Why Should I Watch It? “Cleverman” is nothing if not unique to the modern TV landscape, even if its tales come from an ancient culture. Inspired by different stories from Aboriginal folklore, “Cleverman” reimagines several “dreamtime” stories and reconstructs them as a science-fiction superhero series. The SundanceTV acquisition originated in Australia and follows two estranged Aboriginal brothers, Koen (Hunter Page-Lochard) and Waruu (Rob Collins), who are forced to work together to survive when the mantle of the Cleverman is passed to Koen. As the super-powered, club-wielding Cleverman, Koen must use his newfound abilities to survive their near-future dystopian world inhabited by other-worldly creatures known as The Hairy People.
Best Episode: In case you were thinking SundanceTV’s version of a superhero story sounds super weird — and you would thus struggle to relate to its story and characters — well, you never met Uncle Jimmy (Jack Charles). As Koen grows in power during Episode 3, he spends more time with his informal-sounding uncle while he figures out how to control his new abilities. Meanwhile, Waruu fends off a badass new creature and discovers an intriguing new way to vanquish the Cleverman once and for all. Alternately thoughtful and interactive, Episode 3, “Dark Clouds,” is the best Season 2 has to offer.
Why Should I Watch It? Do you like talented, undiscovered comedians? Do you like pouring through YouTube videos for hours? Do you like improv? You don’t have to answer “yes” to any of these questions, but if you did, you’re likely the target audience for “Haters Back Off.” Created by Colleen Ballinger, a YouTube personality whose 2008 character Miranda Sings became a bit of a viral sensation, “Haters Back Off” tracks Miranda’s quest to become famous on YouTube. That’s right. This is a semi-autobiographical, meta take on fame in the age of millennials, led by a character who feels fit for the improv stage but stretched out to a broader arc — like an “SNL” movie, but, you know, better.
Best Episode: Season 2 will be another eight-episode examination of Miranda’s mission, but this time she’s needs to make amends with her friends and family before pursuing the big-time. She’ll also meet her father, played by Matt Besser, and more story content will be culled from what happened to Ballinger in real life. What’s the best episode so far? Though the Season 1 finale might be the strongest yet, we’re partial to “Rod Trip with My Uncle,” in which Miranda faces competing offers to perform (kind of). Hopefully Season 2 will keep the good vibes rolling.
Why Should I Watch It? “Suburra” is a new Netflix original series set in Rome that chronicles an elaborate quest for power between prominent institutions like the Church, the state, organized crime families, local gangs, and even crooked real estate developers. The Italian-language crime thriller is expansive as the whole, but primarily follows three young men who forge various alliances to achieve their dreams. The series is based on the novel of the same name, written by Carlo Bonini and Giancarlo De Cataldo, but takes place several years before the events of the book and after the events of the 2015 film. The 10-episode first season is directed by Stefano Sollima, who also helmed the prominent Italian crime series, “Gomorrah,” which aired in the United States on SundanceTV before going to Netflix.
Best Episode: Screeners have not been released, but IndieWire will have a review shortly. Considering the reportedly lofty budget (as well as Sollima’s involvement), Netflix’s first Italian-language original series will at least look pretty.
Why Should I Watch It? Frank Grillo is an underrated performer. Perhaps this wouldn’t be the case if anyone was able to watch him on “Kingdom” over the past four years, but as it stands, the Grillo name doesn’t quite carry the cache it should. That being said, the feature film debut of Jeremy Rush (as both writer and director) couldn’t have two cooler names assigned to a movie about a getaway driver, and anyone who’s seen “Warrior” is likely willing to try out any movie featuring any one of its stars. (Yes, “Warrior” is that good.”) More to the point, Grillo doesn’t have to be throwing people around a ring to be a driving force onscreen. We’re looking forward to this one.
Best Episode: Yeah, yeah, this is a movie, you caught us. So be it! Between recommending this or any of the remaining series below, this movie is the way to go. And as a Netflix original movie, it’s still hard to tell whether that makes it a TV movie or an Oscar-qualifying feature film, a la “Beasts of No Nation” or the upcoming “Mudbound.” It counts, and even if it doesn’t, you’re far better served spending two hours with “Wheelman” than one with “The Mist.”
“PJ Masks” Season 1 (available October 1)
“Bonus Family” Season 1 (available October 5)
“The Fosters” Season 5 (available October 5)
“ID-0” Season 1 (available October 6)
“Skylanders Academy” Season 2 (available October 6)
“Word Party” Season 3 (available October 6)
“Super Monsters” Season 1 (available October 13)
“Voltron: Legendary Defender” Season 4 (available October 13)
“LEGO City” Season 1 (available October 15)
“West Coast Customs” Season 6 (available October 15)
“Wanted” Seasons 1 & 2 (available October 24)
“The Mist” Season 1 (available October 24)
“La Querida del Centauro” Season 2 (available October 25)
“Zumbo’s Just Desserts” Season 1 (available October 31)