Netflix: 10 of the best new shows to watch in October

Maid

Maid
Maid

Friday,October 1st
Based on Stephanie Land’s bestselling memoir, Maid: Hard Work, Low Pay, and a Mother’s Will to Survive, this series stars Margaret Qualley (Once Upon a Time in Hollywood) as a determined young American mother, Alex, who is eking out a meagre existence. Alex and her daughter become homeless after she leaves her abusive partner, Sean (Love Simon’s Nick Robinson). She then takes on various cleaning jobs, attempting to navigate government bureaucracy to keep her family together while also trying to make sense of her relationship with her estranged mother, Paula (played by Qualley’s real-life mother, Andie MacDowell). Written and directed by the Shameless alums Molly Smith Metzler and John Wells, it is a blistering look at those struggling to make ends meet.

A Sinister Sect: Colonia Dignidad

A Sinister Sect: Colonia Dignidad
A Sinister Sect: Colonia Dignidad

Friday, October 1st
This docuseries tells the extraordinary story of Colonia Dignidad, a colony of German Christians who settled in Chile after the second World War. The outside world was erased for the remote settlement’s inhabitants, who, fenced in behind barbed and electrified wire, were divided into groups that split families apart and ensured that male and female members had no contact with each other. Utterly isolated, they worked without pay in the colony’s agricultural business under the complete control of their leader, Paul Schafer. The sect’s founder was a former Hitler Youth member and Nazi corporal who became close to Chile’s dictator, Gen Augusto Pinochet, and the colony sometimes doubled as a clandestine detention centre for left-wing dissidents.

On My Block

On My Block
On My Block

Monday, October 4th
The final season of this hit teen dramedy fills in the gaps from the time-hopping, flash-forward finale of season three, which saw the squad separating after high school and living very different lives from one another. Praised for its sensitive depiction of inner-city Los Angeles life and its concentration on tough social issues, On My Block is a high-school series with a savvy sense of realism that flashier teen dramas lack.

Bad Sport

Wednesday, October 6th
Having realised that the sporting world can be rife with more scurrilous activity than the average episode of Law & Order, Netflix is adding to its already bulging roster of hard-hitting sporting documentaries – Untold, The Last Dance, Athlete A – with Bad Sport. This six-part investigative series covers, among other events, the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympic figure-skating scandal; the superstar Indycar driver Randy Lanier’s marijuana-smuggling operation; the biggest match-fixing scandal in Italian soccer history; and South African cricket captain Hansie Cronje’s shocking fall from grace.

Convergence: Courage in a Crisis

Convergence: Courage in a Crisis
Convergence: Courage in a Crisis

Tuesday, October 12th
From the award-winning White Helmets director Orlando von Einsiedel comes the story of the pandemic as told by nine people from distinctly different backgrounds, from activists to volunteers to healthcare workers. His documentary shows how their lives changed as the pandemic galvanised not only their sense of community but also their compassion and desire for change. As Britain’s leaders failed to recognise the work done by hospital porters and cleaners, a Syrian refugee was fighting for their rights to bereavement pay, and a Miami doctor served his neighbourhood by looking after the homeless during the crisis.

You

You
You

Friday, October 15th
Penn Badgley’s psychopath pin-up returns for a third season. Now that You has properly leaned into its campy core, with self-aware storylines and theatrical winks to its switched-on audience, it has become slightly less enjoyable. But it’s still infuriatingly compelling, even when the plot twists become ludicrous. In a Dexter-style move, Joe and Love (Victoria Pedretti) are now settling down in the suburbs with their new arrival, but a bored Joe is soon idly obsessing about his neighbour.

Sex, Love and Goop

Gwyneth Paltrow. Photograph: Jayne Murdoch Jr/Getty Images for Goop
Gwyneth Paltrow. Photograph: Getty 

Thursday, October 21st
Gwyneth Paltrow now earns more from selling something called Sex Dust, telling women to stuff jade eggs inside themselves and hawking candles that smell like her vagina than she ever did as an actor. So you can take that Oscar and shove it right into the core of your being. It goes to show that the fantasy of “wellness” has become much more alluring than that of the silver screen. Paltrow is the queen of making us believe all these crystal woo-woos and spendy tchotchkes will make us more desirable, so of course her new Netflix show is about how to create lasting intimacy through sexual pleasure. In her last Netflix series she had one of her Goopers undergo a lunchtime exorcism. Who knows what she’ll be asking them to endure this time around.

Roaring Twenties

Friday, October 22nd
Netflix’s reality output has been patchy, with its Hills-style scripted show Westside and the much-hyped Bling Empire not clearly attracting big audiences. With its biggest reality success, Selling Sunset, on hiatus, the superficial void may be filled by Roaring Twenties. The premise is pretty much MTV’s Real World remade for Gen Z. The show sees eight twentysomethings living together and chasing their dreams in Austin, Texas. A kind of reality coming-of-age story, it captures their lives as Covid shrinks their worlds and shows the highs and lows they experience as strangers thrown together in extraordinary circumstances.

Sex: Unzipped

Saweetie. Photograph: Bennett Raglin/Getty Images for BET
Saweetie. Photograph: Getty

Tuesday, October 26th
Hosted by the hip-hop goddess Saweetie, Sex: Unzipped is part irreverant comedy special, part informative sex guide… with puppets. This sex-positive variety show features embarrassing and enlightening stories from Mae Martin, Trixie Mattel, London Hughes, Nikki Glaser and other famous faces, as well as a panel of actual experts who will try to answer the most pressing questions about sex and sexuality that just aren’t googleable.

Colin in Black and White

Colin in Black & White
Colin in Black and White

Friday, October 29th
This six-part drama produced by Ava DuVernay (The 13th, When They See Us) chronicles the life of the NFL superstar and activist Colin Kaepernick, who as a child was adopted by white parents and grew up in a predominantly white neighbourhood in California. Starring Jaden Michael (Wonderstruck, The Get Down), as young Colin and Mary Louise Parker and Nick Offerman as his parents, it plays like standard drama series but has the real-life Kaepernick narrating and interjecting throughout.