Does February have you feeling lonely with its upcoming card-company holiday? Trust us when we say that Better Call Saul’s Saul Goodman, Kidding’s Mr. Pickles, Homeland’s Carrie Mathison, or Brooklyn Nine-Nine’s Jake Piralta go down as easy as a box of chocolates. Or if you’re more into beards and other kinds of treats, High Maintenance’s delivery guy might be more your speed. Regardless, this month has 10 returning series worth your time and your bingeing.
What it is: When it first premiered on Discovery in 2017, creators Andrew Sodroski, Jim Clemente, and Tony Gittelson’s Manhunt promised a factual, fuss-free deep-dive on the FBI’s investigation and ongoing search for the terrorist Ted Kaczynski (a.k.a. the Unabomber). What we got was absolutely engrossing cat-and-mouse action with little-known, truth-is-stranger-than-fiction twists along the way.
Why you should watch it: Having switched from Discovery to Spectrum Originals’ streaming platform, the new installment of Manhunt again follows the FBI, this time as they search for the bomber behind the 1996 Atlanta Olympics attack and deal with the notorious controversy surrounding security guard Richard Jewell that followed. (Clint Eastwood’s 2019 feature film Richard Jewell dealt with the same topic.) Season 2 premieres on February 3 on Spectrum.
Commitment: Approx. 6 hours (for the first season)
What it is: This hit comedy series from creators Dan Goor and Michael Schur is a workplace sitcom featuring some very distinct personalities — the aloof and gregarious Detective Jake Peralta (Saturday Night Live alum Andy Samberg), his fictional precinct’s dry commanding officer, Captain Ray Holt (Andre Braugher), and the rest of the motley crew of the Nine-Nine.
Why you should watch it: We’ve seen fan-initiated primetime resuscitations before, but rarely do they happen as swiftly as Brooklyn Nine-Nine’s after its unceremonious cancellation at Fox. The online outcry had barely begun before Universal Television began shopping the sitcom around, and it was scooped up by NBC just a day later — with good reason. Now that we’re a season into that “reboot,” it’s clear the series should’ve never left in the first place. Season 7 premieres on February 6 on NBC.
Commitment: Approx. 47 hours (for the first six seasons)
What it is: This anthological crime thriller from creator and showrunner Derek Simonds (and executive producer Jessica Biel, who starred on season 1 and earned her first Emmy nomination for the performance) takes the traditional whodunit thriller and turns it on its head into a whydunit. We know the titular culprit from the get, but there are unknown layers as to why they committed the central crime. The series has been a huge hit for USA Network and follows different crimes each season. Detective Harry Ambrose (Bill Pullman) is the thread that holds them all together.
Why you should watch it: The Sinner is a spin on a classic trope, and it’s executed with top-notch acting, production, and nail-biting scripts. What’s not to love? Season 3 follows Matt Bomer and Chris Messina as college buddies with a dark, secretive past. A fatal tragedy upon their reunion brings Ambrose on the case. Catch up before its February 6 premiere.
Commitment: Approx. 12 hours (for the first two seasons)
What it is: From co-creators Katja Blichfeld and Ben Sinclair, High Maintenance began as a hit web series starring Sinclair as a traveling weed deliveryman living in New York City. HBO picked it up to series in 2016 and largely retained the comedy’s original format while simply making its episodes longer.
Why you should watch it: While there are plenty of primetime programs that paint a great snippet of present-day NYC, few get the full picture the way High Maintenance does. That’s because each episode features various characters who — whether they’re hosting a swingers party, rebelling against their ultra-religious parents, or sitting home alone collecting cans of La Croix — are from such disparate walks of life that they end up inadvertently highlighting the similarities between so many dwellers of the concrete jungle. (And we promise those similarities go beyond enjoying the green.) Season 4 premieres on February 7 on HBO.
Commitment: Approx. 12.5 hours (for the first three seasons)
What it is: Homeland has gone a lot of places — some better than others — over the course of its twisty seven seasons, but it all started with the Emmy-winning combination of Sgt. Nicholas Brody (Damian Lewis) and CIA agent Carrie Mathison (Claire Danes). The former has just returned from Iraq after being missing in action; the latter suspects that his allegiances have been turned to the enemy. Let the cat-and-mouse games begin.
Why you should watch it: Homeland — led by a career-best Danes as an agent with bipolar disorder — is a masterclass in taut, edge-of-your-seat spy drama. Even when the series goes off the deep end, Danes has you simultaneously rooting for her and holding your breath. Season 8 premieres on February 9 on Showtime.
Commitment: Approx. 60 hours (for the first seven seasons)
What it is: Kidding follows a Mr. Rogers–esque children’s show host named Mr. Pickles through a divorce and into a downward, existential spiral. But at its heart, it’s just about a kindhearted guy trying to find himself while piecing his life back together.
Why you should watch it: Something about filmmaker Michel Gondry and star Jim Carrey’s creative relationship sparks magic; Kidding doesn’t just mark a grand reunion of the two artists after 15 years, but it features Carrey’s best dramatically-tinged performance since their shared Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. Add in the auteur’s trademark visual flare, and Kidding will win just about anyone over. Season 2 premieres February 9 on Showtime.
Commitment: Approx. 5 hours (for the first season)
What it is: Critically-acclaimed Spanish- and English-language Netflix original started with Narcos, taking a closer look at formidable and feared Columbian drug lord Pablo Escobar (played by Wagner Moura) and his criminal contemporaries. In 2018, Netflix launched companion series Narcos: Mexico – originally intended as season 4 of the original show – which dove into the roots of the modern drug war and the true-story rise of the cocaine trade led by the Guadalajara cartel in the 1980s.
Why you should watch it: The Narcos franchise is riveting and entertaining television, boasting fine performances and equally engaging scripts — not to mention a little-seen precision in documenting the history of the drug trade that still plagues the world today. In the Mexico seasons, Michael Peña stars as DEA agent Kiki Camarena alongside Diego Luna as cartel leader Miguel Ángel Félix Gallardo. Narcos: Mexico season 2 premieres February 13 on Netflix.
Where to watch: Netflix
Commitment: Approx. 35 hours (25.8 for three seasons of Narcos and 8.5 hours for season 1 of Narcos: Mexico)
What it is: Based on the hit fantasy novel series from author Diana Gabaldon, Outlander is the story of World War II nurse Claire (Caitriona Balfe), who is inexplicably transported back in time to 18th-century Scotland and quickly swept up in the drama and romance of Highland warrior Jamie Fraser (Sam Heughan) — despite being a married woman in her own time to Frank (Tobias Menzies).
Why you should watch it: There’s little to dislike about this lavish Starz series. Expertly-crafted performances and, ahem, titillating character arcs have consumed audiences in the kind of “who will she choose” debate unseen since Twi-hards of yore. This series, from Battlestar Galactica reboot mastermind Ronald D. Moore, has the scripts, direction, and overall production value worth fawning over, too. Season 5 premieres on February 16 on Starz.
Commitment: Approx. 55 hours (for the first four seasons)
What it is: Ever wonder how, exactly, Breaking Bad’s Saul Goodman got to be so darn slimy? AMC’s acclaimed spin-off, Better Call Saul, is here to help. The companion series satisfyingly builds on the original Vince Gilligan drama, while also coherently etching an identity of its own for viewers of all proclivities.
Why you should watch it: The series takes a character we think we know — the Saul Goodman whom Breaking Bad’s Walter White eventually meets in that Albuquerque, New Mexico, strip mall — and breaks him down to his nuts and bolts, starting at Jimmy McGill. Played wonderfully by Bob Odenkirk in what could become his career-defining (certainly career-changing) role, Saul/Jimmy and his uneasy partnership with Jonathan Banks’ Mike Ehrmantraut make for must-watch hours for any lover of prestige TV, Breaking Bad die-hard or not. Season 5 premieres on February 23 on AMC.
Commitment: Approx. 32 hours (for the first four seasons)
What it is: Altered Carbon is a sci-fi epic for our time: it’s often brutal and sometimes confusing. Set in a distant dystopian future in which an individual’s consciousness can be downloaded and stored digitally to be later uploaded into a new body, otherwise known as a “sleeve,” life and death have little meaning in this world. But this advancement in technology allows only an elite and wealthy few to actually live their lives for hundreds of years, while those less fortunate only degrade, descending further and further into destitution.
Why you should watch it: This Netflix adaptation of Richard K. Morgan’s acclaimed 2002 novel from creator Laeta Kalogridis received mixed reviews upon its 2018 premiere, but was a hit with genre fans new and old alike. While Joel Kinnaman was absolutely killer as the latest incarnation of the mysterious time-jumping hero Takeshi Kovacs, these new episodes give Takeshi Kovacs a new sleeve: Anthony Mackie. Season 2 premieres on February 27 on Netflix.
Where to watch: Netflix
Commitment: Approx. 8.5 hours (for the first season)
Why you should watch it: Netflix brought the first two seasons of the lavish German series to U.S. audiences in 2017. Together, the seasons are Certified Fresh at 100% for painting a head-spinning tableau of corruption, drug dealing, and weapons trafficking that tests the young inspector’s sense of loyalty and dedication to the truth. Season 3 launches on February 28 on Netflix.
Where to watch: Netflix
Commitment: Approx. 12 hours
Thumbnail image: JoJo Whilden / ©Showtime Network, © Fox, Nicole Wilder/AMC/Sony Pictures
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.