Totally Binge-Worthy TV

This month we’ve asked our librarians to recommend their favorite binge-able TV shows!

There are three shows I can binge watch without feeling any regrets – even when Netflix politely nudges me to take a break:
Sherlock: Benedict Cumberbatch was born to fulfill one role in life: Sherlock Holmes. Yeah, yeah, he’s pretty talented and all, but I can’t picture him as anything else but an investigator. The show writers also love cliff hangers, so it’s better to let a couple of seasons accumulate before you glue yourself to the screen.
Mindhunters: You think it’s going to be an ordinary detective show, and then BAM! you’re hooked and upset because you have to wait another year for the next season. What makes it different from other crime dramas is that it goes beyond the murder and mayhem and gives you a taste of the history behind criminal psychology.
American Horror Story: Even though every season has a new story, they’re all equally creepy and eerie. They always start off with the right amount of disturbing material and build up to an ending that will leave you speechless (or awake at night). Granted, you need to enjoy horror in order to sit down and watch this, but if you enjoy the genre, then definitely AHS was meant for you!

Stranger Things – I’m guessing this will be on many other peoples’ lists. ST is like the love child of ET and Close Encounters of the Third Kind: a group of adventure-seeking kids come across a supernatural situation and have to convince adults that what they’re seeing and battling is very real and very dangerous. Extremely well acted and full of fun 80s references!

Wild Wild Country – This documentary tells the riveting story of a religious movement that overtook a small town in Oregon in the 1980s. It explores the culture clash between the newcomers and the longtime residents, as well as the legal and ethical issues that complicated life for everyone involved.

Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt – A compulsively watchable very witty comedy about a young woman who is freed from an underground bunker (cult) and decides to start a new life in modern day New York City. Encino Man meets Mary Tyler Moore, maybe?

We usually watch TV in a pretty measured way because bedtime is sacred. That said, Jane the Virgin definitely has that “just one more episode!” quality.

I have two criteria for binging TV. It either has to have me so far off the edge of my seat in suspense I can’t entertain the idea of sleep or I’m laughing so hard at the absurdity of the story that I just HAVE to know what the next chicanery is going to be.

For serious storytelling that sucks you in and you consider calling in sick (not that I ever did):

Jessica Jones(Netflix Original) – The writing and acting are superb. The honesty in the characters gets me every time. Jessica is a mess. But the things that have made her who she is are so stressful that, as a viewer, you get it. There are viciously honest villains, too. Warning for well developed portrayals of toxic masculinity.

Claws (Hulu) – Now, I just started this show the other night. But, listen. I have a lot of feelings about the main character, Desna, portrayed by the incomparable Niecy Nash. She makes the best decisions she can in the situations she’s in to ultimately provide a better life for herself and her brother. This makes me think of Breaking Bad in a nail salon.

For something to cleanse the palate, make you laugh, and appreciate your own dysfunctions:

Chewing Gum (Netflix Original) – I have a soft spot for British humor. Whether its dry and smart or outlandishly inappropriate, I love it. Chewing Gum has both. It creates a hilarious caricature of serious social issues like female sexuality and the repressive zeal of the devoted. Sometimes it’s nice to just step back and laugh at the issues that can rile us up.

The Detour (Hulu) – I first binged this show so fast that I kicked myself for not being patient. And still, in the second season, I made the same mistake. I broke every self-imposed rule I had made to slow down and enjoy it. It’s not a story told laterally, which can disrupt viewing for some people. I think the “recap” style makes for better binging because you’re given so many questions to answer from the very start.

I’m not great at binges. I’m very low on time to watch TV, so I need my binges to fit a few very important categories: not too long, not too dark, and at least a little bit funny. I’ve had a few shows that have hit those marks recently. Catastrophe hits all of the marks, and gets extra points for being extra funny. American Vandal was a total winner for me, only 8 episodes so an achievable binge! The Good Place was such a great binge I watched it twice!

I have lost entire weekends to “Doctor Who” and I don’t regret a minute of it! Other favorites include “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” (Angel was fun as well, but not quite as bingeworthy), “Leverage“, “How I Met Your Mother“, and “Steven Universe“. I started watching “Steven Universe” on the recommendation of several friends and quickly got hooked. It was supposed to be a show that I could watch between tasks, since it has such short episodes, but it is so engrossing that I often find hours have passed. Oops!

Tell us your favorite binge-able TV shows in the comments!

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1 Response to Totally Binge-Worthy TV

  1. Forrest says:

    The Detectorists. Great BBC comedy show with some of the most beautiful outdoor shots I’ve ever seen. FUNNY.

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