The best shows to binge watch

If you find yourself with extra time on your hands at home, you might be looking for a great series to binge watch. While watching a movie or two is great, a series can provide hours and hours of entertainment as you follow a long-running story from start to finish. Sometimes that equates to about 10 hours of a single season; other times, it might be as many as 10 seasons you can binge watch for weeks.

If you’re looking for a great binge-worthy show to check out, here are some recommended options.

Further reading

Game of Thrones (HBO)

Believe it or not, there are still a few people who haven’t yet seen this series, and even those who have seen it will watch it a second or even third time. The fantasy drama is set in the fictional world of Westeros where several powerful families and individuals are fighting for the Iron Throne. There are so many ongoing and intertwined storylines, characters, and intricate details that you’re bound to catch something new every time you watch. The series is based on the George R.R. Martin fantasy novels, and aired for eight seasons from 2011 through to 2019.

Lost (Hulu)

It will be a pretty significant investment of time to binge watch this series, which includes 121 hourlong episodes over six seasons. Originally airing from 2004 to 2010, the drama is about a plane that crashes on a mysterious island and the survivors who must figure out where they are and how to survive, especially in the face of supernatural and sci-fi happenings. It’s a lot to take in with the many flash-forwards and flashbacks. And while the ending was polarizing, it’s one of those series that will be discussed for years to come.

Dexter (Netflix, Showtime)

If you don’t have time for all eight seasons, at least binge the first four of this crime drama mystery series based on the novel Darkly Dreaming Dexter by Jeff Lindsay. It’s about a vigilante serial killer living a double life as a blood spatter analyst in Miami who was trained by his father to have control over his “dark passenger” and only kill those who are guilty of horrendous crimes. It aired for eight seasons from 2006 to 2013. Fair warning that the series finale has often been considered one of the worst ever. But the initial seasons will have you at the edge of your seat, conflicted with your desire to both despise and sympathize with a serial killer.

Breaking Bad (Netflix)

Widely considered to be one of the best TV series ever, this neo-Western crime drama aired on AMC from 2008 through 2013 for a total of five seasons. It follows the story of a humdrum high school teacher named Walter White (Bryan Cranston) who, after receiving a terminal cancer diagnosis, decides to use his chemistry background to make crystal methamphetamine. He then enlists the help of a former student and drug dealer Jesse Pinkman (Aaron Paul) to sell his drugs so he can make some quick money to leave behind for his family before he dies. But as Walt gets deeper and deeper into the drug world with his pure and popular product, he begins to transform into a frightening caricature of his former self, and a terrifying drug kingpin. The series gets off to a slow start, but once it picks up, you’ll find it difficult to stop watching.

Westworld (HBO)

With the third season now airing after an almost two-year hiatus, this science-fiction Western TV series has captivated viewers with its fabulous costumes, fantastic set displays, great acting, and compelling storylines. Based on the 1973 film of the same name by Michael Crichton, it’s set in the future where people can visit a Wild West-themed amusement park to interact with android “hosts” who look, feel, and act like humans, there to fulfill their every desire. What’s real and what’s not? It will keep you guessing all the way through the first two seasons of 20 episodes, after which you can watch season 3 live.

The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel (Amazon Prime Video)

This period comedy-drama set in the ’60s is about a young housewife and mother named Midge (Rachel Brosnahan) who discovers she has a knack for writing and telling jokes and decides to pursue a career in stand-up comedy, despite pushback from everyone around her. The series has received critical acclaim and tons of awards, including back-to-back Primetime Emmy Awards for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series for Alex Borstein, who plays Midge’s manager Susie. With plenty of humor, drama, and compelling characters, the three seasons to date will have you anxious for season 4.

The Crown (Netflix)

If you’re into the Royal Family or just history in general, this series will be right up your alley. Each of the three seasons to date covers a specific period in the life of Queen Elizabeth II. Lauded for its historical accuracy and fantastic cast, including both Claire Foy and Olivia Colman as the Queen, season four will introduce characters like Margaret Thatcher and Lady Diana Spencer. For now, seasons 1-3 cover critical moments like Queen Elizabeth’s marriage to Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, and her taking the throne following the death of her father (season 1), the Suez Crisis of 1956 (season 2), and Harold Wilson’s period as prime minister (season 3).

The Witcher (Netflix)

Captivating viewers who have been pining for a series to fill the hole left behind by Game of Thrones, this fantasy drama does a decent job. The inaugural season, based on the book series of the same name by Andrzej Sapkowski, is set in a fictional medieval-inspired place where the Witcher, a monster-like hunter with magical powers, is linked by destiny to the princess. It jumps among different timelines, following three main characters as they encounter events that change their lives. With only eight episodes so far, it’s a quick and easy binge.

Ozark (Netflix)

It’s perfect timing to binge the first two seasons of this crime drama, with season 3 premiering at the end of March 2020. Marty Byrde (Jason Bateman) is a talented financial advisor who, while laundering money for a Mexican drug cartel, quickly realizes he has bitten off more than he can chew. As he and his family are forced to move to the Ozarks to continue working for the cartel, they fight back to find a way out. Keep an eye out for fabulous performances from Julia Garner, who plays the 19-year-old redneck Ruth, and Laura Linney as Wendy Byrde, Marty’s clever and cunning wife.

Mindhunter (Netflix)

A combination of true crime and fiction, this crime thriller, which is set in the late ’70s and early ’80s, tells the story of how the term “serial killer” was first coined by the FBI and tactics used to investigate them and their murders through the use of psychological methods. While the series is loosely based on real events, many of the serial killers depicted are indeed based on real ones, with conversations even taken from actual transcripts. It’s a disturbing look into the minds of serial killers like Ed Kemper, David Berkowitz, and Charles Manson. There are two seasons thus far with the show on “indefinite hold” for now.

Homecoming (Amazon Prime Video)

Marking Julia Roberts’ switch to the small screen, this 2018 psychological thriller based on the podcast of the same name by Eli Horowitz and Micah Bloomberg includes a single season of 10 episodes. A former social worker at the Homecoming Transitional Support Center, Heidi (Roberts) is now a waitress and confused about her former job and why she can’t remember much about it. The facility was designed to purportedly help soldiers transition to civilian life after active duty, but Heidi slowly uncovers the truth and that there’s more than meets the eye. A second season with a new storyline is in the works and will star Janelle Monae and Chris Cooper.

Fleabag (Amazon Prime Video)

As TV’s new “it” girl, Phoebe Waller-Bridge stars in, created, and wrote this British comedy-drama based on her 2013 one-woman show about a free-spirited young woman in London with a voracious sexual appetite. Signature to the series is the frequent breaking of the fourth wall, involving the audience in commentary and internal monologues. There are two seasons to date of 12 episodes so you can power through this one pretty quickly, then check out another award-winning Waller-Bridge project like Killing Eve.

The Handmaid’s Tale (Hulu)

Based on the 1985 novel of the same name by Canadian author Margaret Atwood, this dystopian tragedy series might be difficult to binge all in one sitting given the heavy and troubling subject matter. It’s set in a dystopian totalitarian society, where fertile women are forced to serve as handmaids who bear children for the barren wives of commanders. With three seasons having aired thus far, each more disturbing than the next, you’ll be both drawn into this fictional world and terrified by it.

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