As we ring in a new year, everyone will be looking for a good show to binge watch before starting the daily grind at work or school once again.
While digesting all of the holiday indulgences, from turkey and stuffing to chocolates and pumpkin pie, there’s no better way to chill than cozy up on the couch with a good show. Thankfully, every major streaming service has new content to offer this week.
There’s plenty to choose from, whether you’re looking for a family-friendly show to watch with the kids or something more intense to watch with a special someone or on your own. What’s new this week? We’ve done the research to bring you the best of the best to watch as you close out 2020 and look towards a brighter 2021.
A perfect gift to ring in the new year, Netflix announced that it would be releasing the third season of this martial arts comedy-drama ahead of schedule. Originally set to premiere on January 8, all episodes of the third season will now be available to stream at the stroke of midnight, January 1, 2021. Based on the original Karate Kid movies from the ’80s, both Ralph Macchio and William Zabka reprise their roles as Daniel LaRusso and Johnny Lawrence, respectively. Now grown men with children of their own, they can’t quite shake their rivalry.
While the series is filled with plenty of nostalgic throwbacks making it appealing to older generations who grew up with the original, at its heart is a new cast of teenage characters, training with the Cobra Kai and the new Miyagi-do dojos. Plenty of original Karate Kid characters reprised their roles in the first two seasons, including Martin Kove’s John Kreese, with several more set to appear in season three (will Elisabeth Shue appear as Ali?) As long as you go in without the expectation of Emmy-winning acting or deep, thought-provoking storylines, the series combines just the right level of corniness with nostalgia, epic fight scenes, and teen angst to make you thoroughly addicted.
Chilling Adventures of Sabrina
Even though this series has been canceled, fans will want to check out Part 4 starting December 31, which is technically the second half of the second season, to see how the story ends. Taking place in the Archie comic book universe, the supernatural horror follows a version of the character Sabrina Spellman (Kiernan Shipka), a high schooler who balances her teenage life with the fact that she’s also a half-witch. Dubbed a dark coming-of-age story that combines typical teen angst with battling evil forces, the series received great reviews throughout its run. The show might have been cut short, but it remains a worthwhile watch if you’re into typical CW dramas.
Best Leftovers Ever!
This new food show couldn’t have been released at a better time. Launching with its first season on December 30, the series examines creative ways home cooks can use leftovers to create culinary masterpieces. Hosted by GLOW‘s Jackie Tohn with foodies David So and Rosemary Shrager as judges, the talented cooks showcase their skills by making pasta from day-old French fries, gnocchi from leftover tamales, and even using leftover take-out to concoct dishes that look like they come from fine dining restaurants. It’s an inspiring show that might just give families ideas of how to use up leftovers instead of throwing them out or eating the same tired dinner three nights in a row. With the holiday season ending, chances are plenty of fridges across the country will be filled with leftovers of all kinds, ripe for being made into something new.
Go! Go! Cory Carson
The third season of this popular animated children’s series based on the line of VTech toy cars was just released in January 2020 and already, a third season is coming. Follow the new adventures of the anthropomorphic vehicles, led by Cory, a friendly orange car with yellow stripes. Kids relate to Cory as he deals with starting school, trying to make new friends, and learning to be responsible. Every episode is only seven or eight minutes long, but it’s great entertainment for little ones.
Big Mouth (2017)
This coming-of-age animated sitcom isn’t for kids: created by Family Guy writer Andrew Goldberg, actor-comedian Nick Kroll, and writer-producer husband and wife team, Marin Levin and Jennifer Flackett, it’s based on Kroll and Goldberg’s lives growing up as teenagers in suburban New York City. Kroll provides the voice for the younger version of himself as he explores the pivotal changes that come with reaching puberty. Stream all four seasons to date.
Stargate SG-1 (1997)
Sci-fi fans will revel in the news that this cult classic Canadian-American military sci-fi adventure series is finally coming to Netflix. Based on the 1994 film Stargate, the series picks up where the movie left off. When it’s discovered that an alien device called the Stargate can access various devices in space, the United States Air Force creates a special ops team, known as SG-1, to try and fend off attacks. Combining elements of both sci-fi and mythology, the series flew under the radar for so long, despite many pundits, including Rolling Stone magazine, calling it one of the best sci-fi series of all time. Stream all 10 seasons.
Selena: The Series (2020)
The 1997 movie adaptation of Tejano singer Selena and her life and brutal killing helped put Jennifer Lopez on the map as both a serious actor and a talented singer. And now, the story of this Spanish singer whose life was cut short at just 23 will be returning to the screen in this biographical drama. Rather than focusing on her death, it tells the story of Selena’s life, her rise to fame, and the sacrifices her family made to help her make it in Hollywood. Christian Serratos (The Walking Dead) stars as Selena in the musical series that will be a must-watch for fans of the late singer and Tejano music in general. All nine episodes of season one are available to stream.
While this series has been canceled, you might still want to check out the 20 episodes of the two seasons, all of which are streaming now. A supernatural horror drama based on the 2013 Joe Hill novel of the same name, Victoria, an artist, possesses supernatural abilities that she uses to track an immortal being that feeds off the souls of young children. When the psychopath Charlie Manx, played by Zachary Quinto, is done with the kids, he leaves their remains in a twisted village called Christmasland where they are forced to act happy, despite being held captive. The second season received much better reviews than the first.
Hulu picked up exclusive streaming distribution rights for this hilarious Canadian sitcom about the residents of the fictional rural community of Letterkenny, loosely based on creator Jared Keeso’s own hometown of Listowel, Ontario. It’s rife with Canadian themes, from ice hockey to farmers known as “hicks,” drug addicts called “skids,” and local Mennonites and French-speaking Quebecois people. And the series aims to squash stereotypes of small-town folk possessing a lower level of intelligence, with quick-witted residents making use of sharp wordplay and puns, and educated world views. Originally starting as a YouTube web series, the sitcom has acquired a legion of fans across North America.
This Canadian medical drama centers around a group of nurses at a hospital in downtown Toronto dealing with the everyday trauma, intense situations, and medical emergencies, but with stories told from their perspective. Created by the same team behind the popular series Rookie Blue, the show premiered north of the border in January and was picked up by Hulu for distribution in the U.S. It has gotten lackluster reviews thus far but if you’re looking for something to satiate your desire for a new medical drama, this series might just fit the bill.
The Hardy Boys (2020)
While the teen drama is designed for kids, parents who grew up with these memorable characters and the novels will appreciate the show as well. Brothers Frank and Joe Hardy move to the small town of Bridgeport for the summer to stay with their aunt. But when they find out their father, a detective, is part of a secret investigation, their penchants for sleuthing means they can’t help but get caught up in trying to help him solve the case. These boys might be from a big city, but they quickly realize that even in a small town, anyone could be the culprit.
Batman: The Animated Series
Come January 1, 2021, several Batman-related pieces of content will be available to stream on HBO Max, including Batman: The Animated Series. Featuring the popular DC Comics character, his sidekick Robin, rival Joker, and others, the superhero animated series originally aired for two seasons in the early ’90s. Its latter half was called The Adventures of Batman & Robin. Regardless of what it was called, this series spawned a whole new world of Batman merchandise and content, from movies to comic books and video games. Widely considered to be one of the best Batman adaptations, as well as one of the best animated TV series ever, it’s a huge get for HBO Max.
The West Wing
Following its departure on Netflix, this long-running Aaron Sorkin serial political drama that originally aired from 1999 through to 2006 has found a new home on HBO Max. All seven seasons are available to stream so viewers can relive Martin Sheen’s portrayal of the fictional President Josiah Bartlet. The series features lots of additional A-list talent as supporting characters, many as members of Bartlet’s administration, including Rob Lowe, Dule Hill, Allison Janney, Bradley Whitford, and Moira Kelly. Widely considered to be one of the best TV series of all time, it’s worth binging for the first time over the holidays or watching again.
Hailing from Germany, this gangster drama follows a Lebanese crime family and drug cartel and its leader, Ali “Toni” Hamady, who yearns to leave his life of crime behind and start anew. But when his brother-in-law is arrested, he must try and make things right before he exits the business for good. Naturally, that plan is easier said than done. Having received critical acclaim in its home country, the German-language series is poised to fill the genre hole left by the ending of series like The Sopranos and Sons of Anarchy.
Starring The Walking Dead‘s Michael Cudlitz, Kevin Alejandro (Parenthood, True Blood), Ben McKenzie (The O.C., Gotham), and multi-Emmy winner Regina King, all five seasons of this crime drama are available to stream. Focused on LAPD officers and their interactions with detectives, criminals, and other parties, it has been lauded for being raw, authentic, and character-driven versus your standard police procedural. It draws comparisons to other shows like The Wire and The Shield, so it’s safe to say if you like shows that fall into that genre, this one is worth checking out.
Looney Tunes (1930)
If you cringe when someone under 30 doesn’t know who Bugs Bunny, Speedy Gonzales, or Wile E. Coyote is, you’ll be elated to know that all episodes of this long-running series of cartoons, from 1930 through to 1969, are now streaming. Introduce your children and grandchildren to iconic characters (and nostalgia-filled musical compositions) like Foghorn Leghorn, Tweety, Porky Pig, Road Runner, and Elmer Fudd. They’ll be “hunting wabbits,” Googling ACME Corporation, and declaring that they “ain’t no chicken” in no time.
Starting January 1, 2021, you can watch all eight seasons of this thrilling Showtime series about a vigilante serial killer who has learned to control his dark urges by only killing criminals he has vetted and determined to be deserving of it. His moonlighting job is made easier given the access afforded to him by his day job as a blood-spatter analyst for the police department. Michael C. Hall is wonderfully convincing as the title character, a man struggling to interact with “normal” people during the day while constantly being consumed by his “dark passenger” and sociopathic lack of empathy or interest in mundane daily niceties.
Despite the lackluster ending that led to the upcoming limited series revival to give the show the ending it deserves, all eight seasons of Dexter are captivating and will keep you at the edge of your seat. Watch it again in preparation for the revival or check it out for the first time before the 10-episode limited series premieres in late 2021.
Catch up with the fifth season of this Amazon original sci-fi series as you prepare for the already-renewed sixth and final season to come. Humanity now exists in the Solar System, and a group of antiheroes finds themselves in the midst of a conspiracy. The show actually originally aired on Syfy, but after its cancellation in 2018, Amazon Prime Video swept in and released season 4, much to the joy of fans. Season 5 includes 10 episodes.
The Wilds (2020)
Several young girls become stranded on a deserted island following a plane crash. It was seemingly an accident, but viewers quickly learn that it wasn’t one at all. Meanwhile, the girls begin to question what actually happened and try and deal with their own demons and trauma from their lives back at home. The series is about survival at its core, but it’s also a riveting teen drama that looks both at raw survival instincts and the true difficulties of being a teenage girl in today’s world. Each episode delves into the lives of one of the girls and their deepest, darkest secrets, with the plot thickening at every turn. There are 10 episodes in the first season, all available to binge at once to get you thoroughly excited for the prospect of a season two.
Ray Donovan (2013)
The incredible cast makes this crime drama a must-watch. Liev Schreiber is the title character, a “fixer” for the wealthy, elite, and powerful who discreetly turned to him when they need problems to, well, disappear. Ray uses whatever means necessary, from blackmail to threats, intimidation, and manipulation, to get what he needs. He learned from the best, his lowlife criminal absentee father, played by the incomparable Jon Voight. While the series is full of the gritty violence you’d expect from such a show, it’s the fractured family relationship between Ray, his father, his equally troubled brothers, his wife, and kids that serves as the heartbeat behind the intense fights and gruesome crime scenes. Check out all of season 1; the show aired for seven seasons but won’t return for an eighth.
The Affair (2014)
What ripple effects do extramarital affairs have? This intriguing drama explores the answer to that question with a star-studded cast that includes Dominic West, Ruth Wilson, Maura Tierney, and Joshua Jackson. In a unique format, every episode is divided in two, with each half being told from the perspective of one party involved in the infidelity. Naturally, memory bias comes into play as events are recalled far differently by one person than they are by the other. Airing on Showtime for five seasons, the first season, which is now available for streaming, focuses on the perspectives of Noah (West), a married father of four, and Alison (Wilson), a married waitress with whom he begins a torrid affair. Viewers get to see things from each person’s lens, with subsequent seasons focusing on other characters and how they view the situation.
Tom & Jerry Tales (2006)
One of many incarnations of these popular animated cartoon characters, this one brings the cat-and-mouse duo back together for more antics as Tom the cat relentlessly chases Jerry the mouse to devour him for dinner while Jerry continues to set clever traps to stop him. Of course, deep down, they’re actually friends and Tom would never think of eating Jerry. Check out season 1 from the two-season run, which includes a total of 13 short episodes. For those who grew up with the originals, they’ll revel in the nostalgia and the simplicity of cartoons that required nothing more than some silly props and engaging sound effects to make kids laugh.
Work in Progress (2019)
Written and executive produced in part by Lilly Wachowski, it stars the show’s creator, writer, comedian, and actor Abby McEnany, in a semiautobiographical role. Described as a series about a 45-year-old lesbian living with depression and OCD, the show also stars comedian Julia Sweeney as a fictionalized version of herself as well as actor Theo Germaine, known for their role in Netflix’s The Politician, as a trans man who begins dating Abby. Also, keep an eye out for “Weird Al” Yankovic in a special guest-starring role as a fictionalized version of himself and Julia’s husband. The single-camera comedy has been renewed for a second season and you can stream the entire first now.
Earth at Night in Color (2020)
Narrated by Tom Hiddleston, this natural history series makes good use of next-generation cameras to capture captivating images and footage of nocturnal animals. For the first time, you can see in vivid color and detail what these creatures get up to at night. The series was filmed across six continents, starting from the Arctic Circle and moving to the African grasslands, investigating the behavior of all kinds of animals, from lions and tigers to bears, oh my.
This might just become your new latest obsession to watch with the kids. The animated series, which is suitable for kids 7 and up, is about three siblings, Karl, Addy, and Michael, who live next door to a wise panda named Stillwater. Despite their differences, the kids learn a lot from Stillwater, who is able to regale them with stories that teach them new perspectives on life, love, and each other. It’s heartwarming and sweet, with a lesson in every episode that will teach kids to have faith in themselves, work harder, and be confident that they can achieve anything to which they set their minds.
Doug Unplugs (2020)
Based on the book series Doug Unplugged by Dan Yaccarino, a young robot named Doug decides that he wants to explore life beyond just facts. So instead of plugging in like the rest of the robots for his usual daily download, he unplugs and sets out on an adventure to experience the wonders of the world by joining human life with his best friend Emma. Each episode is a short 11 minutes long.
Earth to Ned
Check out 10 new episodes of this PG-rated talk show hosted by aliens starting January 1, 2021. The series, which is produced by The Jim Henson Company and Marwar Junction Productions, originally premiered with its first season in September 2020 and was met with positive reviews. The premise is that the host, Ned, was supposed to invade Earth, but he became obsessed with pop culture and decided to launch his own talk show instead. Together with his lieutenant Cornelius, he interviews celebrity guests in each half-hour episode. While there’s some strong language and innuendo, it’s a show that parents can watch with older kids. Guests in season two include Ginnifer Goodwin, Aisha Tyler, Penn & Teller, Mayim Bialik, Molly Ringwald, and others.
Cosmos: Possible Worlds
The first season of this travel series is a continuation of the voyage Carl Sagan began more than 40 years ago to explore humanity, including events and truths from the past, present, and future. It features VFX, stylized animations, and dramatic reenactments to provide an exciting as well as educational look into science and the world around us. The show, which originally aired on National Geographic in March 2020, is a follow-up to the 2014 series Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey, which itself was a follow-up to Sagan’s 1980 PBS original, Cosmos: A Personal Voyage. Along with astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson serving as presenter, the series counts Seth MacFarlane among its executive producers.
The Mandalorian (2019)
The second season of this Star Wars franchise space Western commenced on October 30, 2020, and came to an end December 18. Not surprisingly, season 3 is also already in the works. The series, which took home an impressive seven Primetime Creative Arts Emmy Awards and was nominated for Outstanding Drama Series, is set five years after the events of 1983’s Return of the Jedi and follows the story of a bounty hunter (Pedro Pascal) who is trying to locate someone known as “The Child,” now known as Grogu (and affectionately called “Baby Yoda”), followed by his adventures with the adorable creature. This will be one to savor since the third season won’t arrive until the end of 2021, though there are a few spin-offs in the works to whet your appetites while you anxiously await the next 12 months to come and go.
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