Spring break can be very uneventful if staying at home as opposed to traveling. I tend to look toward hours of Netflix to pass the time when there is simply nothing to do. Although I always run into the incessant predicament of scrolling through shows that do not induce me to devote my time to sit through them. Subsequently, the next move is to address the dilemma, which is to habitually rewatch my favorite television shows or research new ones via the internet and word of mouth.
For those who cannot find a good show to watch, I have compiled a list of engrossing TV shows for a variety of tastes. Some have endless seasons, while a few are in brief parts. Of course, there are the iconic television shows of the 2000s like Gossip Girl that never cease to provoke nostalgia. However, there are a handful of fresh shows like The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel or The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina that offer something new to the table. Regardless of their length, subject matter, or genre, these selected television and web series are binge-worthy.
- Gossip Girl
The infamously mysterious blogger “Gossip Girl” overlooks and exposes the cut-throat lifestyle of “Manhattan’s elite,” focused on a group of petty, privileged, and Ivy League-bound private school students. Although seemingly superficial at first glance, the characters are both intriguing and complex. The on and off relationship of Blair Waldorf and Chuck Bass make the show riveting enough as it is. Essentially, the show encompasses six seasons of rocking 2007-chic attire, shopping sprees at Barney’s, and texting on flip phones—the epitome of childhood nostalgia. Ironically, I did not truly discover the show until my sophomore year of high school, long after all these fads vanished. Gossip Girl is currently available on Netflix and Amazon Prime Video.
- The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel
Also centered in New York City but in a different era, Mrs. “Midge” Maisel stole everyone’s hearts upon the release of the show’s first season in 2017. It takes place at the end of the ’50s, referred to as the Golden Age of America. The witty Midge had her predetermined life in reach, which entailed finding a husband, having children, and upholding the tradition of holding the most extravagant Yom Kippur on the Upper East Side. While supporting her husband in his endeavors to become a part-time stand-up comedian at the “Gas Light” Cafe, she learns her knack for comedy. And after her husband chooses to leave her after bombing his unoriginal stand-up, she covertly pursues a career as a comic. Since this is the fifties, she even gets arrested a few times for obscene, foul language. This series is inspiring in that we watch the composed Midge transform into a confident, uninhibited performer. Also, I cannot forget to mention the show’s addition of the sarcastic manager Suzie. The show is exclusively streamed on Amazon Prime Video.
- Gilmore Girls
This is my definitive, all-time favorite show, and I could not help but add it to the list. The story revolves around a small town called Stars Hollow in Connecticut, but primarily focuses on the relationship between Rory Gilmore and her mother Lorelai. Rory is a hard-working student who dreams of going to Harvard and becoming a journalist. On the other hand, Lorelai runs a popular bed-and-breakfast with her best friend and chef Sookie. The seasons also follow the tense relationship between Lorelai and her strong-willed mother Emily Gilmore, as Lorelai was pregnant with Rory as a teen, creating tension ever since. The show has a certain sentimental allure, as we watch Rory undergo the trials and tribulations of preparing for college and managing relationships. There are so many compelling characters that reside in Stars Hollow. The story is full of many subplots, yet are all somehow beautifully intertwined. In 2016, a limited edition reboot was released on Netflix, returning to Stars Hollow and catching a glimpse of their life over ten years later.
- How to Get Away With Murder
This addictive show will appeal to anyone who loves true crime. It stars the highly talented Viola Davis as a professor teaching a vigorous law course at a university where she selects a group of students to follow and assist her in cases, which she always wins with her intellect and connections. The catch is that she not so inadvertently drags them into a murder case of their own. The show takes a fascinating way of storytelling, having bits and pieces of the event shown at the beginning, and then almost seamlessly returning to the present time. These constant shifts may appear confusing, though they make the unraveling of the mystery all the more engaging. The show is accessible for streaming on Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime Video.
- Orange Is the New Black
Based on the memoir by Piper Kerman’s year sentence for drug-trafficking and money laundering, Orange Is the New Black delves into the everyday trials of life in a federal women’s prison in the United States. This “dramedy” takes a more humorous approach, yet it still portrays the realities of racism, homophobia, misogyny, and sexual harassment prevalent in the U.S incarceration. Although Piper is the protagonist, the supporting characters feel life-like and all have intricate backstories slowly revealed throughout the show. This is unparalleled in most shows, as the importance of the secondary characters often gets lost, and their subplots get diluted in favor of the main plot. Orange Is the New Black, much like Gilmore Girls, weaves these stories together in an interesting way. The show is a Netflix Original, so it can only be viewed on the service.
The timeless sitcom is the ultimate “marathon show,” and never seems to get old. Although it was a popular show in the late ’90s, it has been rediscovered by Gen Z’ers. I never thought it was possible to reminisce about a decade that I did not even live through until I binge-watched the entire show one summer. The characters are hilarious, and the short episodes and intriguing plot are satisfying. It is a light, comical show that never fails to draw laughs and viewers in, along with the entertaining yet turbulent romances and the loyal friendships of Rachel, Monica, Joey, Ross, Phoebe, and Chandler. Each caricature has a distinct personality that almost perfectly mirrors a certain personality reflected in many close friend groups. Since the dawn of the hit show, various online magazines have created “What Friends character are you?” quizzes to determine it. Unfortunately, the show was removed from Netflix in January but remains on Amazon Prime Video. However, there are also frequent reruns on cable TV.
- The Office (U.S. Version)
The Office impeccably blends improvised comedy and genius scriptwriting mimicking a low-quality documentary that redefined the genre of the television sitcom. To summarize, it is about a small branch of an office/paper supply corporation called “Dunder Mifflin.” The cringy, unprofessional regional manager Michael Scott overlooks an eclectic bunch of workers. The intense Dwight K. Schrute is always trying to impress Michael and deal with the constant pranks from his counterpart Jim Halpert. The Dwight-Jim dynamic is probably one of the most interesting aspects of the show. And as numerous people have seen this show, I recommend rewatching the legendarily hilarious episodes dubbed “Dinner Party” and “Drug Testing.” Season two especially is pure comedic gold and lays the groundwork for the storylines throughout the rest of the show, although all nine seasons are ready for viewing on Netflix.
- That ’70s Show
Very similar and of the same era as the show Friends, That ’70s Show is a sitcom based in rural Point Place, Wisconsin about six eclectic teens Donna, Jackie, Hyde, Fez, and Kelso who spend way too much time smoking pot in Eric Foreman’s basement. The show is nonetheless charming. The show has a certain kind of witty banter and is filled with countless “burns.” The sitcom is equipped with a multitude of seventies pop culture references and the songs, or “oldies,” that defined the decade. Even though the characterization of the core group is strong enough alone, the supporting characters rule the screen as well, such as Tommy Chong from Cheech & Chong as the endearing hippie and stoner Leo. This show is unparalleled in that it depicts adolescence so candidly. Both Mila Kunis (Jackie) and Ashton Kutcher (Kelso) rose to fame after playing their roles for eight seasons. The show can be accessed on the Netflix streaming app as of now.
- The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina
Netflix recently came out with the newest part to their cult-favorite show The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina. When I watched the first part in 2018, I was a bit skeptical but came to love the characters and the mystical yet frightening whirlwind of a show. The release was a week before Halloween and the perfect treat to end the “spooky season.” What I have always enjoyed about the show is the stunning visuals and ironically corny screenwriting. This is not surprising, as the show came from the same minds as the creators of both adored and detested show Riverdale. The show is also a darker take on the hit ’90s show Sabrina the Teenage Witch, as Riverdale is loosely inspired by the Archie Comics. Season 1 of Sabrina had an enchanting, spellbinding feel as Sabrina Spellman (Kiernan Shipka) navigates her identity of being half-witch and half-mortal. While it is creepy, it is whimsical. It centers around Sabrina’s refusal of permanently joining the covenant, in fear of sacrificing her mortal friendships. This show can only be viewed on Netflix and is the perfect show to watch regardless of if it is October.
I will inevitably restream snippets of these shows throughout my spring break. Although I must acknowledge that most of them are quite popular, they are certainly worth revisiting when there are no prospective, fresh shows on the horizon. Besides, there is nothing like indulging in them one more time, as they are simply amazing shows that will never get tiresome.