Finally, November. Within days, ’Merica could be in flames and under siege by obese militia rednecks while I’m stowed away on a flight to Any Other Damn Country in search of journalistic asylum. I’ll let you know how it shakes out.
Anyway: A new month (fingers crossed) means new TV shows to stream. Here are 11 series premiering in November to enjoy (or tolerate) in the bunker.
Moonbase 8 (Sunday, Nov. 8; Showtime): After Netflix’s Space Force and HBO’s Avenue 5, is there room for another surreal astronaut comedy? Only if it’s from Tim Heidecker (Tim and Eric) and Jonathan Krisel (Baskets). Moonbase 8 follows three bros (Heidecker, Fred Armisen and John C. Reilly) training for their first lunar mission in an isolated Arizona moon-base simulator, and slowly losing their minds (not that they had much to spare). Don’t think too hard—Moonbase 8 doesn’t.
Industry (Monday, Nov. 9; HBO): If you’ve ever wished Showtime dad-rock drama Billions was less old and white, but sexier and angsty-er (and British), Industry might be for you. New to the shiny world of London high finance, New Yorker Harper Stein (Myha’la Herrold) is thrown in with a pack of hungry, ridiculously good-looking grads looking to claw their way to the top. Do they do drugs and screw? You bet. Do they deal with class, gender and race issues? Between the drugs and the screwing, sure.
A Teacher (Tuesday, Nov. 10; Hulu): Speaking of sexy angst, here’s a teacher-hooks-up-with-student “miniseries” (10 episodes isn’t mini, Hulu) pretending not to be a supersized Lifetime movie. The imaginatively-titled A Teacher stars Kate Mara as a married high school teacher in a torrid (and illegal, because Texas) romance with a senior (Nick Robinson). Because A Teacher is under the usually prestigious FX on Hulu banner, it’s presented as premium cable-level art. Really, it’s just eight episodes too long.
The Real Housewives of Salt Lake City (Wednesday, Nov. 11; Bravo): So far, so garbage—the quality’s going to turn soon, I promise! Before then, however, there’s the 10th (!) installment of the Real Housewives franchise/cancer to attend to, and the latest victim of the White Claw of reality shows is Salt Lake City, which introduces six new Botox repositories who are indistinguishable from any other RH coven. The Housewives aren’t “real,” nor is a millisecond of this “unscripted” bullshit bazooka, but who cares? Idiocracy accomplished.
The Lego Star Wars Holiday Special (Tuesday, Nov. 17; Disney+): “Lego” is a mashup of the Danish phrase “leg godt,” which means “play well.” Nice, but that doesn’t mean you get to insist that your brand name is always all-capped as LEGO when it’s not a damned acronym! Can I demand that I am henceforth FROST? No, because it stands for nothing … and neither do I. Except for this grammatical atrocity—I will die on this hill! Oh yeah: The Lego Star Wars Holiday Special is a Lego re-enactment, with newer Star Wars characters, of the infamous 1978 original. Should be fun.
We Are the Champions (Tuesday, Nov. 17; Netflix): The Office’s Rainn Wilson produces and narrates this docuseries about hyper-niche competitions around the world. Episodes chronicle the low-stakes gamesmanship of chili-eating (by heat, not quantity), cheese-rolling (downhill cheese-wheel races), fantasy hairstyling (over-the-top ’dos), yo-yo-ing (self-explanatory), dog dancing (ditto) and frog jumping (ditto-ditto). Sound ridiculous? Playing video games has somehow been elevated to an “e-sport,” so step off.
Animaniacs (Friday, Nov. 20; Hulu): One of the most insane cartoon series to ever air on normie broadcast TV is back, so 2020 isn’t a complete wash. Animaniacs, which originally ran 1993-’98, followed “Warner brothers” Yakko and Wakko, as well as “Warner sister” Dot, as they wreaked pop-cultural hyper-havoc on the Warner Bros. Studio lot. Most importantly, the ’tooned-up sketch/variety show introduced the world to Pinky and the Brain (also returning), two mice bent on world domination. Take it, P&B.
Belushi (Sunday, Nov. 22; Showtime): How has there never been a decent biopic about John Belushi? The rightfully hated Wired, a 1989 film dramatization of Bob Woodward’s equally reviled book, doesn’t count. Belushi finally recounts the former Saturday Night Live star’s rise (Animal House, The Blues Brothers’ movie and music) and fall (death by drug overdose at 33 in 1983). He claimed he’d “rather be an anarchist than a professional,” and Belushi shows the highs and lows of killing yourself for art.
Black Narcissus (Monday, Nov. 23; FX): In 1934, a group of nuns, led by young Sister Clodagh (Gemma Arterton), are sent to the high Himalayas to establish a mission in a palace donated by an Indian general. The catch? The palace was previously a harem house (or sex palace, if you will). Will the Sisters of St. Faith overcome their erotic surroundings? Can Sister Clodagh resist the sexy swagger of soldier Mr. Dean (Alessandro Nivola)? Black Narcissus is predictable, but it’s also gorgeous to look at.
Saved by the Bell (Wednesday, Nov. 25; Peacock): Picking up decades after the 1989-94 series, this Saved by the Bell sequel centers around the political machinations of California Gov. Zach Morris (Mark-Paul Gosselaar) and … does the plot really matter? Zach, A.C. (Mario Lopez), Kelly (Tiffani Thiessen) and Jessie (Elizabeth Berkley) are back; Screech (Dustin Diamond) was not invited. A new Saved by the Bell makes about as much sense as a Dexter revival (don’t get me started), but at least Zach Morris is still the worst.
The Flight Attendant (Thursday, Nov. 26; HBO Max): Big Bang Theory escapee Kaley Cuoco (currently the titular voice of HBO Max’s Harley Quinn) is The Flight Attendant, a woman who wakes up in a hotel next to her one-night stand—problem is, he’s a bloody, dead mess. A brisk, back-tracing murder mystery unfolds from there, balancing raw tension and dark humor—with Cuoco dominating the lead. The Flight Attendant is either too smart or perfect to drop on Thanksgiving Day—anything makes sense in 2020, so just roll with it.