The 11 Best New Shows on Netflix in October 2020

8 Mins read

It’s pretty much always a big month for new shows on Netflix, but October especially is a standout month. Spooky season is here, y’all! That means the long-awaited arrival of the followup to Mike Flanagan‘s 2018 breakout hit horror series The Haunting of Hill House, The Haunting of Bly Manor, and it also means some intriguing new international series as a part of this year’s Netflix and Chills lineup.

But if you’re just not here for the horror and Halloween Netflix moment, that’s ok! October also brings some binge-worthy comedies with Emily in Paris and the final season of Schitt’s Creek, as well as some new reality content, from six new episodes of Unsolved Mysteries to Deaf U, the addictive and sexy new reality series set at Gallaudet University, one of the few educational institutions focused on the deaf and hard of hearing.

Check out all our picks for the best new shows on Netflix this month in the list below, and if you want to see everything that’s new on Netflix in October, read the full list of movies and shows here. 

Oktoberfest: Blood and Beer


Image via Netflix

Available: October 1

Creators: Christian Limmer, Ronny Schalk, and Alexis Wittgenstein

Cast: Misel Maticevic, Martina Gedeck, Klaus Steinbacher

You can’t exactly say that the bloody new German series Oktoberfest: Blood and Beer tells the true story behind the rise of the beloved seasonal festival, but it does take inspiration from history, transforming it into a dark period drama. There’s plenty of juicy drama to be mined from one man’s quest to create the greatest beer festival of all time, and Blood and Beer leans heavily on the first part of that equation, upping the stakes with murderous mafioso tactics and webs of mystery to tie the whole grand, grim affair together. It’s not quite a horror series, but if you’re looking for a costume drama that conjures the spirit of the season without keeping you up at night, Oktoberfest makes for a fine binge and a unique take on a largely untold story.

Emily in Paris


Image via Netflix

Available: October 2

Creator: Darren Star

Cast: Lily Collins, Ashley Park, Philippine Leroy-Beaulieu, Lucas Bravo, Samuel Arnold, Camille Razat

Extremely goofy, extremely bingeable, and a bit steamy, Emily in Paris  takes the Darren Star touch overseas with the story of an ambitious young American woman who takes a job in Paris and finds herself dealing with a rather sexy case of culture shock. Fans of Sex and the City and Younger should have a pretty good idea of the fashion-fuelled fantasy, soapy romantic entanglements, and career-oriented drama to expect from Star’s new Netflix series, and while Emily in Paris isn’t exactly a nuanced take on any of those issues, the charming ensemble cast will keep you watching, even when you’re screaming to yourself “In what world is Emily qualified for this job?!”

Schitt’s Creek


Image via Pop TV

Available: October 3

Creators: Dan and Eugene Levy

Cast: Dan Levy, Eugene Levy, Catherine O’Hara, Annie Murphy, Chris Elliott, Emily Hampshire, Noah Reid

Schitt’s Creek  has been bringing the world joy when they need it most for the last five years, and wouldn’t you know, they came through one last time. Netflix dropped the final season of the beloved Pop TV series ahead of schedule, on October 3, just when we could all use a detour into Dan and Eugene Levy’s wonderful world of love and acceptance. That absolutely wild comedy sweep at the 2020 Emmys should be enough to convince you to catch up if you haven’t already, and if you’ve already seen the show and its heart-warming conclusion, take it from me, there’s no harm in starting the whole thing over and letting the loving, lovely energy sweep you away from the suck of 2020.

To the Lake


Image via Netflix

Available: October 7

Cast: Viktoriya Agalakova, Viktoriya Isakova, Kirill Käro, Aleksandr Robak, Maryana Spivak

Are you in the mood to watch a thrilling horror-drama about an apocalyptic viral outbreak? If not, I totally get that. But if you don’t mind a little bit of uncomfortable overlap with reality in the beginning, Netflix’s new Russian series To The Lake, leaves the too-real behind pretty quickly and goes full-on apocalyptic survival thriller. And it’s a pretty good one! It’s a robust genre, so you can probably guess the rough strokes, but To the Lake centers on a mismatched group of neighbors who pack up their families and hit the road on a mission to get to a lake, where the promise of a renovated boat big enough to house them all lies in wait. The characters are clearly introduced, with plenty of burgeoning beefs already primed to tear them apart from the beginning, but To the Lake doesn’t entirely depend on human failings to keep the tension up, introducing plenty of outside threats and just enough creepy world-building to keep you charging from one episode to the next. And while watching an epidemic series might seem a bit like self-harm at the moment, it’s weirdly comforting to see the experience so cinematically heightened. Look, we just don’t get that many opportunities to say “Well, I guess it could be worse” these days.

Deaf U


Image via Netflix

Available: October 9

Executive producers: Eric Evangelista, Shannon Evangelista, Nyle DiMarco, and Brandon Panaligan.

If you’re looking for a soapy, sexy new reality show to get hooked on, you can’t do much better than Deaf U. Set on the campus of Gallaudet University, an educational institution that caters to the deaf and hard of hearing, Deaf U investigates the friendships, romances, and wild nights of the students there while offering a rare glimpse into the intimate details of deaf culture. That makes this one a bit of a double whammy in terms of watch value. Deaf U doesn’t present itself as an educational show, and you will definitely get hooked on all the juicy hookups and hot goss, but you’ll also probably learn a lot in the process.

The Haunting of Bly Manor


Image via Netflix

Available: October 9

Creator: Mike Flanagan

Cast: Victoria Pedretti, Henry Thomas, Oliver Jackson-Cohen, Kate Siegel, T’Nia Miller, Rahul Kohli, Amelie Smith

The Haunting of Hill House was one of Netflix’s most surprising breakout sensations. Created by Oculus and Gerald’s Game filmmaker Mike Flanagan, the series adapted Shirley Jackson’s revered horror novel into a striking, emotionally stirring ghost story about grief, addiction, and family. With the follow-up The Haunting of Bly Manor, the anthological series turns towards Henry James’ equally essential ‘Turn of the Screw’ for a new tale of terror, but despite some crossover cast and creators, don’t expect the same kind of show. The series upholds the central arc of James’ story, following a governess (Victoria Pedretti) who takes a job overseeing two creepy kids at the infamous estate and discovers spooky happenings, but Bly Manor unfolds the familiar and expands it elegantly, weaving in a handful of James’ most beloved ghost stories along the way. It might not give you nightmares the way Hill House did, but that’s a feature rather than a bug, because Bly Manor doesn’t settle for the same old tricks, it carves out a lovely new language and tells a lovely new tale that’s as heartbreaking as it is haunting.

Social Distance


Image via Netflix

Available: October 15

Creator: Hilary Weisman Graham

Cast: Danielle Brooks, Mike Colter, Marsha Stephanie Blake, Oscar Nunez, Asante Blackk, Peter Scanavino, Becky Ann Baker, Dylan Baker, Guillermo Diaz, Okieriete Onaodowan, Max Jenkins, Brian Jordan Alvarez, Lovie Simone, Lachlan Watson

I’m very intrigued to see how much people are willing to embrace the Screenlife-esque storytelling in a time when so many of us are living our lives almost entirely online anyway. Does that make it more relatable, or does it provoke a little bit too much real-world anxiety? Your mileage may vary, but with Social Distance, Netflix is delivering a series of short episodes staged through the computer screens and centered on the unexpected challenges of trying to navigate life and relationship during a pandemic. The format worked tremendously for Host, not so much for Coastal Elites, but there’s no denying there’s a lot of potential in embracing our current reality to tell cathartic, timely stories. As long as you can stand to stare at another Zoom call.

Unsolved Mysteries


Available: October 19

What is there to say about Unsolved Mysteries? They’re mysteries! They’re unsolved! And there are almost 600 episodes now that have kept audiences wide-eyed and awake at night, pondering at all the loose threads, playing private detectives in our minds. October brings us the second wave of episodes for the Netflix series revival, which will present six new mysteries to boggle the mind, from escaped fugitives to a spooky supernatural mystery just in time for Halloween.

My Next Guest Needs No Introduction with David Letterman, Season 3


Image via Netflix

Available: October 21

Creator: David Letterman

David Letterman is one of the most celebrated names in the game, not only of comedy, but the art of the interview, having perfected his curmudgeonly but [insightful] approach during his 30 years hosting The Late Show. With his Netflix series My Next Guest Needs No Introduction with David Letterman, he puts those skills to work in extended interviews with some of the biggest names in entertainment, media, and politics. The upcoming batch of new episodes features four more familiar household names: Kim Kardashian, Robert Downey Jr., Dave Chappelle, and Lizzo, each promising in-depth insight into their particular corner of cultural dominance and the opportunity to reflect on some well-publicized moments throughout their life. Because he’s David Letterman, his ultra-famous guests open up more than they would with the average interviewer – throw in unique road trips with each interview subject, and My Next Guest Needs No Introduction is often an unusually insightful and candid conversation with some of the guarded folks in the industry.

The Queen’s Gambit


Image via Netflix

Available: October 23

Created by: Scott Frank and Allan Scott

Cast: Anya Taylor-Joy, Bill Camp, Moses Ingram, Marielle Heller, Thomas Brodie-Sangster, Harry Melling

Chess is a fascinating game, but it’s not exactly cinematic. Two people sitting across a small table, trading non-verbal strategy plays that can literally last for days? You see where the challenges might start to set in, but Netflix’s miniseries The Queen’s Gambit looks to make it all a thrilling, sexy character drama with a hint of Rocky-esque wish fulfillment. Anya Taylor-Joy stars as Beth Harmon, an orphan and a chess prodigy who embarks on an unusual, emotional journey to become the best in the world. Taylor-Joy is one of the most beguiling up-and-coming actors in the business, and she’s surrounded by some really intriguing casting choices, including A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood and Can You Ever Forgive Me? filmmaker Marielle Heller as Beth’s adoptive mother, and Thomas Brodie-Sangster and Henry Melling as some fellow chess competitors she meets along the way.

Somebody Feed Phil


Image via Netflix

Available: October 30

Host: Phil Rosenthal

I always get excited when a new batch of Somebody Feed Phil episodes arrive for two reasons. 1) I get to belt my heart out to that impossibly catchy theme song. 2) It’s just always a damned delightful time watching Everybody Loves Raymond creator Phil Rosenthal travel through the world, being a charming goober, making friends, and eating all the delicious local treats he can get his hands on. That last part is particularly appealing in this time when American travel is so imposed, and these last remaining episodes of travel shows filmed before the pandemic are such fascinating reminders of how much has changed in such a short period of time. How will Somebody Feed Phil look if they go on to make more seasons in the post-pandemic era? It’s hard to imagine, but for now, I’m glad we have a few more of those good times on tap to enjoy when we need them most.

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