1. “A Very Murray Christmas” (available December 4)
Why Should I Watch It? Because we already told you to! Don’t worry. Though it’s beyond reason how you could miss out on an Indiewire review (especially one from yours truly), Christmas is a time for forgiveness. So I’ll tell you again, without reproach, why you should watch “A Very Murray Christmas”: The “Murray” in the title? It’s not referring to Brian Doyle-Murray, Demarco Murray or even United States Senator Patty Murray. It’s Bill Murray. Bill Murray is hosting a Christmas special. Watch it.
Best Episode: Technically, “A Very Murray Christmas” is only one episode. It could even be considered a movie, since it goes beyond the 40-minute minimum for an episode. But if you break it up into the many musical performances sung by famous faces of today and yesteryear, then you’ve got yourself a ranking; a ranking Indiewire will be publishing very soon, so stay tuned for our picks. (Hint: Miley Cyrus will not be near the top.)
2. “Making a Murderer” Season 1 (available December 18)
Why Should I Watch It? You know a new show has some juice behind it when Indiewire Deputy Editor and Chief Film Critic Eric Kohn gets involved. Getting an early glimpse at the first few episodes while attending DOC NYC in mid-November, Kohn called the series “the documentary event of the fall.”
“The ultimate counter-programming to the opening weekend of ‘Star Wars’ when Netflix premieres all 10 episodes on December 18,” Kohn wrote, “‘Making of a Murderer’ collects a decade of filmmaking into a compelling hour-long format. Less whodunit than did-he-do-it, co-directors Laura Ricciardi and Moira Demos track the winding odyssey of Steven Avery, a Wisconsin man exonerated of one crime after nearly two decades only to wind up accused of another one.” That enough juice for ya? Yeah, us too.
Best Episode: Kohn said the series “keeps advancing its network of mysteries” and “slowly unfurls a series of twists that complicate the ambiguity in play,” making it sound like the further down the rabbit hole one goes, the better “Making a Murderer” becomes. Sounds like the perfect binge-viewing experience, does it not?
3. “F is For Family” Season 1 (available December 18)
Why Should I Watch It? The only other adult animated comedy produced by Netflix is “BoJack Horseman.” Therefore, they’re batting over 1.000, because that’s how unbelievably good “BoJack Horseman” is. Now, we’re not saying “F is For Family” will be the second coming of Raphael Bob-Waksberg’s satirical evisceration and examination of pop culture. In fact, we’re saying it won’t be, considering the basic plot is about traditional family life. But Netflix earned enough trust with “BoJack” to justify you watching every original comedy of theirs from now until probably the end of time. So get on it.
Best Episode: We have not seen “F is For Family” yet, but since we brought up its animated predecessor at Netflix — in animation and genre only — let’s go ahead and tell you what you already know: “Hollywoo Stars and Celebrities: What Do They Know? Do They Know Things? Let’s Find Out” was peak “BoJack,” making “Let’s Find Out” (Season 2, Episode 8) one of Netflix’s most important achievements.
4. “The Adventures of Puss ‘N Boots” Season 2 (available December 11)
Why Should I Watch It? What?! “Puss ‘N Boots” is back?! This is incredible! Official synopsis: “The world’s greatest feline fighter, lover and milk connoisseur…” Oh my God. I can’t even continue. What if there are spoilers? It’s not worth it. Puss in Boots is such a fantastic character. He has been since Antonio Banderas strapped on the black leather boots and red-rimmed hat in “Shrek 2” (I assume he did this in the recording booth), and he never disappointed us, even when appearing in the very disappointing “Shrek” sequels. His spinoff was an under-appreciated feat in cat-imation…wait. I feel like I’ve said this before. Oh, who cares? It’s all true! Merry Christmas, God bless America and Happy New Year: Puss ‘N Boots is back!!
Best Episode: If I had seen “The Adventures of Puss ‘N Boots” Season 2, do you think I’d be sitting here, typing out information for you schmoes? Precisely. I haven’t seen it, but I can assure you: When that Netflix banner pops up and you hear Antonio Banderas purring over the red and white logo, you’ve already begun watching the best thing on TV.
5. “Broadchurch” Season 2 (available December 1)
Why Should I Watch It? While not as well-reviewed as Season 1, the follow-up episodes of “Broadchurch” still earned largely positive reviews and are an absolute viewing requisite for anyone who had to suffer through the abominable American remake “Gracepoint.” Tracking the trial of the accused murderer — dramatically revealed at the end of Season 1 — “Broadchurch” still features David Tennant and Olivia Colman, two actors worth watching in just about anything they do (other than Tennant in “Gracepoint,” who we can only assume wanted a payday or thought he could wrestle control away from the fools who screwed it all up). Give Season 2 a go, and — even if it’s just to wash out the bad taste of the remake — you’ll be happy you know what comes next.
Best Episode: Maybe “Broadchurch” Season 2 got a little muddled in the middle, but the bookends are clear enough to make a binge worth it. If forced to choose, we’ll go with the Season 2 opener, as seeing Alec and Ellie back where they belong was slightly more joyous than the finale.
6. “Black Mirror” – The White Christmas Episode (available December 1)
Why Should I Watch It? There’s only one new release coming out Christmas Day on Netflix, and it’s not exactly fun for the whole family. Actually, it’s neither “fun” or “for the whole family,” but it’s what you’re getting on Christmas morning, so you force a smile and make the most of it. Luckily, the latter shouldn’t be too hard considering this 2014 special episode stars Jon Freaking Hamm! It’s also quite the treat for “Black Mirror” fans, as there are a number of references to previous episodes in the 90-minute special. Everyone else: pair Jon with a nice Christmas Ham(m) and enjoy.
Best Episode: Self-Explanatory.
7. “Real Rob” Season 1 (available December 1)
Why Should I Watch It? Racial joke, fat joke and a gay joke, all in one trailer? No, you probably shouldn’t watch this. Technically, Rob Schneider’s foray into television is an independent production sold to Netflix at the MIP-TV market in Cannes, making it somewhat pressing for a site dedicated to low-budget, indie films and TV. That, however, does not mean we endorse them all. We’ll have a review of “Real Rob” eventually, but maybe stick to your instincts for now.
Best Episode: It has to be the one where Rob is punched in the face and then ignored at the hospital in favor of David Spade. Yes, this was the best part of a bad trailer, but more importantly, as our oh-so-clever article previously suggested, it might be the only chance you get to direct the pain inflicted on you by past Rob Schneider movies back to its source.
The Rest of Incoming TV
“Comedy Bang! Bang!” Season 4 (more episodes available December 4)
“Inside Man” Season 3 (available December 5)
“Phineas and Ferb” Season 4 (available December 9)
“Hart of Dixie” Season 4 (available December 15)
“Helix” Season 2 (available December 16)
“Dawn of the Croods” Season 1 (available December 24)
“Maron” Season 3 (available December 28)
“Parenthood” Season 6 (available December 30)
“Battle Creek” Season 1 (available December 31)
“Nurse Jackie” Seasons 1-7 (available December 31)