer. Season 2 kicks off Jan. 19.

Why you should watch it: While there are plenty of primetime programs out there that paint a great snippet of modern day NYC, few get the full picture the way High Maintenance does. That’s because each episode features various characters that — whether they’re hosting a swingers party, rebelling against their ultra-religious parents, or sitting home alone collecting cans of La Croix — are from such disparate walks of life that they end up inadvertently highlighting the similarities between all dwellers of the concrete jungle. (And we promise those similarities go beyond enjoying the ganja.)

Where to watch it: Amazon, Google Play, HBOMicrosoft, Vudu

Commitment: Approx. 3 hours


Baskets 92% (FX)

What it is: Zach Galifianakis plays double duty here as brothers Chip and Dale Baskets, the former of which is pursuing his dream of becoming a professional clown after failing out of his training. Season 3 premieres Jan. 23.

Why you should watch it: On premise alone, Baskets is reliably offbeat and boasts heart-on-its-sleeve absurdism. In other words, it’s just what you’d expect from funnyman Galifianakis. What you might not expect, though, is its surprising emotional depth and underdog heart. A career-best (and Emmy-winning) Louie Anderson donning drag as Chip and Dale’s mother makes it all the more winning.

Where to watch it: Amazon, Google Play, HuluMicrosoft, Vudu

Commitment: Approx. 10 hours

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