1. “Mad Men” Season 7b (available February 5)
Why Should I Watch It? After seven and a half seasons of accolades, an award for every drink Roger ever knocked back and countless inclusions on Top 10 lists (many critics, not just Indiewire), are there really any more reasons to give? “Mad Men” quickly became one of those shows you just had to watch. Whether you loved it, liked it, or only respected it, the emotional journey of Don Draper is essential viewing for anyone who wants to consider themselves a TV aficionado. So if you’re rewatching, good for you. If you haven’t seen it, now’s the time to finish. It has to be done.
Best Episode? While we were pretty big fans of most of Season 7b — including the emotionally- and tonally-satisfying finale — Episode 12, “Lost Horizon,” is right up there with the best ever of “Mad Men.” As we went over in our Best Episodes of 2015 list, the lows of Joan’s quest for the perfect life are balanced beautifully with the highs of Peggy and Roger’s final night in the old offices. Oh, and of course, there’s this:
2. “Better Call Saul” Season 1 (available February 1)
Why Should I Watch It? As my partner in crime Liz Shannon Miller mentions in her Season 2 review, “Better Call Saul” wasn’t exactly the most memorable first season of television last year. Vince Gilligan and Peter Gould’s spinoff to “Breaking Bad” deliberately slowed down the momentum of a series as thrilling and action-packed as any we’d ever seen before, making sure this new version is told differently. Camera set-ups are more traditional. Framing is static much of the time. Few-to-no GoPro POV shots. In short, it’s a pretty slow-moving series, which actually makes it all the better to binge. Viewers should be able to fall into this world for hours at a time, adapt to its pacing and more quickly understand that this is not “Breaking Bad 2.0.” So settle in and do enjoy.
Best Episode? It feels kind of like a cheat to say the best episode of “Better Call Saul” is one that gives us backstory to a fan favorite from “Breaking Bad.” So much talk around the spinoff’s first season revolved around comparing it to the original series, making it hard for the show to stand on its own two feet. But it did stand on its own, even when it dipped back into “Breaking Bad” territory to explore Mike Ehrmantraut’s past. “Five-O” was the best of “Better Call Saul” because even as it built upon the franchise’s legacy, it could also stand alone as an emotionally powerful exploration of a man. If you thought you loved Mike before, just wait ’til you see this.
3. “Love” Season 1 (available February 19)
Why Should I Watch It? Considering Judd Apatow’s history as a television writer, it’s your obligation as a culturally savvy consumer to give this one a shot. While far more under the control of Lesley Arfin and Paul Rust, a married couple who serve as co-creators alongside Apatow, “Love” is still the first series from the “40-Year-Old Virgin” and “Knocked Up” director since the early aughts cult favorites “Undeclared” and “Freaks and Geeks.” That right there should be reason enough.
Best Episode? Reviews of the new series are embargoed until February 8, so we can’t say, exactly, which episode of “Love” is the best. What we can say is the show really picks up once stars Rust and Gillian Jacobs meet up, making the second episode quite a treat. There’s sound authenticity here, and these two actors do a fine job establishing the various stages of chemistry. Oops. That sounds a little review-like. Forget we said that. You were never here!
4. “The Returned” Season 2 (available February 17)
Why Should I Watch It? Because Indiewire Deputy Editor and Film Critic Eric Kohn commands you! When Season 2 premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival, Kohn called it “the best mystery on TV.” While we might have a bone to pick with him considering many do consider “The Leftovers” to be a mystery (as well as the best show on TV, period), he’s certainly not wrong with his sentiment toward the French drama. Focusing on a small community of people who are shocked to the core when recently departed citizens return to the town, “The Returned” is an atmospheric delight and probably your new go-to Netflix recommendation for friends. You’ll sound super refined and cool when you do. I mean, it’s French and has zombies! How can you top that?
Best Episode? Honestly, we’re torn between Episode 2, “Milan,” and the season finale, “Les Revenants.” While the latter carries the name of the show as its episode title — and, more importantly, a whole lot goes down — the former reveals some key secrets that trigger the action taking place later on. We’ll give the nod to the finale, if only so we can say if you only see one thing with the word “revenant” in its title, make it this one.
5. “Lila & Eve” (available February 6)
Why Should I Watch It? Okay, so “Lila & Eve” isn’t a TV show. It’s a 2014 film about two mothers who take the law into their own hands to find justice for their dead sons. But it does star two of TV’s most dominant ladies in Viola Davis (“How to Get Away With Murder”) and Jennifer Lopez (“Shades of Blue,” “American Idol”). So cut us a break in a light TV month and sit back for one heckuva guilty pleasure: This one you don’t want to miss.
Episode Scene? Since this is a film and thus without episodes, we’ve decided to recommend the best scene of the movie…which is a five-way tie between:
1. the scene where Mama J. Lo accidentally shoots her first suspect.
2. the scene where Mama Viola talks about killing a cop
3. the scene where both mamas get gussied up to go to the club and maybe kill a guy
4. the scene where both mamas tear it the f*** up
5. the entire movie.
6. “Hannibal Buress: Comedy Camisado” (available February 5)
Why Should I Watch It? Maybe some of us just finished a two-season binge of “Broad City.” Maybe some of us were reminded of just how much fun Buress can be, either as the lovable do-gooder Lincoln or the truth-telling stand-up. Maybe some of us aren’t overly familiar with his history on stage, but are greatly looking forward to seeing his Netflix special. I don’t know who. I’m just guessing. But yeah, I’m excited.
Best Episode? Well, it’s just one episode, now isn’t it? Boy, that makes two in a row on this list that don’t exactly conform to the requirements of this article’s headline. Uh oh. I’m in trouble. Better pick something I can speak with authority on for the last slot.
7. “Fuller House” Season 1 (available February 26)
Why Should I Watch It? Because you just have to. I mean, come on. You’re really going to sit there and tell us you’ll never watch “Fuller House”? You’re never going to be bored one night and just curious enough to know what the Tanner family looks like in 2016? You’re not going to be tempted to check out just a few minutes, just one episode, just the first season after seeing it sitting there, top of the “Recently Added” section or “Trending Now”? You’re not the slightest bit curious to see what “Full House” would be like if it aired today? Well, okay then. You’re a stronger person than myself.
Best Episode? Though we haven’t dipped into our TV screener pile deep enough to grab “Fuller House” just yet, we feel safe in saying that the best episode of “Fuller House” is one that will never air. Hell, it was never even produced, but “BoJack Horseman” creator Raphael Bob-Waksberg’s pitch for a “Fuller House” episode is automatically, no matter what — even if “Fuller House” turns out to be as good as “The Wire” — tstill the best episode of the series never made.
The Rest of Incoming TV
“The Lizzie Borden Chronicles” Season 1 (available February 1)
“Masha’s Tales” Season 1 (available February 1)
“Pokemon: XY” Season 1 (available February 1)
“Care Bears & Cousins” Season 2 (available February 5)
“Turbo: F.A.S.T.” Season 3 (available February 5)
“Cooked” Season 1 (available February 19)