click to enlarge Stranger Things

Stranger Things

It's easier than ever to get a healthy dose of Halloween scares from the comfort of your couch 

Netflix and kill

Halloween's great, but it's also exhausting. If you're looking to take a break from the nonstop party circuit and spend some time cuddled up on the couch with a snuggling partner – or a Snuggie, we don't judge – here's a rundown on some new and returning shows with a creepy vibe to get you in the holiday spirit.

Mindhunter Mindhunter is the David Fincher-directed thriller that Netflix is pushing as this year's place-filler for those missing True Detective and Dexter. But viewers that have gotten all the way through it (Netflix is nothing if not an enabler of binge-watching) tell me it starts out shiny and fascinating, but fizzles out by the end. I'm halfway through and enjoying the stunning visuals (a pastiche of romantic noir and cold theatricality, plus plenty of clinical gore), and the take-no-prisoner tactics (and antics) of the main protagonists (Jonathan Groff and Holt McCallany), FBI agents who relish hunting down serial killers. This is one of those sociopathic anti-hero narratives we've seen too much of in the wake of Breaking Bad, but Fincher excels at such character studies. This also marks yet another prominent big screen director making the switch to TV, joining the likes of Jane Campion (Top of the Lake), Cory Fukunaga (True Detective), and, soon, Spike Lee, who is adapting his 1986 indie breakout hit She's Gotta Have It into a television series, premiering Nov. 24 on – you guessed it – Netflix. (Now streaming on Netflix)

Riverdale The new season of CW's Riverdale opens with more intrigue and mystery, and responds to viewers' obsessions with the sex lives of its young protagonists. I must say this is one of the cleverest series to come along in a while (WTF, CW?), with its meta-cultural spin on an ubiquitous text for Gen-Xers. It's an artful hybrid of subtle horror and shameless nostalgia, with gorgeous candy-colored cinematography. Who knew Archie and the gang had such a penchant for homoeroticism and snark? I like that Jughead (the excellent Cole Sprouse, embodying the perfect balance of adorable and dorky) has some romance potential, and that Veronica (Camila Mendes) is so calculating and vulnerable at the same time; plus Archie (KJ Apa) and the raven-haired temptress are getting hotter and heavier this season. Also: Exciting news! There will soon be a spin-off series, envisioned as a companion to Riverdale, focused on Sabrina the Teenage Witch that will be decidedly dark (Satanic, even!) and TV will then be more delicious than a bowlful of miniature candy bars. (8 p.m. Wednesdays, CW)

Stranger Things Could anything be more eagerly awaited than the next season of Stranger Things? Nope. This artful homage to 1980s horror and paranormal media, about spooky goings on in a Midwestern town, swept the Emmy Awards, ignited a Dungeons and Dragons renaissance, and reminded everyone what a sublime talent Winona Ryder is. The writing, direction, acting, music and production design are top notch. It's thrilling, suspenseful, smart, funny and extraordinarily moving. The new season promises more paranoia, conspiracies, bike chases, Eggos, ectoplasm, bullies and two-legged monsters in suits. (Streaming Friday, Oct. 27, on Netflix)

The Walking Dead One of AMC's hottest shows since its debut shows no sign of jumping the shark, now beginning its eighth season and nearing its 100th episode. Fans grumbled about recent tantalizing plot points left unrevealed for months, but can anyone resist watching this mesmerizing, terrifying show, teeming with metaphors of social collapse? Carol (Melissa McBride) and Daryl (Norman Reedus) are still alive, which is all I need to know. (9 p.m. Sundays, AMC)

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