5. “The Ranch” Part 4 (available December 15)
Why Should I Watch It? If you’ve come this far with “The Ranch,” you’ve got to finish it out. While it still seems improbable Ashton Kutcher’s multi-cam follow-up to “Two and a Half Men” will conclude without the prototypical happy ending — a successful farm run by the family that’s always owned it — Don Reo and Jim Patterson’s sitcom has given just enough reason to believe in surprises. And all the surprises so far have been good. There’s the melancholy journey of Sam Elliott’s old school rancher that’s deeper and darker than any other element of the series. They’ve also inched close to progressive storylines in a conservative series, and found a few real laughs in the cast’s natural chemistry. Do we wish Danny Masterson was off the show? Of course. But no one really matters outside of Elliot anyway. So let’s keep going. It’s got to end soon… right?
Best Episode: For some reason, we don’t have screeners of “Part 4” yet, so it’s impossible to say for sure which of the 10 new episodes is the best. Still, I’m betting heavy on whichever gives Elliott the most minutes on screen.
6. “Peaky Blinders” Season 4 (available December 21)
Why Should I Watch It? “Peaky Blinders” is one of those shows that if you like it, you probably love it. The fan base is extremely devoted, so much so that I’m betting a number of you reading this have already watched Season 4 via whatever means necessary. (It’s been airing new episodes since November 15 in Europe.) So why should the rest of us watch it? Cillian Murphy is pretty cool. He wears a badass hat filled with tiny knives. And, yeah, that fan base is not only real, but growing: This one’s got more mass appeal than it lets on.
Best Episode: We here at IndieWire are not ones to steal TV episodes via alternate online routes, but of the first three that have been released, I’m rather partial to the premiere, “The Noose.” And not just because Adrien Brody joins the cast.
7. “Dark” Season 1 (available December 1)
Why Should I Watch It? Netflix’s first German-language original series is a lot like another one word, four-letter series premiering this month, in that it’s exactly like its title describes: It’s dark. The synopsis foretells a “family saga with a supernatural twist […] that ties back to 1986,” which has led some to compare it to a foreign iteration of “Stranger Things.” That’s not exactly accurate, as the mature content will certainly challenge viewers, if not scare off the eager, innocent youths who love Hawkins, IN. “Dark” isn’t meant for kids and probably not for teens, either. So if you’re thinking the four-letter title simply means a lot of it takes place at night (or in the Upside-Down) don’t be misled.
Best Episode: IndieWire’s in-house “Dark” expert (and Special Projects Editor) Steve Greene has written both spoiler-free and spoiler-rich reviews of the first season, so we turned to him for the best episode selection:
“There’s heavy lifting for a pilot, and then there’s bench-pressing 250 pounds with one arm tied behind your back. ‘Dark’ is an incredibly dense series, filled with an entire town’s worth of subplots to consider. The first episode doesn’t get into all of the series’ major players, but it sets enough of their journeys in motion to hook audiences, even before a few of the crazy twists start piling on.”
Perfect pick, Steve! Now everyone can sample “Dark” and know if this dense, creepy series is right for them.
The Rest of Incoming TV
“All Hail King Julien” Season 5 (available December 1)
“TURN: Washington’s Spies” Season 4 (available December 1)
“When Calls the Heart” Season 4 (available December 4)
“The Magicians” Season 2 (available December 11)
“Ainsley Eats the Streets” Season 1 (available December 14)
“El Senor de los Cielos” Season 5 (available December 15)
“Erased” Season 1 (available December 15)
“Trollhunters” Part 2 (available December 15)
“Hello, My Twenties!” Season 2 (available December 18)
“The Indian Detective” Season 1 (available December 19)
“La Casa de Papel” Season 1 (available December 20)
“Dope” Season 1 (available December 22)
“Fuller House” Season 3 (available December 22)
“Rosario Tijeras” Season 1 (available December 22)
“The Toys That Made Us” Season 1 (available December 22)
“Myths & Monsters” Season 1 (available December 23)
“Cable Girls” Season 2 (available December 25)
“Travelers” Season 2 (available December 26)
“Bill Nye Saves the World” Season 2, Part 1 (available December 29)
“La Mante” Season 1 (available December 29)