What you should watch
Social Distance (October 15) — Most of Netflix’s programming during the COVID-19 pandemic was shot before the pandemic began, but this anthology, from the producers of Orange is the New Black, was conceived and created as a product of our strange new world: production took place during lockdowns, and all eight episodes were directed remotely and filmed in the actors’ homes. Each of the episodes tells a self-contained story about people learning to adjust to the reality of being trapped at home and only communicating virtually with their friends. Actors include Oscar Nuñez (The Office) and Mike Colter (Luke Cage).
The Trial of the Chicago 7 (October 16) — Aaron Sorkin, one of the few truly famous screenwriters in the world, recently turned to directing his own scripts; this feature film is only his second as director (after 2017’s Molly’s Game). Like many of his other films, it’s based on a true story: it’s about the trial of seven anti-war protesters at the 1968 Democratic presidential convention who were charged by the government with conspiring to incite riots—a story that is even more relevant than expected after the summer of 2020. Actors in the film include Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Sacha Baron Cohen (playing Abbie “Steal This Book” Hoffman). It was originally intended for a wide theatrical release, but went to Netflix instead due to the pandemic.
Rebecca (October 21) — A new film adaptation of Daphne du Maurier’s beloved novel, about a young bride (Lily James) whose new husband’s estate seems dominated by the memory of his beautiful first wife. (Other cast members include Armie Hammer as the husband and Kristin Scott Thomas as the evil housekeeper.) Like the unnamed heroine, the new film will have a lot of competition from the work of dead people: it’s the first feature film of the novel since the 1940 film, produced by David O. Selznick and directed by Alfred Hitchcock, that won the Academy Award for Best Picture and scared off anyone else from trying to make a film of it (though there was a TV miniseries in the 1990s). However, the original was forced by censors to change one of the most important plot points in the novel, a change that negatively affected the storytelling. Will director Ben Wheatley (Free Fire) be able to succeed where Hitchcock was forced to fail?
The Queen’s Gambit (October 23) — The title makes it sound like another English-monarchy drama, but it’s not; the Queen referred to is the one in the game of chess. The six-episode series is based on a novel by Walter Tevis (The Hustler, The Man Who Fell to Earth), about Beth Harmon, an orphaned girl who turns out to be a world-class chess prodigy, and her struggles to make it in the male-dominated world of championship chess in the mid-20th century while also struggling with substance addiction. The novel, which has been acclaimed for making chess incredibly exciting, has been optioned for film many times but never got off the ground (one film was to have been directed by Heath Ledger and was canceled after he died). Netflix finally brought it to the screen with Scott Frank (Out of Sight, Logan) writing and directing all six episodes, and starring Anya Taylor-Joy as Beth.
ARASHI’s Diary -Voyage- ep 13 & 14 — NETFLIX DOCUMENTARY
Two more episodes about the popular Japanese boy band (which was founded in 1999 and may no longer qualify as a boy band).
Start-Up — NETFLIX ORIGINAL
Nam Joo-hyuk and Bae Suzy lead the cast of this K-Drama about young people trying to make it in the world of start-up tech businesses.
Brave Blue World
Coming to Netflix on October 1, 2020
Bom Dia, Verônica / Good Morning, Verônica – NETFLIX ORIGINAL
Created by Raphael Montes (based on the eponymous novel he co-wrote), this series stars Tainá Müller as Verônica, a police clerk who stumbles onto a bigger mystery when she tries to investigate a woman’s apparent suicide.
Carmen Sandiego: Season 3 — NETFLIX FAMILY
The reboot of the famed edutainment series takes the title character to cities like Mexico City and New Orleans, as her enemies try to find out where in the world she is.
🎃 Oktoberfest: Beer & Blood — NETFLIX ORIGINAL
In the absence of the real Oktoberfest, we can watch this period drama series from Germany, which takes place in 1900 and stars Misel Maticevic as Curt, an ambitious businessman who will stop at nothing in his attempt to create the most powerful brewery in Munich.
Pasal Kau / All Because of You — NETFLIX FILM
Malaysian director Adrian Teh helmed this romantic comedy about two hotel workers (Hairul Azreen and Janna Nick) who accidentally stumble onto a kidnapping plot at the hotel.
🎃 The Worst Witch: Season 4 — NETFLIX FAMILY
The fourth season of Netflix’s reboot of the teen witch comedy is also the first season without Bella Ramsey as the worst witch of the title; the role has been recast with Lydia Page.
Coming to Netflix on October 2, 2020
🎃 A Go! Go! Cory Carson Halloween — NETFLIX FAMILY
A Halloween instalment of the animated series about a cute talking car who is not owned by Pixar.
Ahí te encargo / You’ve Got This — NETFLIX FILM
Comedy film about two young married professionals (Mauricio Ochmann and Esmeralda Pimentel) who are debating whether or not to have children when they are forced to take care of someone else’s baby.
🎃 The Binding — NETFLIX FILM
Domenico Emanuele de Feudis directed this Italian horror film about a young woman who must face the ultimate terror: meeting her future mother-in-law. And, while she’s there, fighting an ancient curse that threatens to kill her daughter.
Dick Johnson Is Dead — NETFLIX DOCUMENTARY
Documentary filmmaker Kirsten Johnson (Cameraperson) turns her lens on her 86 year-old father in this darkly comic documentary about all the ways in which he could die.
Emily In Paris — NETFLIX ORIGINAL
Darren Star, famous for creating shows about beautiful people with unlimited clothing budgets (Melrose Place, Sex and the City) takes his formula overseas with this show about the fish-out-of-water-ness that ensues when a naïve American woman (Lily Collins) lands a job at a marketing firm in Paris.
Òlòtūré — NETFLIX FILM
A journalist (Sharon Ooja) goes undercover to investigate human trafficking in Lagos.
Serious Men — NETFLIX FILM
Nawazuddin Siddiqui stars as a man who tries to escape poverty by falsely claiming that his son is a mathematical genius. Based on the novel by Manu Joseph.
Song Exploder — NETFLIX ORIGINAL
In each episode, a famous music professional (including Alicia Keys, Lin-Manuel Miranda and Ty Dolla $ign) appears to take an intense, in-depth look at the creation of one of their songs. Based on the podcast by Hrishikesh Hirway, who also hosts the TV version.
🎃 Vampires vs. the Bronx — NETFLIX FILM
Perhaps surprisingly in light of the title, this film is about people in the Bronx who have to fight vampires.
Coming to Netflix on October 3, 2020
Truth or Dare
Coming to Netflix on October 4, 2020
David Attenborough: A Life on Our Planet — NETFLIX DOCUMENTARY
The famed British nature broadcaster/historian looks at how the Earth has changed in the 94 years he’s been living on it, and what needs to be done to keep it going after he’s gone.
Coming to Netflix on October 5, 2020
Thor: The Dark World
Coming to Netflix on October 6, 2020
🎃 StarBeam: Halloween Hero — NETFLIX FAMILY
Halloween instalment of the animated series about Zoey, a young girl who can transform into the superpowered StarBeam.
Coming to Netflix on October 7, 2020
🎃 Hubie Halloween — NETFLIX FILM
Having failed to get an Oscar nomination for Uncut Gems, Adam Sandler returns to making typical Adam Sandler movies with this family comedy about as a community volunteer in Salem, Mass., who must investigate a strung of mysterious disappearances on Halloween. Directed by Steven Brill, who already directed four other Sandler vehicles.
🎃 To the Lake — NETFLIX ORIGINAL
Yet another show whose premise has become unfortunately timely: This Russian series, originally aired in 2019, is about the aftermath of a mysterious new virus that has turned Moscow into an apocalyptic wasteland where uninfected people struggle to stay alive.
Coming to Netflix on October 9, 2020
Deaf U — NETFLIX ORIGINAL
Documentary series about students at Gallaudet University, the Washington, D.C. school for the deaf and hard of hearing.
Fast & Furious Spy Racers: Season 2: Rio — NETFLIX FAMILY
Animated series spun off from the Fast & Furious movie franchise, where the cousin of the Vin Diesel character has been recruited into a group of fast-driving spies. This season, they drive fast in Brazil.
The Forty-Year-Old Version — NETFLIX FILM
Radha Blank directed, produced, wrote and starred in this comedy film (which won her an award at the Sundance Film Festival) about an unsuccessful playwright who tries to reinvent herself as a musician.
Ginny Weds Sunny — NETFLIX FILM
Sunny (Vikrant Massey) is trying to woo and win Ginny (Yami Gautam), and enlists the help of Ginny’s mother in convincing her to marry him.
🎃 The Haunting of Bly Manor — NETFLIX ORIGINAL
After giving us a free adaptation of “The Haunting of Hill House,” the same producers now bring us a season based on another classic ghost story, Henry James’s “The Turn of the Screw,” about a governess (Victoria Pedretti) caring for two children in a house she suspects to be haunted.
🎃 Super Monsters: Dia de los Monsters — NETFLIX FAMILY
Halloween instalment of the animated series about kids who are the children of famous monsters.
Coming to Netflix on October 12, 2020
Kipo and the Age of Wonderbeasts: Season 3 — NETFLIX FAMILY
DreamWorks animated series, based on Radford Sechrist’s webcomic, about a plucky girl and her friends trying to make the best of life in a post-apocalyptic world dominated by mutated animals.
Coming to Netflix on October 13, 2020
The Cabin with Bert Kreischer — NETFLIX COMEDY SPECIAL
After doing two stand-up specials for Netflix, comedian Bert Kreischer moves to a cabin in the woods and tries every therapy and activity he can find to help him relax. The five episodes include guest appearances by various celebrity friends.
Octonauts & the Great Barrier Reef — NETFLIX FAMILY
In a new instalment of the British animated series, the Octonauts (basically the undersea Paw Patrol) must protect a home from being eaten by starfish.
Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald
Coming to Netflix on October 14, 2020
BLACKPINK: Light Up the Sky — NETFLIX DOCUMENTARY
Documentary about the creation and rise of Korea’s most popular girl group, BLACKPINK (sometimes referred to as BLΛƆKPIИK).
Coming to Netflix on October 15, 2020
🎃 A Babysitter’s Guide to Monster Hunting — NETFLIX FILM
Ivan Reitman co-produced this film based on Joe Ballarini’s young adult book series about a girl who signs up to be a babysitter, and finds herself inducted into a secret society for monster-fighting babysitters who guard the lives of superpowered children.
Love Like the Falling Rain — NETFLIX FILM
Indonesian drama about a young man who is unable to confess his feelings to the person he loves, and loses them to someone else.
Rooting for Roona — NETFLIX DOCUMENTARY
Documentary about Roona Begum, a child born with an abnormally large head due to hydrocephalus.
Social Distance — NETFLIX ORIGINAL
See introduction for details
Coming to Netflix on October 16, 2020
Alguien tiene que morir / Someone Has to Die — NETFLIX ORIGINAL
This three-episode story is about a young man who shocks the conservative Spain of the 1950s by coming out as gay.
Dream Home Makeover — NETFLIX ORIGINAL
Interior designers Syd and Shea McGree host a home-improvement series where they give people, well, dream home makeovers.
Grand Army — NETFLIX ORIGINAL
Partly based on Katie Cappiello’s theatrical drama Slut: The Play, this drama series focuses on five students at a Brooklyn high school.
🎃 La Révolution — NETFLIX ORIGINAL
This is the second Netflix series of the month that was produced before the pandemic but has unintentional relevance now: it’s a French alternate-history drama where there is a mysterious virus known as the “Blue Blood” circulating among the French aristocracy in 1787.
🎃 The Last Kids on Earth: Book 3 — NETFLIX FAMILY
Another post-apocalyptic show for kids, this animated series tells the story of a boy and his friends who fight off zombies and other monsters after society crumbles.
The Trial of the Chicago 7 — NETFLIX FILM
See introduction for details
Coming to Netflix on October 19, 2020
🎃 Unsolved Mysteries: Volume 2 — NETFLIX DOCUMENTARY
Six more episodes of the reboot of the popular 1980s series examining, well, unsolved mysteries (brought to you by the reigning kings of ‘80s nostalgia, the producers of Stranger Things).
Leaving Netflix on October 19, 2020
Scary Movie 2
Scary Movie 3
Scary Movie 4
Scary Movie 5
Coming to Netflix on October 20, 2020
The Magic School Bus Rides Again The Frizz Connection —NETFLIX FAMILY
A special instalment of a popular animated series that isn’t Halloween-related; in this feature, the bus is struck by lightning and split into three versions with three different versions of the teacher.
Coming to Netflix on October 21, 2020
My Next Guest Needs No Introduction With David Letterman: Season 3 — NETFLIX ORIGINAL
Letterman continues to do in-depth, episode-length interviews with celebrities, including Dave Chappelle and Robert Downey Jr.
🎃 Rebecca — NETFLIX FILM
See introduction for details
Coming to Netflix on October 22, 2020
The Alienist: Angel of Darkness — NETFLIX ORIGINAL
Period crime drama based on the novel by Caleb Carr (a sequel to “The Alienist,” which was the basis of the first season), starring Dakota Fanning as a private detective in New York in the late 1890s.
🎃 Cadaver — NETFLIX FILM
In post-apocalyptic Norway, actors stage a play where audience members mysteriously vanish.
Coming to Netflix on October 23, 2020
Barbarians — NETFLIX ORIGINAL
The world continues to try and top “Game of Thrones” by proving that real-world kingdoms are just as violent: this German series takes place against the backdrop of the Germans’ battle against invading Romans in 9 B.C.
Move — NETFLIX ORIGINAL
Documentary about the art of dance and choreography and the people who keep it alive.
Over the Moon — NETFLIX FILM
Glen Keane, the Disney animator legendary for his hand-drawn work on characters like Ariel in The Little Mermaid, co-directed this animated feature about Fei Fei (voiced by Cathy Ang), a girl who decides she’s going to build a rocket to the moon, and it actually works.
Perdida — NETFLIX ORIGINAL
Also known as “Stolen Away” in English, this Spanish series stars Daniel Grao as a man who deliberately gets himself arrested and sent to Colombia’s worst prison, just so he can meet the fellow prisoner who once kidnapped his daughter.
The Queen’s Gambit — NETFLIX ORIGINAL
See introduction for details
Coming to Netflix on October 27, 2020
Blood of Zeus — NETFLIX ANIME
An average, everyday ancient Greek discovers that he is in fact the chosen one, sired by the king of the Gods and empowered to fight demons.
Chico Bon Bon: Monkey with a Tool Belt: Season 4 — NETFLIX FAMILY
More animated episodes about an unlimited tool belt and the talking monkey who wears it.
Vilas: Serás lo que debas ser o no serás nada / Guillermo Vilas: Settling the Score — NETFLIX DOCUMENTARY
Tennis star Guillermo Vilas was never ranked as the number one player in the world. This documentary shows how Vilas fans like journalist Eduardo Puppo helped appeal that ranking long after he was retired.
Coming to Netflix on October 28, 2020
Holidate — NETFLIX FILM
Holiday movies already? Well, this one is about two people (Emma Roberts and Luke Bracey) who discover they have a mutual hatred of holidays, and decide to go together to all holiday gatherings.
🎃 Nobody Sleeps in the Woods Tonight — NETFLIX FILM
Polish horror film about a rehab event for teenagers addicted to screen time, and a killer who shows that maybe it wasn’t a good idea to hold this rehab event in the woods.
Secrets of the Saqqara Tomb — NETFLIX DOCUMENTARY
Documentary about the 2018 discovery of an ancient Egyptian tomb.
Coming to Netflix on October 30, 2020
Bronx — NETFLIX FILM
Despite the title, this film takes place in Marseille, France, and focuses on honest cops who try to expose the crooked cops on their team.
🎃 The Day of the Lord — NETFLIX FILM
A washed-up priest (Juli Fàbregas) gets a chance for a comeback when he is asked to perform an exorcism.
🎃 His House — NETFLIX FILM
Remi Weekes wrote and directed this thriller (originally premiered at the Sundance Film Festival) about Sudanese refugees who find they’ve escaped from one horror to another when they try to settle in a small town in England.
Somebody Feed Phil: Season 4 — NETFLIX ORIGINAL
Phil Rosenthal, the creator of “Everybody Loves Raymond,” has spent much of his time since that show ended doing wryly comic documentaries about himself. This series has him go to a different city in every episode and sample the local cuisine.
Suburra: Season 3 — NETFLIX ORIGINAL
The final season of the drama series about organized crime in an Italian town.
Leaving Netflix on October 31, 2020
Back to the Future
Back to the Future Part II
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory