As Mariah Carey would say, binge-watching is having a ~moment~
Gone are the days of waiting week-to-week to find out how a cliffhanger will resolve, who the killer is, or if your fave characters will finally bang. Of course we all love House of Cards, OITNB, Transparent, and many others; after bingeing those, picking through so many options can seem daunting, and even paralyzing. So before you dive back into Gilmore Girls or Grey’s for the hundredth time, fall down the rabbit hole with one (or all) of these addictive shows. Whether from the elliptical in Dodge, an EC lounge surrounded by friends, or the comfort of your cozy bed, these five shows offer Grade A procrastination and escapism. So sit back, relax, and let autoplay take over.
A riotous British gem that weirdly snuck onto Netflix without much fanfare, Chewing Gum follows the struggles of a reluctant 24 year-old virgin, Tracey. Another strike against the ridiculous “women aren’t funny” stigma, fans of Insecure and Jane the Virgin (actually, any comedy fan and probably any person in general), will adore writer, creator, and star Michaela Cole. Frequently breaking the fourth wall, Cole’s musings on sexuality, race, and class never break from snappy writing, and you’ll want to be both her and Tracey’s new best friend. Chewing Gum reminds us that sex can be hilarious, gross, and absurd, and it’s poppy packaging and 6 half-hour episodes make it, fittingly, a sweet treat that’s over too soon.
Long before young adults puzzled over the identity of Gossip Girl, American audiences were captivated by another question: Who Killed Laura Palmer? In the small logging town Twin Peaks, a high school dream girl is found brutally murdered, and coffee-loving special FBI agent Dale Cooper gets loosed on a case. In typical Lynchian fashion he uncovers a sinister and surreal underworld in the quiet town, blending twisted imagery and the supernatural with wholesome American charm. Twin Peaks is the 80s nostalgia you felt watching Stranger Things, and with a reboot coming to Showtime in May, now is the perfect time hop on board the bandwagon of cult devotees.
THE NIGHT OF
Speaking of bandwagons, I’ve been riding Riz Ahmed’s hard since seeing Rogue One in December. Thankfully, HBO’s The Night Of not only showcases his immense talent and beautiful bone structure, it also unravels an engrossing criminal drama that feels incredibly timely in America’s current political climate. Ahmed plays Naz, a Pakistani-American whose life turns into hell when he spends a night with a beautiful woman, only to wake up to find her stabbed to death. The show’s themes – prejudice in the criminal justice system, corruption in the courts, and life in Riker’s – are well-trodden, but The Night Of probes them beautifully. Tread lightly, this one’ll make your heart hurt, but it’s well worth it.
BETTER OFF TED
If you’re like me and you’ve seen every episode of Arrested Development at least three times, Better Off Ted is a great diversion before you go back for round four. The show’s batty ensemble consists of employees at Veridian Dynamics, a soulless mega-company whose mission statement is never completely made clear. Portia de Rossi and Jay Harrington lead a group of businessmen, scientists, testers, and one very wise preteen girl as they comically narrate Veridian’s dubious ethics. Better Off Ted is The Office’s absurdist, cult-fave cousin.
Full disclosure, I haven’t actually watched Orphan Black so this rec comes straight from none other than my wonderful mother. The woman watches almost as much TV as I do, so trust she knows what’s good. Orphan Black follows a number of clones, each played by Tatiana Maslany, who won an Emmy for embodying each character’s distinct persona. Mama Bear describes it as “filled with amazing female characters, it is so many things: a conspiracy show, a family drama, an action show, dark humor, sex, domestic comedy, and so much more.” Needless to say, I know what I’m doing after midterms cool down.
Bonus: Finally, any list of this nature would be incomplete without this piece of advice you’ve doubtlessly heard before: Watch The Wire. Just do it. Idris Elba.