This month boasts some buzzy sophomore efforts from Fresh new series alongside the final swan songs of some small-screen gems — plus one massive The Walking Dead binge that’ll keep you busy all the way through Halloween. Check out our 10 must-watch binges of October below!
What it is: A 19th century San Francisco–set Peaky Blinders–style action-drama, Warrior follows Ah Sahm, a martial arts expert who immigrates to the U.S. from China to search for his missing sister. Portraying the city’s brutal Tong Wars, he is soon entangled with Chinatown’s most powerful organized crime family.
Why you should watch it: Originally plucked from the mind of the late, great Bruce Lee, Warrior was finally realized onscreen last year thanks to his daughter Shannon Lee, Fast and the Furious director Justin Lin, and Banshee creator Jonathan Tropper. The series runs on high-octane, gritty action, lush period set pieces, and a sprawling ensemble of memorable and complex characters — you’ll care what happens to them as the wheeling, dealing, and killing gets underway over the first season’s 10 episodes. Season 2 premieres Oct. 2 on Cinemax.
Commitment: Approx. 10 hours (for the first season)
What it is: Funnyman Anthony Anderson stars as Dre Johnson, a Black, upper-middle-class family man who — in a predominantly white neighborhood, school, and culture — still wants his kids to retain a sense of black identity.
Why you should watch it: Creator Kenya Barris is a writer who boldly goes there. Even within the confines of the network TV sitcom structure, he has conjured stories over the past six seasons that are absolutely resonant, timely, fearless, and hilarious. Tracy Ellis Ross and Anderson are especially show-stealing (and Emmy-nominated several times over). Barris’ Grown-ish, and Mixed-ish also boast Certified Fresh first seasons. He’s also responsible for -ish-unleashed Netflix comedy #blackAF, which he also stars in and, though it wasn’t as popular with critics, it has a higher audience score on its first season than any of the -ish shows. Catch up on the family series that started it all before Black-ish returns with an Oct. 4 election special and its seventh season premiere Oct. 21 on ABC. Plus, watch for the upcoming Old-ish.
Commitment: 51 hours (for the first six seasons)
What it is: If you don’t know what The Walking Dead is, you may want to check your pulse…
Why you should watch it: Based on the comic book series by Robert Kirkman, Tony Moore, and Charlie Adlard’s post-apocalyptic premise of zombies walking the Earth and ending mankind as we know it, the acclaimed series developed by creator Frank Darabont indulges in gore and “what if” fascinations. These are characters brought to life with bone-deep precision from a stable of some of TV’s greatest talents. You just never know when your favorite will bite the dust, but that’s admittedly part of the fun, too. We recommend you strap in for a super binge of this beloved franchise by first watching the original Walking Dead in the lead up to Oct. 4’s season 10 finale, which marks the return of a series-favorite: Maggie Rhee! Then make your way over to spin-off No. 1, Fear the Walking Dead, before its sixth season premieres Oct. 11, and — since you’ll surely be wanting more blood, guts, and zombie gore — may we suggest the next addition to the franchise? The Walking Dead: The World Beyond premieres Oct. 4. The Walking Dead universe airs on AMC and streams on the network’s streaming service AMC+.
Commitment: Approx. 109 hours (for the first 10 seasons of The Walking Dead) and approx. 52 hours (for the first five seasons of Fear the Walking Dead)
What it is: Ghosts, demons, and other monsters better watch out for Sam and Dean Winchester. After their mother is killed by an unknown demonic force when they are just children, the brothers’ father trains them to be soldiers against the world’s paranormal evil. Supernatural charts their journey as they hunt down and kill those otherworldly enemies.
Why you should watch it: Not all network series are lucky enough to be renewed for a second season, much less 15! It’s an astounding feat that Supernatural has accrued such a devout fanbase over the years. Creator Eric Kripke (most recently the mind behind The Boys) is a master of the genre, and we’d follow Sam and Dean (played with charisma and complexity by Jared Padalecki and Jensen Ackles, respectively) to just about any haunted house, vampire den, or unearthly plain they want to take us. Its season 15 rollout was delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic, and we’ll be sad to see it go after it returns with its final seven episodes Oct. 8 on the CW.
Commitment: Approx. 235 hours (for all 15 seasons)
What it is: Loosely based on Shirley Jackson’s 1959 novel of the same name, The Haunting of Hill House jumps between 1992 — when Hugh and Olivia Crain and their children Steven, Shirley, Theodora, Luke, and Nell move in to renovate the titular mansion — and 2018 — when the surviving family is forced to revisit their dark past with the home and the supernatural tragedies therein.
Why you should watch it: It’s not often that a horror series is universally acclaimed as a must-watch series, but The Haunting of Hill House provided some of the best and most addicting hours of television around with its 2018 Netflix launch. It really is scary as all hell — the “Bent-Neck Lady” guarantees chills that will haunt your dreams. In the spirit of the Halloween season, we recommend a binge of the first installment of this anthology series before creator Mike Flanagan does it again with an all-new story, The Haunting of Bly Manor, which premieres Oct. 9 on Netflix.
Commitment: Approx. 9 hours (for the first season)
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 with a Trek series, the cast of characters on board is the series’ beating heart — and you can expect some returning franchise-favorites along the way.
Why you should watch it: Creators Bryan Fuller and Alex Kurtzman, as well as star Sonequa Martin-Green and the rest of the ensemble cast faced the franchise fandom’s lofty expectations when the series premiered in September 2017. They were rewarded with Certified Fresh Tomatometer scores of 82% on season 1 and 81% on season 2. The third season premieres Oct. 15 on CBS All Access.
Commitment: Approx. 26 hours (for the first two seasons)
What it is: Revisiting one of the most famous families on network TV after over 20 years off the air, The Conners stars Laurie Metcalf, John Goodman, and the rest of the original clan (minus Roseanne Barr) and is as insightful and heartwarming as ever.
Why you should watch it: You’ll likely remember the off-screen controversy and Roseanne reboot cancellation that led to The Conners hitting the small screen, but the series quickly found its groove and audience without Barr and is still going strong with positive ratings and reviews. Telling it like it is for working-class, family-first Americans, it resonates widely in today’s divisive times, while still making us laugh.
Commitment: Approx. 14 hours (for the first two seasons)
What it is: Everyone knows a “work family” is essential to getting through the day-to-day, even when they’re as eccentric as the workforce of Superstore’s Walmart-esque Cloud 9. This is their story.
Why you should watch it: We’re so glad Superstore found its footing. After a promising, but slightly jumbled start out the gate, the beloved comedy series is now six seasons in and better than ever. As the central Amy, America Ferrera (who we will always stan for Ugly Betty) is a stalwart of the screen you can always count on to bring the heart and laughs. Throw in a wacky crew of other comic actors at the top of their game (no one steals a scene like Crazy Rich Asians breakout Nico Santos), and Superstore may just be her best project yet. Her departure from the series was pushed back due to the pandemic, so catch up before the coronavirus-themed season 6 premieres Oct. 22; Ferrera will be in the first two episodes before bidding Cloud 9 adieu.
Commitment: Approx. 36 hours (for the first five seasons)
What it is: From creator Jon Favreau and starring Pedro Pascal, Gina Carano, and Giancarlo Esposito, The Mandalorian is Star Wars’ first live-action television series. Set five years after the action of Return of the Jedi, it follows the titular Mandalorian, Din Djarin (Pascal), a lonely and mysterious bounty hunter as he traverses the outskirts of the galaxy just outside the New Republic’s reach.
Why you should watch it: Two words: Baby. Yoda. But that criminally cute, internet-famous creature aside, The Mandalorian is the best thing to happen in a galaxy far, far away in a very, very long time. A Western action-adventure that both reboots the Star Wars universe while reinvigorating the aspects we’ve loved about it all along, the series truly has something for everyone. And the industry at large agrees: Who had “The Mandalorian scores an Emmy nomination for outstanding drama series” on their 2020 bingo card!? Season 2 premieres Oct. 30 on Disney+.
Where to watch: Disney+
Commitment: Approx. 5.5 hours (for the first season)