1. “The Fall” Season 3 (available October 29)
Why Should I Watch It? The official follow-up to “The X-Files” was released earlier this year, when the ill-fated Season 10 debuted and managed to, at best, somewhat resemble the groundbreaking original series. But its true successor — one worthy of the Fox drama’s elite status — came even sooner. Gillian Anderson picked up a new badge and started going after baddies once more when “The Fall” debuted on BBC2 in the summer of 2013. Since then, we’ve only gotten one more season. But it was an absolute doozy, making the wait for Season 3 utterly unbearable. If somehow you haven’t watched yet, get on it. This is peak Gillian Anderson, peak cop drama and peak TV — period.
Best Episode: I hate picking finales — it just seems so easy — but “What is in me Dark Illumine” marks the culmination of everything that came before. [Spoiler alert] Stella (Anderson) finally sits down with Paul (Jamie Dornan) for what can only be described as the most sexually charged interrogation ever put to film. Things get a lot crazier from there, and what comes next is anyone’s guess. Season 3 can’t get here fast enough!
2. “The Grinder” Season 1 (available October 4)
Why Should I Watch It? We can give you a more detailed breakdown of why you should watch “The Grinder” — Rob Lowe’s cancelled (or was it?) Fox comedy about an actor who played a lawyer on TV who tries to become a real lawyer — but you should probably just watch it first. The meta half-hour sitcom is the smartest thing to come out of broadcast television since “30 Rock,” and how joyously it skewers its procedural network partners should put a smile on anyone’s face. Plus, Rob Lowe. Come on, you guys. Rob Lowe is so funny.
Best Episode: Got to agree with my boy Rob and go with “A System on Trial,” Episode 19. When Dean Sr. (William Devane) is accused of having anger issues that could put his case in jeopardy, Dean decides to use an old Hollywood trick to save him: Poll a focus group. The choice itself allows for quite a bit of levity — when has a TV critique of focus groups gone wrong? — all while providing ample ammunition for “The Grinder” scribes to strike back against the network strategies that eventually doomed their show. It’s great when the show takes on TV tropes, even when, in hindsight, it’s sad that standing up for originality ended up putting “The Grinder” on the bench.
3. “Black Mirror” Season 3, Part 1 (available October 21)
Why Should I Watch It? Frankly, this is the only instance in which this question needs to be taken seriously. Usually, if a show appears on this list, you’re safe to assume you should watch it simply because my word is law. But “Black Mirror” is a particularly difficult series to stomach, and one that could be even harder to survive if you decide to binge it. In Netflix’s own words, “‘Black Mirror’ is an anthology series that taps into our collective unease with the modern world, with each standalone episode a sharp, suspenseful tale exploring themes of contemporary techno-paranoia.” “Unease” is putting it lightly, but we will say the emotional distress is almost always worth the time invested. Just don’t over-indulge.
Best Episode: We haven’t seen all of them, but it’s already impossible to choose. I mean, you’ve got an episode starring Mackenzie Davis and Gugu Mbatha-Raw (“San Junipero”). There’s another (“Men Against Fire”) starring “House of Cards” favorite Michael Kelly and directed by Jakob Verbruggen, who worked on a little show called “The Fall”(!). But our money has to be on Joe Wright’s twisted dystopian tale (“Nosedive”) as written by Mike G.D. Schur and Rashida Freaking Jones (of “Parks and Recreation” fame, duh). You just can’t top that kind of behind-the-scenes talent, especially in a series known for creative ideas executed with unparalleled vision.
4. “The Flash” Season 2 (available October 4)
Why Should I Watch It? You’ve heard it time and time again over the past six months — ever since “Batman v. Superman” stampeded through theaters, destroying childhoods with convoluted storylines aimed to make our favorite caped crusaders fight each other instead of the bad guys — but The CW is where comic book fans need to be right now. Ezra Miller’s brief screen time in the aforementioned abomination was topped by his presence in the “Justice League” trailer, but that suit illustrates everything wrong with the D.C. film team’s vision for the lightning fast hero — Why does it look so damn chunky? — and destroyed what little hope we had for his big screen adventure. Stick with Grant Gustin’s sleek and smart interpretation of the speedster, and you’ll be happy.
Best Episode: “Parallel Earths” may not be a term you’d expect to encounter in a superhero show on The CW. Sure, the network has debuted some loopy, goofy garbage, but that’s just it — the more absurd the premise, the worse the show gets. “The Flash” uniquely subverts these expectations with “Welcome to Earth 2” and “Escape From Earth 2” — a two-part episode that’s describing a second earth, not labeling the episode as a sequel to “Welcome to Earth” and “Escape From Earth.” Anyway, it’s a bit confusing, but quite enjoyable. So do enjoy.
5. “iZombie” Season 2 (available October 6)
Why Should I Watch It? “iZombie” is a TV show created by Rob Thomas. Rob Thomas is a professional television writer not to be confused with Rob Thomas, the Matchbox 20 frontman. The common confusion of the two did not deter either artist, however. Instead, they embraced it, as Rob Thomas (the singer) guest starred on Rob Thomas’ (the writer) TV show. Imagine similar delights within a smart story about zombies living among us, and you’ll no doubt be down for sampling “iZombie.”
Best Episode: Per IndieWire’s Senior Editor and Chief “iZombie” Correspondent Hanh Nguyen, “Zombie Bro” is where it’s at in Season 2 of the CW favorite: “Liv eats a frat guy’s brains and starts bro-ing out hard: chugging drinks, making lame jokes and playing beer pong. She also wears a dress made from crime scene tape, which is pretty cool on its own. Also unrelated: Ravi and Major get to hang out together in a club and take a drug ‘for research purposes,’ leading to much dancing being done in ‘Zombie Bro.'”
6. “Arrow” Season 4 (available October 5)
Why Should I Watch It? “Arrow,” well, “Arrow” can get a little dark. With successful early seasons comes demands to top them, and the folks behind this CW super hit have been valiantly trying to do just that. They often succeed (or come close enough), but attempts to ratchet up the drama have led to some heavy moments, and Season 4 is no exception. One harrowing death and one harrowing near-death don’t make up the only somber twists, so prepare yourself accordingly.
Best Episode: The second episode of Season 4, “The Candidate,” sets up a major storyline: the mayoral election. Guest-starring Jeri Ryan and featuring a number of key characters moving forward, the episode is more than just table setting. It’s an entertaining hour worth a standalone watch.
7. “The Ranch” Season 1, Part 2 (available October 7)
Why Should I Watch It? Nearly six months to the day since Part 1 was released — which, it should be noted, was 10 full episodes by itself — Netflix is ready to open “The Ranch” Part 2. It should absolutely remain shut. Sure, Sam Elliott and Debra Winger are delightful. Yes, there are even some distinctly rural observations to be savored in a TV world existing almost completely in urban environments. OK, I’ll even admit I chuckled a few times. But “The Ranch” ruins what little good will it builds by painting anyone who prefers wide-open spaces to cramped quarters as sexist oafs without a sense of humor. The only reason it’s on this list is to remind you of as much — We could have warned you about “American Horror Story: Hotel,” but the ship has sailed on that franchise. So here we are, reminding you once again: Not all Netflix original series are created equal.
Best Episode: We haven’t seen it yet, but we hope — and doubt — it’s coming in Part 2.
The Rest of Incoming TV
“Unsealed: Alien Files” Season 4 (available October 1)
“American Horror Story: Hotel” Season 5 (available October 4)
“Supernatural” Season 11 (available October 7)
“The Originals” Season 3 (available October 8)
“Vampire Diaries” Season 7 (available October 8)
“Kuromukuro” Season 2 (available October 10)
“DC’s Legends of Tomorrow” Season 1 (available October 13)
“Haters Back Off!” Season 1 (available October 14)
“Project MC2” Season 3 (available October 14)
“Glitch” Season 1 (available October 15)
“Dark Matter” Season 2 (available October 16)
“Containment” Season 1 (available October 21)
“Word Party” Season 2 (available October 21)
“Doctor Foster” Season 1 (available October 24)