The 5 Best New TV Shows of February 2024

TV’s hottest month is, for some reason, February. The weeks leading up to Leap Day 2024 have brought us stunning prestige epics like Shōgun, heart-twisting romantic dramedies like One Day, cerebral sci-fi head trips like Constellation, and surprisingly fun auteur vehicles like Mr. & Mrs. Smith—plus a few under-the-radar gems that deserve more attention than they’ve gotten. Which is why there are not five but six titles in this month’s roundup of the best new shows. 

Constellation (Apple TV+)

Space travel is bound to change a person’s perspective. Astronauts see our world from a vantage point that has been shared by just a few people in its 4.5 billion-year history. The longer they spend drifting through the solar system, the more their experiences diverge from the human norm and thus the harder, one would imagine, it becomes to reconnect with earthbound loved ones. Life in space inevitably alters life on the ground.

So maybe that’s what is going on with Jo Ericsson, an astronaut played by The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo star Noomi Rapace, who appears, in the opening scenes of the gripping Apple TV+ thriller Constellation, to be losing her mind. Holed up in a cabin in snowy northern Sweden with her 10-year-old daughter, Alice (Rosie and Davina Coleman), Jo dashes out into the frigid night, in pursuit of another voice screaming “Mama!” Little of what we see in these first few minutes makes sense. But the disconcerting sequence sets up a smartly paced sci-fi epic that is as perceptive about human psychology as it is about quantum physics. [Read the full review.]

The 5 Best New TV Shows of February 2024

Mr. & Mrs. Smith (Amazon)

Donald Glover is known as a provocateur, taking aim at pieties around race, celebrity, and the entertainment industry in dark comedies like the shape-shifting Atlanta and last year’s stan satire Swarm. But he also has a romantic side. It has fueled Atlanta story lines about his character Earn’s relationship with his daughter’s mother (Zazie Beetz) and some of the best music he’s released as Childish Gambino.

Mr. & Mrs. Smith, Glover and co-creator Francesca Sloane’s reimagining of the 2005 action romp that birthed Brangelina, is his first series to foreground that sweeter sensibility. In fact, it’s more reminiscent in tone of Rian Johnson and Natasha Lyonne’s (mostly) lighthearted detective dramedy Poker Face than of its high-octane inspiration about two married assassins who lie to each other about their professions until they’re assigned to kill one another. [Read the full review.]

One Day (Netflix)

The second coming-of-age that happens in early adulthood is the subject of this charming and perceptive Netflix dramedy. The series is also a love story with a controversial ending, as millions who read the megahit novel by David Nicholls or watched the disappointing film adaptation starring Anne Hathaway and Jim Sturgess are already well aware. But it’s lead writer Nicole Taylor’s patient attention to the two protagonists’ evolution from wide-eyed students into adults weathered by life’s vicissitudes, much more than the will-they-or-won’t-they plot, that defines this lovely retelling. Even if you don’t like the destination, it’s a journey worth taking. [Read the full review.]

The Second Best Hospital in the Galaxy (Amazon)

Keke Palmer. Stephanie Hsu. Kieran Culkin. Natasha Lyonne. Maya Rudolph. Greta Lee. Sam Smith. Bowen Yang. Abbi Jacobson. If that voice cast—and the further involvement of Lyonne and Rudolph as executive producers—isn’t enough to pique your interest in this animated comedy for adults, consider the wonderfully weird premise: Humanoid-alien best friends Dr. Sleech (Hsu) and Dr. Klak (Palmer) are star surgeons at an intergalactic hospital where their challenges include defusing a literal, anthropomorphic sex bomb. They occupy a candy-colored universe where talking yellow whales serve as modes of transportation and the hospital admin is a two-headed creature who’s always playing good-cop-bad-cop with themself. But, just like physicians in our own public healthcare system, they face challenges like bureaucracy and scant funding. And just like all of us Earthlings, they’re rife with neuroses, from anxiety to mommy issues.

Shōgun (FX)

The new Shōgun is not a remake of the wildly popular 1980 miniseries so much as a radical reimagining. Adapted directly from James Clavell’s best-selling 1975 novel, this sprawling, 10-part historical drama takes a far broader view than its predecessor, moving beyond the Western outsider’s perspective to survey a fracturing society that is just as baffled by this interloper’s ways as he is by theirs. It’s an epic of war, love, faith, honor, culture clash, and political intrigue. And at a time when so many of TV’s biggest swings, from Amazon’s The Rings of Power and Citadel to Netflix’s Stranger Things and The Crown, have yielded at least partial misses, FX’s Shōgun stands apart as a genuine masterpiece. [Read the full review.]

The Vince Staples Show (Netflix)

The best thing to come out of black-ish creator Kenya Barris’ Netflix deal is this semi-autobiographical comedy co-created by and starring the rapper Vince Staples. Set in Staples’ hometown of Long Beach, Calif., the series has a touch of Atlanta’s racially conscious surrealism and a dose of Dave’s bemusement about the often-absurd experience of being a niche celebrity. Vince is anonymous enough to be put in jail for a traffic violation but famous enough that a guard there quotes one of his best-known lyrics back to him: “‘I ain’t never run from nothin’ but the police.’ Well, I guess we got ya.” In another episode, he and his girlfriend (Andrea Ellsworth) take her kid brother to a janky, budget theme park for the boy’s birthday and Vince gets sucked into a quest for chicken that involves a hidden door, a cursed magic show, and the wrath of the park’s cuddly mascots. At just five episodes, some of them less than 20 minutes long, the show offers a skewed slice of an unusual life that is bound to leave you wanting more.

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