Why Should I Watch? Calling the original anime “Cowboy Bebop” a cult classic doesn’t quite do justice to its impact on animation, television, and culture at large. Hajime Yatate’s neo-noir space western originally ran in the late ’90s, hopping across two Japanese TV networks to air its 26 episodes before becoming the first anime title to premiere on Adult Swim here in the States (circa 2001). Often referred to as a bridge for animation fans to invest in anime, as well as Western audiences to appreciate a medium originated in the East, “Cowboy Bebop” is also just a flat-out wild time. Bounty hunters are called cowboys, the Earth is practically uninhabitable, and space is the de facto travel frontier. Aboard the spaceship Bebop, a group of “cowboys” hunt down dangerous convicts for the right price, led by Spike Spiegel (John Cho), Jet Black (Mustafa Shakir), and Faye Valentine (Daniella Pineda). There is also jazz. What’s not to love?
Bonus Reason: There is also a dog. Played by a corgi named Henry, Ein is what’s known as a “data dog,” which means his mind was altered in a laboratory — giving him enhanced intelligence — before making his way into the Bebop crew. And while he may be smarter than the average pupper by means of futuristic science, his cuteness is 100 percent natural. Just take a look for yourself.
Why Should I Watch? Wesley Snipes. OK, maybe that’s too simple of an answer, but it’s also the correct answer. Snipes, an onscreen icon thanks to “Major League,” “New Jack City,” “White Men Can’t Jump,” “Demolition Man,” and many more, has enjoyed a low-key resurgence of late, thanks mainly to an award-worthy turn in “Dolemite Is My Name,” but also excellent cameos (in “What We Do in the Shadows,” where he semi-resurrects Blade) and strong supporting turns (in middling sequels like “The Expendables 3” and “Coming II America”). Here, he plays the wayward older brother of a world-famous comedian (Kevin Hart), who gets his baby bro into big trouble after one bad night on the town. Whether he’s the villain or a lost soul, watching Snipes is always an arresting experience and “True Story” gives us seven hour-long episodes to appreciate his range.
Bonus Reason: Unlike Snipes’ recent roles (and virtually all of Hart’s), “True Story” isn’t a comedy. This Netflix dramatic thriller comes from “Narcos” showrunner Eric Newman, and “Watchmen” Emmy winner Stephen Williams directs the first three episodes (while serving as an executive producer). Toss in music supervisor extraordinaire Liza Richardson and “True Story” has loads of top talent in front of and behind the camera. Let’s see how it plays out.
Why Should I Watch? “Big Mouth” remains one of the best ongoing Netflix series out there. Co-creators Nick Kroll, Andrew Goldberg, Mark Levin, and Jennifer Flackett continue to create identifiable and endearing adolescent stories that work to shatter the persistent embarrassments felt by puberty-stricken teens. Season 5 tackles the extreme ends of young romance by exploring how pure, unchecked adoration can quickly transform into misplaced hate, as Nick (voiced by Kroll) and Jessi (Jessi Glaser) get their first visits from the Love Bugs (played by Pamela Adlon and Brandon Kyle Goodman), while Missy (Ayo Edebiri) falls prey to a Hate Worm who’s just getting warmed up. And don’t fret: Everyone’s favorite monsters — the Hormone Monster (Kroll) and Monstress (Emmy winner Maya Rudolph) — are still harassing kids like Andrew (John Mulaney), who can’t help but get turned on by everything.
Bonus Reason: Can you say, “Holiday Special”? Featuring an array of animation styles (including the Christmas classic stop-motion technique), Season 5 features a snowy spectacular like you’ve never seen before.
Why Should I Watch? This list’s other entries aren’t exactly family fare, so lucky for anyone with young’uns running around the house “Waffles and Mochi” is putting on a holiday feast. Wait, do you remember who Waffles and Mochi are? Did you not watch the first season? My goodness, get your life together. Hailing from The Land of Frozen Food, Waffles (a felt-skinned blue lizard with Eggos for ears) and Mochi (a pink rice cake with eyebrows) are two best friends with the shared dream of becoming top-tier chefs. So they make their way out of their iced-over hometown and visit Mrs. Michelle Obama in her whimsical supermarket, filled with fresh foods and even better advice. Soon, they’re flying around the world, meeting with various restaurant owners and celebrity foodies, so they can expand their tastebuds and train to become better cooks! Educational and encouraging, loaded with color and culturally inclusive, “Waffles + Mochi” is a muppet-driven masterpiece — IndieWire called the first season “the best kids’ TV show in a generation,” so you better believe we’ll be tuning in for the special.
Bonus Reason: OK, OK. You did watch the first season, you know how good “Waffles and Mochi” is, and you’re upset with me for assuming otherwise — my apologies. So what’s the special about? Details are a bit scarce, whether it’s guest stars, episode length, or general plot, but what we do know is that Waffles and Mochi decide to throw a holiday party… without knowing what holidays are or what they’re about. Overexcited as ever, Waffles simply makes up a holiday based on his No. 1 interest: food. But before he knows it, guests are on the way, and Mochi has to venture out of The Land of Frozen Food (to places like Norway and Hawaii) in order to discover the true meaning of this special day. We think they’ll figure it out in time, but we can’t wait to see how they get there and what they learn along the way.
Why Should I Watch? Co-created by Michael Price and Bill Burr (the latter of whom also voices the lead character, Frank Murphy), “F Is For Family” is a no-frills look back at 1970s working class family life. Frank works at the local airport, stuck in a middling managerial position that leaves him overly frustrated when he comes home to Sue (Laura Dern), his wife and burgeoning entrepreneur, as well as their four kids, Kevin (Justin Long), Bill (Haley Reinhart), Maureen (Debi Derryberry), and a newborn daughter (name TBA). But rather than paint the past through rose-colored glasses, this family’s existence is hard, at times harrowing, and filled with characters coping with emotional abuse or trying to correct their derisive habits. Filled with coarse humor and smart character growth, “F Is For Family” isn’t ever what you’d expect, and, this being its final season, the Netflix series should take its place among modern adult animated titles that helped expand the medium beyond jokes. It’s a mature story that’s still darkly funny.
Bonus Reason: Did I mention this is the final season? That means anyone waiting to binge, your time has arrived. (That being said, I don’t recommend plowing through too much “F Is For Family” in one sitting; each season deserves a bit of space.)
Why Should I Watch? Adapted from the 2017 Sundance entry of the same name, “Gentefied” is a half-hour genre hybrid about three Mexican-American cousins trying to chase their dreams without sacrificing their identities, their culture, or their friendship in the process. Starring J.J. Soria (as Erik), Karrie Martin (as Ana), and Carlos Santos (as Chris), the series takes place in Los Angeles and centers around a family-owned taco shop, owned by Casimiro “Pop” Morales (Joaquín Coslo), who’s been recently widowed. Filled with intergenerational conflict and ambitious writing, “Gentefied” Season 1 had all the markings of a series poised to leap forward in its second season, so now’s the time to jump on the hype train.
Bonus Reason: “Gentefied” received strong reviews for its first season, including high marks from The New York TImes, Variety, and IndieWire. But given it’s been more than 18 months since the show first aired, audiences will be forgiven for sleeping on this one so far. Just don’t forget about it again.
Why Should I Watch? Honestly, I don’t have a good answer for this one. “Tiger King” mania swept America during the early months of the pandemic, and even though the positive early reception shifted rather quickly toward its more problematic elements, success breeds more content, especially in the Streaming Era. So here we are. “Tiger King 2.” Should you watch? Reviews are embargoed so I cannot say (nor have I watched). But I think your gut instinct is probably right: If you truly crave more from Carol Baskin and Joe Exotic, I guess you could do worse. But if you feel like leaving them in the past, along with the toilet paper crisis and sourdough obsession, maybe don’t second guess yourself.
Bonus Reason: I don’t know, nostalgia? You’re a completist? Your remote is broken and can only select the first option that’s fed to you? Heck, maybe it’ll be good! Stranger things have happened and we’ll know when the reviews start rolling in. Until then, I’m struggling. Why do we need this again?
“Decoupled” (available in November)
“60 Days In” Season 6 (available November 1)
“Angry Birds” Season 4 – Slingshot Stories (available November 1)
“Bella and the Bulldogs” Season 2 (available November 1)
“Forged in Fire” Season 7 (available November 1)
“Ridley Jones” Season 2 (available November 3)
“The Club” (available November 5)
“Glória” (available November 5)
“Narcos: Mexico” Season 3 (available November 5)
“The Unlikely Murderer” (available November 5)
“Arcane” (available November 6)
“Swap Shop” (available November 9)
“Love Never Lies” (available November 11)
“Legacies” Season 3 (available November 12)
“America’s Next Top Model” Seasons 21-22 (available November 15)
“Survivor” Seasons 16 and 37 (available November 15)
“Lies and Deceit” (available November 15)
“Christmas Flow” (available November 17)
“The Queen of Flow” Season 2 (available November 17)
“Supergirl” Season 6 (available November 17)
“Blown Away: Christmas” (available November 19)
“Hellbound” (available November 19)
“The Mind, Explained” Season 2 (available November 19)
“New World” (available November 20)
“Masters of the Universe: Revelation Part 2” (available November 23)
“Selling Sunset” Season 4 (available November 24)
“Super Crooks” (available November 25)
“Light the Night” (available November 26)
“School of Chocolate” (available November 26)
“Elves” (available November 28)