Summer may be coming to an end, but there are plenty of TV shows to binge-watch to help ease the pain during the month of September.

By Lauren Phillips
September 01, 2020
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Summer may not officially end until later in September, but it’s easy to feel like September 1 is the starting stage of fall. Fall has plenty going for it—beautiful foliage, sweater weather, and hot lattes, to name a few—but the end of summer can feel bittersweet. Fortunately, there are plenty of good shows on Netflix to help ease the transition.

Watching good TV shows on Netflix can help distract you from dropping temperatures; if fall is already well underway in your area, they can keep you entertained (and at home, and socially distanced) until it’s time to start watching Halloween movies on Netflix and Christmas movies on Netflix. And even if you’ve spent the last few months watching anything and everything you can find, never fear: Netflix can still help you figure out what to watch (or binge-watch) in September 2020.

The streaming service is home to plenty of other things to watch—we’ve got lists of the best romantic movies on Netflix if you’re in a lovesick mood or Black history movies on Netflix if you want to educate yourself, plus kids’ movies on Netflix for the little ones—but movies can only take you so far (and fill so many hours). If you’re really looking for an hours-long binge-watch opportunity, turn to one of the many TV shows on Netflix.

From critically acclaimed dramas to cult hits to spooky shows to really put you in an autumnal mood, this guide to the best shows to binge-watch on Netflix right now is sure to offer a little inspiration for your September viewing. Get some apple cider, curl up under a blanket, and settle into fall: There’s plenty to keep you entertained all season long.

The best shows on Netflix to binge-watch in September 2020

1. Lucifer

For a bit of suave, dark humor, turn to Lucifer, which follows the fallen angel as he starts fresh in L.A. The devil himself becomes a consultant for the police, and the balance of good-vs.-evil morality concerns and procedural drama (plus a little romantic tension for good measure) will keep you hooked through every episode. The first half of season five was just released at the end of August, so there’s even more of this good show on Netflix to enjoy—and time to prepare for the arrival of the rest of season five on 2021.

2. Dear White People

Set at a progressive, supposedly post-racial Ivy League–esque college, this show—part comedy, part drama—follows a group of students of color as they navigate the everyday slights and microaggressions on a campus filled with white students who claim not to be racist. From a blackface party to campus security aggression, the series examines many different situations and how they affect Black people—a great watch for anyone seeking to better understand their own unconscious biases and any harmful stereotypes they hold.

3. Sister, Sister

Newly arrived on Netflix at last this month, Sister, Sister is a ’90s family sitcom following two twins separated at birth—played by Tia and Tamera Mowry—who are reunited after 14 years apart. With their adopted parents in tow, they create their own happy family, though lifestyle and personality clashes keep the show interesting, entertaining, and funny for all six seasons.

4. The Vampire Diaries

Picture your typical high school drama series, then add vampires, werewolves, witches, and more, and you have The Vampire Diaries, which offers teen romance and supernatural horror in equal measure. Consider this the ideal background binge show for fall, thanks to its plot twist–filled eight seasons and distinctly autumnal and Halloween-y vibes.

5. Good Girls

Come for the big-name stars—Christina Hendricks, Retta, and Mae Whitman as the titular good girls—stay for the drama, action, and comedy, which seem to come in equal measure through all two seasons currently available on Netflix. (Season three of this top Netflix show just finished airing.) You’ll laugh, you’ll feel the pain of being a middle-class mom with a pinched income, and you’ll be shocked at the criminal antics these women get into.

6. Parks and Recreation

Indulge in a little political satire: This heart-warming comedy follows a well-meaning government employee striving to change the world, one public park at a time. Played by Amy Poehler, Leslie Knope is the lead character you’ll be rooting for from the start, though the entire cast is full of funny, quirky personalities to love and keep watching through all seven seasons. If you caught the fundraising Parks and Recreation special that aired in April to support Feeding America, now may be the time to catch up on the series that started it all.

7. Jane the Virgin

Inspired by a telenovela, this melodramatic comedy follows a young woman as she is accidentally artificially inseminated, gets caught in a love triangle, builds a dream career, and more. This series—and its more than 100 episodes—is totally feel-good and charming, with enough cliff-hangers and drama to keep you invested until the very end.

8. American Horror Story

What better way to break up quarantine and end-of-summer gloom than with a collection of horror stories? Each season follows a new plot and set of characters, so watching the eight currently available seasons of this series is like watching eight terrifying, lengthy movies—the perfect alternative if you’re striking a gloomier note this fall.

9. Arrested Development

What’s a wealthy family to do when they lose everything? In this sharp comedy, they try to win it all back: The show follows the most capable sibling as he tries, again and again, to restore his family’s company and wealth, even as his incorrigible mother and dysfunctional siblings seem to thwart him at every turn, intentionally or not.

10. Stranger Things

One of the top shows on Netflix since its launch, Stranger Things is now on its third season, with the fourth to come eventually (date TBA). It follows a crew of adorable, slightly nerdy pre-teens as they face unexpected supernatural activity in their unassuming hometown: With nostalgia, mystery, horror, and strong friendships, it’s got something for everyone, plus strong autumnal vibes to get you in the right headspace for the coming months.

11. Grace and Frankie

Two men of a certain age fall in love—with each other. Their respective wives, looking forward to the long years of retirement, find themselves thrown together unexpectedly: Their unlikely friendship and buddy comedy–esque shenanigans keep this adored show upbeat and fun to watch through all six seasons.

12. The Walking Dead

Like its titular zombies, this dark series may never die. Nine seasons are currently on Netflix, serving up horror, tears, laughs, and more with each episode following a group of survivors fighting their way through the treacherous, zombie-infested remains of what was once the United States.

13. How to Get Away with Murder

More cautionary tale than how-to guide, this addictive series follows a powerful lawyer and law professor and a select group of her students as they become entangled with various murders and crimes. Sometimes they’re committing the crimes and sometimes they’re defending the criminals in court—all six seasons of this series currently on Netflix keep viewers guessing.

14. New Girl

For a good show on Netflix that will put you in a good mood with every episode, turn to this playful, upbeat comedy, which follows the titular girl as she moves in with three quirky men. Their seven seasons of shenanigans will keep you entertained for hours—a close-to-perfect way to spend your time indoors, if you ask us.

15. Scandal

This seven-season show on Netflix follows Kerry Washington as a high-powered political consultant juggling individual clients, presidential campaigns, international crises, and more with the help of her team of multi-talented individuals. Add in some forbidden romance and espionage, and you’ve got an irresistible binge-watch that will last you the whole month of September.

16. Outer Banks

It may only be one season long (for now), but this fresh Netflix Original Series is supremely bingeable. It was in the top-10 ranking of the most popular movies and shows on Netflix (according to Netflix) for weeks after its mid-April 2020 release for good reason: The show follows a band of teenaged misfits treasure hunting, fishing, surfing, and occasionally dodging bullets in North Carolina’s Outer Banks. If the action-packed drama and dynamic, charming characters don’t get you, the beautiful coastal scenery and summery vibes will.

17. Outlander

Based on a beloved, thoroughly researched book series that blends romance and historical action with just a hint of supernatural intrigue, this beautifully crafted TV series is officially binge-worthy. The premise is deceptively simple: A 20th-century Englishwoman is magically transported to 1700s Scotland. Her fight to survive her new, dangerous surroundings puts her in the path of a striking young Scot, and the series follows their adventurous life together across centuries and countries.

18. Schitt’s Creek

A heartfelt (and now Emmy-nominated) riches-to-rags story, this comedy follows the Rose family as they’re forced out of their lives of the rich and famous and into a middle-of-nowhere (and unfortunately named) town filled with unusual characters. They try to rebuild their old lives and find themselves building new ones instead, with mixed results.

19. The Crown

With the release of season three, The Crown—one of the top Netflix Original Series—is officially binge-worthy for those who think the best shows on Netflix are the long-running ones. Follow three decades (so far) in the life of Great Britain’s Queen Elizabeth, with plenty of royal intrigue and familial conflict to keep you hooked and eagerly awaiting season four, which was recently given a late-2020 release date.

20. Community

Finally (finally!) available on Netflix, this beloved 2010s comedy about a group of students at a community college is one of the best TV shows to binge-watch. With six hilarious seasons (with the first few being the best, of course), smart gags, witty humor, and more, it’ll keep you entertained for days. It may even inspire a few indoor, at-home activities: blanket fort, anyone?

21. Sherlock

With a dedicated fanbase and plenty of acclaim, this modern adaptation of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s beloved Sherlock Holmes stories has plenty of mystery, clues, and dry humor. The British series, set in modern London, has wit and dark intrigue in equal measure, with 13 long episodes—an hour and a half each, on average—to keep you entertained for days.

22. Ozark

Season three of this top Netflix Original Series is finally out (as of earlier this year), making this show officially bingeable. It follows a financial adviser turned money-launderer who is forced to pack up his family and move to the Ozarks, where he has to clean a huge sum of money for a dangerous cartel leader. Dark, gritty, and full of surprisingly likable characters, it’s a great distraction.

23. The Good Place

What happens after you die? In this show, there are two options: the Good Place or the Bad Place. The first season follows a group who has landed in the Good Place, but it’s not what it seems—and plenty of twists and turns keep the show engaging through the next couple seasons. Filled with humor, good intentions, an irresistible cast, and an unexpected series of philosophical lessons and questions, this thoughtful, sharp top show on Netflix is sweet (and even educational) from the first episode.

24. Shameless

For a different kind of family drama, turn to this long-running dark comedy, which follows the perennially down-on-their-luck Gallaghers. Independent of their alcoholic father and absent mother, the clan of equally dysfunctional siblings always seems to make it through whatever trouble they’re facing—sometimes it just takes a little law-breaking first. With season 10 now available on Netflix, there’s new Shameless to watch for everyone, even those who have seen every episode available to stream.

25. Black Mirror

Turn to this atypical Netflix Original Series for some serious psychological horror. It only has 22 episodes (plus the Bandersnatch interactive film), but each is essentially a standalone movie, with most episodes ranging from 45 minutes to more than an hour in length. Reality is frightening similar to the scenarios presented in this dark, twisted show right now, which makes this the perfect binge-watch if you want to lean into the psychological terror.

26. Riverdale

Getting hooked on this dark take on the Archie comics is easy: The first season has enough surprises from its familiar high-school characters to pull you in, and the next few seasons will keep you watching as the show gets darker and darker. Even if the plot gets a little confusing, the good-looking cast and melodrama will keep any casual binge-watcher satisfied. Now that the newest season, season 4, is now available on Netflix, too, you can get all caught up on this must-watch series.