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7 New Netflix Shows to Binge in October, and the Best Reasons to Watch

Netflix is pushing a slew of scary series just in time for Halloween, but there's more than frights to feast on this month.

CHILLING ADVENTURES OF SABRINA Kiernan Shipka Netflix Season 1

Kiernan Shipka in “Chilling Adventures of Sabrina”

Courtesy of Netflix

1. “Chilling Adventures of Sabrina” Season 1 (available October 26)

Why Should I Watch? After The CW found success turning a chaste ’40s comic book character into “hot Archie who fucks,” Netflix is taking your fond family memories of TGIF and twisting them into a horror show akin to “The Exorcist” and “Rosemary’s Baby.” That’s a direct quote from the “Chilling Adventures of Sabrina” press notes, as Netflix states its “dark, coming-of-age” origin story as “tonally” in line with the scariest movie of all time and a very scary film made by an even more monstrous man (respectively). If this is where “Sabrina the Teenage Witch” came from, perhaps it’s best to remember where she ended up.

Best Reason: Kiernan Shipka is back in a serialized narrative! No, that’s not as catchy as shouting, “Little Sally Draper is back on TV!”, but a) Shipka deserves to be seen outside her iconic’s character’s identity, and b) Netflix isn’t really TV. OK, it is, but only the core “Mad Men” fandom will be watching these “Chilling Adventures” on an actual television, while so many more teen viewers will be bingeing on their phones. Either way, Shipka is going to light up the screen.

2. “Big Mouth” Season 2 (available October 5)

Big Mouth Season 2 Netflix

“Big Mouth”

Netflix

Why Should I Watch? An IndieWire Critic’s Pick two years running, the Netflix animated series about pre-teens struggling through puberty is a delight for all ages — OK, all ages over 10-ish, depending on parents’ prudishness. Sure, the comedy from Nick Kroll, Andrew Goldberg, Jennifer Flackett, and Mark Levin features scenes where two horned Hormone Monsters slurp spaghetti a la “Lady and the Tramp,” except instead of ending in a kiss they slide eagerly into a full-on 69. But its heart is in the right place. “Big Mouth” is made to help kids get through their awkward years, and it’s advocacy is amplified in Season 2, along with the laughs. Don’t miss it.

Best Reason: Did we mention the whole Critic’s Pick thing already? OK, well how about this: The fifth episode morphs into a sketch show that’s dedicated to informing the “kids” (aka everyone watching at home) about the many benefits offered at Planned Parenthood. It’s imaginative, hilarious, and enlightening. Plus, the half-hour bends genres in such an exciting way you’ll only reach for your phone once it’s over — to make a donation.

3. “Making a Murderer: Part 2” (available October 19)

Making a Murderer: Part 2

Allan Avery, Dolores Avery, and Steven Avery in “Making a Murderer: Part 2”

Netflix

Why Should I Watch? Though plenty of fans from “Part 1” have been tracking Steven Avery’s case in the news, only the new season of “Making a Murderer” offers exclusive insight into the “post-conviction process.” There are new interviews with Avery and his nephew Brendan Dassey, as well as exclusive footage from inside their attorneys’ efforts to overturn convictions. Filmmakers Laura Ricciardi and Moira Demos aren’t letting this case go, and they’re hoping the audience sticks around to support their work.

Best Reason: “Making a Murderer” has become a defining pillar of the true crime movement, alongside “Serial” and “The Jinx.” The original season won four Emmys, including Outstanding Documentary Series, and it’s spawned episode and series-long parodies. Even if you’re not obsessed with true crime stories, this is the kind of follow-up worth checking out. Can it capture the zeitgeist? Are audiences interested in sticking with a suspicious case through the years, or were they content with a 10-episode distraction? What does the demand for content, for more answers, for a longer story mean for a genre of storytelling that can only go so far? When “Part 2” debuts, at least some of these questions will be answered.

4. “Wanderlust” Season 1 (available October 19)

Wanderlust Toni Collette Netflix Season 1

Toni Collette in “Wanderlust”

Matt Squire/Netflix

Why Should I Watch? I mean, Toni Collette. You saw her in the photo, right? So what more do you need to know? OK, you’re right, there are still questions: Yes, this is an ongoing series, not an anthology or TV movie where you only get a brief bit of the “Hereditary” star. Yes, Collette is the star of the “Wanderlust,” not some guest actor or supporting player relegated to popping in on occasion. And yes, Collette is given a challenging, intriguing persona to play: She’s Joy Richards, a therapist who experiments with an open marriage after a cycling accident causes them to reassess their relationship. So let’s get excited! The year of Toni Collette is upon us!

Best Reason: This is not “Wanderlust,” David Wain’s painful romantic-comedy starring Paul Rudd and Jennifer Aniston. Even Justin Theroux as a guitar-playing, orgy-inducing hippie couldn’t save that mess, but don’t worry. Netflix’s “Wanderlust” is not connected at all.

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