1) “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia” (Season 9 available November 1)
Why Should I Watch It? By now, just about anyone who wants to watch “It’s Always Sunny,” the Philly-set modern “Seinfeld” with an extra degree of anger, has had the opportunity to do so. It’s been on FX for nearly a decade and available via Netflix for a number of years as well. Yet two things may have kept viewers, fans even, from watching Season 9. First, the series moved to FXX, the relatively new sister channel to FX which sports the network’s comedies (though not all of them). Second, people seem to be under the incorrect impression that “It’s Always Sunny” has lost its magic. While there were a few uneven seasons around 2009-2010, the gang bounced back in a big way. Catch up if you want, but don’t skip out.
Best Episode: There are a number of excellent episodes to choose from, including two harkening back to classic episodes of old (“The Gang Makes ‘Lethal Weapon 6′” and “Gun Fever Too: Still Hot”), but the crown jewel of the season for anyone who works in the entertainment industry — or loves it — is “The Gang Tries Desperately to Win an Award.” In an attempt to contend for the Best Bar in Philly award, Mac, Charlie, Dennis and Dee stake out the competition and try to woo the media to cover their bar. Hijinks ensue. Parodies ensue. Do enjoy.
2) “Portlandia” (Season 4 available November 1)
Why Should I Watch It? You’re not watching it? I don’t…how? How have you not watched it? Sketches have gone viral, awards have been awarded, and the city of Portland has been revitalized as a vibrant and important part of the American landscape. I’d say you don’t need to worry about catching up if you were suddenly grabbed by the urge to pick up with Season 4, but then you’d be missing out on three years worth of joy. Don’t do that. Binge away.
Best Episode: I personally can’t get enough of Kyle MacLachlan’s Mr. Mayor, so “3D Printer” would be my pick. That being said, Kirsten Dunst’s appearance in the Season 4 premiere as the owner of a haunted house possessed by all-too-knowledgeable ghosts is hard to resist. What am I saying? Just watch them all.
“Doc Martin” (Series 6 available November 15) “Peaky Blinders” (available now)
Why Should I Watch It? I can’t tell you why you should watch “Doc Martin” because I certainly have not done so myself. Sadly, there’s not a lot of options on the TV front this month, so this British medical comedy made the cut by default (and landed its Top 3 slot because, well, I originally thought it was an animated show). I’m sure some of our lovely readers will share stories about this and a few other shows on the list in the comments section below, so look there if you need more than curiosity and blind faith to watch “Doc Martin.”
Okay…So What Should I Watch Instead? Well, if you’re in the mood for entertainment from across the pond, I can guarantee you one thing: “Peaky Blinders” does not disappoint. In fact, the recently-acquired Netflix drama about a gangster family led by Cillian Murphy is surprisingly gripping entertainment. Showing up as a surprise addition to Netflix’s September slate, “Peaky Blinders” has the feel of a “Boardwalk Empire” — all glossed up with not a lot to do — but some of the early moments in this brief series do manage to stand out. Just wait til you see the Peaky Blinders crew go to town on a rival gang with only the back of their hats. You’ll have forgotten all about “Doc Martin” by then.
4) “Lilyhammer” (Season 3 available November 21)
Why Should I Watch It? “Lilyhammer” isn’t a show that should be given too much recognition, but its relevance comes from the wall it broke down in 2012 when it became the first piece of “exclusive content” ever provided by Netflix. Originally airing in Norway (only a few days before premiering on Netflix), “Lilyhammer” is the first in what’s become a vastly diverse library of Netflix Originals. Without it, who knows whether this column would even exist, and that would be a crying shame.
Best Episode: Based on the reasons above, it would be tempting to say the pilot episode, “Reality Check,” is the most important episode of the series. That, however, wouldn’t be true. What made and makes Netflix the groundbreaking force it is today isn’t that it airs original TV shows. it’s that it gives us full seasons all at once. Netflix allowed us the option to watch however we so choose and from the very beginning of heavily hyped and marketed new series. Therefore the best episode of “Lilyhammer” isn’t “Reality Check.” It’s all of Season 1.
5) “Helix” (Season 1 available November 10)
Why Should I Watch It? SyFy’s original series from earlier this year has two things going for it: Ronald D. Moore, the lead developer for “Battlestar Galactica,” is an executive producer and Billy Campbell is one of the leads. Frankly, I trust a show with Billy Campbell just as much as one from Moore — which, yes, did lead to a disastrous relationship with “The Killing” — but for some reason I never found the time to watch “Helix.” Yes, the Syfy horror series about a deadly viral outbreak in the arctic is another I have not seen, so can’t wholeheartedly recommend it. Luckily, there is something with Mr. Campbell that’s also new to Netflix in November that I can get behind in full.
Best Billy Campbell-starring Project on Netflix: “The Rocketeer” (available November 1) is so unbelievably good you’ll actually want to watch “The Killing” (if you haven’t already made that mistake), so you better believe you’ll be ready for “Helix” after sitting through the rousing period adventure chronicling the life of Cliff, a young pilot who finds a prototype jetpack that allows him to become one of our first superheroes. I am not kidding when I say this is a legitimately great film, and luckily anyone born before 1985 will agree with me. Watch it. And then, maybe, watch “Helix.”
“Nikita” (Season 4 available November 22) “Mission: Impossible III” (available now)
Why Should I Watch It? Do NOT watch “Nikita.” I love Maggie Q as much as the next action junkie with fond memories of “Live Free or Die Hard,” but this CW show got axed after three seasons for a reason. It’s not up to CW standards, and that means The CW before it figured out how to utilize DC Comics’ superheroes. Think about that last sentence for a second, then please watch anything other than “Nikita.”
Okay…So What Should I Watch Instead? Considering why you were considering “Nikita” in the first place — action + attraction — I’d vote you seek out Maggie Q in her best film on Netflix: “Mission: Impossible III.” Sure, she plays a tertiary part in J.J. Abrams’ pre-“Star Trek” action flick, but revisiting the mislabeled box office dud is a worthwhile endeavor. Why? For one, you’ll realize it’s the best of the franchise. Two, you’ll realize it’s Abrams’ best film. Three, you might be willing to give Tom Cruise a second chance. Four, that could lead to you watching “Edge of Tomorrow,” the best action film of 2014 featuring an incredibly talented, attractive, female lead. And isn’t that why you got into this whole mess to begin with?
7) “Bomb Girls” (Season 3 available November 26)
Why Should I Watch It? The last time Netflix unveiled a show with this many female leads, “Orange is the New Black” nearly won some Emmys. Well, we all at least thought it would, which is a huge step for the streaming giant. “Bomb Girls” isn’t a Netflix original — it’s a Canadian TV show that’s been airing on ReelzChannel in the U.S. Originally, it was meant to be a miniseries, but apparently demand has been high for the drama about women working in an ammunitions warehouse during World War II. Hulu may have the WGN America period drama to counter it in “Manhattan,” but those guys can’t compete with these Canucks when it comes to tearing down gender barriers.
Best Episode: I have no idea. “Bomb Girls” Season 3, by all intents and purposes, does not exist. A “Bomb Girls” two-hour movie was released in 2014 for our friends up north, but no Season 3 has hit the airwaves yet. So, let’s just say whatever shows up on November 26 is the best of the best.
“Wolfblood” (Season 2 available November 15)
(That’s it. We told you there were slim pickins on Netflix TV this month.)