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

Netflix is light on frights this October, but the monthly grab bag offers a handful of treats — and one show about nothing.

COLIN IN BLACK & WHITE (L to R) MARY-LOUISE PARKER as TERESA KAEPERNICK and JADEN MICHAEL as YOUNG COLIN KAEPERNICK in episode 106 of COLIN IN BLACK & WHITE Cr. COURTESY OF NETFLIX © 2021

Mary Louise-Parker and Jaden Michael in “Colin in Black and White”

Courtesy of Netflix

1. “Colin in Black and White” (available October 29)

Why Should I Watch? Wow, where to begin? I guess you have to start with the man himself, Colin Kaepernick. The former NFL quarterback who shined a spotlight on police brutality and systemic oppression through protest serves as co-creator and onscreen narrator in his six-part coming-of-age story. Then there’s Ava DuVernay — the Oscar-nominated filmmaker behind “Selma” and “When They See Us” handles co-creator, executive producer, and pilot director duties (and she also directs all of Kaepernick’s present-day scenes). Jaden Michael will play Young Colin, and really, that sums up all you need to know. Since his on-field protests, Kaepernick hasn’t been offered a position in the NFL, despite two appearances in the NFC Championship game, one Super Bowl, and the sixth-best touchdown-to-interception ratio in league history. (As a Chicago Bears fan, who’s suffered through three decades of abysmal quarterbacks, I’m selfishly outraged we never snapped him up.) That his first media project is framed around his youth, rather than a splashy tell-all about his professional career, speaks to the level of thoughtfulness that went into this project (as well as DuVernay’s involvement). How can you not want to hear what he has to say?

Bonus Reason: Strictly as a bonus reason — as in, “Well, this is a nice and welcome aspect of the project, even though there are certainly far more significant reasons to pay attention” — “Colin in Black and White” also features Nick Offerman and Mary-Louise Parker playing Colin’s adoptive parents. Everyone loves the former Ron Swanson and Nancy Botwin! Good, good. Glad they’re here.

2. “The Baby-Sitters Club” Season 2 (available October 11)

THE BABY-SITTERS CLUB (L to R) VIVIAN WATSON as MALLORY PIKE, SOPHIE GRACE as KRISTY THOMAS, KYNDRA SANCHEZ as DAWN SCHAFER, MOMONA TAMADA as CLAUDIA KISHI, and MALIA BAKER as MARY ANNE SPIER in episode 203 of THE BABY-SITTERS CLUB Cr. COURTESY OF NETFLIX © 2021

“The Baby-Sitters Club”

Courtesy of Netflix

Why Should I Watch? Um, did you not watch the first season? Go correct that right now. I’ll wait.

Bonus Reason: Wasn’t that fun? And sweet? And smart? “The Baby-Sitters Club” is an ideal adaptation of Ann M. Martin’s beloved books in that it updates its protagonists, stories, and focus to speak to modern audiences — who, to be clear, includes everyone — without losing the classic camaraderie, all-ages storytelling, and character specificity that made reading each story so meaningful. Shout-out to casting directors Danielle Aufiero and Amber Horn, as well as Canadian casting head Tiffany Mak, for building such an excellent ensemble; not only are the young adult performers all providing strong character work, but looping in Alicia Silverstone, Marc Evan Jackson, and Mark Feuerstein as the stand-out parents is inspired. Creator Rachel Shukert has crafted a world you never want to leave, and after October 11 for a good five hours, you won’t have to — enjoy!

3. “Maid”

MAID (L to R) RYLEA NEVAEH WHITTET as MADDY and MARGARET QUALLEY as ALEX in episode 101 of MAID Cr. RICARDO HUBBS/NETFLIX © 2021

Rylea Nevaeh Whittet and Margaret Qualley in “Maid”

Ricardo Hubbs / Netflix

Why Should I Watch? Short answer: Margaret Qualley. A breakout on HBO’s “The Leftovers” who soon earned raves for the indie feature “Novitiate” and an Emmy nomination for FX’s “Fosse/Verdon” is now the lead of her own Netflix limited series. “Maid” follows Alex (played by Qualley), a single mother stretching every dime to make a better life for her daughter. It’s no surprise the malleable and emotional star is getting raves for her detailed, moving portrayal, but for those who’ve yet to appreciate what she can do, “Maid” should provide all the evidence you need.

Bonus Reason: Before the show gets labeled as a star vehicle, it’s critical to recognize that above all else “Maid” is about how poverty is a nearly inescapable trap; how those without money are those without power, and how lacking both can create a vicious cycle that keeps people down. Based on Stephanie Land’s memoir of the same name, “Maid” offers a window into a daily life that’s all-too-common in the United States. Through Qualley’s performance and more, hopefully the series can create empathy for so many overworked, underpaid individuals who need help.

4. “Seinfeld” Seasons 1 – 9

Why Should I Watch? Because “Curb Your Enthusiasm” doesn’t come back until later this month? Because Julia Louis-Dreyfus doesn’t currently have a TV show airing new episodes? Because you watched this year’s Emmys and want to be reminded why Jason Alexander deserved to win at least once? There are a dozen different reasons why now is a good time to revisit one of America’s best sitcoms, and frankly, you don’t need a reason other than, “I can.”

Bonus Reason: Fine, fine. One more reason: This scene will always be funny — in no small part because it’s one of the few times Jerry Seinfeld had to do any acting, and he’s about one curled lip away from breaking the whole time.

5. “You” Season 3 (available October 15)

Victoria Pedretti and Penn Badgley in "You" Season 3 Netflix

Victoria Pedretti and Penn Badgley in “You”

Courtesy of Netflix

Why Should I Watch? In need of a serial killer show this Halloween? Look no further than Sera Gamble’s diabolically dark thriller, “You.” An antihero tale with an extra emphasis on the “anti,” “You” follows Joe Goldberg (played by Penn Badgley) through a number of “love” stories that see the one-time bookstore owner fall for a woman, assign her a role he needs filled, and then snap when her actual personhood breaks from his preconceived expectations. Addictive in its pacing and twists, while brilliant in its deconstruction of dominant perspectives, “You” is a compelling treat tailor-made for TV’s spookiest time of year.

Bonus Reason: Penn Badgley. Always a bit creepy on “Gossip Girl” (especially when the titular narrator’s identity was revealed) yet still depicted as a viable love interest throughout most of the series, the actor got plenty of prep for subverting expectations as the good-looking leading man. But his menacing demeanor and character-building go further in “You,” making for a compelling central performance to go along with a love-to-hate central character.

6. “On My Block” Season 4

ON MY BLOCK (L to R) BRETT GRAY as JAMAL TURNER in episode 402 of ON MY BLOCK Cr. COURTESY OF NETFLIX © 2021

Brett Gray in “On My Block”

Courtesy of Netflix

Why Should I Watch? An under-the-radar gem buoyed by passionate fan support, “On My Block” wraps its fourth and final season this month. After starting as a coming-of-age comedy about a group of high school teens living in the (fictional) Los Angeles neighborhood known as Freeridge, Season 4 takes a two-year time jump into the future, after the friends have gone their separate ways. Wouldn’t you know it, but they find a reason to come back together — this time, in response to a once-buried secret threatening to come out.

Bonus Reason: While Season 4 marks the end of “On My Block,” Netflix has already ordered a spinoff series from creators Lauren Iungerich, Eddie Gonzalez, Jeremy Haft, Jamie Uyeshiro, and Jamie Dooner (all of whom worked on the original series). So if you’ve been waiting to catch up until it’s all over, now you can catch up knowing that a) an ending is coming, and b) the same folks who made your latest favorite show are already hard at work on their next project.

7. “Bad Sport” (available October 6)

Bad Sport Netflix Elena Berezhnaya

Elena Berezhnaya in “Bad Sport”

Courtesy of Netflix

Why Should I Watch? For sports fans who can’t get enough detective stories, or true crime enthusiasts who still pause their marathon-viewing for Monday Night Football, “Bad Sport” caters equally to your dueling obsessions. The six-part documentary series tells a separate story in each hour-plus episode, all of which meet at the intersection of sports and crime. Featuring interviews with athletes, coaches, and law enforcement officials, “Bad Sport” investigates each tale with first-hand accounts and a studious eye.

Bonus Reason: Specifically, the episodes cover the following events (per Netflix’s official synopsis): “Gold War” focuses on the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympic figure skating scandal; “Need For Weed” follows superstar Indycar driver Randy Lanier’s marijuana-smuggling operation; “Hoop Schemes” tracks the Arizona State University basketball point-shaving agenda; “Horse Hitman” interviews Tommy Burns, who looks back at an insurance fraud scam designed by wealthy owners that required the killing of show horses; “Soccergate” examines Calciopoli, the biggest match-fixing scandal in Italian football history; and “Fallen Idol” studies South African cricket captain Hansie Cronje’s tragic fall from grace.

The Rest of Incoming TV

“An Astrological Guide for Broken Hearts” (available October 1)
“Call My Agent: Bollywood” (available October 1)
“Encounters” Season 1 (available October 1)
“Inspector Koo” (available October 1)
“Paik’s Spirit” (available October 1)
“Are You Afraid of the Dark?” Season 1 (available October 1)
“Scissor Seven” Season 3 (available October 1)
“Baking Impossible” (available October 6)
“The Blacklist” Season 8 (available October 6)
“The Five Juanas” (available October 6)
“Love Is Blind: Brazil” (available October 6)
“The Billion Dollar Code” (available October 7)
“Sexy Beasts” Season 2 (available October 7)
“The Way of the Househusband” Season 1, Part 2 (available October 7)
“Family Business” Season 3 (available October 8)
“Pretty Smart” (available October 8)
“The King’s Affection” (available October 11)
“Shameless” (U.S.) Season 11 (available October 11)
“Reflection of You” (available October 13)
“Another Life” Season 2 (available October 14)
“In the Dark” Season 3 (available October 14)
“CoComelon” Season 4 (available October 15)
“Little Things” Season 4 (available October 15)
“My Name” (available October 15)
“Power Rangers Dino Fury” Season 1 (available October 15)
“Misfit: The Series” (available October 16)
“Insiders” (available October 21)
“Life’s a Glitch with Julien Bam” (available October 21)
“Adventure Beast” (available October 22)
“Dynasty” Season 4 (available October 22)
“Inside Job” (available October 22)
“Locke & Key” Season 2 (available October 22)
“Maya and the Three” (available October 22)
“More Than Blue: The Series” (available October 22)
“Roswell, New Mexico” Season 3 (available October 26)
“Sex: Unzipped” (available October 26)
“Sintonia” Season 2 (available October 27)
“Wentworth” Season 8 (available October 27)
“Luis Miguel – The Series” Season 3 (available October 28)
“Mythomaniac” Season 2 (available October 29)
“The Time It Takes” (available October 29)

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