Fall TV is now in full swing, so why not add a few more shows to your queue before you hunker down for the winter? Prepare for the return of fan-favorites, the end of long hiatuses, and discover some hidden gems with Rotten Tomatoes’ list of November’s most binge-worthy series. Among our suggestions for your November TV marathons: catching up with House of Cards as its final season debuts, celebrating the end of the latest Droughtlander by revisiting Outlander, and more.
What it is: This decorated ensemble-driven political drama showcases the endless ways in which Frank Underwood (Kevin Spacey) and his wife, Claire (Robin Wright), will manipulate, deceive, and even murder to gain power on Capitol Hill. While the series’ fate hung in the balance at Netflix after Spacey’s sexual misconduct scandal, Wright stepped up to the plate and helped bring the sixth and final season to fruition.
Why you should watch it: The behind-the-curtain wheeling and dealing that makes our nation’s capitol go ’round has never before been as tantalizingly imagined as it is in this hit political drama. The series, which counts David Fincher as an executive producer, has racked up some serious accolades over its five-year run and helped establish Netflix as a major player in original programming. Find out why when season 6 premieres on November 2.
Commitment: Approx. 55 hours (for the first five seasons)
What it is: Based on the hit fantasy novel series from author Diana Gabaldon, Outlander is the story of World War II nurse Claire (Caitriona Balfe), who is inexplicably transported back in time to 18th-century Scotland and quickly swept up in the drama and romance of Highland warrior Jamie Fraser (Sam Heughan) — despite being a married woman in her own time to Frank (Tobias Menzies).
Why you should watch it: There’s little to dislike about this lavish Starz series. Fine performances and, ahem, titillating character arcs have consumed audiences in a “who will she choose” debate unseen since Twi-hards of yore. This time, though, the series in question has the scripts, direction, and overall production value that’s worthy of the fawning, too. Season 4 premieres November 4.
Commitment: Approx. 42 hours (for the first three seasons)
What it is: Room 104 is Jay Duplass and Mark Duplass’ addition to the current anthology series craze. The series sets each 30-minute installment of its 12-episode first season in the titular hotel room. The varied assortment of characters who spend a night or two within that average hotel room’s walls experience things that are far from typical, however.
Why you should watch it: Part of the joy of watching Room 104 is bracing yourself for the unexpected. Luckily, the series’ narrative means you never quite know what you’re going to get. Genre, tone, time, cast — basically everything but place — changes with each installment. While that allows the viewer to watch the episodes out of sequential order (and even means you don’t necessarily have to binge season 1 before catching season 2), we still recommend you do if only to appreciate the bigger picture the Duplass brothers are creating. Season 2 premieres November 9 with even more star power than season 1. Guests include Mahershala Ali, Michael Shannon, Brian Tyree Henry, Judy Greer, and Rainn Wilson.
Commitment: Approx. 6 hours (for each season)
What it is: Spy John Tavner (Michael Dorman) is tasked with helping to prevent Iran from going nuclear by going uncover on assignment at an industrial piping firm.
Why you should watch it: Patriot, from The Secret Life of Walter Mitty filmmaker Steve Conrad, is pretty hard to pin down — and that’s precisely why it works. A melding of genres both well-trod (espionage thriller) and singular (cerebral comedy?), it ropes you in with the familiar, but hooks you with the unexpected. Plus, Dornan is just excellent. Season 2 premieres in full on Amazon Prime Nov. 9.
Where to watch: Amazon
Commitment: Approx. 10 hours (for season 1)
What it is: This critically acclaimed Spanish- and English-language Netflix original takes a closer look at formidable and feared Columbian drug lord Pablo Escobar (played by Wagner Moura) and his criminal contemporaries — until its fourth season with Narcos: Mexico, that is. The series dives into the roots of the modern drug war and the rise of cocaine trade from the 1970s through the 1980s.
Why you should watch it: Narcos is riveting and entertaining television, boasting fine performances and equally engaging scripts — not to mention its precision in documenting the history of the drug trade that still plagues the world today. Narcos: Mexico drops in full November 16 and changes location and jumps back to the 1980s to tell the drug trade story from another angle.
Where to watch: Netflix
Commitment: Approx. 25 hours (for seasons 1 through 3)
What it is: Created by Trent O’Donnell and Patrick Brammall, who also stars, this CBS All Access comedy is a practice in minimalism that works, in that it simply depicts low-level pairs of colleagues involved a major drug cartel operation and bust: two cops, two criminals, two dispatch workers, and two Mexican tunnelers.
Why you should watch it: Sometimes the best comedy comes from simple conversation. That’s what’s explored here in the monotonous day-to-day musings of a the series’ ensemble of duos. Relying on air-tight writing and exemplary performances from the likes of Tim Meadows, Amy Sedaris, Jesse Plemons, Arturo Castro, Jason Mantzoukas, and Will Ferrell (who also executive produces with Adam McKay), it’s the kind of smart, rat-a-tat humor that keeps you coming back for more. Season 2 premieres November 22.
Commitment: Approx. 4 hours (for season 1)
What it is: In the mood for a meaty, generations-spanning period drama that has violence, politics, sex, and true-to-history recreations to spare? Look no further than Vikings, Michael Hirst’s brilliant follow-up to The Tudors. The heart of the series is legendary rags-to-riches viking Ragnar Lothbrok (Travis Fimmel), his rise to power, and how he passes that power to his children and their children.
Why you should watch it: Vikings is complex, calculated storytelling at its best. Gorgeous, lush sets and production design, committed and gritty performances all around — it is a wonder that the program doesn’t garner awards acclaim on par with Game of Thrones (though it certainly draws comparisons). Still, there’s a mild pleasure to being in on a well-kept secret. Join the club before season 5 returns for its second half November 28.
Commitment: Approx. 51 hours (for the first five and a half seasons)