This month boasts some buzzy sophomore efforts from Fresh new series alongside the final swan songs of some small-screen gems — plus one massive The Walking Dead binge that’ll keep you busy all the way through Halloween. Check out our 10 must-watch binges of October below!
What it is: A 19th century San Francisco–set Peaky Blinders–style action-drama, Warrior follows Ah Sahm, a martial arts expert who immigrates to the U.S. from China to search for his missing sister. Portraying the city’s brutal Tong Wars, he is soon entangled with Chinatown’s most powerful organized crime family.
Why you should watch it: Originally plucked from the mind of the late, great Bruce Lee, Warrior was finally realized onscreen last year thanks to his daughter Shannon Lee, Fast and the Furious director Justin Lin, and Banshee creator Jonathan Tropper. The series runs on high-octane, gritty action, lush period set pieces, and a sprawling ensemble of memorable and complex characters — you’ll care what happens to them as the wheeling, dealing, and killing gets underway over the first season’s 10 episodes. Season 2 premieres Oct. 2 on Cinemax.
Commitment: Approx. 10 hours (for the first season)
What it is: Funnyman Anthony Anderson stars as Dre Johnson, a Black, upper-middle-class family man who — in a predominantly white neighborhood, school, and culture — still wants his kids to retain a sense of black identity.
Why you should watch it: Creator Kenya Barris is a writer who boldly goes there. Even within the confines of the network TV sitcom structure, he has conjured stories over the past six seasons that are absolutely resonant, timely, fearless, and hilarious. Tracy Ellis Ross and Anderson are especially show-stealing (and Emmy-nominated several times over). Barris’ Grown-ish, and Mixed-ish also boast Certified Fresh first seasons. He’s also responsible for -ish-unleashed Netflix comedy #blackAF, which he also stars in and, though it wasn’t as popular with critics, it has a higher audience score on its first season than any of the -ish shows. Catch up on the family series that started it all before Black-ish returns with an Oct. 4 election special and its seventh season premiere Oct. 21 on ABC. Plus, watch for the upcoming Old-ish.
Commitment: 51 hours (for the first six seasons)
What it is: If you don’t know what The Walking Dead is, you may want to check your pulse…
Why you should watch it: Based on the comic book series by Robert Kirkman, Tony Moore, and Charlie Adlard’s post-apocalyptic premise of zombies walking the Earth and ending mankind as we know it, the acclaimed series developed by creator Frank Darabont indulges in gore and “what if” fascinations. These are characters brought to life with bone-deep precision from a stable of some of TV’s greatest talents. You just never know when your favorite will bite the dust, but that’s admittedly part of the fun, too. We recommend you strap in for a super binge of this beloved franchise by first watching the original Walking Dead in the lead up to Oct. 4’s season 10 finale, which marks the return of a series-favorite: Maggie Rhee! Then make your way over to spin-off No. 1, Fear the Walking Dead, before its sixth season premieres Oct. 11, and — since you’ll surely be wanting more blood, guts, and zombie gore — may we suggest the next addition to the franchise? The Walking Dead: The World Beyond premieres Oct. 4. The Walking Dead universe airs on AMC and streams on the network’s streaming service AMC+.
Commitment: Approx. 109 hours (for the first 10 seasons of The Walking Dead) and approx. 52 hours (for the first five seasons of Fear the Walking Dead)
What it is: Ghosts, demons, and other monsters better watch out for Sam and Dean Winchester. After their mother is killed by an unknown demonic force when they are just children, the brothers’ father trains them to be soldiers against the world’s paranormal evil. Supernatural charts their journey as they hunt down and kill those otherworldly enemies.
Why you should watch it: Not all network series are lucky enough to be renewed for a second season, much less 15! It’s an astounding feat that Supernatural has accrued such a devout fanbase over the years. Creator Eric Kripke (most recently the mind behind The Boys) is a master of the genre, and we’d follow Sam and Dean (played with charisma and complexity by Jared Padalecki and Jensen Ackles, respectively) to just about any haunted house, vampire den, or unearthly plain they want to take us. Its season 15 rollout was delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic, and we’ll be sad to see it go after it returns with its final seven episodes Oct. 8 on the CW.
Commitment: Approx. 235 hours (for all 15 seasons)
What it is: Loosely based on Shirley Jackson’s 1959 novel of the same name, The Haunting of Hill House jumps between 1992 — when Hugh and Olivia Crain and their children Steven, Shirley, Theodora, Luke, and Nell move in to renovate the titular mansion — and 2018 — when the surviving family is forced to revisit their dark past with the home and the supernatural tragedies therein.
Why you should watch it: It’s not often that a horror series is universally acclaimed as a must-watch series, but The Haunting of Hill House provided some of the best and most addicting hours of television around with its 2018 Netflix launch. It really is scary as all hell — the “Bent-Neck Lady” guarantees chills that will haunt your dreams. In the spirit of the Halloween season, we recommend a binge of the first installment of this anthology series before creator Mike Flanagan does it again with an all-new story, The Haunting of Bly Manor, which premieres Oct. 9 on Netflix.
Commitment: Approx. 9 hours (for the first season)
What it is: Star Trek: Discovery is set 10 years prior to the original series and in the same universe as Kirk, Spock, and the Enterprise, and sees the titular ship venturing out to discover new worlds and quell violent alien forces. As always with a Trek series, the cast of characters on board is the series’ beating heart — and you can expect some returning franchise-favorites along the way.
Why you should watch it: Creators Bryan Fuller and Alex Kurtzman, as well as star Sonequa Martin-Green and the rest of the ensemble cast faced the franchise fandom’s lofty expectations when the series premiered in September 2017. They were rewarded with Certified Fresh Tomatometer scores of 82% on season 1 and 81% on season 2. The third season premieres Oct. 15 on CBS All Access.
Commitment: Approx. 26 hours (for the first two seasons)
What it is: Revisiting one of the most famous families on network TV after over 20 years off the air, The Conners stars Laurie Metcalf, John Goodman, and the rest of the original clan (minus Roseanne Barr) and is as insightful and heartwarming as ever.
Why you should watch it: You’ll likely remember the off-screen controversy and Roseanne reboot cancellation that led to The Conners hitting the small screen, but the series quickly found its groove and audience without Barr and is still going strong with positive ratings and reviews. Telling it like it is for working-class, family-first Americans, it resonates widely in today’s divisive times, while still making us laugh.
Commitment: Approx. 14 hours (for the first two seasons)
What it is: Everyone knows a “work family” is essential to getting through the day-to-day, even when they’re as eccentric as the workforce of Superstore’s Walmart-esque Cloud 9. This is their story.
Why you should watch it: We’re so glad Superstore found its footing. After a promising, but slightly jumbled start out the gate, the beloved comedy series is now six seasons in and better than ever. As the central Amy, America Ferrera (who we will always stan for Ugly Betty) is a stalwart of the screen you can always count on to bring the heart and laughs. Throw in a wacky crew of other comic actors at the top of their game (no one steals a scene like Crazy Rich Asians breakout Nico Santos), and Superstore may just be her best project yet. Her departure from the series was pushed back due to the pandemic, so catch up before the coronavirus-themed season 6 premieres Oct. 22; Ferrera will be in the first two episodes before bidding Cloud 9 adieu.
Commitment: Approx. 36 hours (for the first five seasons)
What it is: From creator Jon Favreau and starring Pedro Pascal, Gina Carano, and Giancarlo Esposito, The Mandalorian is Star Wars’ first live-action television series. Set five years after the action of Return of the Jedi, it follows the titular Mandalorian, Din Djarin (Pascal), a lonely and mysterious bounty hunter as he traverses the outskirts of the galaxy just outside the New Republic’s reach.
Why you should watch it: Two words: Baby. Yoda. But that criminally cute, internet-famous creature aside, The Mandalorian is the best thing to happen in a galaxy far, far away in a very, very long time. A Western action-adventure that both reboots the Star Wars universe while reinvigorating the aspects we’ve loved about it all along, the series truly has something for everyone. And the industry at large agrees: Who had “The Mandalorian scores an Emmy nomination for outstanding drama series” on their 2020 bingo card!? Season 2 premieres Oct. 30 on Disney+.
Where to watch: Disney+
Commitment: Approx. 5.5 hours (for the first season)
Even with over 20 new shows premiering in September (not to mention all the existing series returning with new seasons), we can’t blame you for wanting to binge whole seasons of tried-and-true TV. This month, we’ve pulled together a collection of shows for your bingeing pleasure, including some off-the-radar series, and a few biggies that you need to start right now if you want to catch up before they come back!
What it is: A disparate group of people attempts to survive the zombie apocalypse; existential malaise and bloody mayhem ensues.
Why you should watch it: We’re not gonna lie: The Walking Dead has its share of dead patches and dull characters. But the basic setup is so compelling — how would you respond if the whole world went to hell? — that you’re likely to press on regardless. Plus, when it comes to creative zombie slaughter, this show can’t be beat — you get the feeling that every stabbing, every shooting, every beheading has been lovingly conceived and executed by some of the finest craftspeople in the business. Season six premieres on October 11, so you’d better start catching up now!
Commitment: 69 hours.
What it is: American Horror Story is the show that kick-started the recent anthology trend, with shows like Fargo and American Crime picking up the cue. Each season of AHS is its own horror-themed storyline (a haunted house, a demonic asylum, a home-school for young witches, a carnival freak show, and finally, this year, a terrifying hotel), often using the same cast members in different roles.
Why you should watch it: Audiences who scare easily are terrified by it. The rest of us eat it up. The shocks keep coming; if you don’t like one twist, you know there will soon be another jaw-dropper around the corner! And the most intriguing new(ish) development is the unraveling of inter-season stories that are connected with each other (most evident so far in season four). Season five premieres on FX on Saturday, Oct. 7.
Where to watch: All four seasons are available on Amazon, Google Play, iTunes, PlayStation, Vudu, and on DVD and Blu-ray. The first three seasons are also available on Amazon Prime, Hulu, and Netflix.
Commitment: 55 hours.
What it is: Annalise Keating (Viola Davis) is a criminal defense attorney and professor teaching law students how to defend the accused, while tangling them up in a real-life murder mystery of their own.
Why you should watch it: Viola Davis’ Emmy-nominated performance, mixed with the twisty drama stylings of Shondaland Productions (Scandal, Grey’s Anatomy) will deliver a barrage of riveting mystery right into your lap. A darker tone than Grey’s and Scandal, HTGAWM has surprised audiences with its unrelenting, austere tone, permeated with intense character drama. With the premiere of its second season coming up on September 24, you should have enough time to run through season one before things heat up again.
Commitment: 10.5 hours.
What it is: Bob and Linda Belcher run a restaurant with the help of children Tina, Gene, and Louise. Between the funeral home next door, a relentless health inspector, the children’s misadventures, and Bob‘s unreliable business strategies, the restaurant is always struggling to stay open.
Why you should watch it: Bob’s Burgers is a funny animated sitcom full of satirical and absurd situations that works both as a family and a workplace comedy. All the main characters have strong and quirky personalities, and you will quickly find yourself picking favorites. Even though the show received mixed reviews when it came out in 2011, it won critics’ praise over the time, and currently has two seasons at 100% on the Tomatometer. Season six premieres on September 27.
Commitment: 33 hours.
What it is: A man is framed by an organization known as “The Company” and sentenced to death for murdering the brother of the Vice President of the United States. His own brother then devises an elaborate plan to have himself thrown into the same prison in order to break them both out.
Why you should watch it: The show was nominated for several awards when it first premiered in 2005, including a Golden Globe for Best Television Series Drama, and is now enjoying a second life thanks to its popularity on Netflix. No matter how outrageous the plot in Prison Break, you can’t help but root for the siblings as they fight for their freedom in and out of prison over four seasons. Plus, Fox recently announced a forthcoming reboot, so now is the perfect time to lock yourself up with Wentworth Miller and Dominic Purcell.
Commitment: 56 hours.
What it is: A Chicago-set ensemble comedy about five guys (Mark Duplass, Stephen Rannazzisi, Nick Kroll, Paul Scheer, and Jon Lajoie) and one gal (Katie Aselton) whose obsession with fantasy football begets hilarious trash-talk, outrageous deceit, and harebrained schemes.
Why you should watch it: In a lot of ways, The League is a throwback to ’90s network sitcoms about wacky friends — only it’s been updated with the raunchiness of an FX comedy. Seinfeld and Curb Your Enthusiasm alum Jeff Schaffer created The League along with his wife, Jackie Marcus Schaffer, so you can expect intricately woven — and often absurdly conceived — plots with heavily improvised interplay skewering pop culture, friendship, parenting, sex, religion, drugs, and, of course, insane football fandom.
Commitment: 27 hours.
What it is: Carrie Mathison (Claire Danes), a bipolar CIA agent, works overtime to prevent a terrorist attacks on American soil.
Why you should watch it: If ever there was a series that consistently left you with your mouth agape in shock at the end — and sometimes, even in the middle — of each episode, this is it. Homeland is often unbearably tense, not just because of its national security plotlines, but also because of the personalities (and often opaque motives) of its characters, who are played with aplomb by Danes, Damian Lewis, Mandy Patinkin, and Rupert Friend. If you really put your mind to it, you might be able to get caught up before season five premieres on October 4.
Commitment: 48 hours.
What it is: Difficult People is a new comedy on Hulu, executive produced by Amy Poehler. Julie Klausner and Billy Eichner star as struggling performers in New York who hate just about everyone, except each other.
Why you should watch it: Critics say the show succeeds in making the unlikable likable with mean-spirited, unhappy characters who can’t help but amuse. A talented supporting cast and an impressive array of guest spots and cameos keep the laughs up and the cringes to a minimum. Plus, Difficult People is Certified Fresh at 85 percent on the Tomatometer, and it’s airing right now.
Where to watch: Difficult People is available exclusively on Hulu.
Commitment: 2.5 hours currently (new episodes are available on Wednesdays), so not difficult at all.
What it is: Robert Taylor is gruff and gritty as Sheriff Walt Longmire, a complicated hero who dutifully fights the bad guys in big sky Wyoming, following the tradition of screen cowboys John Wayne and Clint Eastwood.
Why you should watch it: Blending case-of-the-week with a slow-burning multi-season arc, Longmire is the strong, silent type, thanks to fine acting from its leads — Taylor, whose character is coming to grips with his wife’s death; Katee Sackhoff as the mysterious deputy sheriff Vic Moretti; and Lou Diamond Phillips as Walt’s good friend Henry Standing Bear. Axed by A&E after three seasons (and a humdinger of a cliffhanger), Longmire will return for a fourth season on Netflix on Thursday, September 10.
Commitment: 25 hours.
What it is: Supernatural is a fantasy horror show on The CW that follows the Winchester brothers (Jared Padalecki and Jensen Ackles) as they battle vampires, werewolves, demons, ghosts and other monsters from the supernatural world.
Why you should watch it: The series enjoys an obsessive cult following, and the show seems to keep picking up speed like a 1967 Impala. Nine of its 10 seasons (all the ones that have a score) are Fresh on the Tomatometer, which is a credit to its consistency. Season 11 premieres on October 7, so if you binge like a bat out of hell, you might be able to catch up.
Where to watch: Seasons one through 10 are available on Amazon, Google Play, Hulu, Netflix, PlayStation, Vudu, and Xbox. Seasons one through nine are available in a DVD or Blu-ray box set, and season ten is on both DVD and Blu-ray.
Commitment: Hopefully watching 215 hours of demon-hunting doesn’t scare you away.