Binge Guide

11 TV Shows You Should Binge-Watch This January

Netflix's Cobra Kai, Apple TV+'s Servant and Dickinson, the DC Comics series Batwoman, and more shows to catch up on this month.

by | December 31, 2020 | Comments

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)

On an Apple device? Follow Rotten Tomatoes on Apple News.

Tag Cloud

legend cinemax concert cancelled TV shows romantic comedy news Sci-Fi art house Horror mockumentary jamie lee curtis BAFTA a nightmare on elm street superman Lifetime Christmas movies Red Carpet Starz MGM Dark Horse Comics finale lord of the rings posters Hollywood Foreign Press Association olympics PBS Reality robots cartoon trailers razzies natural history gangster Spectrum Originals werewolf WarnerMedia Tubi Cartoon Network social media YouTube Red Trailer golden globes dragons black singing competition Hallmark Universal Pictures Hear Us Out Exclusive Video mutant deadpool ITV HBO ViacomCBS APB comic book movies dreamworks king arthur Syfy adventure FOX IMDb TV saw foreign See It Skip It Binge Guide prank 45 TV screenings Mindy Kaling adaptation Paramount Fantasy Photos IFC CMT remakes boxing football comic book movie Logo Food Network PaleyFest Classic Film dramedy adenture scary asian-american royal family streaming movies Comic-Con@Home 2021 critic resources romance parents documentaries dexter movies biopic french Wes Anderson richard e. Grant rotten movies we love Super Bowl 007 Fall TV LGBTQ medical drama Esquire children's TV transformers Winter TV The CW disaster leaderboard MSNBC Best and Worst dceu Spring TV monster movies MCU VH1 zombies Anna Paquin doctor who ABC Box Office rom-coms Writers Guild of America South by Southwest Film Festival Instagram Live critics Tarantino Toys CBS vampires Marvel Studios marvel comics live action Video Games Crunchyroll Turner Focus Features universal monsters Epix Sundance Now international First Look Amazon Prime Video sag awards psycho 73rd Emmy Awards 1990s telelvision Martial Arts festival Lucasfilm Pop vs. theme song hist tv talk Travel Channel target comics Amazon Studios SXSW 2022 toy story Pixar Disney Plus summer preview Lionsgate dark free movies 2018 toronto SXSW Sundance TV HFPA Certified Fresh sopranos debate classics criterion Song of Ice and Fire new zealand A24 stand-up comedy hidden camera Action 2021 Apple FXX popular indie kids Comedy Marvel Television TCA Awards The Academy BBC Animation aapi New York Comic Con thriller TLC Schedule Universal streaming Extras Film Festival obituary politics TIFF TV renewals green book indiana jones franchise Mudbound Peacock Holidays comic books suspense Disney+ Disney Plus anthology game of thrones YouTube reviews E! ABC Family 71st Emmy Awards 2019 slasher RT History 94th Oscars hispanic The Arrangement Masterpiece Rom-Com Television Critics Association facebook trophy Tomatazos screen actors guild game show godzilla stoner Biopics Awards technology period drama The Walking Dead spain book adaptation scary movies witnail Opinion BET Awards teaser Marathons comedies Pacific Islander The Walt Disney Company comiccon true crime australia Reality Competition Best Actor psychological thriller documentary mob Fox News Apple TV+ Women's History Month Kids & Family aliens what to watch Apple TV Plus Trivia Infographic Premiere Dates Mary Tyler Moore television slashers Rocky CW Seed cults hollywood cancelled new star wars movies Rock diversity BBC America Sneak Peek kong genre spanish language nbcuniversal japan series Musical video on demand Disney Channel young adult LGBT IFC Films high school Star Trek stop motion cars jurassic park Adult Swim crime drama USA DirecTV AMC sequel DC streaming service Teen zero dark thirty latino political drama rt labs critics edition blaxploitation worst name the review TV One El Rey ID cancelled TV series FX OWN Marvel Set visit 2015 TCM Superheroe Amazon justice league DGA christmas movies Best Director Elton John scorecard Nominations Funimation war sports binge The Purge PlayStation President Best Actress Netflix animated Best Picture Mary poppins Vudu Nickelodeon Columbia Pictures Holiday sequels crime thriller best fast and furious emmy awards Quiz satire E3 Valentine's Day 90s 93rd Oscars Grammys NYCC Podcast History Star Wars Walt Disney Pictures BBC One Lifetime joker Superheroes Cosplay canceled Trophy Talk SDCC movie revenge 24 frames Interview Spike Showtime YA VOD TNT festivals Paramount Pictures Brie Larson Hulu Broadway 99% Fargo dogs women Fox Searchlight DC Universe golden globe awards TBS Summer cops composers Legendary Film hispanic heritage month action-comedy japanese ABC Signature Country Chilling Adventures of Sabrina Comic Book RT21 TCA Winter 2020 Creative Arts Emmys 21st Century Fox Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt child's play cats American Society of Cinematographers Acorn TV TruTV NBA spanish Crackle award winner Western canceled TV shows obi wan National Geographic reboot science fiction Watching Series historical drama james bond Amazon Prime Warner Bros. venice Mystery Nat Geo comic Academy Awards YouTube Premium breaking bad Winners Television Academy 2017 Mary Poppins Returns Heroines fresh casting Black History Month independent sitcom interviews Shondaland TV movies all-time pirates of the caribbean based on movie Pride Month Year in Review nfl miniseries Discovery Channel basketball quibi Ellie Kemper ratings streamig cooking versus Polls and Games TV Land Endgame Pet Sematary 20th Century Fox spinoff Rocketman rotten Oscars Freeform directors Music serial killer HBO Go archives Tumblr Pop TV GLAAD dc king kong book rt archives worst movies halloween wonder woman SundanceTV scene in color crime CNN summer TV Countdown Stephen King nature Prime Video VICE spider-verse mission: impossible Cannes talk show CBS All Access films Sony Pictures superhero live event supernatural X-Men Calendar summer TV preview police drama Bravo Ghostbusters HBO Max cancelled television Black Mirror Netflix Christmas movies laika San Diego Comic-Con The Witch broadcast Ovation Chernobyl die hard Disney Britbox anime 2016 4/20 chucky ghosts video NBC feel good 78th Annual Golden Globe Awards mcc elevated horror Emmys discovery docuseries heist movie Thanksgiving 2020 docudrama AMC Plus south america blockbuster First Reviews boxoffice Character Guide rt labs halloween tv spy thriller Image Comics italian TCA Drama USA Network Pirates GoT renewed TV shows Sundance Paramount Plus crossover Shudder Baby Yoda strong female leads Alien Arrowverse Avengers BET Disney streaming service blockbusters Christmas batman Tokyo Olympics DC Comics twilight harry potter know your critic Emmy Nominations Turner Classic Movies new york unscripted FX on Hulu biography WGN Hallmark Christmas movies ESPN marvel cinematic universe Family MTV OneApp Awards Tour 79th Golden Globes Awards Musicals Captain marvel A&E black comedy travel 72 Emmy Awards kaiju Oscar zombie Tags: Comedy space Election Comics on TV spider-man GIFs Paramount Network TCA 2017 Comedy Central Neflix