New year, new TV — that’s what we always say! And with these 11 fresh returning series this month, there’s plenty of it to go around. Whether you feel like scratching that nostalgia itch with Cobra Kai, singing along with Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist, or watching your latest binge through your fingers with Servant, January 2021 has all that and more.


What it is: Considering Doctor Who is about nothing less than fantastical adventures through the space-time continuum, it’s difficult to sum up in a sentence or two. Suffice it to say that it follows an alien Time Lord known as the Doctor (who’s been inhabited by a number of actors over the years, and now, for the first time, a woman) and their companions — in the two newest seasons known as “friends.”

Why you should watch it: Doctor Who is making a case for being one of those timeless sci-fi properties that’s earned a devout following akin to Star Wars or Star Trek. The decades-spanning series always finds ways to one-up itself, and with Jodie Whittaker making her grand debut on season 11 as the first female Doctor, there’s never been a better time to jump aboard. Season 12 wrapped after 10 episodes in March 2020, but it’s got one more installment up its sleeve by way of a New Years special (which airs Jan. 1 on BBC America), in which one of the Doctor’s most fearsome enemies is slated to return. Before you watch that, though, we recommend you begin your binge with the 2006 relaunch.

Where to watch: AmazonFandangoNOWGoogle PlayMicrosoftVudu

Commitment: Approx. 110 hours (for the first 12 seasons of the relaunch)


What it is: A routine MRI goes awry for the titular Zoey Clarke (Jane Levy) when an earthquake shakes her mind beyond repair. She exits the clinic with the ability to hear people’s innermost thoughts, all communicated through music.

Why you should watch it: Actors don’t come packaged much more charming than Levy, and her skills are put to fabulous use on creator Austin Winsberg’s Emmy-winning series. Flanked by musically gifted co-stars like Pitch Perfect vet Skylar Astin and Glee-turned-Broadway wunderkind Alex Newell — not to mention industry vets Mary Steenburgen, Lauren Graham, and Peter Gallagher — this showstopping series hits all the right notes. Season 2 premieres Jan. 5 on NBC.

Where to watch: AmazonFandangoNOWGoogle PlayHuluMicrosoftVudu

Commitment: Approx. 9 hours (for the first season)


What it is: Cobra Kai charts the reopening of The Karate Kid’s infamous Cobra Kai dojo by none other than Johnny Lawrence himself. It makes for a modern-day twist on the classic 1980s film franchise, and now with its new home on Netflix (after an original launch on YouTube Premium), it’s become a runaway hit with fans new and old.

Why you should watch it: Nostalgia has been the name of the game through what has otherwise been an insurmountably difficult year. Luckily, Cobra Kai, from creator Robert Mark Kamen, has it in spades. Featuring committed performances from Karate Kid original players Ralph Macchio as Daniel and William Zabka as Johnny, this reboot feels as comfortable and entertaining as ever, and it’s further brought to life by an ensemble of young actors finding their own footing in the discipline of karate. Season 3 premieres Jan. 1 on Netflix.

Where to watch: Amazon, FandangoNow, Google Play, NetflixVudu

Commitment: Approx. 10 hours (for the first two seasons)


What it is: A teen Emily Dickinson was a rebel with gifts and intelligence well beyond her years; Dickinson is the story of how she set out to be the world’s best living poet in ways both unexpected and engrossing.

Why you should watch it: Creator Alena Smith’s hit flagship series with Apple TV+ left us wanting more the minute it started. Why? Well, Dickinson is herself a subject of intrigue, and played by an Oscar nominee like Hailee Steinfeld (who’s also attached as an executive producer), she’s certainly a compelling character. But set to a contemporary soundtrack, sprinkled with millennial-tinged dialogue, and boasting a fast-paced, fantastical, feminist aesthetic that leaves period dramas of yesteryear in its dust, Dickinson is simply unlike anything we’ve seen before — and that’s a good thing. Season 2 premieres Jan. 8 on Apple TV+.

Where to watch it: Apple TV+

Commitment: Approx. 5 hours (for the first season)


What it is: The gods are out to play — and out for blood — in this cult favorite series on Starz. Based on the fantasy novel of the same name by Neil Gaiman, American Gods begins by following recently released convict Shadow Moon (Ricky Whittle), who’s employed by the mysterious Mr. Wednesday (Ian McShane) as a bodyguard. Diving into a world of dark magic, it is soon revealed that Mr. Wednesday is on a mission to unite the Old Gods against the rise of the New. Now entering its third season, you’ll just have to catch up to learn of their riveting successes and failures in that journey along the way.

Why you should watch it: Few series are quite as engrossingly strange and ambitious as American Gods, and that’s what has us hooked. It’s a timely commentary on the world we live in today, but set against the backdrop of a lurid fantasy epic. And to that we say: more please! Season 3 premieres Jan. 10 on Starz.

Where to watch: Amazon, FandangoNow, Google Play, MicrosoftStarz, Vudu

Commitment: Approx. 16 hours (for the first two seasons)


What it is: A relationship drama turned coming-of-age comedy turned noir-esque murder mystery thriller turned courtroom procedural, Search Party is everything but definable — and that’s exactly what makes it so good. It’s the story of Dory (Alia Shawkat), Drew (John Reynolds), Elliot (John Early), and Portia (Meredith Hagner), who, on account of their own self-interest and general aimlessness, entangle themselves in the potentially sinister disappearance of their college classmate.

Why you should watch it: Brooklyn-dwelling millennials have been beguiling subjects for many a film and TV creator since Lena Dunham’s Girls, but never before have they been so exactingly (and excruciatingly) brought to life than in Sarah-Violet Bliss, Charles Rogers, and Michael Showalter’s incisive satire-crime mystery cocktail. And how lucky are we to have two new seasons in a matter of months? Season 4 premieres Jan. 14 on HBO Max.

Where to watch: Amazon, Google Play, HBO MaxMicrosoft, Vudu

Commitment: Approx. 12 hours (for the first three seasons)


What it is: Sean (Toby Kebbell) and Dorothy’s (Lauren Ambrose) life is turned upside down when a mindless tragedy leads to the death of their newborn. To help aid his despondent wife through her grief, Sean hires a nanny named Leanne (Nell Tiger-Free), against the better judgement of his brother-in-law (Rupert Grint). And it soon enough becomes clear that Leanne has a twisted agenda of her own.

Why you should watch it: Nothing is as it seems in this heady half-hour horror from creator Tony Basgallop and director-producer M. Night Shyamalan. And while Syamalan’s ambitions as a filmmaker at times get the best of him, everything here clicks to make for a taut, stunning freshman series that will leave you on the edge of your seat. We can’t wait to see what’s in store for Season 2, which premieres Jan. 15 on Apple TV+.

Where to watch: Apple TV+

Commitment: Approx. 5 hours (for the first season)


What it is: Like Batman before her, Kate Kane (Ruby Rose) is an ultra-wealthy heiress who decides to take justice into her own hands on Season 1 of Caroline Dries’ DC Comics series. Rose exited after those first 20 episodes, though, and Season 2 will hand the reins to Javicia Leslie as Ryan Wilder and our titular heroine.

Why you should watch it: With a Season 2 premiere episode titled “Whatever Happened to Kate Kane?” Batwoman knows the main question fans will have going in, and it’s ready to answer it. But as DC’s first-ever black Batwoman, Leslie is making history while kicking some butt in only the way the franchise’s famed caped crusaders can. Season 2 premieres Jan. 17 on the CW.

Where to watch: Amazon, FandangoNow, Google PlayHBO MaxMicrosoftVudu

Commitment: Approx. 15 hours (for the first season)


What it is: With Riverdale, the beloved Archie comics of yore get the CW treatment as a live-action murder mystery-thriller with intense high schoolers played by KJ Apa, Camila Mendes, Lili Reinhart, and Cole Sprouse. In other words, this is not your mom and dad’s heroic redhead.

Why you should watch it: We’ll say it: Riverdale ranks among the best teen dramas to come out of primetime since Gossip Girl, and the viewership and brand ubiquity it has garnered over the years is well deserved. As the classic Archie we know with a heaping serving of sex appeal and a dash of True Detective, what’s not to love? Season 5 premieres Jan. 20 on the CW.

Where to watch: Amazon, FandangoNOW, Google Play, Microsoft, Netflix, Vudu

Commitment: Approx. 56 hours (for the first four seasons)


What it is: Euphoria charts the lives of a group of diverse, troubled high schoolers and their rainbow of experiences living in the 21st century — experiences befitting the series title, yes, but others all the more tragic.

Why you should watch it: This dark, gritty, hallucinatory hit from creator Sam Levinson not only marks a career-best, attention-grabbing turn from its Emmy-winning star Zendaya, but it introduces us to a whole new class of Young Hollywood along the way, among them model and actor Hunter Schafer. Mining real-world ailments of drug addiction, sexual abuse, online harassment, and more, it’s not always an easy watch, but it’s a worthwhile one. The long-awaited Season 2 teased its premiere last month with a Christmas special centered on Zendaya’s Rue; part of the special, which centers on Schafer’s Jules, airs Jan. 24 on HBO.

Where to watch: AmazonFandangoNOWGoogle PlayHBO MaxMicrosoftVudu

Commitment: Approx. 9 hours (for the first season and holiday special)


What it is: Set seven years after the world has frozen over and become uninhabitable, Snowpiercer charts life on a luxury train as it continues an endless journey around the globe and the social unrest between its upper and lower classes boils to the point of uprising.

Why you should watch it: Much like the train on which it’s centered, Snowpiercer never lets up. Propulsive and pulse-pounding while leaning into its various sociopolitical commentaries, it succeeds in expanding the word so brilliantly captured in Bong Joon-ho’s 2013 feature film of the same name (which itself was based on a trilogy of French graphic novels from the 1980s) while introducing us to new characters and more. Season 2 premieres Jan. 25 on TNT.

Where to watch: AmazonGoogle PlayMicrosoftVudu

Commitment: Approx. 7.5 hours (for the first season)


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Fall TV is still in full swing this month, which means more and more shows for your viewing pleasure. While you decide which new ones to tune into, catch up on the 13 series below — all of which are Certified Fresh returnees with zombies, superheroes, and brainiacs to spare. 


Sorry For Your Loss 94% (Facebook Watch)

What it is: Elizabeth Olsen stars as Leigh Shaw, a widow in mourning who, unable to bear living in the apartment she shared with husband, quits her job as a magazine writer and moves in with her mother. What follows is a nuanced character study of those left behind in death’s wake.

Why you should watch it: It’s not easy to make a show on grief, much less sell it. But I’m Sorry for Your Loss is benefited by its thoughtful and thought-provoking scripts from playwright-turned-series creator Kit Steinkellner and nuanced, heartbreaking performances from Olsen, Janet McTeer as her mother, and Star Wars: The Last Jedi‘s Kelly Marie Tran as her sister. Plus, it’s perfectly timed at just 30 minutes per episode. Season 2 premiered October 1 on Facebook Watch.

Where to watch: Facebook Watch

Commitment: Approx. 5 hours (for the first season)


Big Mouth 99% (Netflix)

What it is: Co-created by Nick Kroll and featuring the voice talents of comedy heavy-hitters like John Mulaney, Fred Armisen, Maya Rudolph, and Jenny Slate, Big Mouth is a coming-of-age series about awkward teens discovering their sexuality through the raging hormones of puberty.

Why you should watch it: We’ve seen plenty of naughty comedies in the past, but none of them excavate the triumphs and traumas of pubescent adolescence quite as fearlessly or uproariously as Big Mouth. Season 3 premieres in full on October 4.

Where to watch: Netflix

Commitment: Approx. 10.5 hours (for the first two seasons, plus a Valentine’s Day special)


Peaky Blinders 92% (Netflix)

What it is: The going’s rough and tough in this BBC and Netflix co-production from creator Stephen Knight. Charting the rise of the notorious Peaky Blinders gang in post-WWI England, the long-running drama is led by a never-better Cillian Murphy as the fearless, cold-blooded leader, Tommy Shelby. 

Why you should watch it: Between its production design, its larger-than-life performances, and airtight writing and direction, this period series takes some big swings and lands each one. Murphy delivers as the icy Tommy, and Helen McCrory is stellar as the series’ hard-as-nails matriarch. Throw into the mix a strong, talent-heavy ensemble — including turns from the likes of Tom Hardy and Aidan Gillen — and Peaky Blinders earns its reputation as one of the best series that you just might be sleeping on. Season 5 premieres on October 4 on Netflix.

Where to watch: Amazon, FandangoNOW, Google Play, Microsoft, NetflixVudu

Commitment: Approx. 24 hours (for the first four seasons)


Mr. Robot 94% (USA Network)

What it is: This decorated, mind-teaser of a series from creator Sam Esmail is at its core the story of Elliot, played by 2018 Oscar winner Rami Malek in a role that nabbed him an Emmy for best actor after season 1. Elliot is a mentally unstable (see: socially anxious, depressed, and drug-addicted) hacktivist recruited into “fsociety” by one Mr. Robot (Christian Slater). Confused? Intrigued? Just watch it.  

Why you should watch it: Over the course of three seasons, Mr. Robot has made it near-impossible to look away. Few other series today make for water-cooler fare at work, but Esmail — with the help of Malek, Slater, and an impressive supporting ensemble cast — taps into the cultural consciousness with a premise as timely as it is ambitious. Its fourth and final season premieres on October 6 on USA Network.

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

Commitment: Approx. 24 hours (for the first three seasons)


Supergirl 88% (The CW)

What it is: Ever wonder what the other surviving Kryptonians (what few of them are left) are up to while Superman is out there saving the world? Well, turns out his cousin, Kara Zor-El (aka Supergirl) is up to just about the same thing. This is her story.

Why you should watch it: It took until the second season for this DC Comics series to really nail down its tone on the CW with star Melissa Benoist and co., but there’s no doubt that it today ranks as one of the most formidable hour-long outings in the superhero comics-to-screen universe. Season 5 premieres on October 6 on The CW.

Where to watch: Amazon, FandangoNOW, Google Play, Microsoft, Netflix, Vudu

Commitment: Approx. 65 hours (for the first four seasons)


The Walking Dead 80% (AMC)

What it is: 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. Tune into this season to catch Black Panther star Danai Gurira’s final outing. Season 10 premieres on October 6 on AMC.

Where to watch: Amazon, FandangoNOW, Google Play, Microsoft, Netflix, Vudu

Commitment: Approx. 98 hours (for the first nine seasons)


All American 96% (The CW)

What it is: Inspired by the true story of former NFL-er Spencer Paysinger, this drama series from creator April Blair follows a talented high school football player from South L.A. who’s drafted to play for Beverly Hills — and the social and professional tensions that build when two worlds collide.

Why you should watch it: Hailed by the Hollywood Reporter the best new broadcast network drama of 2018, All American bears ingredients from some of our favorite teen and sports dramas of yesteryear while managing to stand out from the pack thanks to its central performances: newcomer Daniel Ezra as the recruited football star Spencer James and Taye Diggs as the NFL star-turned-Beverly Hills coach who sees a future in him. Season 2 premieres on October 7 on The CW.

Where to watch: Amazon, FandangoNOW, Google Play, Microsoft, Netflix, Vudu

Commitment: Approx. 12 hours (for the first season)


The Flash 89% (The CW)

What it is: Grant Gustin is crime scene investigator–turned–crime scene vigilante Barry Allen (aka the Flash), a lightning-enhanced fastest man alive. The story follows Barry’s crime-fighting adventures alongside a group of friends with their own special abilities.

Why you should watch it: You don’t gain an adoring following like that of The Flash without bringing edge-of-your-seat comic-book action and suspense, lovable characters and story arcs, and pitch-perfect performances week to week. Equal parts charming and high-octane in all the right ways, this DC Comics offering keeps us coming back for more. Season 6 premieres on October 6 on The CW.

Where to watch: Amazon, FandangoNOW, Google Play, Microsoft, Netflix, Vudu

Commitment: Approx. 82 hours (for the first five seasons)


Riverdale 84% (The CW)

What it is: Riverdale is the latest TV adaptation of the beloved Archie comics of yore — only this time, it gets the CW treatment as a murder mystery–thriller with hot, live-action high schoolers played by KJ Apa, Camila Mendes, Lili Reinhart, and Cole Sprouse. This is not your mom and dad’s Archie.

Why you should watch it: We’ll say it: Riverdale ranks among the best teen dramas to come out of primetime since Gossip Girl, and it deserves the viewership and brand ubiquity to match. It’s the classic Archie we know with a heaping serving of sex appeal and a dash of True Detective. What’s not to love? Season 4 premieres on October 9 on The CW. 

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

Commitment: Approx. 42 hours (for the first three seasons)


Breaking Bad 96% (AMC)

What it is: Walter White is a high school chemistry professor who, after a terminal cancer diagnosis, begins cooking and selling methamphetamine to pay off his mounting medical bills and take care of his family. With that, what starts as a compelling enough premise in Vince Gilligan’s genre-defining character study builds to become one of the greatest series ever to grace the small screen.

Why you should watch it: As played by Bryan Cranston (who won a whopping five Emmys for the role), Walter White is one of the most iconic television characters of the 21st century. Meeting him mark for mark is Emmy winner Aaron Paul as his delinquent co-conspirator and cook, Jesse Pinkman. To watch the two of them play off each other while diving deeper into the underbelly of drugs and crime in New Mexico is about as good as TV gets. Binge all five groundbreaking seasons before its much-anticipated feature film bookend, El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie, premieres on October 11 on Netflix. 

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

Commitment: Approx. 46.5 hours (for all five seasons)


Castle Rock 88% (Hulu)

What it is: Set in the fictional, titular Maine town and drawn from the expansive works of Stephen King, this anthology series from creators Sam Shaw and Dustin Thomason uses characters both classic and new to re-imagine the author’s best works for the small screen. Season 1 was largely inspired by The Shawshank Redemption, while the second outing looks to pull from Misery.

Why you should watch it: With executive producers like King himself and blockbuster filmmaker J.J. Abrams at the helm, you know you’re in for some tricks along with your treats. And with Halloween right around the corner, the return of this hit horror series is sure to get you in the appropriate holiday spirit. Season 1 features standout performances from the likes of Andre Holland, Sissy Spacek, and Bill Skarsgård (himself a King-universe vet thanks to his Pennywise role in the record-breaking It films). Lizzy Caplan promises to light up the screen in season 2, which serves as something of a prequel or origin story for Misery’s demented nurse Annie Wilkes. Get a taste of the King-inspired mayhem before the new season’s October 23 premiere on Hulu. 

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

Commitment: Approx. 8.5 hours (for the first season)


The Kominsky Method 93% (Netflix)

What it is: Chuck Lorre knows TV, but we’ve never seen The Big Bang Theory and Two and a Half Men mastermind tackle something quite like The Kominsky Method, a half-hour, single-cam comedy that follows an aging acting coach and his agent in contemporary Hollywood. Both a stinging comedy on the industry’s lasting truths and a revealing, humorous look at men of a certain age, the series racked up two Golden Globes earlier this year, including Best Musical or Comedy Television Series.

Why you should watch it: Few things have been more satisfying over the last few years than watching Hollywood heavy-hitters deliver career-best work on the small screen. Among them are Oscar winners Michael Douglas and Alan Arkin as the central Sandy Kominsky and his longtime agent and friend Norman Newlander, respectively. The pair’s rat-a-tat everyman rapport goes down easy, even when they’re not on their best behavior. Season 2 premieres on October 25 on Netflix. 

Where to watch it: Netflix

Commitment: Approx. 4 hours (for the first season)


Silicon Valley 94% (HBO)

What it is: This acclaimed HBO comedy from creators John Altschuler, Mike Judge, and Dave Krinsky is the story of wunderkind coder Richard Hendricks (Thomas Middleditch) as he and partner Erlich Bachman (T.J. Miller) struggle to get their startup off the ground during Northern California’s tech boom.

Why you should watch it: Few shows pack as many laughs-per-episode as Silicon Valley. Through its hilarious portrayal of a company on the rise, it also taps into the real-world “brotopia” of the West Coast’s tech industry in more than just name with an assortment of memorable (and in the case of Middleditch, Emmy-nominated) performances across the board. Its sixth and final season premieres on October 27 on HBO.

Where to watch: Amazon, FandangoNow, Google Play, HBO Now, Microsoft, Vudu

Commitment: Approx. 23 hours (for the first five seasons)


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Riverdale stars Cole Sprouse, KJ Apa, Lili Reinhart, respectively (bottom), in The Suite Life of Zack and Cody, A Dog's Purpose and Law & Order: SVU (The CW; Courtesy Everett Collection: ©Disney Channel; ©Universal; NBCUniversal, Inc.)

(Photo by The CW; Courtesy Everett Collection: ©Disney Channel; ©Universal; NBCUniversal, Inc.)

Can’t picture KJ Apa as anything but Riverdale’s Archie Andrews? Maybe it’s because you missed him in A Dog’s Purpose. On the flip side, maybe you have a hard time seeing Cole Sprouse as The CW series’ Jughead Jones because, to your TV-fan brain, he’s still awkward little Cody Martin from The Suite Life of Zack and Cody. Or Mädchen Amick – Betty’s mom Alice Cooper – is forever Twin Peaks’ Shelly Johnson.

Given that Riverdale has brought new faces and television veterans together for a wildly popular homage to the Archie comics and teen dramas alike, we wanted to take a look at where you saw the cast before they starred on The CW’s smash-hit — and what projects some of them have coming soon. Below, we take a look at some of Riverdale’s most shocking transformations.



But first, a reminder of what to expect in season 3: It’s been five months since we left the “town with pep,” and last we saw, Archie was arrested for murder after being framed by Hiram Lodge (Mark Consuelos). On the Southside, Jughead was crowned the “serpent king,” asked Betty (Lili Reinhart) to be his queen, and gave Cheryl (Madelaine Petsch) a signature red serpent jacket.

More trouble in paradise awaits Riverdale in season 3. Archie’s trial will bring his lawyer mom, Mary (Molly Ringwald), back to town to defend him, but District Attorney Ms. Wright (Penelope Ann Miller) won’t back down without a fight. Veronica will have a full plate with her boyfriend Archie in jail and Pop’s Chock’lit Shoppe to run. We will finally get to meet Jughead’s mother Gladys and his sister Jellybean. It looks like Betty’s family might join a cult — but with Hiram’s crime ring running amuck, who knows who the town’s next greatest threat will be. As far as special episodes go, the show’s creator, Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa ( “RAS” to fans), has promised a second musical episode and another set of meta-mini-sodes in the vein of last season’s “Tales from the Darkside.”

On top of all that, RAS has teased a highly anticipated flashback episode to when all the parents of Riverdale were in high school.

Riverdale season 3 premieres Wednesday, October 10 at 8/7 C.


There’s a lot to binge up on going into this month — so let’s get right to it, shall we? Below, catch our roundup of 15 series boasting Certified Fresh seasons that are returning in October.


Will & Grace  (NBC)


What it is: Will (Eric McCormack) is a lawyer (and he’s gay); Grace (Debra Messing) is an interior designer (and she’s straight); they’re best friends who live in New York City, and they both have problems in life and love. Their zany sidekicks are Jack (Sean Hayes) and Karen (Megan Mullally), the latter of whom happens to be pals with one Donald Trump.

Why you should watch it: Few series can claim to have brought the situational comedy into the modern age, but with its fresh, incisive, and most of all hilarious take on contemporary life in New York city — while featuring a pair of gay men and their best girlfriends to match — Will & Grace is one of the series that did. The best episodes of last season prove a) why NBC revived this hit series and b) why it’s still essential viewing all these years later. Season 10 premieres Oct. 4.

Where to watch: AmazonFandangoNOW, Google Play, HuluMicrosoftVudu

Commitment: Approx. 77 hours


Big Mouth 99% (Netflix)


What it is: Co-created by Nick Kroll and featuring the voice talents of comedy heavy-hitters like John Mulaney, Fred Armisen, Maya Rudolph, and Jenny Slate, Big Mouth is a coming-of-age series about awkward teens discovering their sexuality and more through the raging hormones of puberty.

Why you should watch it: We’ve seen plenty of naughty comedies in the past, but none of them excavate the triumphs and traumas of pubescent adolescence quite as fearlessly or uproariously as Big Mouth. Season 2 premieres in full October 5.

Where to watch: Netflix

Commitment: Approx. 5 hours


The Man in the High Castle 84% (Amazon)


What it is: Talk about a premise: The Man in the High Castle is created by Frank Spotnitz (The X-Files) and depicts a dystopian United States that imagines a world where the very worst has happened: Nazi Germany won the Second World War and currently reigns supreme.

Why you should watch it: Fresh off Amazon’s Emmys-sweep with The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, now’s as good a time as ever to go back and discover some other standouts in the streaming service’s catalog. First thing we’d suggest is The Man in the High Castle. Epic and engrossing — not to mention timely — it takes viewers into an utterly foreign world that still hits a little too close to today’s political climate for comfort (the way that so many of TV’s very finest manage to do). Season 3 premieres October 5.

Where to watch: Amazon

Commitment: Approx. 20 hours


Fresh Off the Boat 94% (ABC)


What it is: Set in the 1990s and loosely adapted from celebrity chef Eddie Huang’s memoir of the same name, Fresh Off the Boat follows a first-generation Taiwanese family who picks up from their Chinatown home in Washington, D.C., and heads south to Orlando, Florida, where father Louis Huang (Randall Park) opens a country-western steakhouse.

Why you should watch it: A refreshing take on Asian Americans for the small screen? Check. Well-earned laughs from a trio of talented young actors? Check. A heaping dose of ’90s nostalgia? Check. And the combined powers of the hilarious Park and Constance Wu (now of Crazy Rich Asians fame)? Check and check. Need we say more? Season 5 premieres October 5.

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

Commitment: Approx. 22 hours


Doctor Who 92% (BBC America)


What it is: Considering Doctor Who is about nothing less than fantastical adventures through the space-time continuum, it’s difficult to sum up in a sentence or two. But just know that it follows an alien Time Lord who’s known as the Doctor (who’s been inhabited by a number of actors and now actresses over the years) and his companions — this season called her “friends.”

Why you should watch it: Doctor Who is making a case for being one of those timeless sci-fi properties that’s earned a devout following akin to Star Wars or Star Trek. The decades-spanning series always finds ways to one-up itself, and with Jodie Whittaker appearing as the first female Doctor this season, there’s never been a better time to jump aboard. Season 11 premieres October 7 — to get ready, we recommend you begin with the 2005 relaunch.

Where to watch: Amazon, Google Play, MicrosoftVudu

Commitment: Approx. 90 hours


The Walking Dead 80% (AMC)


What it is: You don’t know what The Walking Dead is? You may want to check your pulse…

Why you should watch it: One of cable’s highest rated dramas returns with its season 9 premiere on October 7. 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. (That’s admittedly part of the fun, too.)

Where to watch: Amazon, FandangoNOW, Google PlayMicrosoft, NetflixVudu

Commitment: Approx. 86 hours


Black Lightning 92% (The CW)


What it is: While he thought he had hung up his super suit and street-fighting days of yesteryear for good, Jefferson Pierce (now a school principal) comes out of “retirement” as Black Lightning as street gangs threaten his city.

Why you should watch it: If you’re a fan of the Greg Berlanti–led DC Comics universe on The CW, then you know what you’re in for here, and you’ll love Black Lightning. But this series goes one step further by being an awesome first of its kind, spotlighting not only black superheroes on the small screen, but LGBTQ ones, as well. Season 2 premieres on October 8.

Where to watch: Amazon, FandangoNOW, Google PlayMicrosoft, NetflixVudu

Commitment: Approx. 9.5 hours


The Flash 89% (The CW)


What it is: Grant Gustin is crime scene investigator–turned–crime scene vigilante Barry Allen (a.k.a. the Flash), a lightning-enhanced fastest man alive. The story follows Barry’s crime-fighting adventures with a group of friends with their own special abilities.

Why you should watch it: You don’t gain an adoring following like that of The Flash without bringing edge-of-your-seat action and suspense, lovable characters and story arcs, and pitch-perfect performances week to week. Season 5 premieres October 8.

Where to watch: Amazon, FandangoNOW, Google PlayMicrosoft, NetflixVudu

Commitment: Approx. 66 hours


Riverdale 84% (The CW)


What it is: Riverdale is the latest TV adaptation of the beloved Archie comics of yore — only this time, it gets the CW treatment as a murder mystery–thriller with live-action, and hot high schoolers played by KJ Apa, Camila Mendes, Lili Reinhart, and Cole Sprouse.

Why you should watch it: We’ll say it: Riverdale ranks among the best teen dramas to come out of The CW since Gossip Girl, and it deserves the viewership and brand ubiquity to match. It’s the classic Archie we know with a heaping of sex appeal and a dash of True Detective. What’s not to love? Season 3 premieres October 10.

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

Commitment: Approx. 25.5 hours


Crazy Ex-Girlfriend 98% (The CW)


What it is: Musical comedy series Crazy Ex-Girlfriend begins with our hero lawyer Rebecca Bunch quitting her job and moving across the country to live near her childhood boyfriend, Josh — whom she hasn’t spoken to in years. To say the least, it’s all uphill from there.

Why you should watch it: Whatever you do, don’t be put off by the series’ title — even if you’ve got one! Starring as Rebecca, Rachel Bloom is a musical genius, concocting show-stopping comedic melodies inspired by the best of Broadway and Top 40 week after week. And as if the comedy’s song-and-dance wasn’t entertaining enough, it’s buoyed by excellent performances and tight, creative scripts that tackle everything from broken hearts to mental health. Last season got especially dark, and we love it all the more for continuing to break the mold. Season 4 premieres October 12.

Where to watch: AmazonFandangoNOW, Google PlayMicrosoft, NetflixVudu

Commitment: Approx. 30 hours


Supergirl 88% (The CW)


What it is: Ever wonder what the other surviving Kryptonians (what few of them are left) are up to while Superman is out there saving the world? Well, turns out his cousin, Kara Zor-El (a.k.a. Supergirl) is up to just about the same thing. This is her story.

Why you should watch it: It took until the second season for this DC Comics series to really nail down its tone with star Melissa Benoist and crew, but there’s no doubt that it now ranks as one of the most formidable hour-long outings in the superheroic comics-to-screen universe. Plus some behind-the-scenes trivia: Benoist is fresh off a Broadway run as Carole King in Beautiful: The Carole King Musical. We love a multi-talented Supergirl! Season 4 premieres October 14.

Where to watch: AmazonFandangoNOW, Google PlayMicrosoft, NetflixVudu

Commitment: Approx. 45 hours


Arrow 86% (The CW)


What it is: How would your life change if you were stranded on an island for five years? It’s unlikely you’d turn into a caped crusader dead set on protecting his city with a bow and arrow, but to viewers’ delight, that’s exactly the case with billionaire Oliver Queen (Stephen Amell). Now he’s known as the Green Arrow.

Why you should watch it: Arrow is the series that first kickstarted the DC Comics universe for Berlanti and The CW, and for six seasons now, it hasn’t let up the fun. Season 7 premieres October 15.

Where to watch: AmazonFandangoNOW, Google PlayMicrosoft, NetflixVudu

Commitment: Approx. 102 hours


black-ish 92% (ABC)


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 one of those writers who just goes there. Even in what some would call the confines of network TV — which, incidentally, has been seen pushing up against him this last year — he conjures stories in the sitcom structure that are resonant, timely, and fearless. Plus, they’ll make you laugh, too! Tracy Ellis Ross and Anderson are especially show-stealing. Season 5 premieres October 16.

Where to watch: AmazonFandangoNOW, Google Play, HuluMicrosoftVudu

Commitment: Approx. 35 hours


Marvel's Daredevil 92% (Netflix)


What it is: Matt Murdock (Charlie Cox) is a blind lawyer who fights organized crime in New York City. He wears a suit during the day in the courthouse, but dons a mask when the fight continues at night and he becomes his vigilante alter ego, Daredevil.

Why you should watch it: As the first Marvel original series venture on Netflix, Daredevil had a lot buzz and high expectations to live up to. We’re glad to report that it did and then some. Certainly among the best-executed comic adaptations for TV to date, it’s gritty, character-driven, and entertaining. Watch the first two seasons followed by The Defenders season 1 before diving into Daredevil season 3, which premieres Oct. 19.

Where to watch: Netflix

Commitment: Approx. 34 hours


Ray Donovan 72% (Showtime)


What it is: Ray Donovan ranks as one of the finer character studies in recent memory, with Liev Schreiber playing the titular Los Angeles–area “fixer” with smoldering grit and Jon Voight as his no-good ex-con father. Ray may be the man L.A.’s rich and famous call to get out of trouble, but upon the return of his father, Donovan, a family man himself, develops problems of his own.

Why you should watch it: When Ray Donovan premiered on Showtime in 2013, it promised the arrival of an exciting new anti-hero. It’s since stayed true to that promise and hasn’t let up, bringing us into the hidden underbelly of Los Angelean elite and slowly unveiling the many layers of a complicated and troubled man. Season 6 premieres October 28.

Where to watch: AmazonFandangoNOW, Google Play, HuluMicrosoftVudu

Commitment: Approx. 52 hours

“Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” stars Henry Simmons as Agent Alphonso “Mack” MacKenzie. (ABC/Kurt Iswarienkio ); MARVEL'S CLOAK & DAGGER - "Suicide Sprints" - EMMA LAHANA (Freeform/Alfonso Bresciani); Marvel's Luke Cage star Alfre Woodard (Cara Howe/Netflix); Black Lightning - China Anne McClain as Jennifer Pierce (Richard Ducree/The CW); Riverdale -- Casey Cott as Kevin (Katie Yu/The CW

(Photo by ABC/Kurt Iswarienkio; Freeform/Alfonso Bresciani; Cara Howe/Netflix; Richard Ducree/The CW; Katie Yu/The CW)

Sometimes the major heroes of television shows based on comic books just need some support. It can be in the form of a best friend, a worthy opponent, a character to carry a secondary plot or someone just to be there and literally tell the main character that they’re doing a great job. Characters can start out as the latter and emerge as fan favorites. They can also remain on the periphery of the frame, offering commentary or a key piece of info. And then there are also a few who are just criminally underutilized.

So let’s celebrate the characters who help make the heroes look good, be they guests, recurring parts, or reliable presences. Here are a few of the best supporting characters in 2018.


M’yrnn J’onnz (Carl Lumbly) | Supergirl 88%

In some ways, it is a cheat to bring the superlative Carl Lumbly onto Supergirl as J’onn J’onzz’s (David Harewood) father M’yrrn. But as Lumbly defined the role of the Martian Manhunter on television – he voiced J’onn in the Justice League and Justice League Unlimited animated series – it was also fitting to bring that persona of dignity and gravitas to the part.

In doing so, it opened up M’yrnn to a wealth of new experiences and some of the best moments in Supergirl’s third season. His delight in discovering coffee, his karaoke night with the gang, and J’onn’s attempt to give them more of a family life by moving them both out of the DEO and into an apartment all revealed added and welcome dimensions for both characters. Sadly, Lumbly and M’yrnn were not to be permanent additions, as the writing team saw fit to almost immediately give the character a degenerative brain disease. But even as that story line continued to its inevitable conclusion, both performer and character embraced their scripted fate with dignity and a performance far beyond the material as written.


Herr Klaus Starr (Pip Torrens) | Preacher 87%

As opposed to his comic-book counterpart, it is easy to imagine the Herr Starr of AMC’s Preacher would like a quiet retirement. Despite being the most efficient and ruthless agent of The Grail, the strain it puts on him is easy to see even as he carries out its directives. It is also the underlying reason why he’d rather see Jesse (Dominic Cooper) become the Messiah over The Grail’s inbred scion Humperdoo (Tyson Ritter). Granted, any sane person would make that choice as well, even in the insane world of the show.

But for all his motivations and skills, the guy can’t catch a break and finds himself forever at Jesse’s heels, even when he should have the upperhand. That said, it seems he finally has a way to hold sway over Jesse thanks to a deal with Gran’ma Marie (Betty Buckley) and the ever-present carrot of Jesse’s Genesis-infused soul. Will he finally get everything he wants exactly how he wants it?

Well, if the show follows even just 10 percent of Starr’s story from the comics, it seems unlikely. Nonetheless, it makes Starr the best of the supporting foils on Preacher.


Sheriff Randy Nedly (Greg Lawson) | Wynonna Earp 92%

As the top lawman in Purgatory, Sheriff Nedly would like nothing more than to see the town resume its sleepy ways. But that’s really a front, as he has always known Purgatory and the surrounding Ghost River Triangle is a magnet for supernatural happenings. He does his best to keep the strange incidents Wynonna (Melanie Scrofano) and her friends get into from becoming public knowledge. And while initially standoffish with Black Badge Division agent Xavier Dolls (Shamier Anderson), he ultimately embraced his presence as another line of defense against the demonic forces in the region. He also proved to be an able mentor to Officer Nicole Haught (Katherine Barrell), a woman who, like Nedly, seems destined to tangle with the unexplained.

And yet, Nedly faces those horrors with a quip and that gruff, irritable manner we saw in the first season — even if he has become something of a teddy bear to the main cast. He faced down the widows of Sheriff Clootie by asking if they were Pokemon and had, perhaps, the best reaction to being glamored by vampires by dropping his irascible facade entirely and embracing an ascot. Nedly may not be a constant presence on the show, but he is definitely welcome whenever he appears.


Malcolm Ducasse (Eka Darville) | Marvel - Jessica Jones 83%

Marvel's Jessica Jones, Season 2, EPISODE 1, PHOTO CREDIT David Giesbrecht/Netflix, PICTURED Eka Darville

(Photo by David Giesbrecht/Netflix)

Malcolm has come so far since his days as Killgrave’s (David Tennant) victim and Jessica’s (Krysten Ritter) junkie neighbor; in fact, this may even be the last time he will still be considered a “supporting character.”

While The Defenders and the early parts of Jessica Jones’ second season saw him dutifully fulfilling his self-appointed role as her sidekick, we soon saw Malcolm’s own innate detective skills and sense of justice leading him away from Jessica. In his spare time, he replaced his drug habit with a long string of hook-ups, leading to a one-night stand with Trish (Rachael Taylor) that both seemed to regret in the end.

And though moving away from Jessica as a truly supporting player, his emerging B-Plot highlighted one of Jessica’s big faults – her inability to embrace people – while defining him as one of the best characters in the second season. Sadly, his success meant he had to leave Alias Investigations entirely for a rival P.I. firm and stealing away Jessica’s best client, Jeri Hogarth (Carrie Anne Moss). Hopefully, it will work out for Malcolm and, just maybe, he and Jessica will mend things before too long.

 


Zari Tomaz (Tala Ashe) | DC's Legends of Tomorrow 89%

DC's Legends of Tomorrow -- "Guest Starring John Noble" Pictured: Tala Ashe as Zari -- Photo: Dean Buscher/The CW

(Photo by )

When Ashe was first announced as a new permanent member of the Legends team, the character was said to be something of a foil for the established characters. But when she finally debuted, she quickly went from criticizing the ne’er-do-wells’ habit of making situations worse to munching on kettle corn while watching them do it. But considering she came from a 2042 in which A.R.G.U.S. turned the United States into an anti-metahuman police state in which food was scarce, it makes absolute sense she would abuse the Waverider’s food replicator and collection of video games.

Though haunted by the death of her brother in 2041 and stand-offish with the team for the first few months, Zari finally embraced them as friends after spending an incalculable amount of time inside a time-loop which reset with the Waverider exploding. While still sarcastic and occasionally emotionally distant, Zari accepted the ship as home, aiding the team in fashioning a Beebo doll powerful enough to stop the demon Mallus.

And even though the treat to her life from Mallus was over, she choose to remain with the Legends. We’re definitely glad she did.


Detective Brigid O’Reilly (Emma Lahana) | Cloak and Dagger 87%

MARVEL'S CLOAK & DAGGER - "Suicide Sprints" - EMMA LAHANA (Freeform/Alfonso Bresciani)

(Photo by Freeform/Alfonso Bresciani)

Making her presence felt in the second episode of Cloak & Dagger as an almost completely silent detective, O’Reilly quickly distinguished herself as an upstanding officer of the law. With a keen eye for detection — she knew almost instantly that Tandy Bowen’s (Olivia Holt) first stabbing was in self-defense — and a true sense of justice — she chaffed after being told she could not pursue Tandy’s case any further — she quickly became Tandy and Tyrone Johnson’s (Aubrey Joseph) only real support; in fact, she was more supportive of the two than they were of each other.

When neither the light-wielding Tandy nor the darkness-controlling Tyrone could turn to their parents, she became the go-to adult. But as viewers saw, her willingness to bend some laws for a greater good or even do a line of coke for pleasure and business suggests she is more than just a good cop, making her a rough balance of the Johnsons’ tendency toward precise order and Melissa Bowen’s (Andrea Roth) love affair with chaos. Created by Bill Mantlo in the first issue of Cloak & Dagger in 1985, O’Reilly was always a supporting character for the duo. Including after she died and became something else – a change in status seemingly teased in the closing moments of the show’s first season.


Morgan Jones (Lenny James) | The Walking Dead 80% and Fear the Walking Dead 75%

For some, The Walking Dead never quite worked because Morgan was missing for so long. Debuting in the first episode as a distraught man readying himself to shoot his zombified wife’s corpse, James made a staggering impression in what was his only appearance until a single episode in season 3. The character remained alive in the story via a walky-talky and Rick’s (Andrew Lincoln) constant attempts to give him some clue of where his group was headed.

But when the pair finally reunited in season 5, Morgan was a changed man. His journey to Alexandria was not an easy one, and it saw his strength collapse into profound grief over the loss of his family and a willingness to kill anyone who got in his way. Eventually, he met a man who helped him recover some of his humanity. After which, he choose to find Rick.

Despite learning a way of peace, events since joining Rick’s group have led him back to violence. Still suffering from PTSD, the control Morgan thought he had wavered in the face of the world Rick and other groups were building. Consequently, he began to kill again and later suffered hallucinations of some of his victims. When last seen, Morgan appeared ready to leave the group and heal.

Now, on Fear the Walking Dead, Morgan is maintaining his wish to be alone while healing, even if he’s coming to understand that isolation is just not practical. To those he encounters, he’s something of a soothsayer, but it may just be a matter of time before Morgan resumes the way of violence.


Kevin Keller (Casey Cott) | Riverdale 84%

Riverdale -- "Chapter Twenty-Seven: The Hills Have Eyes" -- Image Number: RVD214a_0028.jpg -- Pictured: Casey Cott as Kevin -- Photo: Dean Buscher/The CW

(Photo by Dean Buscher/The CW)

If there is one character on Riverdale who genuinely remains in the support category, it’s Kevin Keller. While presented as important part of the gang – he is Betty’s (Lili Reinhart) confidant – he is not one of the main four and often finds himself either aiding Betty or offering quippy commentary on the events of the week while passing through the halls of Riverdale High. Early in the second season, the Black Hood story line dovetailed with Kevin’s penchant for cruising, but it was dropped before anything truly meaningful could come of it, and that’s despite Kevin’s decision to come out to his father.

Nonetheless, Kevin is always around to back up the gang or literally set the stage with his production of Carrie: The Musical. And his continued presence as a supporting player may be rewarded in the third season as he and Josie (Ashleigh Murray) – another underutilized character – find themselves living under one roof when their parents decide they should become a family. Hopefully, it will lead to more of a presence for Kevin (and Josie) going forward.


Alphonso “Mack” Mackenzie (Henry Simmons) | Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. 95%

After all these years, it is difficult to remember a time when Mack was an agent of a rival version of S.H.I.E.L.D., looking to steal Nick Fury’s Toolbox from Phil Coulson (Clark Gregg). But as the show looked back on itself during season 5, Mack’s original status on the show underscores where he is now – the resident healthy skeptic. Even after traveling through time, experiencing another life in a computer and becoming possessed by the Spirit of Vengeance, Mack is always the first to call shenanigans on any new ridiculous threat or tech the team encounters.

But even as a plant, Mack endeared himself quickly by becoming Fitz’s (Iain De Caestecker) interpreter while he recovered from brain trauma and an indispensable part of Coulson’s core team when the two S.H.I.E.L.D.s merged late in the second season. Not that it’s been easy for him. He’s tried to quit multiple times and always ends up with more responsibilities as a consequence. He also carries the memory of a child he lost in real life and in that computer simulation, and his relationship with Yo-Yo (Natalia Cordova-Buckley) has hit one of its roughest patches going into the sixth season. Through it all, Mack perseveres, though. Sometimes thanks to his faith — he’s also the only truly religious member of the team — and sometimes because he’s the guy holding the shotgun-axe.


Jennifer Pierce (China Anne McClain) | Black Lightning 92%

Though Black Lightning is still a young series – its first season ran 13 episodes – it worked hard to get to places some of its CW brethren would reach far later in their runs. Consequently, the show opens with a team practically assembled already – the Pierce family; in fact, a threat to the family forces Jefferson (Cress Williams) into taking up his Black Lightning identity again.

But in the subsequent weeks, younger daughter Jennifer distinguished herself as a character to watch. While headstrong, she is not necessarily bratty. And in those times when her antics are the legitimate actions of a brat, she always finds a way to square things with Jefferson, her mother Lynn (Christine Adams) or older sister Anissa (Nafessa Williams). Despite being the odd one out in the family, the bond she felt for them was strong and always workable. And that’s before the onset of her powers.

Once her abilities emerged, and her family learned about them, Jennifer became one of the most intriguing characters on the show because she did not want them. Finally revealing that she wants “a normal life,” she took a key step toward maturity and defining who she will be even as it seems she has embraced her powers.


Mariah Dillard (Alfre Woodard) | Marvel’s Luke Cage

While much of the talk about Luke Cage’s second season centered on new villain John McIver — aka Bushmaster (Mustafa Shakir) — the show-stealing Mariah Dillard elevated the program in unexpected ways; for one, Bushmaster’s real conflict was with the former councilwoman and criminal mastermind. Luke (Mike Colter) just kept pushing his way into the crossfire. The character’s attempts to go legitimate underscored the legacy of her grandmother and the ugly truth about her daughter Tilda Johnson (Gabrielle Dennis), revealing the real theme of the season while also giving Mariah a layered relationship with Shades (Theo Rossi). As Bushmaster unraveled Mariah’s schemes and pushed her closer and closer to the Stokes legacy, so too did Mariah’s ability to maintain her composure and lie convincingly to those closest to her.

Add a legitimately award-worthy performance by Woodard and you get a stunningly complex look at a woman on the brink of getting everything she wanted, but failing to get it or the peace she was really looking to find. Even in her final acts, she chose to be vindictive instead of resolving her remaining grief with Luke or Tilda.

Riverdale -- "The Outsiders" -- Image Number: RVD108a_0505.jpg -- Pictured (L-R): Tiera Skovbye as Polly Cooper, Lili Reinhart as Betty Cooper, Madchen Amick as Alice Cooper, and Nathalie Boltt as Penelope Blossom, and Madelaine Petsch as Cheryl Blossom -- Photo: Dean Buscher/The CW -- © 2017 The CW Network. All Rights Reserved

Traditionally, comic book characters suffer from a staggering amount of missing parents. Some are shot in alleys, destroyed along with the rest of their world, or abandon their children for a long-term deep cover spy mission. But when characters like Archie Andrews, Barry Allen, and Oliver Queen made their way to television, the issue of their parents became fuel for plot lines. And with Mother’s Day upon us, we thought we would take a look at some of the best and worst TV moms to emerge out of the places where television and comics collide.

Oddly enough, the list is heavily weighted toward Riverdale — the show happens to feature the largest cast of parental figures — and, thankfully, Riverdale‘s Nathalie Boltt talked with Rotten Tomatoes recently to discuss some of the best (and worst) qualities of the Riverdale matriarchs. As she put it, the ideal mother  is someone who listens, respects their children as emerging adults, supports them utterly, and does not “take their own issues out on their child.” Some of the following characters excel at those metrics while others … well, what’s the right word from someone who plots their own daughter’s destruction?


Best: Eliza Danvers, Supergirl 88%

Supergirl -- "Midvale" -- SPG306b_0359.jpg -- Pictured (L-R): Melissa Benoist as Kara and Helen Slater as Eliza Danvers -- Photo: Robert Falconer/The CW -- © 2017 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved

Dr. Eliza Danvers (Helen Slater) easily earns a spot on the best moms list for one of the key qualities in Boltt’s ideal parent: she listens. She listened to Alex (Chyler Leigh) when she came out. She listened when Alex also admitted to feeling unsupported at times while growing up. She is also ready to listen to Kara’s (Melissa Benoist) troubles, even if Kara is less inclined to engage with her adoptive mother.

Eliza is also brilliant — aiding Alex in finding a cure to the Medusa Virus — and perceptive. She also happens to be happy to meet boyfriends, girlfriends, alien mentors, and anyone else Kara or Alex brings into the fold.

One of Eliza best mom moments came when her daughters came home to Midvale after some tough break ups. Kara was still smarting from Mon-El’s (Chris Wood) forced departure from the planet, while Alex was facing the extremely tough end of her relationship with Maggie Sawyer (Floriana Lima). Both were in bad way, but Eliza welcomed them home with a room that hadn’t changed in 20 years, a traditional breakfast, and the ever-so-slightest bit of advice. It managed to help both Kara and Alex move on, even if Kara had to face a seven-years-older version of Mon-El soon after.

Nonetheless, Eliza’s ability to genuinely listen to her daughters makes her one of the great comic book TV moms — that she is also a genuinely welcoming soul to everyone in the extended Danvers circle is just an added plus.


Worst: Lillian Luthor, Supergirl 88%

Supergirl -- "Luthors" -- Image SPG212a_0062 -- Pictured: Brenda Strong as Lillian Luthor -- Photo: Bettina Strauss/The CW -- © 2017 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved

Meanwhile, Lillian Luthor (Brenda Strong) will never get flowers on Mother’s Day unless Lex orders them from the penitentiary. But like Lex, Lillian is wickedly smart and just plain wicked. She shares her son’s xenophobic tendencies and his facility with power suits. But Lillian’s greatest black mark is her treatment of step-daughter Lena (Katie McGrath). Forever trying to push her toward mad science, Lillian raised her with a big heaping of cold shoulder and an obvious preference for her natural born son. Lillian is someone who definitely takes her issues out on a child.

But since Lena took over L Corp, Lillian’s idea of mothering went from callous indifference to twisted sweetness. She has kidnapped Lena on a couple of occasions, threatened her constantly and attempted to kill Morgan Edge (Adrian Pasdar) as a peace gesture – although the whole endeavor was unsuccessful as Edge lived, she was captured and Lena only further saw the perversity at work in Lillian’s mind.

Perhaps the worst part of Lillian’s attempts at parentage is the shadow she leaves over Lena. Despite earning the trust of Kara, Alex, and James (Mehcad Brooks), there is always just a little doubt that Lena will adopt Lillian’s worst qualities. That doubt runs strong in Lena, who works tireless to do good in the world. That is a parental legacy many viewers will recognize even if the specifics are tangled in supervillain antics.


Best: Alice Cooper, Riverdale 84%

Riverdale -- Image Number: RVD01_AS_ALICE1_0099.jpg -- Pictured: Madchen Amick as Alice Cooper -- Photo: Art Streiber/The CW -- © 2017 The CW Network. All Rights Reserved

Despite a zealousness that often appears irrational, Alice Cooper (Mädchen Amick) means well for her children. We now know her streak of overprotectiveness was born of the pain she suffered in giving up her son when she was a teenager; in fact, a lot of Alice’s crusades may stem from the ordeal.

“She was almost reborn and is still trying to make good for all of these secrets in her past,” said Boltt of the character.

But for Betty (Lili Reinhart) and Polly (Tiera Skovbye), Alice’s concern can feel quite controlling. In the first season, it even came off as unhinged at times with Alice sending Polly to the Sisters of Quiet Mercy to have her twins, her displeasure with Betty dating Jughead (Cole Sprouse) and her constant outrage at the latest happenings in town.

That overzealous streak continued into the second season, particularly when Chic (Hart Denton) arrived and Alice could not stop feeding him. Also, believing him to be her son, she shot a drug deal and enlisted the help of Betty, Jughead, and F.P (Skeet Ulrich) to cover the whole thing up.

“[She] has the best intentions, but it keeps going wrong for her,” added Boltt. If that isn’t a mother’s love for a child — even though Chic was abusing it — nothing is.

“There’s a real humanness to Alice Cooper,” Boltt said.

Her past as a Southside Serpent and her crusade against them early in the second season offered her a new complexity which will continue to make her a compelling force on Riverdale. But considering her issues, one wonders if she will remain on the Best Mothers list next year.


Worst: Hermione Lodge, Riverdale 84%

Riverdale -- Image Number: RVD01_AS_HERMIONE1_2487.jpg -- Pictured: Marisol Nichols as Hermione Lodge -- Photo: Art Streiber/The CW -- © 2017 The CW Network. All Rights Reserved

Surprising as it may seem, Hermione Lodge (Marisol Nichols) is only the second-worst mother in Riverdale (we’ll get to the worst in a bit). Despite a genuine concern for her daughter Veronica’s (Camila Mendes) well-being, Hermione routinely puts her second to the business interests of Lodge Industries. She forged Veronica’s signature on a contract during the earliest days of the SoDale project, encouraged her to entertain mobbed-up children like Nick St. Clair (Graham Phillips) and pushed Veronica into a school election despite the increased bullying she was experiencing for simply being Hermione’s daughter.

“She’s like a gang boss,” said Boltt of the character, who presents a challenge her own character, Penelope Blossom, would rather avoid.

Then there was the recent encounter with Papa Poutine’s son Small Fries, which may have finally opened Hermione’s eyes, but her moments of clarity never last long. Her newfound strength always seems to whither.

Nonetheless, she has also taught Veronica a great deal about how women hold power in Riverdale’s concept of mafia families.

“In a funny way,” Boltt explained, “Hermione has become a role model to Veronica.”

Like Lillian Luther, it is sweet in a twisted sort of way. Luckily, Veronica senses the nuance and knows how to protect herself from Hermione’s schemes – unless, of course, the plot needs them to bond again.

Meanwhile, Boltt is convinced “Hermione’s probably going to run everything.” Believing her to be a great strategist, the actor said, “she’s gonna come to the fore, at some point, where she blows everyone’s mind — including her husband.” That drive may eventually see whatever bond remains with her daughter completely broken.


Best: Lynn Pierce, Black Lightning 92%

Black Lightning -- "And Then the Devil Brought the Plague: The Book of Green Light" -- Image BLK105b_0160b.jpg -- Pictured (L-R): Cress Williams as Jefferson Pierce and Christine Adams as Lynn -- Photo: Bob Mahoney/The CW -- © 2018 The CW Network, LLC. All rights reserved.

She may have initially seemed an absentee mom, but Black Lightning’s Lynn Pierce (Christine Adams) quickly established how present a mom she is, despite her divorce from the series’ titular superhero; consider all of the family meals seen throughout the first season and how quickly she arrives as the house whenever there is trouble with the kids. Smart, loving, and dedicated to her daughters, Lynn brought both humor and confidence to her relationships with Anissa (Nafessa Williams) and Jennifer (China Anne McClain). She also knows when they need to be reminded of reality, like her constant insistence that Jennifer find a new extracurricular activity once she quit track.

But Anissa presented a new problem for Lynn once her older daughter’s powers manifested in the middle of the season. Suddenly, she was forced to deal with two superheroes in her family and, for the first time, addressing why the powers scared her in the first place. Going back to Boltt’s ideal mother, she respected Anissa as an adult enough to truthfully answer her when she asked if Jefferson’s (Cress Williams) activities as Black Lightning were the reason they broke up. In listening to Anissa, she made a startling realization that actually healed the strained bonds in the Jefferson family — a good thing now that Jefferson, Anissa, and Jennifer all have powers. Thankfully, she is also a gifted neurologist and researcher with a key part to play in the emerging Lightning family thanks to her abilities as a doctor and a mother.


Worst: Penelope Blossom, Riverdale 84%

Riverdale -- "Chapter Twenty-Eight: There Will Be Blood" -- Image Number: RVD215b_0098.jpg -- Pictured: Nathalie Boltt as Penelope -- Photo: Katie Yu/The CW -- © 2018 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

By far the worst mom in all of comic book–inspired television, Penelope Blossom (Boltt) emerges as, perhaps, the most watchable mother of them all. She treats Cheryl (Madelaine Petsch) abysmally, works with Clifford’s twin brother Claudius (both Barclay Hope) to abscond with the Blossom fortune, and she is just nasty to Nana Rose (Barbara Wallace), But as Boltt told us, she does it all out of a twisted sense of love.

“She just has no idea how to show it,” she said. “And Cheryl is so desperate for her love that all she does is like, rail against it, you know?” She added that Penelope will eventually express some sort of compassion toward her daughter.

Of course, the actor told us this just before Penelope had Cheryl committed to the Sisters of Quiet Mercy’s gay conversion program. While partially motivated by how close Cheryl was getting to the truth of her plot with Claudius, Penelope’s views on Cheryl’s homosexual tendencies were outlined when she came out to Toni Topaz (Vanessa Morgan). It almost appears she would have been happier if Cheryl had been in love with her own brother.

“There was this kind of hinting at what the actual relationship was between Cheryl and Jason,” said Boltt of the Flowers in the Attic vibe the Blossom clan gives off. “It’s not very overt, but definitely it’s hinted at.”

Meanwhile, Boltt believes Penelope misses the power and influence she had before Clifford was revealed as Jason’s murderer last season. And though she thinks the character will “do anything to get it back,” she also appreciates the way the character has explored her own freedom in the wake of his death. But soon enough, her “desperation to be moneyed again” will lead to a place where she is willing to “undermine her dignity.” That desperation already lead to her alliance with Claudius, the abuse of Nana Rose and, it seems, a complete separation from Cheryl.

But then, as Boltt noted, the kids on Riverdale “seem to be raising each other.”


Best:  Caitlin Strucker, The Gifted 79%

THE GIFTED: Amy Acker as Caitlin Strucker in THE GIFTED premiering premiering Monday, Oct. 2 (9:00-10:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX. ©2017 Fox Broadcasting Co. Cr: Ryan Green/FOX

While a relative newcomer to the Comics-on-TV scene — The Gifted’s first season wrapped up in January – Caitlin Strucker (Amy Acker) is one of the most accomplished TV moms around. Accepting that her children Andy (Percy Hynes White) and Lauren (Natalie Alyn Lind) were mutants with only a moment’s hesitation, Caitlin moved into gear to help them escape Sentinel Services, the quasi-government agency tasked with investigating and detaining mutants. She also accepted very quickly that her sedate suburban life was over. Well, she accepted it with after a few fits and starts and a particularly illustrative incident at a hospital.

But really, the choice to become part of the Mutant Underground was made from the moment they walked into the group’s HQ. Caitlin almost immediately began inventorying their supplies, set up a school situation for her children and other youngsters waylaid there, and soon became a key part of the group’s hierarchy despite her non-mutant status. Her humane empathy also won over a lot of mutant mistrustful of her intentions.

And yet, she never lost sight of her children facing their own struggles with mutant powers and the harrowing truth that combined, they could be a terribly destructive force. She made several attempts to get them out of the frontlines before finally accepting they had a role to play in the trials ahead. In short, she did everything she could to protect them, but as Boltt might put it, respected them as emerging adults.

Sadly, though, she appears to have lost Andy to the reformed Hellfire Club, but her tenacity, empathy and strength may yet prove instrumental in saving her son.

The past year gave us some superb Certified Fresh fare: Big Little Lies, Legion, American Gods, Better Call Saul, GLOW, Narcos, The Deuce, The CrownMaster of NoneStranger Things, Game of Thrones, and so much more — all of which you could binge, of course. But this isn’t that list. (See all of 2017’s Certified Fresh TV.)

Rotten Tomatoes’ staff chose 13 of our personal favorite series of 2017 that you should get to binging before the 2018 midseason premieres and returns are full swing.


Superstore 93% (NBC)

What It Is: A workplace comedy set in a big-box chain store.

Why You Should Watch It: Superstore is the rare comedy where the majority of the characters are working class and the brunt of the humor thankfully doesn’t come from mocking them for being working class. It’s a workplace comedy grounded in reality that deals with real issues, like immigration, divorce, gun laws, and workers’ rights, but isn’t afraid to veer into the surreal. (Why does Amy’s dad paint those creepy portraits of famous people? What happens to all the unclaimed lost and found items?) Superstore is a funny, weird, and thoughtful look at the lives of people behind your shopping experience. Catch up soon, because season 3 begins on January 4.

Where to Watch: Amazon, FandangoNowGoogle PlayHuluMicrosoftYouTubeVudu

Commitment: about 7.5 hours

Picked By: Sara Ataiiyan, Review Curator


Star Trek: Discovery 86% (CBS All Access)

What It Is: The Star Trek universe returns to small screens, but on an epic, big-screen scale. Discovery tells the story of exemplary First Officer Michael Burnham whose brash choice in one conflict is blamed for kicking off the Federation-Klingon war and ultimately lands her under the leadership of mercurial cowboy Captain Gabriel Lorca.

Why You Should Watch It: The Certified Fresh series is set in a turbulent, but intriguing time of war about a decade before James T. Kirk is to take the helm of the legendary Starship Enterprise in the 1960s original series created by Gene Roddenberry. The new, streaming-only series features a stellar regular cast, including The Walking Dead’s Sonequa Martin-Green as Burnham and the Harry Potter franchise’s Jason Isaacs as Lorca, as well as The Shape of Water’s Doug Jones, stage and screen actor Anthony Rapp, and newcomer Mary Wiseman. Its guest stars include Michelle Yeoh (Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon), James Frain (Gotham), Wilson Cruz (My So-Called Life), Jayne Brook (Chicago Hope), and Rainn Wilson (The Office). Plus, binging Part 1 (nine episodes) of season 1 now gets you caught up in time for the premiere of Part 2, coming January 7.

Where to Watch: CBS All Access

Commitment: about 7 hours

Picked By: Debbie Day, TV Features Editor


The Keepers 97% (Netflix)

What It Is: In 1969, Sister Catherine Cesnick, a beloved Maryland teacher, was found murdered. The cold case haunted her former students for decades, and this series chronicles their passionate investigation and search for answers.

Why You Should Watch It: I began watching this series thinking that I was watching another murder mystery. Within its expertly crafted episodes, The Keepers focuses on much more than just the initial cold case, involving not only sexual abuse allegations in the Catholic school Cesnick taught at, but also an incredible triumph of the human spirit among her students. The women who were greatly moved by Cesnick, now mostly retirees, never stopped seeking justice for the woman who shaped their lives. Their passion united them with each other and the Cesnick family many years later — and brought them that much closer to getting justice for Sister Cathy and the children affected by abuse. The series manages to be both heartbreaking and heartwarming, and with cliffhangers at the end of every episode that will keep you watching (and crying).

Where to Watch: Netflix

Commitment: About 7.5 hours

Picked By: Grae Drake, Senior Editor


Planet Earth II 100% (BBC America)

What It Is: A follow-up to the BBC’s groundbreaking 2006 nature documentary series, Planet Earth II similarly utilizes pristine high definition footage to shed light on the lives of wild creatures in exotic locales as they employ remarkable strategies to survive.

Why You Should Watch It: At some point over the past year, you might have come across a short video of a young iguana on the Galapagos Islands scrambling across the sand to escape hundreds of snakes, eluding certain death by mere inches. That remarkable clip came from the first episode of Planet Earth II, and it’s just a small sample of what the series has to offer. Plenty of nature shows are educational — Planet Earth II shines because it’s also beautifully shot in ultra high definition, impeccably edited, and narrated by the peerless David Attenborough. Not only will you see rare species in disparate environments all over the world, but you’ll also see some familiar creatures behaving in ways never before documented on camera. It’s all fascinating stuff, and if you weren’t a nature junkie before, this might be the show to change you.

Where to Watch: Amazon, Google Play, Microsoft, Netflix, YouTube

Commitment: about 6.5 hours

Picked by: Ryan Fujitani, Editor


The Good Place 97% (NBC)

What It Is: Imagine waking up in a brightly lit office lobby and being told you’ve died and gone to “the good place” — then discovering that there’s been a mistake and you were really supposed to end up in the other place. What would you do? For Eleanor Shellstrop (Kristen Bell), the answer’s simple: lie through your teeth and rope your helplessly conflicted, mis-assigned soulmate (William Jackson Harper), an ethics professor, into helping you learn to be a better person. It’s a pretty high concept setup for a sitcom, but it’s really just the beginning for The Good Place, which has spiraled off into all sorts of smart, unpredictable, and above all hilarious directions over the course of its one and a half seasons.

Why You Should Watch It: Part goofball comedy about an afterlife filled with frozen yogurt and fraught with bureaucratic mixups, part surprisingly deep examination of ethics and basic human responsibility, The Good Place deftly balances gut-busting lowbrow humor against complex, thought-provoking themes — no surprise given that it comes to us courtesy of producer Michael Schur (30 Rock, Brooklyn Nine-Nine). It also benefits from one of the most talented ensembles on TV; aside from Bell and Harper, you’ve got the dramatic range and crack timing of Ted Danson, Jameela Jamil, and Manny Jacinto — plus the show’s increasingly indispensable secret weapon, D’Arcy Carden. The second season picks back up on January 4 — get yourself caught up now.

Where to watch: AmazonFandangoNowGoogle PlayHulu (five most recent episodes of season 2), iTunes NBC.comNetflix (season 1), on demand through your cable provider

Commitment: about 11 hours

Picked By: Jeff Giles, Curation Editor


The Return: The Return (2017) 94% (Showtime)

What It Is: A noir-tinged murder mystery. Surrealist art. A magnifying glass held on small-town America. Electricity. 27 years ago, Twin Peaks redefined primetime TV, and continued to build a cult legacy over the ensuing years. As high as anticipation was for The Return, the resulting series was impossible to predict: an enthralling, immersive experience that shattered its own history along with the boundaries of peak TV.

Why You Should Watch It: While the original series took place primarily in the Pacific Northwest, Twin Peaks: The Return widens its scope, stretching cross country with new locations and characters, but also upends the show’s trademark tone and style. The initial result is jarring: in early episodes, Lynch rejects the beloved quirky humor of the original series (but brings it back — stick with it!) in favor of a rabbit hole narrative reflective of Inland Empire and Mulholland Dr., a spiral that is infectious in its confounding plot lines and infinite mysteries. While his approach shuns a nostalgic view, tenderness is visible in Lynch’s treatment of familiar faces. Bobby, Norma, Hawk, the Log Lady, Cooper, and perhaps most poignant of all, Laura, have aged before our eyes, a reminder that at its core, Twin Peaks was and continues to be a meditation on the pain inherent with the passage of time and in unresolved grief.

Where to Watch: Showtime Anytime, on demand through your cable provider with a Showtime subscription

Commitment: 18 hours (with recommended prerequisite Fire Walk with Me, roughly 20 hours)

Picked by: Jenny Jediny, Critic Relations Manager


Castlevania 94% (Netflix)

What It Is: An animated series inspired by the classic vampire-hunting video game of the same name.

Why You Should Watch It: It’s the easiest binge on the planet, with only four episodes clocking in at under two hours. The animation is lush, with gothic castles and crypts and caverns to boot. It’s also about an all-powerful vampire on a revenge quest, so there are floods of blood and violence galore. But there is also a vampire hunter and plenty of humor that follows him as he tries to help the townsfolk he encounters stay out of the vampire’s way. This show will have you swinging between LOL and OMG moments through its four rollercoaster-like episodes that go down like blood-red candy.

Where to Watch: Netflix

Commitment: Only two bloody hours

Picked by: Beki Lane, Associate TV Editor


American Vandal 98% (Netflix)

What It Is: A true-crime mockumentary that doesn’t shy away from asking the important questions — in particular, who drew dicks on 27 faculty cars in the high school parking lot?

Why You Should Watch It: Don’t let the crass premise fool you, American Vandal is a brilliant send-up of society’s ongoing obsession with entertainment offerings like the Serial podcast and Netflix’s own Making a Murderer. It employs tricks of the investigative journalism trade and applies them to an ensemble high school cast. What begins as an attempt to clear one hopeless student’s name (Dylan Maxwell, who is brilliantly played by Jimmy Tatro) evolves into a complex web of reputations and intentions. By the end of the first episode, I was already swept up in the mystery and emotionally invested in Dylan’s defense. Throw in the show’s hilarious writing scene-to-scene, and you have one of 2017’s most delightful new series.

Commitment: About 4.5 hours

Where to Watch: Netflix

Picked by: J.S. Lewis, Media Coordinator


Mary Kills People 100% (Lifetime)

What It Is: ER doctor Mary Harris (Caroline Dhavernas) partners with a former plastic surgeon (Richard Short) to moonlight as a team of underground euthanizers for terminal patients in need while eluding a detective and potential love interest (Jay Ryan).

Why You Should Watch It: Brave and honest, Mary Kills People is one of the more emotionally intelligent shows currently running. While other amazeballs female star–led dramas like Good Behavior, The Girlfriend Experience, and Claws, too, stand out from the crowd, Mary is noteworthy for its truthful — with some added heightened antics for entertainment value, sure — portrayal of a topic still not easily discussed. These newer female-centric shows tend to outshine much of the male-lead opposition, rather than merely compete. Mary has a unique, evocative tone, with painfully empathetic characterizations in situations each of us hopes we never have to face.

Where to Watch: Amazon, Google Play, Hulu, iTunes, Vudu

Commitment: About 4.5 hours

Picked By: Kerr Lordygan, Associate TV Editor


Chewing Gum 100% (Netflix)

What It Is: If Tracey Gordon had a £1,000, she would buy hair like Beyoncé, a lip reduction, red velvet cupcakes, and a dustpan and broom for her shop, probably. She’s 24, living in government housing with her well-meaning, but devoutly religious mother and sister, and she’s a virgin. But she’s going to change all of that with a little help from her friends, whether they mean to lend a hand or not.

Why You Should Watch It: Chewing Gum is on another level. Within the first five minutes you’ll laugh just as often as you squirm in your seat. The show captures the feeling of every awkward conversation you’ve ever replayed in your head a thousand times, only it’s not you, it’s the brilliant and whimsical Michaela Cole. You know, the girl from Star Wars: The Last Jedi, who turns around, eyes big and mouth gaping, to warn her fellow rebels of their impending doom? No? Well, you should. Her turn as Tracey earned her the 2016 BAFTA award for Best Female Comedy Performance, and for good reason. Cole is a singular comedic force. She’s so willing to explore the most uncomfortable of places with such endearingly horrific candor, it’s impossible to take your eyes off of her, though you’ll want to to catch the absurd, captivating performances of her very-game ensemble. Especially her religious zealot of a sister, played by the equally but differently brilliant Susie Wokoma. I’m not going to lie, Chewing Gum can be painful. Like, I need to hide under my bed for three years before I can ever talk to you again, painful. But Cole and company take on these cringe-worthy moments with fearless fervor that is more than worth the mere 6-hour binge time. For two seasons! Brilliant, init?

Where to Watch: Netflix

Commitment: 6 hours

Picked By: Hañalina Lucero-Colin, Review Curator


The Handmaid's Tale 83% (Hulu)

What It Is: The Handmaid’s Tale, based on the Margret Atwood novel of the same name, is a dystopian thriller about what happens when women lose autonomy over their own bodies. Set in the not-so-distant future, in a not-so-far-fetched U.S., we follow Offred (Elisabeth Moss), a handmaid who’s been ripped away from her husband and daughter and placed into the home of a high-ranking commander and his wife to serve as their birthing chattel. This is, more than anything, a story of survival and one woman’s journey to be reunited with her family by any means necessary.

Why You Should Watch It: Aside from this show being beautifully shot and incredibly well acted, The Handmaid’s Tale is a deep drama from which you rarely find a moment to come up for air. It is stressful, thrilling, complex, and heartbreaking. The currency of the show’s politics, Offred’s situation, and how women are treated from the beginning should not be taken lightly. It’s not hard to picture a world where birthrates have fallen and politicians are calling for women to have more children, which makes the show all the more compelling to watch. The series returns for its second season in April.

Where to Watch: Hulu

Commitment: About 10 hours

Picked by: Zoey Moore, Production Coordinator


Victoria on Masterpiece 87% (PBS)

What It Is: PBS series tells the story of young Victoria, who inherits the British throne after King William IV passes away and must forge her own path.

Why You Should Watch It: I almost chose The Crown or Outlander, because I’m obsessed with period dramas, and one historical drama you may have missed is Victoria starring Jenna Coleman. The acting and cinematography of the show is first rate, and you’ll be surprised what you learn about the early years of Queen Victoria’s reign. How an 18-year-old became a monarch, became a mother, and ruled during a time when women were not even able to vote, is fascinating to watch. I am personally drawn to the marital love and struggles between Victoria and her husband Prince Albert (Tom Hughes). There’s even a little Upstairs, Downstairs–type story telling (not as compelling as Downton Abbey), enough to give you an assortment of characters to root for. Season 2 debuts on PBS in the United States on January 14.

Where to watch: Amazon

Commitment: nearly 7 hours

Picked By: Eileen Rivera, Sr. Director of Production


Riverdale 84% (The CW)

What It Is: A town. A community. But it’s not all pom-poms, milkshakes, and maple syrup for the good people of Riverdale. Last season, Archie (KJ Apa), Betty (Lili Reinhart), Jughead (Cole Sprouse), and Veronica (Camila Mendes) were caught up in the whirlwind surrounding the murder of Jason Blossom. This time out, our heroes’ bonds are severely tested as a serial killer runs amuck in their town.

Why You Should Watch It: Stranger Things might get all the love for its expert pastiche of 1980s sci-fi films (no complaint here), but Riverdale’s scope is far wider: an omnivorous mixing-and-matching of 70 years of teenage popular culture. Sure, it sometimes veers into preposterousness (Archie’s vigilante group, Jughead’s always-hilarious noir prose), but mostly, Riverdale works because it’s aware of its campy trappings and is unafraid to revel in them. It’s also stylistically audacious, with its visual references to Zodiac, Pulp Fiction, and bathed in a neon glow that would do Wong Kar-wai proud. Even at its darkest, however, Riverdale is offering a sense of community — that of shared experience and an idealized past — that feels especially comforting in these divided times. Riverdale season 2 returns on January 17.

Where to watch: Amazon, FandangoNow, The CW, Google Play, iTunes, on demand through your cable provider

Commitment: About 7 hours

Picked by: Tim Ryan, Senior Editor

This week on DVD, we’ve got the latest chapter of Ridley Scott’s Alien saga, an effective reimagining of Archie comics, a couple of smaller films you may have missed, and some more worthy TV to catch up on. Read on for the full list.


After the Storm (2016) 96%

This Certified Fresh Japanese drama from Hirokazu Koreeda revolves around a writer-turned-P.I. who struggles to reconnect with his family and his young son after the death of his father. It comes with a long making-of featurette and a bonus short film.

Get it Here, Stream it Here


Riverdale: Season 1 (2017) 88%

The CW’s dark, winking modern-day interpretation of the classic Archie comics follows high-schooler Archie Andrews (KJ Apa) and his friends as they deal with the mysterious murder of a classmate. There is currently no information on included extras.

Get it HereStream it Here


Once Upon a Time: Season 6 (2016) 89%

ABC’s fantasy drama series based on literary characters and Disney fairy tale properties is still going strong, as the citizens of Storybrooke defend against Mr. Hyde and the Evil Queen, and new characters like Aladdin, Captain Nemo, and the Count of Monte Christo are introduced. The season set comes with a look at the musical episode, bloopers, deleted scenes, and audio commentary.

Get it HereStream it Here


The Case for Christ (2017) 61%

This dramatization of Lee Strobel’s book of the same name follows Strobel’s journey from award-winning Chicago Tribune journalist and atheist to new believer, partially thanks to his wife’s newfound faith. It comes with a ton of extras, including interviews with Strobel and his wife, deleted scenes, and a number of song performances.

Get it Here, Stream it Here


DC's Legends of Tomorrow: Season 2 (2016) 88%

Season 2 of this CW/DC Comics series introduces the time-traveling team to new heroes like Steel and Vixen as they do battle with a new threat in the form of the Legion of Doom. The season set comes with footage from the show’s 2016 Comic-Con panel, deleted scenes, a gag reel, and a look behind the scenes.

Get it HereStream it Here


Alien: Covenant (2017) 65%

Michael Fassbender and Katherine Waterston star in Ridley Scott’s follow-up to Prometheus, charting the journey of a new space crew that discovers what appears to be an uncharted paradise… until they encounter a terrifying threat. You can pick up a different exclusive release with various extras from Walmart (T-shirt), Target (book, photos, sketches), and Best Buy (Xenomorph steelbook), and they all come with deleted and extended scenes, a making-of doc, audio commentary with Scott, and more.

Get it Here, Stream it Here


The Wall (2017) 65%

Aaron Taylor-Johnson and John Cena star in this Doug Liman’s war thriller about two American soldiers in Iraq trying to survive an assault by an enemy sniper. Extras include a commentary with Liman and Taylor-Johnson, a look at the on-location shoot, and various behind-the-scenes featurettes.

Get it Here, Stream it Here


How to Be a Latin Lover (2017) 39%

Eugenio Derbez and Salma Hayek star in this comedy about an aging gigolo who is forced to move in with his sister and attempts to woo a wealthy older widow. Special features include a commentary track, a behind-the-scenes featurette, deleted and extended scenes, and a look at director Ken Marino attempting to get various cast members on board with the project.

Get it Here, Stream it Here


Everything, Everything (2017) 45%

Based on a young adult novel by Nicola Yoon, this drama centers on a young woman living with severe combined immunodeficiency who is unable to leave her house, but begins to fall in love with the boy next door. It comes with a making-of doc and deleted scenes.

Get it Here, Stream it Here


Once Upon a Time in Venice (2017) 21%

Bruce Willis and John Goodman star in this action film about a Venice, CA P.I. who is compelled to track down missing cash and cocaine for the drug dealer who stole his dog. It comes with a behind-the-scenes doc.

Get it Here, Stream it Here


Also Available This Week:

  • The Criterion Collection brings two new releases this week, starting with Mike Leigh’s Meantime, which focuses on the daily lives of a working-class London family and features Tim Roth, Alfred Molina, and a scene-stealing Gary Oldman in early roles. It comes with a new interviews, one with Roth from 2007, and a new 2K digital transfer.
  • The second selection from Criterion is a new Blu-ray of the 1980 film Hopscotch, starring Walter Matthau and Glenda Jackson in a Cold War spy comedy about a retired CIA agent pursued by the government in hopes of preventing the publication of his tell-all memoir. It comes with Matthau’s 1980 appearance on The Dick Cavett Show, a broadcast TV audio track for family viewing, and interviews from 2002 with director Ronald Neame and writer Brian Garfield.

The major streaming services added bunch of great stuff this week, including this year’s Best Picture winner, an acclaimed new TV series from the CW, Quentin Tarantino’s Oscar-winning WWII thriller, and everything ranging from a fact-based psychodrama to a horror film to popular shows from Netflix and HBO. Read on for the full list.


New on Netflix

 

Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt: Season 3 (2017) 97%

Ellie Kemper stars in this Tina Fey-produced original Netflix comedy series about a woman trying to adjust to life in the city after being held captive in a bunker for 15 years. Season 3 is now available to stream in its entirety.

Available now on: Netflix


Inglourious Basterds (2009) 89%

Brad Pitt and Christoph Waltz headline an all-star cast in Quentin Tarantino’s revisionist WWII thriller about a clever Nazi colonel who specializes in locating Jews in hiding and a team of Jewish soldiers with a ruthless reputation for exacting vengeance on the Nazis.

Available now on: Netflix


Riverdale: Season 1 (2017) 88%

The CW’s dark, winking modern-day interpretation of the classic Archie comics follows high-schooler Archie Andrews (KJ Apa) and his friends as they navigate the harsh realities of life.

Available now on: Netflix


Christine (2016) 88%

Rebecca Hall stars in this fact-based drama as Christine Chubbuck, the Florida news reporter who committed suicide on live TV in 1974.

Available now on: Netflix


The Place Beyond the Pines (2012) 78%

Ryan Gosling and Bradley Cooper star in a drama with three interconnected stories about the fates of two families over the course of 15 years.

Available now on: Netflix


New on Amazon Prime

 

Moonlight (2016) 98%

Barry Jenkins’ multiple Oscar-winning (including Best Picture) drama follows a young man’s search for meaning as he grapples with love and comes to terms with his sexuality over three stages of his life.

Available now on: Amazon Prime


Appropriate Behavior (2014) 95%

This indie comedy written and directed by (and starring) Desiree Akhavan centers on a Persian-American bixesual woman in Brooklyn trying to pick up the pieces after she’s dumped by her girlfriend.

Available now on: Amazon Prime


Boardwalk Empire: Season 5 (2014) 88%

It’s been a while since HBO’s period crime drama ended, but if you never caught up with the final days of Nucky Thompson (Steve Buscemi) — or if you never watched at all — you can catch up on all five seasons on Amazon Prime now.

Available now on: Amazon Prime


The Blackcoat's Daughter (2015) 74%

Kiernan Shipka and Emma Roberts star in this horror film about a pair of girls who encounter a malevolent presence during a winter holiday they’re forced to spend alone at their boarding school.

Available now on: Amazon Prime


New on FandangoNOW

 

John Wick: Chapter 2 (2017) 89%

Keanu Reeves returns as the headshot-happy hitman, who is forced to honor an oath from his past and finds himself targeted by every other assassin in the process.

Available now on: FandangoNOW


Raw (2016) 92%

This acclaimed French horror/dark comedy/coming-of-age film centers on a lifelong vegetarian who discovers a taste for raw meat during her first year of veterinary school.

Available now on: FandangoNOW


A United Kingdom (2016) 84%

David Oyelowo and Rosamund Pike star in this fact-based drama about the international outcry that erupted after the king of Botswana married a British citizen.

Available now on: FandangoNOW

Time isn’t always kind to the adorable children who star in your favorite movies and TV shows, but for these kid actors who rose to fame in the early half of the 2000s, things have turned out just fine.

Below, find a list of 17 young actors and actresses who have managed to hold on to their showbiz success more than a decade later.

Which early 2000s TV series starring one of our 20 do you have fondest memories of? Is there someone we missed? Tell us in the comments! 


Cole Sprouse as Jughead in Riverdale, Gorilla Grodd on The Flash, Chris Wood as Mon-El on Supergirl, Carlos Valdes as Cisco on The Flash (all The CW); Gabriel Luna as Ghost Rider on Agents of SHIELD (ABC)

The proliferation of television shows based on comic books means producers must dig deeper – much deeper – than the marquee characters of major motion pictures and TV’s yesteryear. With the Justice League, the Avengers, and a good number of X-Men unavailable, a lot of these second- and third-tier characters have a new chance at popularity.

Of course, adapting some of these characters is more difficult than trying to make a man fly. Some require radical reinvention, while others just need a change of clothes. And every so often, one is so perfectly realized in the pages of their source comic that the best thing television can do is let them live in their four-color glory. Let’s take a look at a handful of some of the most successful of these recent comic books–to–TV reinventions.


Jughead Jones (Cole Sprouse) | Riverdale 84%

Cole Sprouse as Jughead Jones in Riverdale (Art Streiber/The CW); Jughead comic (Archie Comics)

One of the most recent comic book characters to enter the TV fray is not known for his amazing abilities or status as a beloved icon with T-shirt sales to prove his worth. Instead, Archie Comics’ Jughead Jones is known more for three things: a sunny disposition, his crown-like whoopee cap, and a voracious appetite. First appearing in Pep Comics #22, Juggie has been Archie’s best friend for at least three generations despite the character’s lack of interest in sports or girls (Archie’s favorite subjects). Typically, the character’s quirks are played for comedic effect, but the new CW series Riverdale shows that Jughead can have layers.

His appetite for hamburgers has been replaced with a thirst for justice as the town’s resident chronicler. A recent episode also revealed he was living in a drive-in movie theater; no doubt a source of his tendency to brood far more often than his classic comic-book interpretation. Elements of the characterization debuted in a major 2015 reboot of Archie Comics and the 2016 Jughead comic book series written by Chip Zdarsky and, later, Ryan North. But as played by Cole Sprouse, Archie’s ex-best friend is a delight to watch as he and Betty attempt to solve Jason Blossom’s murder and re-establish Riverdale High’s student newspaper.

One element that may not transfer from his new comic book status quo to screen is Jughead’s status as asexual. Sprouse has offered his support for that interpretation of the character in interviews, but it seems the producers of Riverdale may have other ideas.

And though it may seem one of the most radical departures from comics to TV, Jughead’s sense of fair play and outsider persona are well established traits in the comics, if usually presented in a happier light. If anything, the show has identified a number of dramatically provocative elements that make him an essential part of the series and a possible trendsetter with his modern take on the whoopee cap.

Riverdale airs Thursdays at 9/8C on The CW; series returns March 30


Ghost Rider (Gabriel Luna) | Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. 95%

Ghost Rider Agents of SHIELD (Marvel Comics; ABC)

Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. has offered a weekly glimpse into the Marvel Cinematic Universe for nearly five years, but as its ties to the films’ universe appear to become fewer, the series has found a new niche in focusing on Marvel Comics characters that may not be strong enough to carry their own film or television series. One example is the recent storyline featuring Ghost Rider.

The character first debuted in 1972 in the form of Johnny Blaze (created by Gary Friedrich, Roy Thomas, and Mike Ploog), but his television form comes from a recent Ghost Rider series by writer Felipe Smith with artist Tradd Moore.

Robbie Reyes is a hard working high school kid from the Lincoln Heights section of Los Angeles who happens to become possessed by the angry spirit of his Satan-worshipping dead uncle. In exchange for the powers of Ghost Rider, Robbie agrees to help Uncle Eli with his need to kill. But all Robbie really wants is to make the neighborhood safe for his developmentally challenged little brother Gabe.

On S.H.I.E.L.D., the producers went for a fairly faithful approach; right down to Robbie’s jacket, Lincoln Heights stomping ground, and boss Dodge Charger. A few alterations to his origin include receiving his powers directly from Johnny Blaze and Eli turning up alive in prison, but hellbent on learning the secrets of an ancient dark tome presumably stolen from the library at Kamar-Taj. He is also older than his comic-book counterpart.

Played by Gabriel Luna, the character gave the series some truly great episodes and one absolutely amazing sequence: the showdown between Ghost Rider and the Inhuman Hellfire in a fireworks factory.

While Ghost Rider – in any of his forms – may never be strong enough to carry a series, Luna’s Ghost Rider made for a spectacular ally (and occasional foil) for Coulson’s team simply by bringing the strongest elements of the comic book Robbie Reyes to the screen.

Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. airs Tuesdays at 10/9 C on ABC; series returns April 4


Trish Walker (Rachael Taylor) | Marvel - Jessica Jones 83%

Trish Walker (Rachael Taylor) from Jessica Jones (Netflix); Hellcat comic (Marvel Comics)

Perhaps one of the most unconventional characters on the list, Patsy Walker began her Marvel Comics career in the teen romance–comedy comics published by Marvel when it was known as Timely Comics in the 1940s. Created by Otto Binder and Ruth Atkinson in the pages of Miss America Magazine #2, Patsy soon earned her own title and survived changes in comic book trends and the company’s evolving identity until 1965 when Patsy Walker was canceled. She made a cameo appearance at wedding of the Fantastic Four’s Reed Richard and Sue Storm that same year, but would not become a Marvel superhero until writer Steve Engelhart revived her in the pages of The Avengers in 1976. Adopting the name Hellcat, she eventually became a member of the Defenders. Sometime later, she died — as many Marvel heroes do — and returned from Hell with magic-based powers. In recent years, she became the best friend of She-Hulk Jennifer Walters.

In an interesting wrinkle, the Patsy Walker comics of the ’40s, ’50s and ’60s became part of her backstory; the in-universe products of her estranged and manipulative mother. In the current series, Patsy Walker AKA Hellcat!, this aspect of her past became relevant again as Patsy’s rival from the teen comics, Hedy Wolfe, attempted to seize control of her mother’s estate to reprint and profit from the Patsy Walker series. The resulting fanfare lead to Hellcat becoming internet famous in both her personas while also opening old wounds.

On Marvel’s Netflix series Jessica Jones, Patsy’s magical powers and superhero credentials were replaced with a popular New York radio show and a very special role as best friend to Jessica (Krysten Ritter), who is endowed with superstrength and other abilities.

Interestingly, the producers of the series seized on Patsy’s relationship with her mother and the Patsy Walker comics to create an involving supporting character. In the show’s history, Trish (as she is called) starred on the television teen comedy It’s Patsy and was forced to live the life her mother created for the character.

Escaping from her mother left Trish paranoid, but also interested in learning to fight. She trains in advanced martial arts and also prods Jessica into using her powers to help people, setting off the main story of the first season. It remains to be seen if this means Trish will eventually become Hellcat in Marvel’s TV New York, but actress Rachael Taylor already admitted that the prospect would be amazing.

Trish Walker appeared in voiceover in Luke Cage and will also appear in upcoming Marvel superhero ensemble series The Defenders on Netflix alongside Jessica, Luke, Daredevil, and Iron Fist.

Jessica Jones is available to stream on Netflix


Cisco Ramon (Carlos Valdes) | The Flash 89%

Cisco (DC Comics); The Flash - Carlos Valdes ( Katie Yu/The CW)

One remarkable aspect of The CW’s various series based on DC Comics is their surprising devotion to the “Detroit Era” of the Justice League of America comic book. From 1984 to 1987, Aquaman ran the League out of old Detroit factory, and it featured members like Martian Manhunter (now appearing on Supergirl), Citizen Steel (now on DC’s Legends of Tomorrow), Vixen (star of the CW Seed series and a character on Legends), Gypsy (a Flash guest character), and Vibe. The latter was notable for being the first Puerto Rican superhero in the DC Universe, but his stereotypical gangland roots and penchant for breakdancing while using his sonic powers soon made him a punchline. He also died during the 1987 Legends crossover event.

This didn’t stop Flash’s eventual executive producer Andrew Kreisberg from attempting to rehabilitate the character in his own Vibe series in 2013. Teased as a member of the New 52’s Justice League, Vibe was said to be the survivor of a close encounter with an interdimensional gate known as a Boom Tube, developing sonic powers thereafter.

But the real saving throw for Vibe came when Kreisberg and producers Greg Berlanti and Marc Guggenheim enlisted him into the ranks of Team Flash in the Flash series they were developing for The CW.

Played by Carlos Valdes, Vibe was reshaped as Cisco Ramon; an engineer of particular skill, an expert in nerdy media, and a procurer of fantastic T-shirts. With no gang affiliations or a particular need to breakdance, he was quite a departure from the Justice League Detroit character, but also a further adaption from Kreisberg’s earlier work with the character. At first Cisco exhibited no powers, but was presented as an equal amongst the S.T.A.R. Labs crew. Ready with the wry quip or pop culture reference, he quickly became one of Barry Allen’s closest friends. In the second season, his metahuman abilities began to emerge and now resemble the skill set Kreisberg gave the character in the comic book.

Unlike the previous characters on this list, Cisco required the most reconstruction as the character underneath the superpowers needed serious thought and consideration. It is interesting to note that the Flash production team had to look at him first as a character before thinking about him as a superhero – he’s only recently worn a costume. The end result is a character filled with a charm one suspects his creators always wanted him to have, but never quite accomplished.

The Flash airs Tuesdays at 8/7 C on The CW


Mon-El (Chris Wood) | Supergirl 88%

Mon-El: Chris Wood, Melissa Benoist, David Harewood in Supergirl (Katie Yu/The CW)

Lar Gand of Daxam has a lush, but often rewritten history in the DC Comics Universe, making him an ideal choice for reinvention of TV.

As he first appeared in Superboy #89, he was an amnesiac explorer with nearly identical strengths as Superboy. Believing him to be another survivor of Krypton, Clark dubbed him “Mon-El” and helped him integrate into Smallville society. Eventually, they discovered — to Mon-El’s horror — that he is not Kryptonian. He is also deathly allergic to lead, and a severe reaction forces Clark to send his new friend into the Phantom Zone where he had to remain for 1,000 years to suspend the lethal effects of the poisoning. In the 2960s, the Legion of Super-Heroes finally discovered a means to stave off Mon-El’s vulnerability to lead and induct him into the team.

Beyond similar powers, Mon-El was very much a version of Superboy with a side order of wanderlust. His sense of honor and dedication to his new team led him to become a favorite character among Legion fans in the 1970s. He served two terms as the team leader and as DC Comics changed its in-universe history, he eventually became the inspiration for the Legion in a time travel story more complex than Doctor Who.

But bringing him to The CW’s Supergirl meant reinterpreting not just the character, but his homeworld. On the show, Daxam is depicted as a sister planet to Krypton; sharing the same sun and engaging in a fierce sibling rivalry. Both are completely new elements as the Daxam of DC Comics has always been a world colonized by ancient Kryptonians in another part of the universe. The society of that comic book planet is extremely xenophobic and isolationist. On Supergirl, Kara’s secondhand knowledge of Daxam led her to believe it is a world of autocratic excesses.

This would also seem to be true of Mon-El. Though he claims to be a guard to the prince of Daxam, his boorish, almost fratty tendencies – played with aplomb by Chris Wood — suggest a more affluent upbringing. (A tease for the March 20 episode seemingly gives away Mon-El’s ruse: Looks like he’s actually a prince.) It is also a wild departure from the straight-laced symbol of valor in the Legion comics of the 20th century. At the same time, the changes positioned him as a worthy romantic foil for Kara.

It could also be suggested that this Mon-El will eventually be that heroic Legionnaire of a far-away time. He just has to learn some humility (and to listen to Kara) before he adopts a blue cape and superhero identity.

Perhaps that is what makes this adaptation so successful. Despite a number of wild departures from the comics, Mon-El is on an interesting path. Though he clearly has been holding back a big secret, his time on Earth has been far more productive than a simple case of lead poisoning and a trip to the Phantom Zone.

Supergirl airs Mondays at 8/7C on The CW


Felicity Smoak (Emily Bett Rickards) | Arrow 86%

Felicity Smoak in Green Arrow (2011-2016) Vol. 35 (DC Comics); Emily Bett Rickards in Arrow (Katie Yu /The CW)

Now a beloved member of Team Arrow, Felicity Smoak began her comics career with a very different role – an opponent for Firestorm. First appearing in The Fury of Firestorm #23, writer Jerry Conway and artist Rafael Kayanan fashioned her as a supervisor at a software firm where Firestorm caused serious collateral damage to their in-development projects. She threatened to sue him and continued to appear in the series as a reminder of unintended consequences.

Ultimately, she married the father of Ronnie Raymond, one half of the team who make up Firestorm. The two eventually called a truce, but Felicity never stopped reminding Ronnie about the damage Firestorm’s powers can unleash. Unlike other characters on the list, Felicity never developed beyond those Firestorm appearances and became DC Comics trivia as Firestorm himself lost relevance.

In 2012, Felicity was re-imagined as an IT expert working at Queen Consolidated in the television series Arrow. Initially planned to be a one-off character with a deep-pull name from DC Comics lore, actress Emily Bett Rickards impressed the producers with her performance, and Felicity soon became a regular facet of Starling City.

Other than retaining the character’s computer background, Arrow had a great amount of freedom adapting the minor DC Comics character into the quippy voice of reason; bringing much needed light to the gruff-voiced duo of Oliver Queen (Stephen Amell) and John Diggle (David Ramsey). That freedom gave rise to a character that can be believable as a goth hacktivist college kid and the CEO of Palmer Tech.

The success of Felicity’s adaptation led to the creation of a specific support class within The CW’s superhero shows. It is hard to imagine Winn on Supergirl or even Cisco without Felicity establishing the way.

Arrow airs on Wednesdays at 8/7 C on The CW


Gorilla Grodd (voiced by David Sobolov) | The Flash 89%

Grodd and Grant Gustin in The Flash (The CW); Gorilla Grodd (DC Comics)

So imagine the pitch to a network executive: “This week, the Flash fights a giant, intelligent, telepathic gorilla with mind control powers.” It sounds insane. It always has from the moment Barry Allen first fought Gorilla Grodd in the pages of 1959’s The Flash #106. Created by John Broome and Carmine Infantino, Grodd was a criminal mastermind from a society of hyper-intelligent apes who sought to become its unquestioned leader and, from there, conquer the world.

Yeah, it still sounds insane. But the producers of The Flash television series figured out a way to make it all work by parsing out Grodd’s basic premise over three years and four episodes. Introduced as one of S.T.A.R. Labs’s test animals, Grodd made his first real appearance late in the show’s debut season.

Voiced by David Sobolov, Grodd sought revenge on a U.S. Army general who tortured him during a joint S.T.A.R. Labs–Army experiment in mind control. The season 1 big bad, the Reverse-Flash, was more than happy to assist Grodd and later used him as a distraction when his civilian identity was revealed to the Flash.

In his second season appearance, he hoped to create more apes like himself. Team Flash tried their best to help him by sending him to another Earth where a society of intelligent gorillas already existed. In the most recent episodes, he became ruler of Gorilla City and returned to Earth-1 in an attempt to make it a world under Grodd.

Grodd is, perhaps, the best example of comic book character adapted to TV faithfully while also well-realized. In parceling him out in manageable segments, the show’s staff established him first as a character – even a sympathetic one – before making him a true adversary of the Flash. In doing so, they also managed to create a plausible TV reality in which a hyper-intelligent gorilla with mind control powers is not instantly the most laughable thing on television that week, but instead an anticipated and marketable event.

The Flash airs Tuesdays at 8/7 C on The CW


Is there a comic book character who you think surpasses his or her (or its) paper potential on TV? Tell us in the comments! Comments


It’s time for our weekly countdown of the Winter TV premieres! Here are the best new shows for the week of Friday, January 27, 2017. See how this week’s shows, The New Edition Story, Riverdale, The Magicians, and Z: The Beginning of Everything stack up against each other on the Tomatometer!

Adjusted Score: -1%
Critics Consensus: Z: The Beginning of Everything presents an entertaining look at the life of Zelda Fitzgerald that's full of grandeur, splash, and old-timey wit, though the series suffers at times from a formless trajectory and over-the-top characterizations.

#1
Adjusted Score: -1%
Critics Consensus: A clearer sense of purpose and extra helpings of cynicism and danger lead The Magicians to a higher level of engagement.

()
%

#1

Riverdale: Season 1 (2017)
88%

#1
Adjusted Score: -1%
Critics Consensus: Riverdale offers an amusingly self-aware reimagining of its classic source material that proves eerie, odd, daring, and above all addictive.

[os-widget path=”/flixster/riverdale-premiere-pop-culture-quiz” of=”flixster” comments=”false”]

This week at the movies, we have the putative conclusion to a long-running post-apocalyptic action series (Resident Evil: The Final Chapter, starring Milla Jovovich and Ali Larter), canine reincarnation (A Dog’s Purpose, starring Britt Robertson and Dennis Quaid), and a prospecting Matthew McConaughey (Gold, co-starring Édgar Ramírez). What are the critics saying?


Resident Evil: The Final Chapter (2016) 37%

After six installments spread out over 15 years, the Resident Evil franchise arrives at its promised conclusion this weekend with the suitably titled Resident Evil: The Final Chapter. Milla Jovovich is back as Alice, along with a handful of series vets, and writer-director Paul W.S. Anderson has promised to bring the sci-fi/horror/action saga “full circle.” As with many long-running franchises, The Final Chapter is a fans-first proposition; critics say for better or for worse — and mainly for the worse, in their opinion — Resident Evil‘s conclusion will probably satisfy those who’ve stuck it out thus far while boring or bewildering everyone else. You know which camp you fall into by now, and you’ve probably already planned accordingly.


A Dog's Purpose (2017) 35%

If you want to gin up a little heartstring-tugging drama, just put an adorable puppy in peril — it’s a manipulative formula, but one that’s paid handsome dividends for decades (and made Benji a household name). All of which is to say that critics knew exactly what they were getting when they sat down for A Dog’s Purpose, an adaptation of the W. Bruce Cameron bestseller that takes a dog’s-eye view of reincarnation — and a fair number of scribes readily admit the end results are every bit as emotionally affecting as you might expect. Trouble is, they’re also transparently manipulative. If you have any sort of affection for dogs, in other words, you’re likely to shed a tear or two, but you’re just as apt to resent the way your sympathies have been played in the services of a soapy melodrama. Add its narrative deficiencies to the negative buzz that’s surrounded the movie since some troubling backstage footage leaked, and it’s pretty clear that this Dog don’t hunt.


Gold (2016) 42%

When a star undergoes a noticeable physical transformation for a role, you know they mean business — and as often as not, awards tend to follow. Which brings us to Gold, starring Matthew McConaughey as a down-on-his-luck businessman who convinces a reluctant geologist (Édgar Ramírez) to help him look for the titular stuff in Indonesia… where they actually end up striking a mother lode. Based on a true story, packed with dramatic twists and turns, and starring a paunchy, balding McConaughey, Gold would seem to have all the ingredients of a prestige picture; unfortunately, what looks like a winner on paper doesn’t always add up on the screen, and critics say that’s definitely the case here. Although its star is earning positive notice for his committed performance, reviews describe a picture that’s far too thinly written to take advantage of its leading man’s talents. If you want to see him distort those leading-man good looks in a well-made picture, it sounds like Dallas Buyers Club is still your best bet.


What’s New on TV

Riverdale: Season 1 (2017) 88%

Riverdale offers an amusingly self-aware reimagining of its classic source material that proves eerie, odd, daring, and above all addictive.


Also Opening This Week In Limited Release

  • Behemoth (2015) , a documentary look at the social and environmental impact of economic growth in China, is at 100 percent.
  • The Salesman (2016) , the latest acclaimed Iranian drama from director Asghar Farhadi, is at 97 percent.
  • Theo & Hugo (2016) , about two Parisian men exploring their budding feelings for one another after a hedonistic night out, is at 92 percent.
  • A Patch of Fog (2015) , about the blackmail-driven friendship between a security guard and a television personality, is at 82 percent.
  • The Daughter (2015) , a modern-day drama inspired by Henrik Ibsen’s The Wild Duck, is at 80 percent.
  • Father Never Bothered (2016) , about a retiree whose behavior gets him bounced from his assisted living community and into a house full of hippies, is at 67 percent.
  • The Age of Consequences (2016) , a documentary about the impacts of climate change on global stability, is at 67 percent.
  • I Am Michael (2015) , starring James Franco in the fact-based story of a gay man who renounces his orientation and lifestyle after a religious conversion, is at 64 percent.
  • Kung Fu Yoga (2017) , starring Jackie Chan as an archaeologist who finds himself embroiled in a treasure hunt, is at 57 percent.
Riverdale cast (Katie Yu/The CW)

Archie, Jughead, Betty, Veronica. For 78 years, these names were identified by their two-dimensional likenesses in various Archie Comics titles. They were mostly lighthearted high school tales of the quartet of best friends, although some of the comics reboots have taken darker approaches.

Now the characters of Archie Comics will come to life in new CW series Riverdale. Archie Comics Chief Creative Officer Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa developed the series as a modern teen drama with Arrowverse executive producer Greg Berlanti, who suggested he make it a murder mystery. And so Riverdale begins with the mysterious death of Jason Blossom.

KJ Apa plays Archie, Cole Sprouse plays Jughead, Lili Reinhart plays Betty, and newcomer Camila Mendes plays Veronica. The gang, along with Aguirre-Sacasa, spoke with Rotten Tomatoes after their Television Critics Association panel earlier this month.

Here are 11 reasons to get excited about Riverdale.


1. The Soundtrack Will Be Killer

Riverdale - KJ Apa (Art Streiber/The CW)

Archie is a singer-songwriter. The girl-group trio Josie and the Pussycats (Ashleigh Murray plays Josie) are characters in the show. The Pussycats cover classics like “Sugar Sugar,” “Kids in America,” “All Through the Night” and a Donna Summer song yet to be revealed. They’ve turned Cyndi Lauper’s “All Through the Night” into a three-part vocal, and Archie will do “Kids in America” as a duet, though Aguirre-Sacasa wouldn’t say with whom. Archie writes original songs, too.

“In episode six, we have a big variety show,” Aguirre-Sacasa said. “Archie does an original, and the Pussycats do a cover. In episode 10, Archie does a cover. Someone will always be doing an original. When we can figure out how to do a fun cover, we’ll do it.”

Apa said he brought his guitar to the audition and performed Stevie Ray Vaughan’s version of “Mary Had a Little Lamb.” Singing in public, he said, is “stepping out of my comfort zone.” Apa prefers Vaughan, Steely Dan, and his favorite, Van Halen. “Archie’s music is kind of depressing,” Apa joked.

That variety show episode does at least make Archie happy, Apa said: “You can really see the love of his music coming out in the performance. At the end, you see him really happy. It’s really heartwarming.”


2. They Got Archie’s Hair Perfect

Riverdale - KJ Apa, Lili Reinhart (Diyah Pera/The CW)

Apa’s hair is naturally dark brown. Once he got the role, Apa knew he’d have to go red. He outlined the grueling 10-hour process of camera testing each shade of red.

“It was a pretty gnarly experience,” Apa said. “My head hurt. I was angry, I hadn’t eaten, but we got the formula and used it again when we started up. It takes about three hours to do every two weeks and they do my eyebrows as well.”

And since everyone’s wondering what K.J. stands for, Apa told us it’s Keneti James, a New Zealand name.


3. A Twilight Zone Tone

Riverdale - Cole Sprouse (Katie Yu/The CW)

Cole Sprouse said he actually was asked to audition for the role of Archie first. Playing Jughead was his choice.

“There was a scene in the script that Archie was across from Jughead,” Sprouse said. “As I read, I was like, ‘Whoa, Jughead’s really cool.’ Then I found out he was the narrator, which also really intrigued me. My audition was two pages of introductory monologue basically and that was challenging for an intimidating audition. It worked out. I guess Rod Serling was the tone they were looking for. I try to channel Morgan Freeman.”


4. Veronica Loves Truman Capote and Woody Allen

Riverdale - Marisol Nichols, Camila Mendes (Katie Yu/The CW)

It may be surprising to hear Veronica refer to author Truman Capote and the films of Woody Allen on a CW show. Mendes explained how Veronica got so cultured.

“Probably from her parents and just from the fact that she went to a really elite high school,” Mendes said. “She’s probably a bit of a cinefile. I just think her education.”

In episode 5, Veronica goes to the Riverdale Drive-in to see Rebel Without a Cause. Aguirre-Sacasa revealed that he has to fight for those references.

“Believe me, every time we put one of those in it, I always get the note, ‘Are kids really going to know this?’” Aguirre-Sacasa said. “Whether they know it or not, they’re easily and imminently Google-able.”


5. Betty Is Still the Same Old Betty

Riverdale - Lili Reinhart (Katie Yu/The CW)

The Riverdale character who may have changed the least from the comics is Betty. She’s still a modern girl dealing with heartbreak and reacting to the murder in town, but retains more of her comic book counterpart’s bubbly nature.

“It’s the same basic characters in the sense that Betty’s the girl next door, sweet, everyone loves her,” Reinhart said.


6. Jason Blossom’s Death Affects Everybody

When Berlanti said Riverdale needed a dead body, Aguirre-Sacasa chose the classic comic book character Jason Blossom.

“We didn’t want it to be one of the core characters because we obviously wanted to get to know the core characters,” Aguirre-Sacasa said. “For a while we talked about it being a teacher. Somehow I landed on Jason Blossom. It felt like he could be this very beautiful golden boy, and it would be almost a little bit like that movie The Virgin Suicides. He would immediately be tied to Cheryl Blossom. If Jason dated Betty’s sister, that would immediately tie Betty into the mystery. It gave us a lot of connective tissue.”


7. Betty and Veronica Take on Slut Shamers

Riverdale - Camila Mendes (Dean Buscher/The CW)

In episode three, one of the jocks, rebuffed by Veronica, spreads sexual rumors about her. She and Betty unite to take down the slut shamers.

“I think the episode wanted to address that you don’t have to sit there and take it as a victim,” Reinhart said. “You don’t have to convince anybody else that something did or didn’t happen. It’s a matter of Betty and Veronica working as a team to get justice a little bit. I think justice was served.”

Mendes said the episode gave her pause: “We were so nervous that it might be too much too soon. When we saw it, we were like, ‘This is actually a really powerful episode. It’s empowering women.’”


8. Riverdale’s Sketchy Nightlife

Riverdale logo (The CW)

Episode seven, which was directed by Andrea Anders, takes the gang to a Riverdale nightclub called The Roving Eye.

“It’s definitely small town and haggy,” Aguirre-Sacasa joked.

Anders told Rotten Tomatoes about directing the episode.

“My favorite piece of equipment [is] the Mini Technocrane,” Anders said. “It followed them dancing and feeling happy. Veronica is happy at night. She has an emotional monologue. I was able to use that piece of equipment to go in very close to her at a table.

“My episode is really a lot between Jughead and his dad played by Skeet Ulrich,” she said. “He’s like a biker and they live in this trailer park.”

Riverdale also has a strip club, but Aguirre-Sacasa said there are no plans to visit it.


9. The Series’ Dark Humor

Riverdale - Cole Sprouse (Frank Ockenfels 3/The CW)

Jughead is traditionally the lovable best friend who serves as comic relief. Now Sprouse says those jokes reveal layers of baggage.

“It’s the guy who is willing to disassemble a situation with a joke as an attempt to not have to talk about how he really feels,” Sprouse said. “He’s kind of the Holden Caulfield of his town now. He holds onto these facets of a once great, carefree version of himself, while simultaneously trying to juggle this new tormented reality he’s having to live through.”


10. Veronica Can Disarm Any Mean Girl

Riverdale - Camila Mendes (Dean Buscher/The CW)

The late Jason Blossom left behind a sister, Cheryl, who is the queen mean girl. Veronica is not impressed and even shows some compassion towards her.

“Cheryl sees Veronica a threat,” Mendes said. “Veronica sees Cheryl as like ‘I used to be you. I know what it’s like to be you. This is what I wish someone would have told me when I was acting like that.’ [Episode] five is a big Cheryl-and-Veronica episode where Veronica starts to really understand Cheryl and sympathize with her. It’s not just like ‘We’re bitchy rivals.’ They can actually kind of get along. I think there are moments of friendship and coming together but it doesn’t last. She knows she can’t trust her.”


11. The Spin-Off Potential of Great Characters

Riverdale - Ashleigh Murray (Art Streiber/The CW)

Aguirre-Sacasa has already thought of spinning off Josie and the Pussycats in what he would call “Empire in a high school.”

Should Riverdale prove successful, Aguirre-Sacasa is considering rebooting Sabrina, the Teen Witch as more of a horror show based on the “Chilling Adventures of Sabrina” comics. Set in the ’60s with a tone akin to Rosemary’s Baby, Sabrina’s family would have ties to a satanic cult.

“It’s very much an occult story about female sexuality and female power,” Aguirre-Sacasa said.

Characters Katy Keene and Detective Sam Hill are also on the table.

Riverdale premieres January 26  at 9 p.m. on The CW


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