There’s a ton to stream in November 2023. Here’s how to avoid breaking the bank.

November offers a false spring for streaming viewers.

After a slow couple of months, there’s suddenly an abundance of top-tier shows on the way, but don’t be fooled — the streaming scene is going to be largely bleak in the coming months, until productions fully ramp up sometime next year following the strikes that have crippled Hollywood.

Meanwhile, streaming costs keep rising (Netflix’s top tier is the first to cross the $20 barrier) and consumers are getting less for their money, with fewer new shows and smaller libraries, while streamers push subscribers toward ad-supported tiers that generate more revenue per user while providing a worse viewing experience. Still, all the ad-supported tiers cost less than $10 a month, meaning it may be time for budget-conscious consumers to suck it up and deal with commercials if they don’t want to break the bank.

Read more: Netflix is raising prices to get you to watch ads, and it will probably work

That’s why it’s even more important to examine which services you’re really willing to pay for. The days of subscribing to six streaming services — even though you might only regularly watch three — are over. But by adding and canceling services month to month, you can save money while still being able to watch your favorite shows (for example, instead of watching a 12-episode show that drops every week and paying for three months, subscribe for just one month once the show nears its end and binge it all at once).

Such a churn strategy takes some planning, but it pays off. Keep in mind that a billing cycle starts when you sign up, not necessarily at the beginning of the month.

Each month, this column offers tips on how to maximize your streaming and your budget, rating the major services as a “play,” “pause” or “stop” — similar to investment analysts’ traditional ratings of buy, hold or sell, and picks the best shows to help you make your monthly decisions.

Here’s a look at what’s coming to the various streaming services in November 2023, and what’s really worth the monthly subscription fee:

Apple TV+ ($9.99 a month)

The price of Apple TV+ has doubled in a little over a year, and in any other month, it’d be easy to argue it has priced itself out of the range of casual viewers. But Apple’s November lineup is so impressive that it’s actually somehow still a good deal.

The alt-history space drama “For All Mankind” (Nov. 10) returns for its fourth season, with an eight-year time jump after Season 3’s shocking finale. The Mars colony is now thriving, but tensions are rising over the mining of mineral-rich asteroids. Toby Kebbell (“Servant”) joins the cast, along with Daniel Stern and Tyner Rushing, who join holdovers Joel Kinnaman, Krys Marshall, Wrenn Schmidt and Coral Pena. It’s a fantastic and frequently thrilling series, and arguably Apple’s best drama.

And a challenger to that title is also coming back. “Slow Horses” (Nov. 29), the darkly funny thriller about a group of washed-up spies, returns for its third season. Gary Oldman stars as perpetually disgruntled spymaster Jackson Lamb, leading his team of misfits as they get dragged into an international conspiracy after one of their own is kidnapped. Based on the novels by Mick Herron, “Slow Horses” is smart and cynical, a terrific twist on traditional spy stories.

Then there’s “Monarch: Legacy of Monsters” (Nov. 17), an action-conspiracy series about a ragtag group trying to expose a secretive organization that knows the truth about Godzilla and other kaiju creatures terrorizing the planet. Kurt Russell stars with his son, Wyatt (who plays his dad in flashbacks), along with Anna Sawai, Ren Watabe and Kiersey Clemons. The series is intended to slide right into the MonsterVerse that includes “Godzilla vs. Kong,” “Kong: Skull Island” and “Godzilla: King of the Monsters,” and for anyone who grew up watching monster movies, this could be a lot of fun.

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also has “Fingernails” (Nov. 3), a sci-fi romance movie starring Jessie Buckley, Riz Ahmed, Jeremy Allen White and Luke Wilson; “The Buccaneers” (Nov. 8), a “Bridgerton”-esque period drama based on the Edith Wharton novel about a group of rich American girls who hit London in the 1870s looking for suitable husbands; the holiday musical special “Hannah Waddingham: Home for Christmas” (Nov. 22); and a new version of the tear-jerking children’s classic “The Velveteen Rabbit” (Nov. 22).

Meanwhile, Martin Scorsese’s critically acclaimed “Killers of the Flower Moon” should hit Apple TV+ within the next month or two, after it completes its theatrical run, and Ridley Scott’s historical epic “Napoleon,” starring Joaquin Phoenix, his theaters Nov. 22. It, too, will stream on Apple at an as-yet-undisclosed date in the coming months.

There are also new episodes every week of “Lessons in Chemistry” (finale Nov. 24), and “The Morning Show” (season finale Nov. 8). If that’s not enough, you could always catch up on “Foundation,” “Swagger,” “Platonic” or discover “Bad Sisters.”

Who’s Apple TV+ for? It offers a little something for everyone, but not necessarily enough for anyone — although it’s getting there.

Play, pause or stop? Play. Even though its price has soared, Apple is still cheaper than most, and it delivers value this month. (Remember, you can get three free months of Apple TV+ if you buy a new Apple device.)

Hulu ($7.99 a month with ads, or $17.99 with no ads)

After a fallow October, Hulu has a lot more to offer in November, continuing its strong year.

FX’s “A Murder at the End of the World” (Nov. 14) was pushed back from an August release date due to the Hollywood strikes, but it should fit better in a colder season anyway. From Brit Marling and Zal Batmanglij, the producers of Netflix’s cult favorite sci-fi series “The OA,” the limited series is an Agatha Christie-style murder mystery set at a billionaire’s secluded, snowbound retreat in Iceland. Emma Corrin (“The Crown”) stars as an amateur detective while Clive Owen (“Children of Men”) plays the mysterious tycoon.

A wintry setting also plays a key role in the fifth season of FX’s “Fargo” (Nov. 22), the latest installment in Noah Hawley’s noirish crime anthology. Juno Temple (“Ted Lasso”) plays a seemingly ordinary Midwestern housewife who’s not at all what she appears to be. She’s joined by an all-star cast that includes Jon Hamm, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Lamorne Morris and Dave Foley. Each season of “Fargo” is a quirky, violent delight, and this one looks no different.

Also: Disney officially plans to buy remaining Hulu stake from Comcast

Just to make things confusing, while both “A Murder at the End of the World” and “Fargo” are FX series, “Murder” will stream exclusively on Hulu, while “Fargo” episodes will first air on FX then stream a day later.

In an interesting experiment, director Baz Luhrmann has recut his 2008 romantic drama “Australia,” starring Nicole Kidman and Hugh Jackman, and turned it into a six-episode miniseries — renamed “Faraway Downs” (Nov. 26) — using extra footage shot during the original filming. The movie flopped in theaters, but Luhrmann says it should work better as a miniseries, saying “episodic storytelling has been reinvigorated by the streaming world.”

For more: Here’s what’s new on Hulu in November 2023 — and what’s leaving

Hulu also has “Black Cake” (Nov. 1), a generations-spanning family drama based on the bestselling novel by Charmaine Wilkerson; “Quiz Lady” (Nov. 3), a comedy movie about estranged sisters, starring Awkwafina and Sandra Oh; and a handful of sports documentaries, including “The League” (Nov. 9), about Negro League baseball, and “Brawn: The Impossible Formula 1 Story” (Nov. 15), hosted by Keanu Reeves.

Fresh off October’s addition of “Moonlighting,” Hulu is adding all eight seasons of another 1980s classic, “L.A. Law” (Nov. 3), along with a ton of holiday fare, including “Adam Sandler’s Eight Crazy Nights” and “Miracle on 34th Street” (both Nov. 1), and “Elf” and “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation” (both Nov. 23).

And don’t forget the season finales of “Welcome to Wrexham” (Nov. 15) and “Goosebumps” (Nov. 17), as well as next-day streams of network shows such as “The Golden Bachelor” and “Bob’s Burgers.”

Who’s Hulu for? TV lovers. There’s a deep library for those who want older TV series and next-day streaming of many current network and cable shows.

Play, pause or stop? Pause and think it over. If you’re on the ad-supported plan, it’s well worth it. But for the pricey, $18 ad-free plan, you may want to wait until December and see how some of these new series pan out.

Netflix ($6.99 a month for basic with ads, $15.49 standard with no ads, $22.99 premium with no ads)

Netflix just raised some prices again, but for most customers, it’s still a good value.

The critically acclaimed royal-family drama “The Crown” (Nov. 16) is back for the first half of its sixth and final season (four episodes drop this month, with the final six coming in December). Events pick up in 1997 after the marriage of Prince Charles (Dominic West) and Princess Diana (Elizabeth Debicki) ends, as Queen Elizabeth II (Imelda Staunton) reflects on her legacy. There’s already controversy over how it’ll handle Diana’s tragic death.

Read more: Here’s what’s new on Netflix in November 2023 — and what’s leaving

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 also has “The Killer” (Nov. 10) a “slick but conventional” thriller movie from director David Fincher, starring Michael Fassbender as a hit man on the run; “Squid Game: The Challenge” (Nov. 22), a reality competition show putting 456 players through challenges inspired by the hit Korean drama (minus the murders, presumably); “Scott Pilgrim Takes Off” (Nov. 17), an anime version of the graphic novels and cult-favorite movie “Scott Pilgrim vs. the World” (which is also coming Nov. 1); “All the Light We Cannot See” (Nov. 2), a critically panned miniseries about a blind French girl and a German soldier in the final days of WWII, starring Aria Mia Loberti, Louis Hofmann and Mark Ruffalo; Season 5, Part 2 of the popular small-town romantic drama “Virgin River” (Nov. 30); and “The Netflix Cup: Swing to Survive” (Nov. 14), Netflix’s first livestreamed sporting event, with teams of Formula 1 drivers and PGA stars in a match-play golf tournament from Las Vegas.

There are also fresh episodes of “The Great British Baking Show” every Friday until its season finale Dec. 1.

Who’s Netflix for? Fans of buzz-worthy original shows and movies.

Play, pause or stop? Pause. “The Crown” and “The Great British Baking Show” are the top draws, but aside from those, there’s not a lot else to move the needle this month. However, if you can live with commercials, you can find value at $7.

Paramount+ ($5.99 a month with ads, $11.99 a month with Showtime and no ads)

Paramount+ has some interesting stuff in November. But is it enough to justify a subscription?

“Lawmen: Bass Reeves” (Nov. 5), joins the streaming service’s extensive slate of shows produced by Taylor Sheridan, telling the story of one of the Wild West’s most overlooked real-life heroes: Bass Reeves (played by David Oyelowo), who was the first Black U.S. marshal west of the Mississippi and overcame countless hurdles in enforcing the law in the era of Reconstruction. A marksman with something like 3,000 arrests to his name, Reeves was purportedly the inspiration for the story of the Lone Ranger. Say what you will about Sheridan’s formulaic shows, but he knows how to make a good Western. This should be worth a watch.

There’s also “The Curse (Nov. 10), an intriguing new Showtime series starring Nathan Fielder (“Nathan for You”) and Oscar-winner Emma Stone that puts a dark twist to an HGTV-like home-improvement show; and “Good Burger 2” (Nov. 22), a sequel to the 1997 cult-classic fast-food comedy starring Kenan Thompson and Kel Mitchell.

On the sports side, Paramount has NFL football every Sunday, Big Ten and SEC college football every Saturday, and a full slate of UEFA Champions League soccer.

Who’s Paramount+ for? Gen X cord-cutters who miss live sports and familiar Paramount Global 
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  broadcast and cable shows.

Play, pause or stop? Pause. There’s decent value with a couple of promising new shows, especially when factoring in Paramount’s live sports and vast library of movies and network shows.

Max ($9.99 a month with ads, $15.99 with no ads, or $19.99 ‘Ultimate’ with no ads)

It’s a very skippable month for Max.

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 streaming service only has a handful of new originals to offer, including Season 2 of Issa Rae’s hip-hop comedy “Rap Sh!t” (Nov. 19), as Shawna (Aida Osman) and Mia (KaMillion) come to a crossroads on their road to fame; Season 2 of the biographical drama “Julia” (Nov. 16), starring Sarah Lancashire as iconic chef Julia Child as she and her husband return from France and face new challenges; “Bookie” (Nov. 30), a new comedy from Chuck Lorre (“Big Bang Theory”) and Nick Bakay about an L.A. bookie looking for new angles as the potential legalization of sports gambling threatens to upend his shady business; and Rob Reiner’s documentary “Albert Brooks: Defending My Life” (Nov. 11), delving into the life of the comedy legend.

Also: Here’s everything coming to Max in November 2023 — and what’s leaving

There are also a ton of holiday-themed shows from Food Network, HGTV and OWN; live sports on its free (for now) Bleacher Report tier that includes NBA and NHL games, college basketball and U.S. men’s soccer (Nov. 16 and 20); and new episodes of “The Gilded Age” and “Last Week Tonight with John Oliver.”

Who’s Max for? HBO fans and movie lovers. And now, unscripted TV fans too, with a slew of Discovery shows.

Play, pause or stop? Stop. Max still has a great library, but the new offerings fall short. Even the ad tier isn’t worth it — try again another month.

Amazon’s Prime Video ($14.99 a month, or $8.99 without Prime membership)

“The Boys” spinoff “Gen V” ends its first season on Nov. 3, but fans of ultra-violent superheroes will be able to slide right into Season 2 of the hit animated series “Invincible” (Nov. 3), which returns to Prime Video after a two-and-a-half-year layoff. Based on the graphic novels by Robert Kirkman, Cory Walker and Ryan Ottley, the very adult series picks up with Mark (Steven Yeun) still reeling from the revelations about his superhero father (J.K. Simmons) at the end of Season 1, while a new villain (voiced by Sterling K. Brown) appears on the scene. Annoyingly, Season 2 will be split in two, with four episodes in November and another four coming in early 2024.

More: What’s new on Amazon’s Prime Video and Freevee in November 2023

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 streaming service also has “007: Road to a Million” (Nov. 10), an “Amazing Race”-like competition series hosted by Brian Cox where nine teams of two endure James Bond-inspired challenges around the globe to try to win a big cash prize, and “Twin Love” (Nov. 17), a reality dating show involving 10 sets of identical twins split into two houses.

Who’s Prime Video for? Movie lovers, TV-series fans who value quality over quantity.

Play, pause or stop? Stop. There’s no a compelling reason to start a relatively pricey subscription now. That even goes for “Invincible” fans, who would be better off waiting until the second half drops and bingeing when all episodes are available. Splitting up eight episodes is ridiculous.

Disney+ ($7.99 a month with ads, $13.99 with no ads)

Tim Allen returns for Season 2 of “The Santa Clauses” (Nov. 8), as the jolly one continues his search for a successor. Eric Stonestreet joins the cast as the exiled “Mad Santa,” along with Gabriel Iglesias as Kris Kringle and Tracey Morgan as the Easter Bunny (because, of course!).

Meanwhile, Lil Rel Howry, Ludacris and Oscar Nunez star in the new family comedy movie “Dashing Through the Snow” (Nov. 17), and Danny Glover will play Santa in the Disney Channel original film “The Naughty Nine” (Nov. 23).

In non-holiday fare, Disney has three upcoming Doctor Who specials celebrating the iconic sci-fi series’ 60th anniversary. The first, “Doctor Who: The Star Beast” (Nov. 25), reunites David Tennant and Catherine Tate, as the Doctor and Donna Noble battle the villainous Toymaker (Neil Patrick Harris), with the other two specials coming in December, when the 15th Doctor (Ncuti Gatwa of “Sex Education”) will be introduced.

There’s also 2019’s “Spider-Man: Far From Home” (Nov. 3), and new episodes of “Loki” (finale Nov. 9), “Goosebumps” (finale Nov. 17) and “Dancing With the Stars.”

Who’s Disney+ for? Families with kids, hardcore “Star Wars” and Marvel fans. For people not in those groups, Disney’s
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 library can be lacking.

Play, pause or stop? Stop. After a recent price hike, there’s just not enough to justify a subscription (unless your kids will absolutely melt down without it).

Peacock ($5.99 a month with ads, or $11.99 with no ads)

It’s a pretty bleak month for Peacock originals, with only the reality dating spinoff “Love Island Games” (Nov. 1); “Please Don’t Destroy: The Treasure of Foggy Mountain” (Nov. 17), the first movie from the “SNL” comedy trio; and Season 2 of the Paris Hilton reality series “Paris in Love” (Nov. 30).

It’s a bit brighter on the sports side, with Big Ten college basketball starting Nov. 6, Big Ten college football every Saturday, NFL Sunday Night Football and a full slate of English Premier League soccer, golf, motorsports and winter sports.

And on Thanksgiving (Nov. 23), Peacock will stream the annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, the National Dog Show and an NFL game, as the 49ers play the Seahawks.

Who’s Peacock for? Live sports and next-day shows from Comcast’s 
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 NBCUniversal are the main draw, but there’s a good library of shows and movies.

Play, pause or stop? Stop. The live-sports offerings are the only lure.

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