Today’s post is written by resident pop culture nerd, the lovely Kim of Fangirl Friday.
Today’s Top Ten Tuesday Topic:
Bingeworthy TV Shows
Recently, I wrote about some excellent television shows you should check out, and today I’m back with more. The new fall season of TV is getting ready to drop, but until we see which ones are likely worth our time (probably Manifest, by the looks of it) or not (stop using laughtracks 2k18), I’ve got some other shows to keep you occupied. Whether you like to casually watch a few episodes a week or sit down and power through an entire season in a weekend, I’ve got you covered.
So here’s ten super bingeworthy shows to take you into the fall (and beyond).
At its core, this show is about two brothers criss-crossing the country and hunting down monsters and supernatural forces to save people’s lives. Sam and Dean, played by Jared Padalecki and Jensen Ackles respectively, and their relationship is what keeps this show together and makes this show super binge-able. You can’t help but fall in love with these two flawed heroes (who are, of course, also very easy on the eyes) as they save the day but also make some pretty questionable decisions.
Supernatural is at its absolute best in season 5, then struggles to regain its balance in seasons 6 and 7 after a creative team switch, and has a couple especially terrible episodes in the first half of season 9. Despite those hiccups, however, the show continues to find new ways to tell new stories, in pretty well any genre and is still massively popular for the CW’s standards. Episodes range in genre from full comedy/parody to soul-wrenching drama to spine-tingly suspense and just about every single thing in between. There’s even an animated episode, and one where Sam and Dean fall into a parallel universe and have to pretend to be Jared and Jensen playing Sam and Dean in a TV show called Supernatural—it’s as pretzely as it sounds (but trust me, it’s actually one of the best episodes of the series).
Fair warning: there are some pretty scary episodes, and some horror and gore throughout the show. As someone with a low threshold for that sort of thing, I can tell you that the first season tends to be the scariest, but it’s completely worth it to keep going, even if you have to cover your eyes sometimes!
2. Parks & Recreation
Originally conceived as a spin-off of The Office, this show begins with a short, awkward 6-episode first season before finding its feet in season 2, and becoming pure gold in season 3. Starring Amy Poehler, it’s funny, light-hearted, endearing, and will have you laughing and falling in love with the quirky, quotable cast of characters. While The Office tends to play much more in the vein of awkward/uncomfortable humour, Parks finds a way to be far more charming and downright funny than awkward—so if you’ve never been a big fan of The Office, give Parks a try (just get past the first season). There’s a host of inside jokes waiting to be had, from Lil Sebastian to “litrally” and more.
Bonus: Chris Pratt being an adorable dork before he beefed up for Guardians of the Galaxy and Jurassic Park. Keep an extra eye out for the iconic episode where they all try “Snake Juice” and the one where the boys get food poisoning.
Super Bonus: By the way, if you like Amy Poehler and Nick Offerman from Parks, check out their new show together, Making It! It’s basically a crafting competition show, and it’s super cute. These two are friends in real life and all that fancy woodworking you see Ron Swanson doing in Parks is really coming from Nick Offerman himself. Making It is currently airing on NBC!
3. Downton Abbey
This is the show that you think isn’t your “kind of show”…until you watch it. Yes, it’s a period drama and it smells like Jane Austen, which may well be your thing, but even if it isn’t your thing: this show is compelling as heck. The writing is amazing, the cast is brilliant, the real life castle is gorgeous and so are the outfits. In just a few episodes, you’re going to be ridiculously invested in the blooming relationship between Anna and Bates, in Matthew and Mary’s back and forth, and even in who wins the flower show (no, seriously).
Quick story: my grandfather was not much into movies or television at all, preferring painting shows and documentaries about pioneers and the like, if anything. He ended up sitting through one of the first episodes of Downton Abbey, and the moment the episode ended, he asked if there was more. He loved it. I cannot give you a stronger endorsement than that.
Inspired by and based on the movie of the same name, Limitless is about a guy who takes a pill to briefly become a genius and proceeds to help the police solve crimes. Though the movie was only so-so, the show quickly finds its way into something much quirkier with a side of drama, and it’s great. Sadly, it’s only one season (because…???), but it’s well worth the binge.
Limitless is brimming with fantastic pop culture references, and though it plays fast and loose with the “science” of it all (just leave your reality at the door), it’s consistently entertaining from episode to episode. It balances the humour with plenty of drama—there are consequences to this crazy, super secret, genius pill after all, as Bradley Cooper (the star of the movie and frequent guest star on the show) well knows. Just wait ‘till you get to the “Bruntouchables” and Ferris Bueller’s Day Off stuff—it’s gold.
I’ll be honest, as of writing this, I am not quite caught up on this show, but I can say that it’s super binge-able, since I’ve been doing just that with it! It’s mainly about a college dropout, Mike, who more or less talks his way into being a lawyer working under a famously brilliant one, Harvey, at one of the best law firms in New York—the only trouble is, Mike doesn’t actually have a law degree.
I’m not generally one for “lawyer shows”, but this one is fantastic. It’s got a great cast of characters with vibrant personalities—you’ll find yourself pinwheeling between hating and loving Louis, while pining for every outfit in Donna, Jessica, and Rachel’s closets. Even if the legal jargon goes over my head, the character stuff drives every episode—you can’t help getting invested quickly, and feeling stressed about every secret and problem that come Mike and Harvey’s way (oh, and wishing Harvey and Donna would freaking kiss already).
Did you love any part of Ocean’s 11? This show is basically 77 episodes of Ocean’s 11, except it’s a team of just 5 people—a hacker, a grifter, a thief, a hitter, and a “mastermind”—who go around more or less Robin Hood-ing rich and powerful(ly corrupt) people. Though the characters initially appear typical, they develop into fleshed out, layered characters that are easy to love, as are the banter and slow burn romances. While most episodes are pure con and heist hijinks (“The Rashomon Job” is standout hilarious), there’s also some more dramatic and emotional episodes to leave you crying into your popcorn. This is the perfect show for decompressing after a long work (or school) week.
Featuring Timothy Olyphant as US Marshal Raylan Givens working crime cases in Kentucky, this show is quality from top to bottom. It has witty, sarcastic humour and pitch-perfect banter alongside heart-thumping action and genuine emotion. One of the especially interesting things about Justified is that unlike your typical crime show, which glosses over the criminals in favour of the main characters, this show takes the time to show you who the criminals are. With the “bigger baddies,” you really get to know them, and sometimes even cheer for them, or at least understand where they’re coming from. It shifts from “bad guy of the week” to a “bad guy of the season” format as it goes, and for the better.
Raylan is a bit of a scoundrel, definitely flawed, and therefore amazing to watch. He frequently gets tangled up with people from his past who are now on the wrong side of the law, and there are shifting alliances as different threats emerge across the seasons. Bonus, Timothy Olyphant looks awfully good in that hat. This show is easy to devour when you’re trying to find out what Boyd is gonna do next or how Raylan’s gonna get outta this one.
Note: side effects of viewing may include inadvertently developing a Southern twang and falling in little bit in love with Tim (who, if there is one thing wrong with this show, totally does not get the screen time he deserves).
8. Good Behavior
Starring Michelle Dockery (also in Downton Abbey, but zero percent like her character in that), this dark show is based on a series of novellas about a con woman/thief/drug addict named Letty who gets tangled up with a hitman.
Let me be clear: proceed with caution. This show is heavy, R-rated for language, themes, some violence, and nudity. Do not come looking for something sweet or fun in this show, do not expect a happy ending. There are moments of levity, funny lines or soft moments, and a wonderful baseline in Letty as she tries to be a better person for her son. But on the whole, it earns its R rating. If you’re looking for something complex, suspenseful, and dramatic, with twists and turns and some serious chemistry, then this one is definitely worth adding to your list.
9. Brooklyn Nine Nine
By now, hopefully you’ve at least heard of this show, due to it’s cancellation by FOX, unprecedented fan uproar, and subsequent renewal and move to NBC in less than three days. In case you haven’t, it’s a comedy about a group of quirky characters in a police precinct. Not only is it frequently hilarious, it takes the time to tackle serious issues from time to time, it has a stellar cast bursting with chemistry, pulls in great guest stars, and is all around fabulous. Chances are, if there’s one show your friends and family been hounding you to watch, it’s this one, and for good reason. Besides, with the episodes only being 22 mins a piece, it means this show is super binge-able.
If you decide to watch just one show from this list, make it this one.
Whether you’ve seen The X-Files or not, you know the gist of it: a skeptic and a “believer” investigate paranormal and/or wacky happenings week to week. Fringe is basically the 2000’s answer to The X-Files and it’s crazily underrated. What starts as kind of a gritty, monster-of-the-week type of sci-fi show evolves into something serialized, involving parallel universes, conspiracy theories and legends coming true, time travel, soul-wrenching family dynamics, and more.
At the center of it is all is fairly straight-laced FBI agent Olivia, mentally unstable scientist Walter, and his cynical son Peter (who may or may not grow to have a Thing for Olivia). I personally struggled with the gore level in the first two seasons—there’s a dude with translucent skin, there’s parasites and liquified brains and a lot of eww—but, I promise you, it’s worth it. There are some absolutely mind-blowing twists, there’s brilliant writing, there’s killer finales and stunning acting and moments that will have leave you shook. It may start out as an X-Files-ish thing, but it’s so. much. more.
Have you seen any of the shows on this list? Have any other very binge-able shows to recommend?
Let me know in the comments, and happy watching!
Today’s Top Ten Tuesday is by special guest @kimcreatorCA who also guest posts on trishajennreads for the feature FANGIRL FRIDAY.
Kim spends her time writing things, designing things, and watching a ton of television. She calls Alberta, Canada home where she can be found drinking tea, crying over fictional characters, and fighting her way through art school.