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The Ringer Guide to Streaming in October

Get ready for the year’s spookiest season with the best of what’s coming to Netflix, Hulu, HBO Max, and more

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Postmates your pumpkin spice latte and cozy up for (yet another) quarantine binge-watch season. If you’re fishing for something new to stream, we’ve got you. There’s a coming-of-age drama that features Kid Cudi (!), an action-packed nostalgic animation, a creepy spinoff thriller, and new season of the Emmy-winning Baby Y … er, The Mandalorian. Check out everything that’s new on Netflix, Hulu, Disney+, Amazon Prime, and HBO Max below, as well as a few personal selections from the Ringer staff.

What’s New to Streaming in October

A selected list of movies and TV shows coming this month that The Ringer is very excited about.

Fargo (Netflix, October 1)

Sean Fennessey: Every community deserves a Marge Gunderson—smart, sensible, decent, and in charge. In other words, a hero. There aren’t many heroes in the Coens’ filmography. And this one isn’t wearing a cape or cowl. Fargo, like Blood Simple before it, is unvarnished—it is shot in unflashy movements, observant of details, marking patterns of speech and disquiet in rooms. But Marge, played by Joel’s wife Frances McDormand in an Oscar-winning turn, is what catapulted the Coen brothers out of the respected category and into the realm of major American filmmakers. While it’s ultimately a satisfying crime thriller, with a load-bearing score from Carter Burwell, it’s a kind of movie miracle that it was nominated for Best Picture. Watching a film like this—at an impressionable age—stand beside conventional nominees like The English Patient, gave me hope and faith in awards ceremonies. It was misplaced. But love for Fargo never has been.

Schitt’s Creek Season 6 (Netflix, October 7)

Ben Lindbergh: Schitt’s Creek is the story of the Roses, who lose their fortune and their mansion because of an embezzling business manager and take refuge in an asset so seemingly worthless that the government declines to confiscate it—the unassuming small town of Schitt’s Creek, which Johnny purchased decades earlier solely so he could give the deed to David as a gag gift. In the first episode, we get a glimpse of their lavish life as they pack a few personal possessions. The next time we see them, they’ve reluctantly relocated to the tiny, ignobly named town. They move into two adjoining motel rooms, where they lament their loss in social status, clash with the locals, and, eventually, start repairing broken relationships, forging fresh ones, and searching for a purpose beyond pining for their former lives.

The Mandalorian Season 2 (Disney+, October 30)

Lindbergh: Disney didn’t divulge that Baby Yoda existed until fans discovered the secret for themselves on the screen. Unsurprisingly, the people who pulled off that improbable feat of spoiler prevention are still playing their sabacc cards close to the vest. The trailer looks great, showcasing the variety in terrain that makes The Mandalorian a feast for the eyes and a treat for galactic tourists. We see a bantha and a Tusken Raider riding on what appears to be Tatooine, in addition to shots of a water world that could be Mon Cala (judging by the tentacle-faced Quarren who are also native to Admiral Ackbar’s home planet) and a graffiti-filled industrial setting that’s tougher to place. The Mandalorian has repeatedly let us linger in the seedy settings that most of the Star Wars films whisk us past, and the trailer doesn’t disappointment in that department, serving up a crowded dock, a banged-up barge, and a roomful of unsavory sorts (including cycloptic Abyssin Gore Koresh) watching and wagering on Gamorrean duelists.

Carmen Sandiego Season 3 (Netflix, October 1)

Claire McNear: The new Carmen Sandiego series delves into the crimson enigma’s backstory. We learn that an infant Carmen (voiced by Jane the Virgin’s Gina Rodriguez) was found by a road outside Buenos Aires by a team of professional globe-trotting bandits, who operate under the very subtle—and familiar, if you know your Sandiego lore—aegis “V.I.L.E.” (That’s Villains’ International League of Evil, in case you were still uncertain of where your allegiances ought to lie.)

Some New-ish Things You Might’ve Missed

Because it’s hard to keep up with everything, here are a few things that have premiered somewhat recently that may be worth catching up on.

Ratched (Netflix)

Alison Herman: [Sarah] Paulson returned to the [Ryan] Murphy fold for the latest era in his illustrious career. Ratched is the third Murphy show to premiere on Netflix, a partnership the streaming service paid an eye-watering $300 million for the privilege of forming, and the first to star Paulson in any capacity. An origin story for the domineering, abusive nurse from One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Ratched marks relatively new territory for Murphy, who’s well-versed in true crime but has largely eschewed adaptations of fiction. But it is also, in some ways, an attempted return to form: Once again, Paulson anchors a horror-inflected story set at a mental institution—but this time as the villain, not the hero.

We Are Who We Are (HBO)

Herman: Sure, there are parallels between the show and Call Me by Your Name—enough that fans of the latter will be satisfied and stick around. Fraser (Jack Dylan Grazer of It) is a sensitive, repressed teen from the States, dragged across the Atlantic by his parents’ profession—in this case, his mother Sarah’s (Chloë Sevigny) new gig commanding a military base just outside Venice. There, he meets a kindred spirit who prompts him to explore his sexuality—in this case, not a love interest but a new friend and fellow army brat named Cait (Jordan Kristine Seamón). Together, the two of them hang out, consume substances, and dance at outdoor discotheques—in this case, Frank Ocean and the Rolling Stones swap in for Sufjan Stevens and the Psychedelic Furs.

Raised by Wolves (HBO)

Herman: A conceptual, minimalist work of science fiction, Raised by Wolves has a predictable set of references: 2001: A Space Odyssey, with its sleek design and ominous use of artificial intelligence; and the Alien franchise, with its first two episodes directed by Ridley Scott, who also serves as executive producer. Raised by Wolves has its share of action sequences set on close-quartered spaceships, but creator Aaron Guzikowski (Prisoners, Papillon) seems more influenced by the mythological parts of Scott’s famous saga—the ones that deal with the dawn of a new civilization from the primordial ooze, or an ancestor drinking a potion, or the chest cavity of some poor human on a routine space mission. Except in Raised by Wolves, humanity isn’t at risk from some external, toothy, acid-blooded threat: It’s at war with itself.

Woke (Hulu)

Michael Tedder: Infused with the casually radical politics long associated with the Bay Area, Woke is a sui generis show that defies easy categorization. Picture Boots Riley directing an episode of Bryan Fuller’s cultishly adored Wonderfalls, or perhaps an episode of Pee-Wee’s Playhouse, and you’re getting close. It’s the sort of weird show that the streaming revolution was designed to nurture, something that even a decade ago would have seemed too niche, too hot, for the mainstream.

But now, Woke is increasingly feeling like a show everyone needs to see, whether they like it or not. [Keith] Knight and [Marshall] Todd aren’t afraid to jab their fingers directly into the soft underbelly of everything a certain type of white person would like to pretend isn’t there. But they’d also like it if you laughed while they poked.

Challenger: The Final Flight (Netflix)

Lindbergh: As an alternative to the endless hours of low-stakes escapism that streaming services serve up to temporarily take our troubles away, Challenger: The Final Flight isn’t an easy sell. It’s a three-hour exhumation of a traumatic event that imprinted itself on the psyche of anyone who was watching when it went down. The new Netflix limited series, which debuted on Wednesday, chronicles the lead-up to, causes of, and fallout from the fiery disintegration of the space shuttle Challenger 73 seconds after its launch on January 28, 1986, which resulted in the deaths of its seven-member crew of six astronauts and high school social studies teacher Christa McAuliffe. The destruction of the Challenger was a horror that everyone who was watching live or on taped delay wished they could unsee. Yet The Final Flight makes a strong case for forcing oneself to see it again, even—or, perhaps, especially—at a time when we’re overwhelmed by the disasters unfolding in front of our eyes.

The Third Day (HBO)

Miles Surrey: While the familiar Midsommar and Wicker Man vibes are what might draw viewers to the series—rest assured, there’s plenty of moments to scratch that freaky cult itch—cocreators Felix Barrett and Dennis Kelly’s larger purpose is to use Osea Island to paint a portrait of grief. Sam, who’s scarred by the kidnapping and murder of his son many years ago, appears to be subliminally drawn to the island in spite of the obvious warning signs because it represents a fresh start. It should be no surprise that people can make questionable decisions in the midst of profound loss. (Helen is also grieving, but the details of her situation are best kept under wraps.) It’s an admirable, if not entirely original, conceit—one that might also satisfy zealots of an all-time great HBO series, The Leftovers.

Bonus Watching

A random collection of movies and TV shows that are a little more off the beaten path.

What to watch to satisfy your travel bug: As Taika Waititi becomes a household name, it’s easy to overlook his excellent earlier work. He’s more than just the director of Thor: Ragnarok and co-director of What We Do in the Shadows. The New Zealand director’s earnest, hilarious, and often overlooked coming-of-age adventure Hunt for the Wilderpeople—coming to Netflix on October 1—is perfect for your next binge-watch. It finds a delinquent boy and his foster dad on an absurd chase through the New Zealand wilderness. If you have loved anything Taika has helmed, you’ll enjoy this even more. — Steve Ahlman

What to watch when you’re too lazy to work out: Thank me later, but I’ve found your newest reality TV obsession: Battle of the Fittest Couples available to stream on the Paramount Network app. Hosted by Bachelorette real-life fit-couple JoJo Fletcher and Jordan Rodgers (of course), 12 couples compete in various challenges for a $100,000 cash prize. Come for the rigorous competition but stay for the drama. The pairs test their endurance, agility, and dramatic abilities. The challenges look hard and sometimes I’m out of breath from just watching them, but by season’s end, you’ll be rooting for your favorite “swolemates” to win. I mean, it’s better than actually working out. — Jordan Ligons