The biggest TV event this month is undoubtedly Netflix’s much-anticipated Gilmore Girls reboot, subtitled A Year in the Life; the four-part special arrives online just in time for Thanksgiving weekend — which means you can either spend some quality time watching with family, or you can take the opportunity to hide with your laptop in your childhood bedroom from said family. November also sees the return of Downton Abbey‘s Michelle Dockery, who stars in a sexy new TNT thriller called Good Behavior, and a new, soapy season of the show we all love to hate (and hate to love), The Affair. The end of this mind-boggling election season isn’t the only thing to be thankful for this November.
11/4: The Crown (Netflix)
This new Netflix series swoops in this month to fill the void left by the recent cancellation of Downton Abbey. The Crown is a historical drama that examines the reign of Queen Elizabeth II, played by the wide-eyed Claire Foy. The first episode begins with Elizabeth’s marriage to Prince Philip (Matt Smith); Season 1’s ten episodes will encompass roughly the first decade of her rule. Netflix has already committed to a second season of The Crown — creator Peter Morgan, who wrote the 2006 royal drama The Queen, director Stephen Daldry, and executive producer Andy Harries have envisioned six seasons spanning Elizabeth’s entire reign. Judging from the first episode, The Crown will delight die-hard royal-watchers, but may be a little slow-going for the rest of us.
11/7: Martha and Snoop’s Potluck Dinner (VH1)
VH1 has yet to release advanced screeners of its latest original series, Martha and Snoop’s Potluck Dinner, but I feel pretty confident in recommending this cooking show in which Martha Stewart and Snoop Dogg cook and serve dinner to a group of their closest celebrity friends. I’m not sure what else you could possibly want to know. The premiere is the night before the elections, and I do believe Martha and Snoop will usher in this new glass-shattering chapter in America’s history. Remember, folks: Better together.
11/11: Red Oaks (Amazon)
This charming Amazon comedy about a group of teens who work at a New Jersey golf club in the mid-1980s returns this month for a second season. Red Oaks leans heavily on ’80s nostalgia (as the cheesy trailer above indicates), but it also perfectly captures the appeal of the era’s coming-of-age movies (and boasts a period-credible cast that includes Jennifer Grey and Paul Reiser). Craig Roberts stars as David, a tennis pro at the Red Oaks Country Club working to earn the money to move to the big city when he starts college. But the show’s secret weapon is Oliver Cooper, who plays David’s best friend, a stoner with a heart of gold who pines after the beautiful Misty (Alexandra Turshen). The first season is available on Amazon Prime; there’s plenty of time to catch up.
11/15: Billy on the Street (truTV)
The delightfully abrasive Billy Eichner is back for another season of ad-lib antics with Billy on the Street, his comedic, on-the-fly game show that’s now in its fifth season. The new season promises plenty of guest stars, including Jon Hamm, Lupita Nyong’o, Keegan-Michael Key, and Aziz Ansari, and more of Eichner’s hilariously arbitrary quizzes, such as, “Believes in ghosts or can’t eat toast?” and “Chris Hemsworth or someone who had to try?” We’ve missed you, Billy!
11/15: Good Behavior (TNT)
This new thriller based on a series of books by Blake Crouch stars Downton Abbey’s Michelle Dockery in a rather different role than the stuck-up Mary Crawley. Dockery plays Letty Raines, a petty thief who’s recently been released from prison and is struggling to stay on the wagon and keep her appointments with her sympathetic parole officer. When she accidentally overhears a hit man (Juan Diego Botto) arranging a job while stealing from a fancy hotel room, the two become inextricably entwined in each other’s lives. The characters are complex, the plot is engaging, and Dockery and Botto are sexy as shit.
11/15: Sweet/Vicious (MTV)
This new drama-thriller centres on two college students delivering vigilante-style justice to victims of campus sexual assault. Bryan Cranston’s daughter, Tyler Dearden, plays Ophelia, a stoner with a perfect GPA who comes across Jules (Eliza Bennett) wailing on some poor shmuck in an alleyway, dressed head-to-toe in black: Jules is a prim sorority sister by day and a masked avenger by night, beating up guys who have a reputation for assaulting and raping women on campus. The writing isn’t the sharpest, and at least in the first episode, the characters are pretty thinly drawn. But the show’s vision of sisters doing it for themselves — because there’s no other recourse for victims of campus assault — is a powerful one.
11/17: Lovesick (Netflix)
You might remember this as the show formerly known as Scrotal Recall, a sweet and raunchy rom-com series with a spine-chillingly terrible name. Netflix has smartly rebranded this British comedy Lovesick in time for its second season, which lands on the streaming service this month. Over six half-hour episodes, the first season followed Dylan (Johnny Flynn) as he tracked down a different ex-girlfriend in each episode in order to tell her that he has chlamydia. Much of the series unfolded through flashbacks to Dylan’s previous relationships, but threaded throughout was the long-simmering tension between him and his best friend, Evie (Antonia Thomas), who’s harbored a crush on Dylan for years but has recently gotten engaged. If you haven’t seen the first season, you can easily tear through it in one sitting before the second becomes available.
11/20: The Affair (Showtime)
This simultaneously terrible and yet irresistible primetime soap returns for a third season, following a shocking revelation in the second season finale. After painting Dominic West’s Noah Solloway as the show’s most selfish, boorish character, the show twisted our perception of the man by having him confess to a murder he didn’t commit in order to protect both his ex-wife, Helen (Maura Tierney), and Alison, the woman he left her for (Ruth Wilson). The new season finds a newly bearded Noah trying to pick up the pieces of his life in the aftermath of that decision.
11/21: Search Party (TBS)
TBS is doing something a little different with this dark comedy/mystery starring Alia Shawkat: Two half-hour episodes of Search Party will air back-to-back from 11 p.m. to midnight over five consecutive nights starting on Nov. 21. Shawkat plays Dory, a young woman stuck in a rut: She’s in a lackluster relationship with her boyfriend (John Reynolds), has an unfulfilling job, and is bored of her narcissistic friends. When an old college friend is reported missing, Dory finds herself sucked into the mystery. Set in a grey New York City, Search Party has a low-key, muted tone, almost like an indie movie, which is appropriate considering two of its co-executive producers (Wet Hot American Summer’s Michael Showalter is another), Sarah-Violet Bliss and Charles Rogers, wrote and directed, respectively, the 2014 indie Fort Tilden.
11/24: Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life (Netflix)
This probably doesn’t need much of an introduction at this point; we’re still nearly a month away from the premiere of Netflix’s Gilmore Girls reboot, and already I’m picking up some fierce Gilmore backlash on social media. But the most recent trailer for Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life — which is split into four 90-minute “chapters,” each corresponding to a different season — gave some hope to this longtime Gilmore fanatic. Basically everyone from the original WB/CW series is returning (with the exception of Edward Herrmann, who played Richard Gilmore and who died in 2014), and can it really be that much worse than the infamously disastrous seventh season? I sincerely hope not.