Ready to curl up and stream this October? Here’s what to watch.

By Lauren Phillips
October 01, 2020

For many people, October is the month of watching all the best Halloween movies on Netflix, but between horror movies and fright fests, there are plenty of good shows to watch on Netflix this month, too. In fact, some TV shows are just as spooky as a good thriller but with a longer run-time, so you can sink even deeper into a frightful world (and maybe discover some new Halloween quotes). If you’d rather stay away from the spookiness this month, there are plenty of other great, non-scary shows to watch to keep you entertained, too.

One of the greatest things about all the good shows on Netflix is that, while many are very bingeable, they’re also award-winners—and with the recent Emmys, even more shows on Netflix are objectively the best, with the trophies to prove it. Of course, not all TV shows can get the awards and critical acclaim their loyal fans think they deserve, but that doesn’t make them any less watchable—if you’re really struggling to figure out what to watch, even a practically unknown show can help you find the perfect way to pass the hours.

Here, we’ve listed great TV shows on Netflix right now, including everything from award-winners to cult-favorites to shows that are just plain fun. If you want hours and hours of entertainment and binge-watching—or you just want a show to keep on in the background while you work from home—our list has you covered. And if you just want a pleasant hour or two of easy watching, maybe try one of the many great kids’ movies on Netflix—they won’t disappoint.

Good shows on Netflix to watch in October

1. Schitt’s Creek

A heartfelt (and now Emmy-winning) 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. Schitt’s Creek made history in 2020 by sweeping comedy categories at the Emmys, and the final season (season 6) launches on Netflix this month. If you haven’t watched this wonderful show yet, now is the time.

2. The Crown

Since the release of season three, The Crown—one of the top Netflix Original Series, and the winner of many awards over the years—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 will be available for streaming starting November 15. Now’s the time to catch up on the show so you can watch the much-anticipated new season as soon as it’s out.

3. 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. Now that the fourth and final season is on Netflix, you can really get the full Good Place experience.

4. Sister, Sister

Newly arrived on Netflix at last in September, 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.

5. Gilmore Girls

All seven seasons of this sweet (and very autumnal) mother-daughter series are available on Netflix, and the Netflix Original follow-up (Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life) lives exclusively on the streaming service. With that in mind, Netflix is the best spot to soak up the witty banter, quirky supporting characters, charming hometown setting, and genuine warmth of this long-running series, which follows the lives of mother Lorelai and daughter Rory.

6. Chilling Adventures of Sabrina

This good Netflix Original Series has three spooky seasons—with a fourth and final arriving by the end of the year—making this show officially binge-worthy. Led by Mad Men’s Kiernan Shipka and with plenty of witchy magic, gore, and horror, this isn’t the Sabrina you may recall—but it’s still a worthy watch this October, especially if you’re open to a little bewitching.

7. The Originals

For fans of The Vampire Diaries—or just fans of New Orleans—this spin-off follows an ancient family of vampires making their way (and rebuilding their empire) in The Big Easy. Expect supernatural intrigue, family drama, and romance over the five seasons of this easy watch, which is absolutely perfect for October.

8. Jeopardy

What is the longest-running game show on TV? Few people don’t already know and love this knowledge game show, but its relatively recent arrival to Netflix makes Jeopardy bingeable for the first time. Turn it into a family-friendly game by playing along with the contestants; everyone will learn a little and be entertained a lot.

9. Grey’s Anatomy

A whopping 16 seasons makes this one of the best binge-watching shows on Netflix right now. Come for the medical drama, stay for the romantic tension and rotating cast of characters who grow and change a lot over the years of the show.

10. 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 frighteningly 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.

11. Sherlock

With a dedicated fanbase and plenty of acclaim, this modern adaptation of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s beloved Sherlock Holmes stories is teeming with 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. The mysteries are plenty ghoulish for October, but the fact that the titular character is almost always wearing a frock coat makes this a great thing to watch this month to help get you in the autumnal mood.

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. 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 autumnal vibes to get you in the right headspace for the coming months.

14. 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.

15. Dexter

Lean into the horror this month with Dexter, a critically acclaimed show that ran for eight dark seasons. The show follows a forensics expert who works with the police to track criminals during the day—and then commits his own murders at night. If you never thought you’d root for a serial killer, this show might change your mind. At the very least, it will keep your October appropriately eerie.

16. A Series of Unfortunate Events

Fans of the beloved book series will get a kick—a fright?—out of this three-season Netflix Original Series, which follows the unlucky Baudelaire children through their misadventures with the greedy Count Olaf. Dark and spooky but not quite scary, this is a great show on Netflix for the whole family to watch in October, and book fans will appreciate how loyal the show is to the books.

17. 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.

18. Peaky Blinders

A historical show set in 1920s England, this series follows a gang boss and his family as they fight (with outsiders and each other) across five seasons of dark, gritty drama. It’s on the violent side, so weak stomachs will want to skip it, but anyone who does watch will be rewarded with a new favorite show—or at least a highly entertaining binge-watch.

19. 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.

20. 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.

21. 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.

22. 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 in 2021.

23. American Horror Story

What better way to celebrate October than with a collection of truly horrifying 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.

24. The Office

Rumor has it that this beloved comedy series will be leaving Netflix in 2021: With that in mind, if you haven’t watched it yet, now’s the time to get started on the nine-season binge-watch. One of the most loved good shows on Netflix, you’ll be glad to be in on the jokes about coworkers and office culture at last.

25. Breaking Bad

This award-winning series is available in its entirety—all five seasons—for your viewing pleasure on Netflix. The basic plot follows a science teacher who becomes a drug producer and dealer: Predictably, things don’t go as planned.

26. Hart of Dixie

Starring Rachel Bilson as a displaced city doctor, this feel-good dramedy takes place in a sweet Southern town that has its own stories and challenges. Bilson—playing Zoe Hart—arrives in town to run the local doctor’s office and help the town’s residents, but ends up being helped by them just as much. Watch for plenty of romance, drama, and even some medical intrigue.

27. Portlandia

Highly political and completely hilarious, the eight-season run of this sketch comedy features Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein in various roles in the crunchy city of Portland. It’s great for a guaranteed pick-me-up any time of year.