We may be just one month into the new year, but TV is already full steam ahead. From bingeable series like That 90’s Show and Hunters to week-by-week affairs like Star Wars: The Bad Batch and Servant, there really is something for everybody right now. That being said, if you’re like us, you want something that will bring you and your fellow episodic obsessives around the figurative watercooler. Here are five shows that will get you through the rest of the winter, or at least sustain you until Succession returns.
All shows become available to stream at 3:01am EST unless otherwise noted.
1. The Last of Us
Created by: Craig Mazin and Neil Druckmann
Service: Crave (Canada) / HBO or HBOMax (US)
Schedule: Sundays @ 9PM EST
Based on the award-winning survival horror video game from developer Naughty Dog, The Last of Us is a thrilling drama set in an alternate 2023, twenty years after a fungal pandemic has ravaged the world’s population. Oppressed nder the watchful eye of government agency FEDRA, world-weary smuggler Joel (Pedro Pascal, The Mandalorian) is roped into escorting a spunky teenage girl, Ellie (Bella Ramsey, Game of Thrones), to a rebel group across the country. Struggling to get along at first, the two eventually foster a deep kinship in their travels across a post-apocalyptic America, meeting a number of individuals struggling to balance life and loss in the aftermath of unspeakable tragedy.
Helmed by original game director Neil Druckmann in collaboration with Chernobyl’s Craig Mazin, The Last of Us has become the world’s latest prestige TV obsession, garnering millions of viewers in its prime Sunday night time slot. The HBO name certainly gave it street cred to the uninitiated, but make no mistake—the hype is real: excellent performances, gorgeous technical design on all fronts, and writing that expands on the themes of the game while capturing the essence of its original success. If the response to this past week’s devastating third episode is any indication, you won’t want to be the odd man out on this one.
2. Poker Face
Created by: Rian Johnson
Service: Citytv+ (Canada) / Peacock (US)
Rian Johnson has taken the world by storm with the whodunnit stylings of the Knives Out franchise, but he has always been a murder mystery chameleon. His directorial debut, the hardboiled high school noir Brick, is a far cry from his Benoit Blanc mysteries, as is Poker Face, his new series on Peacock. Following in the tradition of detective shows like Columbo, the audience is clued in to who murdered who from the very beginning of every episode. The fun is in watching how casino-worker-turned-amateur-detective Charlie Cale (Natasha Lyonne, Russian Doll), born with an innate ability to know when someone is lying or not, deduces the culprit.
After interfering with the corrupt dealings of a wealthy casino mogul (Ron Perlman) in the show’s premiere, Cale is forced to go on the run. With each new pitstop comes a new case, as well as a new crop of suspects littered with celebrity guest stars, such as Adrien Brody, Hong Chau, Lil Rel Howery, and many more. Many of Johnson’s longtime collaborators, including cinematographer Steve Yedlin and composer Nathan Johnson, are here doing what they do best, now channeled into the grimier colour palette and tone of Robert Altman and Alan J. Pakula. We’re already halfway into the series, so don’t miss out on the show’s case-of-the-week appeal!
3. How I Met Your Father (Season 2)
Created by: Isaac Aptaker and Elizabeth Berger
Service: Disney+ (Canada) / Hulu (US)
How I Met Your Mother fans are right to be skeptical at the idea of a gender-swapped spin-off, especially one that has spent nearly a decade in development hell. However, How I Met Your Father finally saw the light of day as a Hulu Original last year and managed to muster up a 20-episode second season—double that of its first. Again framed as a parent (this time Kim Cattrall, Sex in the City) relaying the story of how they met their significant other, the sitcom follows Sophie (Hilary Duff, Lizzie McGuire) and her close-knit friend group as they struggle to find and/or maintain love in New York City.
In the face of a wobbly critical and commercial reception, it’s about time somebody stood up for this show. Diehard HIMYM fans will be surprised to discover that it isn’t particularly concerned with being a carbon copy of the original show. Rather, it takes its storytelling appeal and simply updates it for a new generation. The cast are all wonderful comedic talents (Tom Ainsley as Charlie is a scene stealer), but fans will also be glad to see familiar faces making cameo appearances. Time will tell if How I Met Your Father has the longevity to unspool a tale as sprawling as its predecessor, but we are eager to watch them try.
Created by: Bill Lawrence, Jason Segel, and Brett Goldstein
Service: Apple TV+
Speaking of familiar faces, it looks like Jason Segel is back! To be fair, he never exactly left—he’s appeared in a variety of films and shows over the last decade—but Shrinking feels like his grand return to the adult sitcom. The new Apple Original sees him showrunning with Ted Lasso’s Bill Lawrence and Brett Goldstein, solidifying Apple TV+ as your one-stop shot for heartwarming dramedies that also drop a lot of f-bombs. The show also features Jessica Williams (The Daily Show), Michael Urie (Single All The Way), and Harrison Ford (…Harrison Ford) in supporting roles, marking Ford’s first recurring role on a TV comedy.
Segel plays Jimmy, a therapist still grieving the loss of his wife over a year after her death. He’s grown distant from his best friend, his only daughter, and many of his stunted patients. Jimmy, fed up with their inability to change, begins getting more involved in his clients’ personal lives to help them grow, all while he attempts to rebuild his own relationships. Segel’s doofy dad persona complements the show’s Lasso-esque charm, tackling difficult topics like grief and loss with equal parts wit and weight. Ford is effortlessly disarming as Jimmy’s fellow therapist and voice of reason, while Urie shines as Jimmy’s effervescent best friend, Brian. Don’t hesitate adding this quiet comedy to your weekly rotation.
5. Workin’ Moms (Season 7)
Created by: Catherine Reitman
Service: CBC or CBC Gem (Canada) / Netflix (US) at a later date
Schedule: Thursdays @ 9PM EST
One of Canada’s most successful original comedies is being put to bed. After seven years on CBC (and Netflix in the States), Catherine Reitman’s female-led series Workin’ Moms is coming to a close with what already feels like their most hilarious season yet. Following Season 6’s car crash cliffhanger, Kate (Reitman) and Anne (Dani Kind) are ready to rebuild their friendship; Anne, however, begins experiencing the rush of her near-death experience, bringing her intensity back in full force. Meanwhile, Jenny (Jessalyn Wanlim) has taken a new job at Kate’s firm hoping for a new start, while Sloane (Enuka Okuma) is ready to re-assert her workplace dominance following the birth of her child.
Fans of the series know what to expect at this point; Workin’ Moms has always been fearless in its portrayal of the highs and lows of modern-day motherhood, from postpartum depression to work/life balance, all while juggling the interpersonal relationships between the moms themselves. Season 7 looks to bring new emotional complexity to the entire ensemble across 13 episodes, all the while providing razor-sharp comedy and stylish production design. Alongside co-producer and on-and-off-camera husband Philip Sternburg, Catherine Reitman is sure to tie things up in a satisfying bow, but the real question is…what will she do next?