Sure, there’s a chewy LGBTQ true-crime doc, a stand-up comic’s most personal special yet, another new anthology show, a late-night talkfest starring Sarah Silverman, a standout movie from Noah Baumbach and not one but two historical serial-killer dramas. But what you’re waiting for is the return of Stranger Things, and rest assured, you’re about to have your Reagan-era nostalgia itch oh-so-mightily scratched. Here’s the lowdown on what you’ll be streaming over the next month.
Acceptable Risk (Acorn, Oct. 16th)
Say a guy gets killed while on business in Berlin. Chances are some hoodlum probably wanted a quick buck, right? But when the victim in question also happens to be a marketing executive for a major Irish pharmaceuticals company – and his employer has had him and his wife under intense surveillance – something starts to smell off. Elaine Cassidy portrays the upper-crust widow who takes it upon herself to unravel the lies and deception surrounding her husband’s suspicious death. A bit of courage and a lot of gumption might just get her to the truth – probably not before drawing a little blood, however.
The Death and Life of Marsha P. Johnson (Netflix, Oct. 6th)
From the Stonewall riots of 1969 to the early days of ACT UP, Marsha P. Johnson fought on the front lines for queer rights, African-American rights and trans rights. The drag-queen regent advocated tirelessly railed for the dignity of her fellow human beings – until her body was discovered one morning in 1992 floating in the Hudson River. The police ruled suicide; the deceased’s loved ones knew better. This documentary from David France (How to Survive a Plague) chronicles activist Victoria Cruz’s efforts to crack the case and claim justice by outing Marsha’s killer. It’s part urgent social history report and part true-crime whodunit.
I Love You, America (Hulu, Oct. 12th)
Sarah Silverman’s probably not going to achieve world peace – but it will not be for lack of trying. The stated purpose of her new talk show is to find common ground with all sorts of Americans, including (and especially) those unlike her. Featuring segments shot all around the U.S. of A., the program focuses on shared humanity; in one hot-button interview, she travels to Georgia to give a rural family their first-ever encounter with a Jew. (“We’re not looking to make them look like assholes,” Silverman says.) The comedian is a shit-stirrer by trade. But hey, if poop jokes can’t bring us together, what can?
Lore (Amazon, Oct. 13th)
Since 2015, the Lore podcast has spooked listeners with true tales of the macabre, narrated as if around a crackling campfire on a pitch-black night. This new Amazon anthology series from its creators now adds a visual dimension to the chilling legends – from superstition in16th-century German village to paranoia in midcentury America. What if the real monster [dramatic pause] was man all along?
The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected) (Netflix, Oct. 13th)
Remember that old saying about every unhappy family being unhappy in their own unique way? Noah Baumbach’s extraordinary comedy-drama locates one clan’s dysfunctional core – specifically, Dustin Hoffman’s sculptor paterfamilias – then spirals out to his uniformly unhappy adult children (Ben Stiller, Elizabeth Marvel and a Punch Drunk Love–level Adam Sandler) and their reaction to Dad getting sick. Throw in Emma Thompson’s dizzy lush, Grave Van Patten’s college-freshman filmmaker and a script brimming with Upper West Side wit into the mix, and you have may be the best thing the writer-director has ever done.
Mindhunter (Netflix, Oct. 13th)
Netflix is hoping they can wring another House of Cards-sized smash out of David Fincher via this adaptation of a book from two agents in the FBI’s Elite Serial Crime Unit during the Seventies. In an effort to understand the growing serial killer phenomena, hotshot rookie Holden Ford (Jonathan Groff) and grizzled vet Bill Tench (Holy McCallany) interview America’s mass murderers to better understand the homicidal psychology. It looks downright chilling and full of the Zodiac-level Fincherian color-grading you know and love.
Patton Oswalt: Annihilation (Netflix, Oct. 17th)
You don’t have to endure inhuman amounts of pain to create great art, but the list of artists who have used grief to fuel personal, cathartic is miles long. Patton Oswalt’s latest stand-up special centers on the sudden passing of his wife last year and Oswalt’s long, difficult search to find a reason to go on. Of course it sounds bleak, but this is the guy who turned a meditation on sorrow into an extended, uproarious metaphor involving action star Jason Statham. With humor and weary optimism, the comic forges ahead – and still leaves time for a tight five on automated calling services.
Rillington Place (Sundance Now, Oct. 5th)
John Christie (Tim Roth) was just your normal, everyday British citizen in the 1940s, a typical nice guy doing his part to help his fellow man. He also happened to have committed a whole mess of homicides in England, culminating in that of his wife Ethel (Samantha Morton). Alas, the man that the local authorities tried and executed for these crimes – Timothy Evans (Nico Mirallegro) – became a casualty of bureaucratic incompetence. This BBC import lets Ethel, Timothy and John each narrate one of the three episodes in this tightly controlled, stopwatch-precise murder mystery. It’s both bloody good and bloody bloody.
Stranger Things, Season 2 (Netflix, Oct. 27th)
Take a big hit of nostalgia and fall back into the Upside Down with the sophomore season of Netflix’s surprise breakout of 2016. It’s Halloween night, 1984, and all is not well in Hawkins. Young Will has lingering traumas to sort through; Eleven has to find her way back to her friends; the rest of the gang is busy dressing up like the Ghostbusters, and for God’s sake, where the hell is Barb?!? Showrunners Matt and Ross Duffer have teased their plans to explore the larger mythology around the monstrous Demogorgon, the parallel dimension and all the rest. Make sure to stock up on Egos, it’s going to be a long binging weekend.
Too Funny to Fail (Hulu, October 21st)
Oh, The Dana Carvey Show – you were simply too good for this world. ABC’s half-hour sketch show ran for seven episodes (it’s eighth one was never even broadcast) in the spring of 1996 before an unceremonious cancellation. But a cast boasting future stars Steve Carell, Stephen Colbert and Robert “Triumph the Wonder Dog” Smigel – and a writing staff that included Louis C.K., Charlie Kaufman and 30 Rock co-creator Robert Carlock – helped turn this gone-too-soon series into a cult classic. Hulu’s original documentary gives it the full oral-history treatment with new interviews from Carvey, the cast and most of the major behind-the-scenes players. If you weren’t already in awe of the show’s attempt to sell the sight of dogs sucking on Bill Clinton teats in primetime, you will be by the end of this.