Is it us, or does Netflix seem to be making a concerted bid to straight-up own November? It’s launching a pair of expensive-looking period-set miniseries, a long-anticipated Marvel spin-off, a sophomore run for one of the best TV cult comedies of the past 10 years and their big-league awards contender film of the year. (Consider this a warning shot for 2018, during which Netflix will spend a projected $8 billion on new original content.) Meanwhile, Hulu’s getting in the Marvel business as well as sending Josh Hutcherson back in time, while Amazon unveils the full season of one of their most streamed pilots ever. Here’s what you’ll be streaming this month. (You can check out our recommendations for non-streaming TV options here.)
Alias Grace (Netflix, Nov. 3rd)
In 1843, a pair of disgruntled servants murdered the Canadian nobility that employed them. Their display of savagery shocked the nation. This handsomely-mounted miniseries adds a layer of fiction with a frame story that pairs one of the culprits, Grace (Sarah Gadon), with a psychoanalyst attempting to determine her sanity. It comes from a dream team of women – filmmaker Sarah Polley, novelist Margret Atwood and Mary Harron of American Psycho fame handled the directing – and reaffirms the ability of a downtrodden female to reclaim her own life. If by blood, so be it.
Future Man (Hulu, Nov. 14th)
Former Hunger Game-r Josh Hutcherson now finds himself playing a regular ol’ gamer whose exceptional talents have attracted a pair of time-travelers. Naturally, they enlist him to salvage their future; quicker than you can say “Ready Player One but with more dick jokes,” our the button-mashing chosen one is going back to the Eighties and cock-blocking the man who triggers dystopia with a cure for herpes. The pedigree is strong with this raunchcom: Seth Rogen, Evan Goldberg, The Daily Show‘s Ben Karlin, Sausage Party co-writers Ariel Shaffir and Kyle Hunter, etc. So we get arcade-nostalgia gags, lowbrow goofs and numerous Back to the Future references? It’s an embarrassment of grade-A-stupidity riches.
Godless (Netflix, Nov. 22nd)
Frank Griffin (Jeff Daniels), the baddest varmint in the Old West, has a grudge to settle. His lily-livered former right-hand man Roy Goode (Jack O’Connell) decided to go on the straight and narrow, and absconded with the bounty from a robbery. This old-fashioned oater miniseries pits the two fellers against one another in a rivalry that can only end with hot lead. Caught between them is Alice Fletcher (Michelle Dockery), a fair maiden who’s made of sterner stuff than either man might realize. Circle up the wagons.
Lady Dynamite, Season 2 (Netflix, Nov. 10th)
Maria Bamford’s back, she’s keeping up with her meds, and she’s unstoppable! In these new episodes, she’s navigating the first healthy, functional relationship of her life (Ólafur Darri Ólafsson returns as Maria’s patient, sensitive boyfriend) while getting back on the audition circuit and crusading for mental health de-stigmatization. If that sounds a little heavy, showrunners Mitch Hurtwitz (Arrested Development) and Pam Brady leaven it all with hyperactive surrealist humor. We can only hope this season will end with another long-form Power Rangers homage.
Marvel’s Runaways (Hulu, Nov. 21st)
Mom and Dad – they’re, like, the worst, right? But at least they aren’t literal supervillains keeping the illicit underground of Los Angeles in a brutal chokehold. This TV take on the off-beat cult favorite from the Marvel catalogue focuses on a team of six wayward teenage heroes uniting against a sinister crime cabal made up of their parents. The colorful lineup includes a Wiccan goth with occult powers, an ass-kicking model and what Hulu has described as a “riot grrrl social justice warrior.” (Ugh.) From the looks of it, this will be closer to the outré likes of Legion than the grindstone-nosed Defenders, et al. shows.
The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel (Amazon, Nov. 29th)
Midge Maisel (Rachel Brosnahan) is having one of those days. A housewife nursing two kids and her husband’s ego in 1950s Manhattan, she hits her breaking point when her man announces that he’s leaving her for the secretary. One superhuman bender later, she’s taken the stage at an open mic stand-up showcase and tapped into a latent skill for comedy. This period piece from TV queen Amy Sherman-Palladino (Gilmore Girls) tracks Midge’s meteoric rise to the top of the showbiz heap. Say, you ever hear the one about the broad who shattered the glass ceiling?
Mudbound (Netflix, Nov. 17th)
Director Dee Rees (Pariah) swings for the fences with this adaptation of Hillary Jordan’s wartime epic novel about two families in rural Mississippi — one black, one white — contend with simmering racial tension over a span of years. The sweeping canvas collects an array of excellent performances, with special praise already heaped upon Mary J. Blige as a long-suffering sharecropper and Garett Hedlund as a shell-shocked veteran finding some common ground with a black fellow soldier (Jason Mitchell). If Netflix plans on an Oscar push this year, it begins here.
Obey Giant (Hulu, Nov. 11th)
If you don’t know Shepard Fairey, you’re certainly familiar with his work. The multimedia guerrilla artist made Andre the Giant into an urban legend with his omnipresent “OBEY” stickers; he then created the tricolor “HOPE” poster that gave Obama an endlessly reproducible icon. This documentary surveys the full breadth of this street-art rabble-rouser’s life and times, from his rise in the skateboarding scene around RISD to the big political controversies that followed in the wake of his most well-known work. Happy tagging.
The Punisher (Netflix, Nov. 17th)
Frank Castle ain’t fucking around, people. The most ruthless hero in Marvel’s roster makes Spider-Man look like a Brownie, and former Walking Dead player Jon Bernthal first took up the notorious skull-shirted uniform in the second season of Daredevil. Now he takes the lead in this new spin-off that lets him loose on a vast conspiracy of government no-good-niks, rogue military folks and surveillance-culture spooks, aided by a former NSA whistleblower with the code name Micro (Girls‘ Ebon Moss-Bachrach). With longtime Hannibal writer Steve Lightfoot as the showrunner, you know you’re in good antihero-drama hands.
She’s Gotta Have It (Netflix, Nov. 23rd)
Spike Lee refuses to play by anyone else’s rules but his own – so he’s a natural fit for Netflix’s hands-off, creators-first production doctrine. This series expands on his 1986 debut film, a saucy sex comedy about a self-sufficient young Brooklynite named Nola (played in the series by DeWanda Wise) juggling three dramatically different man-pieces (Anthony Ramos, Lyriq Bent, and Cleo Anthony) at once. Our independent-as-hell heroine now knows enough to describe herself as a “sex-positive polyamorous pansexual,” and if ever there was a Lee movie that needed to be revisited in this day and age – and warranted being extended into a 10-part series – it’s this one.