1) “Jane the Virgin” Season 1 (available October 12)
Why Should I Watch It? The CW has been focusing on building a very specific brand for some time now, but that brand was largely been ignorable to anyone over the age of 16. Not anymore. With a Golden Globe win for Best Actress in a Musical or Comedy and a bounty of critical adoration, “Jane the Virgin” broke the mold set by its network while also establishing a new standard for primetime telenovelas. Both soapy and sweet, Jennie Snyder Urman’s hour-long dramedy plays well for all ages — even better for those of us with drivers’ licenses.
Best Episode: Frankly, it’s hard to go wrong with most of the first season, and (per usual) the premiere and finale episodes certainly stand out. But with twin brother and baby daddy drama in droves, “Chapter 14” is one of a dozen highlights in this 22-episode set. Damn it, Rafael! Couldn’t you tell it was too soon to let Luisa out of the mental hospital? Esta muy loca! And how does she still have control of any stock shares? Ay dios mio. Lo siento para los alerones.
2) “American Horror Story: Freak Show” (available October 6)
Why Should I Watch It? Because this is Jessica Lange’s world, and we’re just living in it. After four seasons of embodying many forms of terror for Ryan Murphy’s twisted anthology series, the Oscar-winning actress has left the series. Sure, Lady Gaga replaced her — who somehow fits right in despite zero acting experience — but what better way to celebrate Halloween this month than by reliving Lange’s final journey through the “Freak Show”?
Best Episode: “Freak Show” wasn’t the series’ best year (debate among yourselves whether it’s “Murder House” or “Asylum,” and then admit it’s “Murder House”), but that only makes it easier to pick the best episode. “Bullseye” (Episode 6) features Lange whipping daggers, people! What could be better than that?
3) “The Flash” Season 1 (available October 6)
Why Should I Watch It? Remember how I said The CW’s brand was anyone under the age of 14? Well, that includes emotional age, thus allowing nerds everywhere to make the cut. Don’t get me wrong: Nerds are great, as long as they’re not trying to convince me “Iron Man 2” through “10” were good movies (and I’ve even got a bit of nerd in me when it comes to “Green Lantern,” a comic and film superior to 75 percent of Marvel movies). But The CW is capitalizing on the mass audience superhero appeal here, meaning that not only is it cool to be a nerd these days (and always), but more and more people are getting in touch with their 14-year-old selves.
Best Episode: It’s tempting to pick a favorite based solely on episode titles: “Rogue Air,” “Rogue Time,” Revenge of the Rogues” and “Going Rogue” all certainly earn marks for originality, but “Flash v. Arrow” takes the cake. It’s just hard to top two superheroes for the time of one, and Stephen Amell has proven himself a welcome site anywhere, after crushing it on WWE earlier this year. If you can only watch one episode, why not cover more ground with a crossover?
4) “Arrow” Season 3 (available October 7)
Why Should I Watch It? Well, you just watched the crossover with “The Flash” didn’t you? So you get the appeal of “Arrow,” right? Wait. Do people not take these rankings seriously? Come on, guys. I am putting a lot of work into ordering these shows for your viewing pleasure. You could at least humor me.
Best Episode: “The Brave and the Bold”! Come on! I just told you…oh, wait. I didn’t explain that “The Brave and the Bold” is the second part of “The Flash”/”Arrow” crossover episode. I’m sorry. I’m still hurting.
5) “iZombie” Season 1 (available October 6)
Why Should I Watch It? Okay, this is what I was talking about earlier. “iZombie” is a CW series about a young crime-solving zombie. With casual quips and zombie-based humor, the series is set firmly in its police procedural mold, but with a fun twist for young viewers who just can’t get enough of those dead-eyed, dead-skinned and generally dead walkers.
Best Episode: If there was an award for Outstanding Episode Title at the Emmys, right up there with “The Flash” and all its “Rogues” would be “Dead Rat, Live Rat, Brown Rat, White Rat.” Never mind what happens in the episode — Sebastian flashes back to when he was turned into a zombie and killed a local musician; then, during an investigation into his death, Liv eats the brain of the rock ‘n roller and falls back into her high school persona (you know, because the guy was a high schooler and zombies act like the people they eat) — this episode can’t be topped.
6) “Legends” Season 1 (available October 7)
Why Should I Watch It? Two things you need to know: First and foremost, “Legends” is not the upcoming film starring two Tom Hardys. If you click over to “Legends” on October 7 expecting to see Tom Hardy Twin No. 1 engage in homoerotic banter with Tom Hardy Twin No. 2, boy, are you bound to be disappointed. This, however, leads us nicely to our second point: Do not watch “Legends.” Its appearance on this list is mainly me pranking my editor, Liz Shannon Miller, who wasn’t the biggest fan of this TNT drama. Watch “Legend” instead (in theaters November 20 in the U.S.).
Best Episode: Though I found this choice to be a bit too easy, Ms. Miller insists the pilot is the best of the lot. She seemed super-smitten by the extreme originality of a female cop’s “stripper scene,” where Ali Larter’s character goes undercover as a woman who takes her clothes off for money because, really, what else could she possibly be good for? “It’s for the good of the case!” Ms. Miller screamed at me when I tried to argue Ms. Larter deserved better. Very well. Watch the pilot and you all can decide for yourselves.
7) “Hemlock Grove” Season 3 (available October 23)
Why Should I Watch It? If you are a true Netflix purist, then it is your sworn duty to watch every single episode of Netflix Original Content, including (but not limited to) all of “Hemlock Grove.” The good news: Season 3 is the final entry in executive producer (and one-time director) Eli Roth’s horror saga. The bad news: Unless you’re a fan of extremely graphic imagery, your stomach is in for a rough few nights.
Best Episode: The last one…that is all.
The Rest of Incoming TV:
“Monkey Thieves” Seasons 1-3 (October 1)
“Wakfu” Season 1 (October 1)
“Reign” Season 2 (October 2)
“The Vampire Diaries” Season 6 (October 2)
“Last Man Standing” Season 4 (October 6)
“The Originals” Season 2 (October 6)
“Flor Salvaje” Season 1 (October 7)
“Supernatural” Season 10 (October 7)
“MIghty Med” Season 2 (October 9)
“The Mr. Peabody and Sherman Show” Season 1 (October 9)
“Jake and the Never Land Pirates” Season 3 (October 11)
“All Hail King Julien” Season 2 (October 16)
“Some Assembly Required” Season 2 (October 16)
“The Principal” Season 1 (October 16)
“Marvel’s Avengers Assemble” (October 18)
“Chasing Life” Season 2 (October 28)
“Popples” Season 1 (October 30)