When it comes to TV, January 2019 is bringing an embarrassment of riches. With so many quality TV series returning to the small screen this month, we decided to recommend the best of the best in our January binge guide — below, find nine series returning in early 2019 that have one or more Certified Fresh seasons. Happy bingeing in the new year!
What it is: This dark comedy from creator Stephen Falk is the love story of Jimmy (a pitch-perfect Chris Geere) and Gretchen (the magnetic Aya Cash), two world-weary, self-destructive cynics who want anything but to fall in love — until they do.
Why you should watch it: The type of distinctly unheroic antics our lovebird heroes get into in You’re the Worst is enough to make Walter White blush. No joke — this FXX comedy is about as real as it gets. Its fifth and final season premieres January 9.
Commitment: Approx. 19 hours (for the first four seasons)
What it is: This hit comedy series from creators Dan Goor and Michael Schur is a workplace sitcom featuring some very distinct personalities — the aloof and gregarious Det. Jake Peralta (Saturday Night Live’s Andy Samberg), his fictional precinct’s dry commanding officer, Captain Ray Holt (Andre Braugher), and the rest of the motley crew of the Nine-Nine.
Why you should watch it: We’ve seen fan-initiated primetime resuscitations before, but rarely do they happen as swiftly and unanimously as Brooklyn Nine-Nine’s after its unceremonious cancellation at Fox. The online outcry had barely begun before Universal Television began shopping the sitcom around, and it was scooped up by NBC just a day later — with good reason. The series is much more than the Andy Samberg show; it’s a tried-and-true ensemble piece with beloved supporting characters and as much humor as heart. Season 6 premieres January 10.
Commitment: Approx. 41 hours (for the first five seasons)
What it is: A hapless janitor named Josh Futturman (Josh Hutcherson) has one joy in life: video games. And surprisingly, it’s that passion that eventually gets him recruited into saving the world from certain doom. After beating Biotic Wars, a game so difficult that most gamers have given up on it, he learns it was all a test from the future, and is greeted by two mysterious visitors who hang the safety of mankind in his capable gamer hands.
Why you should watch it: Considering the creative pedigree behind this series (it’s created by Howard Overman, Kyle Hunter, and Ariel Shaffir and executive produced and directed by Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg), it should come as little surprise that Future Man is quite funny. But it’s also a high-octane, rollicking adventure and fitting homage to sci-fi genre classics (in case you’re into that sort of thing, too). Season 2 premieres January 11.
Commitment: Approx. 6.5 hours (for the first season)
What it is: Like the very best mystery series, much of True Detective’s third installment is being kept under wraps, but what we do know sounds pretty compelling: Over the course of three decades in the Arkansas Ozarks, a pair of detectives work to uncover the truth behind a grisly crime involving two missing children.
Why you should watch it: This gritty anthological crime series from creator Nic Pizzolatto was a hit out the gate with season 1, which featured a pair of surprising and career-best performances from Woody Harrelson and Mathew McConaughey. Season 2 was largely seen as a creative misstep, but with Moonlight Oscar winner Mahershala Ali leading season 3 (and a team that professes to have learned from its mistakes), we highly recommend tuning in for its January 13 return.
Commitment: Approx. 17 hours (for the first two seasons)
What it is: Star Trek: Discovery is set 10 years prior to the original series and in the same universe as Kirk, Spock, and the Enterprise, and sees the titular ship venturing out to discover new worlds and quell violent alien forces. As always, it’s the cast of characters on board that is the series’ beating heart.
Why you should watch it: Creators Bryan Fuller and Alex Kurtzman (not to mention star Sonequa Martin-Green, among others) had big shoes and a devout fandom’s expectations to fill when it premiered in September 2017. Our verdict: a job well done. Season 2 premieres January 17 and features Captain Christopher Pike (Anson Mount), the U.S.S. Enterprise, and (another) young Spock (Ethan Peck). Catch up before it starts airing.
Commitment: Approx. 12 hours (for the first season)
What it is: From husband-and-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. HBO picked it up to series in 2016 and largely retained the comedy’s original format, just made its episodes longer.
Why you should watch it: While there are plenty of primetime programs that paint a great snippet of present-day NYC, few get the full picture the way High Maintenance does. That’s because each episode features various characters who — 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 green.) Season 3 begins January 20.
Commitment: Approx. 8 hours (for the first two seasons)
What it is: SMILF is a lot of things, perhaps most of all unexpected. But for the elevator pitch: a single mother named Bridgette Bird lives in South Boston and struggles to find a balance between the toddler son that relies on her and the expectations of work to make ends meet.
Why you should watch it: As SMILF’s creator, director, writer, star, and real-life single mom, Frankie Shaw is a force of nature. Pulling semi-autobiographically from her own experience as a working mother, the series is smart, unflinching, and funny. Better yet, the twice Golden Globe–nominated series’ runtime and episode count make it very easily bingeable. Season 2 premieres January 20.
Commitment: Approx. 4 hours (for the first season)
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. What follows for the young magician is a collision between our world and a threatening fantasy world with nothing less at stake than reality as we know it.
Why you should watch it: The Magicians has all the straight-up drama that comes with magic, secret academies, and battles between good and evil — and it’s a whole lot of crazy fun, too. Season 4 premieres January 23.
Commitment: Approx. 30 hours (for the first three seasons)
Why you should watch it: Sadly, all good things must come to an end, and Broad City was a pretty great thing. Irreverent but relatable, honest but larger than life, this hit comedy series about two twentysomething Brooklynites just trying to keep it together tapped into the cultural zeitgeist with gutsy and goofy hot takes on matters of the moment. Its fifth and final season premieres January 24.
Commitment: Approx. 14 hours (for the first four seasons)