At the beginning of summer I created a list of what I think are the most binge-worthy shows on Netflix. While I still stand by that list, it isn’t complete. There are several other streaming services online that also have great shows, plus, Netflix keeps adding amazing content to their service. That’s why it’s time for a new round-up of binge-worthy television.
I am thrilled that this time around, I am joining up with my friend Peaches from Aunt Peaches to share our currently streaming favorites. She has fabulous taste in everything, really, but definitely in television shows. She knows that when the new season of House of Cards comes out, nobody better come knocking the door unless they are on fire or bringing snacks.
I noticed several common themes in the shows I chose this time around, so I made a handy key so you can see which shows fit which descriptors.
*unstable, mentally ill or unreliable protagonist
**British television show
***British actors playing non-Brits
NOTE: England calls what we could consider a season, a “series.” So when I say there are 2 series of a show, that means there are two season’s worth of episodes.
If you are already a Prime subscriber, you have access to Prime Video at no extra cost. Did you know that? I get the feeling thousands of people don’t, and it’s a shame because there is some great TV there. I have gotten spoiled by Prime’s X-Ray for Movies, which lets you pause the show you are watching to instantly bring up the IMDB entry for any actor in that scene. If you aren’t already using Prime and you think you might like to, you can always use my referral code (wink, wink).
Whitechapel: After Netflix dropped the show, Prime picked up all four seasons for your viewing pleasure. The series follows a team of police as they investigate serial murders with ties to historical crimes. TRIVIA: Jack the Ripper committed his crimes the area of London known as Whitechapel. The premise of the show is a bit unbelievable at times, but the acting and directing are worth suspending your disbelief a bit. The only bummer is that ITV cancelled the show before it had a satisfying resolution, so don’t expect neatly tied up loose ends at the close of season 4. (4 series, *, **)
Grantchester: Set in 1950s England (Grantchester, specifically), the show centers around the big brother/ little brother relationship of the two main characters. One is a police investigator and the other the young bishop at the local church. I appreciate that the show features a religious main character who is a real person, not a caricature. The show’s main characters and minor players are compelling and likeable — even the pious and curmudgeonly housekeeper. (2 series with more coming, **)
Mr. Robot: I started watching Mr. Robot on USA and then basically stopped watching shows on an actual television set altogether. I was glad to see that Prime was able to pick up the whole first season of the intriguing drama. The show focuses on an Anonymous-type group of hackers who are trying to eliminate all the debt held by an Enron-style conglomerate. The characters are intriguing and, from what I have read, the tech is real. (1 season, second season airing on USA, *)
HBO’s monthly subscription service is pricier than other streaming services. I know, shocker. I finally caved and signed up for the service so that I could watch GoT in real time to reduce the need to be constantly vigilant against internet spoilers. HBO Now is a handy place to catch up on the notoriously proprietary HBO shows.
Game of Thrones: There is no way for me to summarize GoT without it sounding ridiculous. There’s ice zombies and dragons and medieval knights, but like in a really relatable, believable way. You’re not buying it, are you? How about “West Wing with dragons?” No? Even if you aren’t usually a fan of fantasy shows, give Game of Thrones a try. I hadn’t read anything more fantasy-ish than C.S. Lewis before Thrones, and I am now a full fledged fan girl. (6 seasons with more coming, ***)
The Wire: This show is over a decade old, but it still holds up. The gritty take on crime and justice in Baltimore is so compelling, and Idris Elba and Dominic West are AMAZING. Season 2 is the weakest of the five seasons, but the weakest season of The Wire is still better than anything on basic cable right now. (5 seasons, ***)
Band of Brothers: My cousin had been bugging me for years to watch this miniseries. I don’t usually watch historical stuff, but it was the beginning of July and I was feeling patriotic, so I started it. You guys. It is fantastic. I sort of had an idea of D-Day in my head, but this gave me an entirely new appreciation for the bravery of those who were actually there. Each of the 10 episodes is as gripping as the last, and you will find yourself falling in love with all of the characters. (miniseries – 10 episodes, ***)
I know, I already did a huge round-up of my favorite Netflix binge-worthy series, but I’ve found even more since I posted. I wish I could quit you, Netflix!
Stranger Things: I was already interested in this show, but then Peaches recommended it in a blog post so I knew I had to try it. It is the buzziest show on Netflix right now and for good reason. Imagine putting Goonies, E.T. and Poltergeist in a bag, shaking it all up, then adding in a cup of Winona Ryder, and a dash of Netflix magic. That’s Stranger Things. It is both nostalgic and fresh, and you should watch it. (1 season with more seasons likely)
River: It’s a little bit hard for me to watch Stellen Skarsgard in a dramatic role because my mind flashes back on him signing in Mamma Mia. In this series, he plays a British investigator with a “unique” mind. The series hinges on the way his brain works and how it affects his work and his relationships with others. (1 series, *, **)
Marcella: Hollywood is finally getting on board with the idea that female protagonists can be messy and complicated and viewers will still want to watch (Gone Girl, The Girl on the Train). American television hasn’t really gotten the memo yet, but thankfully the Brits have. This drama features a female lead in the middle of a messy home life, rocky work situation, and, oh yeah, the investigation of a serial killer. Anna Friel’s Marcella is impressively sympathetic, even when she really shouldn’t be. (1 series with more coming, *, **)
Bob Ross Beauty is Everywhere: I adore Bob Ross. I used to watch him on PBS as a kid, and when I first got a TiVo 12 years ago, The Joy of Painting was one of my first season passes. I was so glad to hear that Netflix was picking up episodes of the fantastic (and long running) show. While I am always amazed at Bob’s ability to create a full landscape in 20 odd minutes, I also use the show as a coping strategy. When my anxiety gets bad, I curl up with a few episodes of The Joy of Painting, and my mind and body relax. It’s not quite ASMR, but it’s close — even Newsweek says so. BONUS FOR NON-NETFLIX FANS: There is a Bob Ross YouTube channel that contains numerous episodes of The Joy of Painting, and it’s all free.
You will absolutely want to check out Peaches’s picks for binge-able TV too. If you have suggestions for other great binge-worthy TV, please let me know in the comments below!
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