November’s not only turkey time, but it also marks the start of the holiday shopping season — which means some exciting new titles will be heading to DVD and Blu-ray this month. Check out Rotten Tomatoes picks’ for what to binge-watch in November, whether you’re trying to catch up on a show in time for the next season, looking for a new series to stream over a long weekend, or giving something a try before you re-gift it as a stocking stuffer next month!
Why you should watch it: Essential viewing for Breaking Bad fans, Better Call Saul is also a stand-alone drama, engrossing and darkly comic, with knock-out performances by Odenkirk and Jonathan Banks. The complete first season hits DVD on Nov. 10, so you better binge Saul!
Commitment: About nine hours.
What it is: Based on a Philip K. Dick novel, this show of the same name tells an alternate history of the Axis Powers winning World War II and the resistance movement growing throughout America in the early 1960s.
Why you should watch it: By executive producer Ridley Scott, The Man in the High Castle is unlike anything else on TV, with an immediately engrossing plot driven by quickly developed characters. Part of Amazon’s fourth “pilot season,” this fully realized post-war dystopia was the best-reviewed show of the lot in 2014.
Where to watch: The complete first season will be available on Amazon Prime on Friday, Nov. 20.
Commitment: 10 hours.
What it is: Comedy Central’s half-hour sketch show features a series of vignettes — many of which feature the comic’s biting feminist commentary — strung together by Schumer’s hilarious woman-on-the-street interviews.
Why you should watch it: Three seasons in, Trainwreck star Schumer is finally a household name, thanks in large part to a handful of sketches that went viral this year, including her parody of 12 Angry Men starring Paul Giamatti and the show’s musical spoof of One Direction’s “You Don’t Know You’re Beautiful.”
Commitment: 15 hours.
What it is: Based on the award-winning novels by Hilary Mantel, Wolf Hall recounts the rise and fall of Anne Boleyn, as observed by Thomas Cromwell during his own ascension within the court of Henry VIII.
Why you should watch it: Mark Rylance‘s performance as Cromwell is enough reason to watch, but Damian Lewis and Claire Foy are also not to be missed. An exceptional supporting cast brings this cutthroat Tudor world to vivid life.
Commitment: Six hours.
What it is: Aziz Ansari is the creator of Master of None, a new show on Netflix that is loosely based on his life. We follow Dev as he makes his way in NYC as an actor who, along with his friends, discovers what 30-something means today.
Why you should watch it: For all those that fell in love with Tom Haverford on Parks and Recreation, you will see a more nuanced, intimate kind of Ansari love here. Master of None’s cultural commentary is on-point, the weirdness of today’s romantic struggles are highlighted in all their awkward glory, and the cast is a talented bunch. Binge your hearts out; it’s a funny, sweet, neurotic ride.
Where to watch: Season one will be available on Nov. 6 exclusively on Netflix.
Commitment: Five hours.
What it is: Before Bob Odenkirk and David Cross broke through with Breaking Bad and Arrested Development, respectively, they were the oddball duo behind Mr. Show, an anarchic sketch comedy that blended goofiness and edginess in a way that resembles Chappelle’s Show for the indie rock set.
Why you should watch it: Since W/ Bob & David is premiering on Netflix on Nov. 13, now’s as good a time as any to dive into one of the weirdest programs of the mid to late 1990s. For inspired randomness, absurdist satire, and some of the best segues in television history, you can’t beat Mr. Show. In addition to its leading men, the show served as an incubator for a number of the brightest lights of alt-comedy, including Jack Black, Sarah Silverman, Paul F. Tompkins, and Scott Aukerman.
Commitment: 15 hours.
What it is: Starz’s Black Sails is a period drama that follows the trials and triumphs of the most notorious men to sail the seven seas during piracy’s golden age.
Why you should watch it: This prequel to Robert Louis Stevenson’s Treasure Island offers a grittier take on the usual swashbuckling fare we’ve come to expect from our famous pirates. So you can count on the action to build as the intrigue deepens. With two seasons under its belt, there is already plenty of adventure to be had before Black Sails comes back for a third season in January 2016.
Where to watch: Both seasons are on Amazon, Google Play, iTunes, PlayStation Video, Starz Play (with cable subscription), Vudu, Xbox Video, and Xfinity (with cable subscription), and season two hits DVD and Blu-ray on Nov. 3.
Commitment: 18 hours.
What it is: The adaptation of the UK BBC comedy series of the same name showcases the careers and personal lives of doctors and nurses in a Long Beach hospital extended-care wing.
Why you should watch it: Folks who like their brilliant slapstick comedy to suddenly jolt you with empathy and smash your heart against the wall — and watch it slither to the floor where it gets rolled over by a squeaky, old wheelchair occupied by a vibrant but terminally-ill senior citizen who screams something naughty as she begins to dance naked in the hallways of the hospital wing, bringing you to tears of laughter once again — will love Getting On.
Where to watch: Season three premieres Nov. 8 at 10 p.m. on HBO. The first two seasons are streaming on Amazon, Google Play, HBO Go (with subscription), iTunes, Playstation Video, Vudu, and Xfinity (with cable subscription).
Commitment: Six hours.
What it is: In this animated series, Mike Tyson (voiced by Tyson himself) embarks on a series of hilarious investigations with his adopted Korean daughter, an irritable ghost, and a vulgar talking pigeon in tow. Their shenanigans take them everywhere from Cormac McCarthy’s ranch to outer space.
Why you should watch it: Mike Tyson appears to have embraced his newly reformed public persona as a big, unpredictable teddy bear with a knack for self-parody and just a touch of insanity. Mike Tyson Mysteries takes full advantage of this, and the result is an absurd comedy that alternates between high concept Scooby-Doo-esque hijinks and upended sitcom tropes. In other words, if you’re an Adult Swim fan, this will fit right into your schedule, and since the second season premieres on Sunday, it’s the perfect time to catch up.
Where to watch: The Adult Swim website has the first four episodes and the season finale of season one available to watch, and you can get the rest on Amazon, Google Play, iTunes, or Vudu. You can also purchase the first season (uncensored) on DVD.
Commitment: Each episode is only 11 or 12 minutes long, so you should be able to finish the whole season in two hours.
Why you should watch it: It’s a series about maturation, relationships, mistakes, forgiveness, and the metamorphoses that accompany such change, for those directly involved and for their often dysfunctional families. Influenced by writer Sally Wainwright’s mother’s second marriage, the life-changing events play out fervidly with understated realism. In a time when sensationalism and special effects can dominate the airwaves, Halifax brings an invigorating genuineness to relationships with subtle profundity.
Commitment: 18 hours.
It’s October, so you know what that means — cooler temperatures and shorter days. Perfect for cozying up with a pumpkin spice latte and a new favorite show. Not sure what to binge-watch? Rotten Tomatoes has you covered with juicy drama, ’80s nostalgia, Hollywood glamour, and good ol’-fashioned murder.
What it is: Bemidji, Minnesota, 2006. A mysterious drifter (Billy Bob Thornton) passes through town and, after a chance encounter with a timid insurance salesman (Martin Freeman), engages in a bit of casual violence with unexpected, far-reaching consequences, leaving a tenacious deputy (Allison Tolman) and a policeman from Duluth (Colin Hanks) to sort through the mess.
Why you should watch it: If you’re a fan of the eponymous Coen brothers film that inspired this series, you’ll find the same dark humor, eccentric characters, and existential disquiet here. Yes, there are a few clever nods to the film, but the series stands on its own, thanks to strong writing, an Emmy-winning cast, and a firm directorial hand. Fargo feels like a 9-hour movie, and it might as well be; once you start it, you’ll be hooked.
Commitment: About nine hours.
What it is: A complicated affair between a waitress and a teacher — both married — is at the heart of this 2014 drama series that tells the narrative from the separate perspectives of its individual characters.
Why you should watch it: The Rashomon style of circular storytelling (showing alternative versions of the story from each character’s perspective) makes for an interesting brand of television, paired with intense performances from a strong cast. The story gets twistier as it heads toward season one’s controversial ending — and there is no denying that it’s a crazy ride getting there. Season one is Certified Fresh at 95 percent.
Commitment: Ten hours.
What it is: Twenty-something virgin Jane has her life turned upside-down when she is accidentally inseminated with her boss’s sperm.
Why you should watch it: Certified Fresh at 100 percent, this inventive dramedy with a telenovela twist features a strong ensemble cast, spearheaded by its charming lead Gina Rodriguez. True to its telenovela roots, Jane The Virgin is so rife with plot twists and character revelations that practically every episode ends with a cliffhanger. Season two premieres October 12 on The CW.
Commitment: 15.5 hours.
What it is: This HBO dramedy follows hot young movie star Vince Chase (Adrian Grenier) and his childhood friends as they make their way through the glitz and grime of Hollywood life.
Why you should watch it: Based on executive producer Mark Wahlberg’s own showbiz experiences, each of the eight seasons is jam-packed with tons of celebrity cameos and thinly veiled industry secrets — and with the Entourage movie out on DVD this week, this is the perfect time to watch. You’ll feel like a Hollywood insider by the time it’s all over.
Commitment: 48 hours.
What it is: Based on the legends of Viking Ragnar Lothbrok (Travis Fimmel), Vikings focuses on his rise from farmer to warrior to raider of England and France to King of the Vikings.
Why you should watch it: It features the same gorgeous trappings of other lush history pieces, such as The Tudors and Rome, but as a History production, Vikings feels much more realistic, leaving you with the impression that you now have historic insight into Viking culture and how they might have lived.
Where to watch: Seasons one and two are currently available on Amazon Prime, Google Play, Hulu, and Vudu. Season three comes out on DVD and Blu-ray on October 6, so now is the perfect time to get caught up on the entire series.
Commitment: About 22 hours to attack the whole thing.
Why you should watch it: Come for the crimped hair, but stay for the characters. In addition to a breakout performance by the very likeable Roberts as David Meyers, this David Gordon Green-directed dramedy features hilarious turns from Reiser as a moody corporate raider, Ennis Esmer as the sleazy head tennis pro, Jennifer Grey as David’s mom (in perfectly high-waisted ’80s mom jeans), and Richard Kind as David’s father who can sometimes be too honest for his own good.
Where to watch: The pilot is currently available on Amazon. The rest of season one will drop exclusively to Prime members on October 9.
Commitment: 6 hours.
What it is: Da Vinci’s Demons is a historical fantasy drama that follows the adventures of a young and lustful Leonardo Da Vinci (Tom Riley) as he strives to make a name for himself in Renaissance Italy.
Why you should watch it: What it lacks in historical accuracy it makes up for in sexy fun and adventure — not to mention the creative glimpses we get into the workings of Da Vinci’s brilliant mind. The third and final season premieres on October 24, so this is the perfect time to jump in.
Commitment: 18 hours.
What it is: Inspired by classic fairy tales, Grimm puts a supernatural twist on the crime procedural. The show follows Nick Burkhardt (David Giuntoli), a detective who discovers that he is a descendant of elite hunters called the “Grimms” who must protect humankind from dark mythological forces.
Why you should watch it: It may have gotten off to a shaky start according to the critics, but season two and three are Fresh at 100 percent. Dark, spooky, and thrilling, Grimm has developed an impassioned niche audience, rewarding its fans with a thoroughly entertaining and fun show that is both humor and horror. If you love tension, splendidly weird and not-so-happy fairy tales, this is the perfect show to catch up on before it returns this fall.
Commitment: About 50 hours.
What it is: With aspirations of becoming the leader of the free world, Selina Meyer (Julia Louis-Dreyfus) is relegated to the utterly powerless role of Vice President, which — while only a heartbeat away from the excitement and prestige of the Oval Office — is a never ending string of pointless press opps and the frantic damage control that follows.
Why you should watch it: Who doesn’t love, lurve, loooove Julia Louis-Dreyfus? She’s reason number-one to watch this relevant, quick, and brilliantly funny show whose cast, direction, and writing leave you thoroughly entertained — and in awe of just how much a TV comedy can shed light on our political culture. Created by acclaimed British satirist Armando Iannucci, Veep is everything you want a binge to be: hilarious, smart, and endlessly absorbing.
Commitment: 17.5 hours.
What it is: In this British fish-out-of-water story, Martin Clunes is the misanthropic Doc Martin Ellingham, a hotshot surgeon who gives up his practice to become a small-town physician after developing a fear of blood.
Why you should watch it: A smash for ITV, Doc Martin is just starting to pop onto the radar of American audiences, thanks in large part to the series’ availability on streaming. With a rural backdrop that captures the Brtis’ love of scenery, Doc Martin features the kind of character we love — a flawed genius with zero people skills. The push-and-pull relationship between Doc and the local school’s headmistress Louisa Glasson (Caroline Catz) is reason enough to suck you in.
Commitment: 46 hours.