Does February have you feeling lonely with its upcoming card-company holiday? Trust us when we say that Better Call Saul’s Saul Goodman, Kidding’s Mr. Pickles, Homeland’s Carrie Mathison, or Brooklyn Nine-Nine’s Jake Piralta go down as easy as a box of chocolates. Or if you’re more into beards and other kinds of treats, High Maintenance’s delivery guy might be more your speed. Regardless, this month has 10 returning series worth your time and your bingeing.
What it is: When it first premiered on Discovery in 2017, creators Andrew Sodroski, Jim Clemente, and Tony Gittelson’s Manhunt promised a factual, fuss-free deep-dive on the FBI’s investigation and ongoing search for the terrorist Ted Kaczynski (a.k.a. the Unabomber). What we got was absolutely engrossing cat-and-mouse action with little-known, truth-is-stranger-than-fiction twists along the way.
Why you should watch it: Having switched from Discovery to Spectrum Originals’ streaming platform, the new installment of Manhunt again follows the FBI, this time as they search for the bomber behind the 1996 Atlanta Olympics attack and deal with the notorious controversy surrounding security guard Richard Jewell that followed. (Clint Eastwood’s 2019 feature film Richard Jewell dealt with the same topic.) Season 2 premieres on February 3 on Spectrum.
Commitment: Approx. 6 hours (for the first season)
What it is: This hit comedy series from creators Dan Goor and Michael Schur is a workplace sitcom featuring some very distinct personalities — the aloof and gregarious Detective Jake Peralta (Saturday Night Live alum Andy Samberg), his fictional precinct’s dry commanding officer, Captain Ray Holt (Andre Braugher), and the rest of the motley crew of the Nine-Nine.
Why you should watch it: We’ve seen fan-initiated primetime resuscitations before, but rarely do they happen as swiftly as Brooklyn Nine-Nine’s after its unceremonious cancellation at Fox. The online outcry had barely begun before Universal Television began shopping the sitcom around, and it was scooped up by NBC just a day later — with good reason. Now that we’re a season into that “reboot,” it’s clear the series should’ve never left in the first place. Season 7 premieres on February 6 on NBC.
Commitment: Approx. 47 hours (for the first six seasons)
What it is: This anthological crime thriller from creator and showrunner Derek Simonds (and executive producer Jessica Biel, who starred on season 1 and earned her first Emmy nomination for the performance) takes the traditional whodunit thriller and turns it on its head into a whydunit. We know the titular culprit from the get, but there are unknown layers as to why they committed the central crime. The series has been a huge hit for USA Network and follows different crimes each season. Detective Harry Ambrose (Bill Pullman) is the thread that holds them all together.
Why you should watch it: The Sinner is a spin on a classic trope, and it’s executed with top-notch acting, production, and nail-biting scripts. What’s not to love? Season 3 follows Matt Bomer and Chris Messina as college buddies with a dark, secretive past. A fatal tragedy upon their reunion brings Ambrose on the case. Catch up before its February 6 premiere.
Commitment: Approx. 12 hours (for the first two seasons)
What it is: From co-creators Katja Blichfeld and Ben Sinclair, High Maintenance began as a hit web series starring Sinclair as a traveling weed deliveryman living in New York City. HBO picked it up to series in 2016 and largely retained the comedy’s original format while simply making its episodes longer.
Why you should watch it: While there are plenty of primetime programs that paint a great snippet of present-day NYC, few get the full picture the way High Maintenance does. That’s because each episode features various characters who — whether they’re hosting a swingers party, rebelling against their ultra-religious parents, or sitting home alone collecting cans of La Croix — are from such disparate walks of life that they end up inadvertently highlighting the similarities between so many dwellers of the concrete jungle. (And we promise those similarities go beyond enjoying the green.) Season 4 premieres on February 7 on HBO.
Commitment: Approx. 12.5 hours (for the first three seasons)
What it is: Homeland has gone a lot of places — some better than others — over the course of its twisty seven seasons, but it all started with the Emmy-winning combination of Sgt. Nicholas Brody (Damian Lewis) and CIA agent Carrie Mathison (Claire Danes). The former has just returned from Iraq after being missing in action; the latter suspects that his allegiances have been turned to the enemy. Let the cat-and-mouse games begin.
Why you should watch it: Homeland — led by a career-best Danes as an agent with bipolar disorder — is a masterclass in taut, edge-of-your-seat spy drama. Even when the series goes off the deep end, Danes has you simultaneously rooting for her and holding your breath. Season 8 premieres on February 9 on Showtime.
Commitment: Approx. 60 hours (for the first seven seasons)
What it is: Kidding follows a Mr. Rogers–esque children’s show host named Mr. Pickles through a divorce and into a downward, existential spiral. But at its heart, it’s just about a kindhearted guy trying to find himself while piecing his life back together.
Why you should watch it: Something about filmmaker Michel Gondry and star Jim Carrey’s creative relationship sparks magic; Kidding doesn’t just mark a grand reunion of the two artists after 15 years, but it features Carrey’s best dramatically-tinged performance since their shared Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. Add in the auteur’s trademark visual flare, and Kidding will win just about anyone over. Season 2 premieres February 9 on Showtime.
Commitment: Approx. 5 hours (for the first season)
What it is: Critically-acclaimed Spanish- and English-language Netflix original started with Narcos, taking a closer look at formidable and feared Columbian drug lord Pablo Escobar (played by Wagner Moura) and his criminal contemporaries. In 2018, Netflix launched companion series Narcos: Mexico – originally intended as season 4 of the original show – which dove into the roots of the modern drug war and the true-story rise of the cocaine trade led by the Guadalajara cartel in the 1980s.
Why you should watch it: The Narcos franchise is riveting and entertaining television, boasting fine performances and equally engaging scripts — not to mention a little-seen precision in documenting the history of the drug trade that still plagues the world today. In the Mexico seasons, Michael Peña stars as DEA agent Kiki Camarena alongside Diego Luna as cartel leader Miguel Ángel Félix Gallardo. Narcos: Mexico season 2 premieres February 13 on Netflix.
Where to watch: Netflix
Commitment: Approx. 35 hours (25.8 for three seasons of Narcos and 8.5 hours for season 1 of Narcos: Mexico)
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. Expertly-crafted performances and, ahem, titillating character arcs have consumed audiences in the kind of “who will she choose” debate unseen since Twi-hards of yore. This series, from Battlestar Galactica reboot mastermind Ronald D. Moore, has the scripts, direction, and overall production value worth fawning over, too. Season 5 premieres on February 16 on Starz.
Commitment: Approx. 55 hours (for the first four seasons)
What it is: Ever wonder how, exactly, Breaking Bad’s Saul Goodman got to be so darn slimy? AMC’s acclaimed spin-off, Better Call Saul, is here to help. The companion series satisfyingly builds on the original Vince Gilligan drama, while also coherently etching an identity of its own for viewers of all proclivities.
Why you should watch it: The series takes a character we think we know — the Saul Goodman whom Breaking Bad’s Walter White eventually meets in that Albuquerque, New Mexico, strip mall — and breaks him down to his nuts and bolts, starting at Jimmy McGill. Played wonderfully by Bob Odenkirk in what could become his career-defining (certainly career-changing) role, Saul/Jimmy and his uneasy partnership with Jonathan Banks’ Mike Ehrmantraut make for must-watch hours for any lover of prestige TV, Breaking Bad die-hard or not. Season 5 premieres on February 23 on AMC.
Commitment: Approx. 32 hours (for the first four seasons)
What it is: Altered Carbon is a sci-fi epic for our time: it’s often brutal and sometimes confusing. Set in a distant dystopian future in which an individual’s consciousness can be downloaded and stored digitally to be later uploaded into a new body, otherwise known as a “sleeve,” life and death have little meaning in this world. But this advancement in technology allows only an elite and wealthy few to actually live their lives for hundreds of years, while those less fortunate only degrade, descending further and further into destitution.
Why you should watch it: This Netflix adaptation of Richard K. Morgan’s acclaimed 2002 novel from creator Laeta Kalogridis received mixed reviews upon its 2018 premiere, but was a hit with genre fans new and old alike. While Joel Kinnaman was absolutely killer as the latest incarnation of the mysterious time-jumping hero Takeshi Kovacs, these new episodes give Takeshi Kovacs a new sleeve: Anthony Mackie. Season 2 premieres on February 27 on Netflix.
Where to watch: Netflix
Commitment: Approx. 8.5 hours (for the first season)
Why you should watch it: Netflix brought the first two seasons of the lavish German series to U.S. audiences in 2017. Together, the seasons are Certified Fresh at 100% for painting a head-spinning tableau of corruption, drug dealing, and weapons trafficking that tests the young inspector’s sense of loyalty and dedication to the truth. Season 3 launches on February 28 on Netflix.
Where to watch: Netflix
Commitment: Approx. 12 hours
Thumbnail image: JoJo Whilden / ©Showtime Network, © Fox, Nicole Wilder/AMC/Sony Pictures