Unless you’ve been hiding out in Luke’s Diner (where we’re pretty sure cell phones are still not allowed), you know that Gilmore Girls returns November 25 on Netflix.
These four new 90-minute episodes are, of course, huge news that has us walking and talking even faster than usual. November is a busy TV month. In addition to the return of Showtime’s The Affair (November 20), the finales of PBS’s Poldark (November 27) and FX’s Better Things (November 10), and two (as Cubs fans, we hope) very important baseball games, November will also see the conclusion of Presidential Election 2016 which many have criticized for its outrageous plot twists and over-the-top villain.
But what else should you be watching this month? Here are the five new shows you can’t miss this November.
1. The Crown
Series creator: Andy Harries
Stars: Claire Foy, Matt Smith, John Lithgow, Victoria Hamilton and Jared Harris
Premiere Date: November 4 on Netflix
We never tire of royalty. This latest Netflix series bring Harries and writer Peter Morgan, the duo behind the 2006 film The Queen, together again to explore an earlier period in Queen Elizabeth II’s (Foy) life. The 10-episode series follows the young queen as she assumes the throne in 1952. The 25-year-old monarch must rebuild a country still reeling from World War II, forge a working relationship with Winston Churchill (Lithgow) and figure out how her marriage to Prince Phillip (Smith) affects her reign. As the recent election attests, it’s never easy to be a woman in power. Netflix is hoping this surprisingly timely series will be the next Downton Abbey. With its lavish sets, costumes and devotion to historical accuracy, it just might be.
2. Good Behavior
Series creators: Chad Hodge and Blake Crouch
Stars: Michelle Dockery, Juan Diego Botto, Terry Kinney, and Lusia Strus
Premiere Date: November 15 on TNT
We’ll admit that there’s a certain titillation factor when you first watch Good Behavior. Lady Mary is swearing, drinking, doing drugs and having hot sex. Lady Edith would be so jealous! But a few minutes into Dockery’s first post-Downton Abbey series, all memories of life on the British estate quickly vanish. Based on the novellas by Crouch (who also is behind Fox’s Wayward Pines), Dockery’s Letty Raines is a grifter, addict and ex-con. In the pilot, she gets hooked up with Javier Pereira (Botto), and not in a good way. To say more would spoil this twisty series, which thrives on strong performances (including Kinney as Letty’s world-weary parole officer) and unfolds unexpectedly.
Series creators: Matt Damon, Ben Affleck, and Jennifer Todd
Stars: Sean Teale, Dennis Haysbert, Julia Ormond, Allison Miller, and Eddie Ramos
Premiere Date: November 30 on Syfy
Perhaps you’ve heard of Damon and Affleck? Two crazy kids who just happened to become movie stars? While each has had great individual success since winning an Oscar in 1998, the duo has not been able to recreate the combined magic of Good Will Hunting. Their TV projects, including Project Greenlight, have floundered. But this could be the TV hit that has eluded the long-time pals. Set in 2074, corporations rule 90% of the world while people battle for dwindling resources (including a bacon shortage) and are divided into the haves (the green zone) and the have-nots (red zone). Ben Larsen (Teale) is a corporate drone trying to change the future. The series allows producers Affleck and Damon to make strong political commentary about climate change and immigration while offering a compelling nail biter about a future that doesn’t seem that far off from our reality.
Series creators: Brian Grazer, Ron Howard and Michael Rosenberg
Stars: Ben Cotton, Jihae,Sammi Rotibi, Clementine Poidatz, and Anamaria Marinca
Premiere Date: November 14 on Nat Geo
We have a never-ending fascination with Mars. Is there life there? Can we send an astronaut? The planet has been fodder for countless documentaries and imaginary tales. This six-part miniseries stands out as a hybrid by interspersing the fictional story of the first mission to Mars in 2033 with interviews with Mars experts including Andy Weir (author of The Martian), Neil deGrasse Tyson, and NASA administrator Charles Bolden. TV is constantly reinventing itself, and this fusion of fiction with reality could spawn a whole new genre.
Series creators: Hilary Salmon
Stars: Sophie Okonedo, Adrian Lester and Dennis Haysbert
Premiere Date: November 16 on BBC America
Okonedo stars Maya Cobbina, a lawyer who built her career on defending an innocent death row inmate (Haysbert). She’s about to become the first black Director of Public Prosecutions, but discovers that her husband (Lester) of 20 years, with whom she has four children, is not who she thought he was. The six-part series plays out as both an intriguing mystery and an exploration of race relations and social injustices. The show is already a hit in England, where it premiered in April.
Amy Amatangelo, the TV Gal ®, is a Boston-based freelance writer, a member of the Television Critics Association and the Assistant TV Editor for Paste. She wasn’t allowed to watch much TV as a child and now her parents have to live with this as her career. You can follow her on Twitter (@AmyTVGal) or her blog>