1. “BoJack Horseman” Season 6, Part II (available January 31)
Why Should I Watch? Offering an incomparable blend of laughing ’til you cry and weeping from deep, emotional distress, “BoJack Horseman” is wrapping up its potent, perfect series this month. After its eponymous star (voiced by Will Arnett) went through a successful stint at rehab in the first half of Season 6, the back half will test his newfound resolve as past mistakes come back to haunt the man-horse. Whatever’s in store from creator Raphael Bob-Waksberg and his excellent production team is bound to be intense, so strap in and take it slow. The very best aspect of splitting the final season in two is allowing us to savor the wide array of emotions “BoJack” so beautifully evokes.
Bonus Reason: Insiders tell me that the penultimate episode of “BoJack Horseman” is one of the season’s best, if not the best. Reviews are under embargo until the week of release, so that’s all we can say — but at least you can count on seeing one more dose of brilliance before crying your way through the finale.
2. “Grace and Frankie” Season 6 (available January 15)
Why Should I Watch? “Grace and Frankie” is also ending, but not just yet. Netflix gave an early renewal for Season 7, which will mark the last outing for Grace (Jane Fonda), Frankie (Lily Tomlin), and their ex-husbands Sol (Sam Waterson) and Robert (Martin Sheen) — but Season 6 drops this month, giving you 13 new episodes well before the series wraps up with a whopping 16-episode final season in 2021. But those are facts — the excellent performances, earnest engagement with issues of aging, and a unique pliability in content make “Grace and Frankie” one of the most consistently enjoyable shows on television. If you’ve fallen off or never started, now is a great time to get back on that horse.
Bonus Reason: Casting Peter Gallagher as Grace’s betrothed is a stroke of genius (thanks Casting Director Tracy Lilienfield), not only because having Gallagher’s genial presence in a cast full of warm hugs is added comfort, but because he wears “well-off white guy” so well. Grace absolutely needs a guy who’s got a little money (or at least the manners often learned from having money), and Gallagher’s company-leading Nick Skolka fits the bill — and makes the show better.
3. “Medical Police” Season 1 (available January 10)
Courtesy of Netflix
Why Should I Watch? Did you like “Children’s Hospital”? Did you wish there were more episodes? Did you want it to focus on Dr. Owen Maestro (Rob Huebel) and Dr. Lola Adolf Spratt (Erinn Hayes) just a little bit more? Maybe it could have a little more action, mystery, and romance? Well, Netflix — and “Children’s Hospital” creators Rob Corddry, Jonathan Stern, and David Wain — have cooked up just the spinoff series for you. “Medical Police” focuses on two American physicians stationed at a pediatric hospital in São Paulo, Brazil who uncover a world-threatening virus. Of course, the duo is recruited by the government to find a cure, leading to a global pursuit that slowly unveils an insidious conspiracy… and it’s really, really funny.
Bonus Reason: Both Rob Huebel and Erinn Hayes have become even more enticing screen presences since “Children’s Hospital” debuted. Huebel has impressed in “Transparent,” “Big Mouth,” and more guest star stints than I have room to list (though shout-out to Sperber Pennington on “Angie Tribeca”), while Hayes deserved far better than “Kevin Could Wait” had to offer, and found it in “The Dangerous Book for Boys” (and undoubtedly in the upcoming “Bill & Ted 3”). Seeing their roles elevated via a satiric twist on two of their best parts is exciting and well-deserved, so give this silly passion project a shot.
4. “Sex Education” Season 2 (available January 17)
Why Should I Watch? Short answer: Gillian Anderson. The must-see actress plays a supporting role in Laurie Nunn’s teen comedy, but, in an all-too-rare opportunity, she’s given ample time to be funny. Anderson has always been funny, of course, but the star of “The X-Files” and “The Fall” is often cast in dramas. It’s nice to see her in a blend of both, and she seems to enjoy stretching herself out.
Bonus Reason: Shorter answer: It’s good! “Sex Education” got screwed a bit by the Emmys — where, despite Netflix’s appeals, it was labeled a drama because of its hourlong runtime — but when have Emmy nominations dictated popular viewing habits? Give this one a go if you’re interested in a complex, compelling, and comedic discussion of sex and all its ties.
5. “The Ranch” Season 4, Part II (available January 24)
Greg Gayne / Netflix
Why Should I Watch? After four years, four seasons, and eight parts, Ashton Kutcher’s blue-language, red-state Netflix sitcom is reaching its end. The long-precarious state of the eponymous Bennett ranch will be settled once and for all, as Colt (Kutcher), his wife Abby (Elisha Cuthbert), his cousin Luke (Dax Shepard), his mother Maggie (Debra Winger), and father Beau (Sam Elliott) will either preserve their historic way of life or lose it to more modern endeavors. But before then, beers will be drank, insults will be shared, and advice will be imparted from one generation to the next. “The Ranch” is built around three things: 1. the comic stylings of a CBS sitcom combined with the foul language of an HBO comedy, 2. respect for the blue collar workers of the American plains, and 3. country music, which is lightly laced into almost every scene (usually of the pop country variety, but Sturgill Simpson has made his way onto the Bennett family stereo). Even with the controversy and dismissal of original cast member Danny Masterson, those elements have pushed the series through 80 half-hour episodes, which is just 16 shy of Netflix’s longest-running series (“Grace and Frankie,” when it’s all done). They’re surprisingly engaging, even if you’re not aligned with the show’s conservative politics or crass humor. So if any of that sounds good, give it a shot. After all, that’s a lot of TV to fill your day.
Bonus Reason: We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again: Sam Elliott is the best thing about “The Ranch,” by far. He could have his own show, sans Kutcher & Co, where it’s just Beau bumming around the ranch, herding cattle and sipping whiskey. Sure, he’d need a visitor or two to casually mock, but that’s what guest stars are for — Elliott has built a believably weary curmudgeon; a man who’s both too stubborn for his own good and yet still willing to change when pushed to his last resort. Beau’s fate is the show’s most compelling question, and a beautiful tragedy lurks within the faux-funny fences of “The Ranch.” He, and it, are worth finding.
6. “Chilling Adventures of Sabrina” Part 3 (available January 24)
Why Should I Watch? Kiernan Shipka has officially joined the ranks of “Mad Men” stars to find great work after an epic drama. Jon Hamm has obviously done great work, in everything from “The Town” to “Baby Driver”; Elisabeth Moss is off winning awards for “The Handmaid’s Tale”; January Jones found her true calling in Fox’s “Last Man on Earth”; Christina Hendricks topped out in “Hap and Leonard” or “Toy Story 4,” take your pick, and the list goes on — but Shipka, a child star, had arguably a trickier path forward, and she’s proven herself a capable lead in this engrossing, well-produced teen drama. Every so often, a bit of Sally Draper comes out of the witch-in-training, but that’s honestly part of the fun to be found within “Sabrina.”
Bonus Reason: That said, “Chilling Adventures of Sabrina” is more thoughtful than a purely fun teen soap. Fiercely feminist and empowering for those who could use a bit of TV inspiration, the Netflix series engages without topical issues without getting bogged down by them — which makes it a pretty ideal show about teens and for them.
7. “Betty White: First Lady of Television” (available January 12)
Why Should I Watch? The PBS special that first aired in late 2018 comes to Netflix this month, filled with tributes from Carl Reiner, Tina Fey, Ryan Reynolds, Valerie Harper, Alex Trebek, and more — but they’re not why you should watch. Due to her enviable work ethic and lengthy career, Betty White has remained an entertainment fixture for generations — but if you’re one of the later gens, you may be less familiar with what White did starting out. “First Lady of Television” offers a reminder of White’s impeccable turns on “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” and “Golden Girls,” while reminding viewers of her significance to the industry: White was the first woman to produce a national TV show, the first woman to star in a sitcom, the first producer to hire a female director, and the first woman to receive an Emmy nomination. What better reasons could you ask for? Watch this special! Then go watch her shows.
Bonus Reason: You’ll have to look off Netflix to binge the best of Betty White: “Golden Girls” is available to stream on Hulu, as is “The Mary Tyler Moore Show.” “Hot in Cleveland” is on Comedy Central, and all three are more than worth your time.
The Rest of Incoming TV
“Saint Seiya” Seasons 4-5 (available now)
“Messiah” Season 1 (available now)
“Dracula” Season 1 (available now)
“Spinning Out” Season 1 (available now)
“The Circle” Season 1 (new episodes every Wednesday)
“Sex, Explained” (available now)
“Thieves of the World” Season 1 (available now)
“Anne with an E: The Final Season” (available now)
“Cheer” docuseries (available January 8)
“AJ and The Queen” Season 1 (available January 10)
“Girl / Haji” Season 1 (available January 10)
“Harvey Girls Forever!” Season 4 (available January 10)
“The Inbestigators” Season 2 (available January 10)
“Until Dawn” (available January 10)
“Zumbo’s Just Desserts” Season 2 (available January 10)
“Ares” (available January 17)
“Hip-Hop Evolution” Season 4 (available January 17)
“Tiny House Nation” Volume 2 (available January 17)
“Family Reunion” Part 2 (available January 20)
“Fortune Feimster: Sweet & Salty” (available January 21)
“Word Party” Season 4 (available January 21)
“Playing With Fire” Season 1 (available January 22)
“The Ghost Bride” Season 1 (available January 23)
“October Faction” Season 1 (available January 23)
“Rise of Empires: Ottoman” (available January 24)
“Vir Das: For India” (available January 26)
“Next in Fashion” (available January 29)
“Omniscient” (available January 29)
“The Stranger” Season 1 (available January 30)
“Diablero” Season 2 (available January 31)
“I AM A KILLER” Season 2 (available January 31)
“Luna Nera” (available January 31)
“Ragnarok” (available January 31)