Binge Guide

9 TV Shows You Should Binge-Watch This January

Star Trek: The Next Generation, Sex Education, Doctor Who, Shrill, The Magicians, and BoJack Horseman are among the month's top binge TV offerings.

by | January 2, 2020 | Comments

As the 2010s comes to a close, so do a number of beloved comedy series this month — cheers to you, Schitt’s Creek and Bojack Horseman! But not to worry: The rest of January has plenty of returning fan-favorites, plus an ultra-buzzy sci-fi sequel series decades in the making. Catch up on all that and more in this month’s binge guide.

Doctor Who 90% (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 an actress, over the years) and his companions — in the two newest seasons 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 making her grand debut last season as the first female Doctor, there’s never been a better time to jump aboard. Season 12 premiered Jan. 1 on BBC America — we recommend you begin with the 2006 relaunch.

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

Commitment: Approx. 101 hours (for the first 11 seasons of the relaunch)

Schitt's Creek 93% (Pop TV)

What it is: Father and son co-creators Dan Levy and Eugene Levy pack in the laughs as the fictional father and son within the Roses, a millionaire mogul family. They are joined by Catherine O’Hara as wacky matriarch Moira and Annie Murphy as the ditzy daughter Alexis. When they lose their fortune, they’re forced to relocate to their sole possession: the town of Schitt’s Creek, which was bought as a gag gift years prior. The ensuing five seasons follows the family as they adjust to their new life and learn to call that small, unfortunately-named town home.

Why you should watch it: We love a success story, and Schitt’s Creek has one of our favorite little-show-that-could narratives of the decade. While always well-received and enjoyed by its niche Pop TV and CBC audience, this Canadian television series didn’t really bloom until hitting Netflix, where its bingeable 30-minute episodes — full, in equal measure, of both humor and heart — were eaten up by American audiences who became eager for more. Cut to 2018 Emmy nominations for best comedy series and lead actors Eugene Levy and O’Hara, and we’ve no doubt that season 6 will wrap the series on a touching — and hilarious — high note. Season 6 premieres Jan. 6 on Pop TV.

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

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

The New Pope 90% (HBO)

What it is: From the mind of Italian filmmaker Paolo Sorrentino, The New Pope is a John Malkovich–starring follow-up to The Young Pope, which dramatizes the controversial rise of Pope Pius XIII (Jude Law), the world’s first American Pope.

Why you should watch it: As the first Italian series to be nominated at the Primetime Emmy Awards and the first television series to host its world premiere at the Venice International Film Festival, The Young Pope is nothing if not cinematic in scope and aesthetic — and led by Law and Diane Keaton on season 1, it’s got the star power to back it all up. Season 2 premieres Jan. 13 on HBO.

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

Commitment: Approx. 10 hours (for the first season)

The Magicians 91% (SyFy)

What it is: Based on the acclaimed fantasy series by Lev Grossman and from producers Michael London, Janice Williams, John McNamara, and Sera Gamble, The Magicians follows Quentin Coldwater (Jason Ralph) after he enrolls in Brakebills University for Magical Pedagogy in New York. What follows for the young magician is a collision between our world and a threatening fantasy world with nothing less at stake than reality as we know it.

Why you should watch it: The Magicians has all the straight-up drama that comes with magic, secret academies, and battles between good and evil — and it’s a whole lot of crazy fun, too. Season 5 premieres Jan. 15 on Syfy.

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

Commitment: Approx. 39 hours (for the first four seasons)

Sex Education 95% (Netflix)

What it is: This British teen dramedy from creator Laurie Nunn tells the story of a high school outsider who, buoyed by the tricks he’s picked up from his sex therapist helicopter mom, begins his own sex therapy practice out of an abandoned bathroom — to booming results.

Why you should watch it: You’d be hard-pressed to find a 2019 series whose ensemble was quite as immediately loveable — though a bit chaotic — as this one. The pitch-perfect cast is led by Asa Butterfield as Otis and a scene-stealing, never-better (if you can believe it) Gillian Anderson as his mother, Jean; the nuances of their fraught and evolving relationship paired with the high school dramas of puberty and beyond make this a must-watch. Season 2 premieres Jan. 17 on Netflix.

Where to watch: Netflix

Commitment: Approx. 8 hours (for the first season)

The Bold Type 89% (Freeform)

What it is: With industry-specific dramas pulled directly from Cosmopolitan editor-in-chief (and series executive producer) Joanna Coles’ decades-spanning career, The Bold Type follows the day-to-day adventures of three millennial New Yorkers and best friends who work together at the fictional fashion magazine Scarlet.

Why you should watch it: From Ugly Betty to The Devil Wears Prada, the New York fashion magazine and media industry has proven a fine playing field for high-stakes drama and fantastic wardrobes. The Bold Type dives right in and still finds ways to make this well-documented world newly exciting. That’s largely thanks to a stellar cast led by Katie Stevens as Jane Sloan, one-third of the BFF and co-worker trio that also includes Aisha Dee as Kat Edison and Meghann Fahy as Sutton Brady. Season 4 premieres Jan. 23 on Freeform.

Where to watch: Amazon, FandangoNow, Google Play, Hulu, Microsoft, Vudu

Commitment: Approx. 21 hours (for the first three seasons)

Star Trek: The Next Generation 91% (CBS All Access)

What it is: To catch up on the Star Trek universe as shown in this month’s Star Trek: Picard, we’re recommending you revisit The Next Generation (and perhaps the franchises’ 2002 feature film, Nemesis) for a wintry binge. As the series that first introduced the USS Enterprise’s Captain Picard, played by the legendary Sir Patrick Stewart, TNG sets the stage for the 20-years-later action that befalls the captain after he disassociates from Starfleet.

Why you should watch it:  While the Picard creative team, including showrunner Alex Kurtzman, have emphasized that this series will be accessible to newbie Trekkies, a binge of TNG will inform your foundational knowledge of those revisiting the Picard world (including Data and William Riker from the trailer alone) while giving you a fine excuse to watch a classic!

Set 20 years after Picard goes into retirement and isolation, the new CBS All Access series marks the grand return of one of today’s most iconic heroes. The story picks up with the unexpected arrival of Dahj (Isa Briones), a young woman who turns to Picard for help following an enormous trauma, in turn reigniting the former captain’s desire to return to Starfleet. Season 1 of Star Trek: Picard premieres Jan. 23 on CBS All Access.

Where to watch: Amazon, CBS All Access, FandangoNOW, Google Play, Hulu, Microsoft, Netflix, Vudu

Commitment: Approx. 132 hours (for all seven seasons)

Shrill 88% (Hulu)

What it is: Based on the hit book by Lindy West and co-created by Alexandra Rushfield and Aidy Bryant (who also stars), this series puts a feminist, body-positive spin on the classic workplace drama as our hero Annie Easton (Bryant) finds her voice as a journalist and learns to love herself in unexpected ways.

Why you should watch it: Saturday Night Live stalwart Bryant is finally given a star-making vehicle with Shrill, which earnestly and humorously portrays the daily microaggressions plus-size women face in the office and beyond. Season 2 premieres Jan. 24 on Hulu.

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

Commitment: Approx. 3 hours (for the first season)

BoJack Horseman 93% (Netflix)

What it is: BoJack Horseman (voiced by Will Arnett) was once the hottest horse in town, star of a hit sitcom and riding high in Tinseltown. Fast-forward 20 years, though, and he’s a depressive has-been — and our titular protagonist of this hit Netflix comedy.

Why you should watch it: It’s not often that an alcoholic horse and a fictionalized Hollywood full of as many flawed humans as talking animals teaches you about yourself, but this one does — trust us! There’s reason BoJack’s blend of pitch-black humor and weighty human circumstance has gained such a cult following over the last five seasons. The second half of season 6 — the series’ final episodes — premieres Jan. 31 on Netflix.

Where to watch: Netflix

Commitment: Approx. 34 hours (for the first five seasons and first half of season 6)

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