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It’s no secret to anyone who knows me that I’m terrible at watching TV shows — my limited attention span often means I never finish them, or I take an absurd amount of time to do so. This means that my favorite TV shows are often miniseries or have fewer than four seasons. So, here’s some of the best recommendations for an easy binge over break (or for those with short attention spans). 

MiniSeries

Normal People

Streaming On: Hulu

One of my very favorite pieces of media in the entire world, Normal People is a masterpiece from beginning to end. Although I do recommend reading the book first, the show is a must-watch. Featuring incredibly well-written and acted characters, with a frustratingly, achingly intense love story, this show will break your heart (but in the best way possible). 

The Haunting of Hill House

Streaming On: Netflix

The 2018 mini-series that launched Mike Flanagan’s Netflix takeover is a chilling horror masterpiece and intriguing family drama all in one. Full of twists and turns, tears and fears, and an intense atmospheric world, this show is perfect for horror fans who love deep storytelling. And if you love this, one of Mike Flanagan’s other stories, The Haunting of Bly Manor, is a perfect follow up. 

1-2 seasons

Fleabag

Streaming On: Prime Video

Phoebe Waller-Bridge is a genius, and Fleabag is the reason I fell in love with her work. This show, whose 2 seasons only amount to 12 episodes, is impeccably well written, achingly beautiful, and a moving portrayal of grief, pain and love. Waller-Bridge poured her heart and soul into this, and it’s incredibly evident–- Fleabag is guaranteed to make you laugh and cry and reach into every hidden place of your heart. This show is the perfect short watch for someone looking for a heavier, more thought-provoking story. I truly cannot recommend it enough. 

Heartstopper

Streaming On: Netflix

This show, whose first season debuted in early 2022, is guaranteed to warm your heart. The show is based on Alice Oseman’s best-selling graphic novel of the same name, and its second season is currently in production. Heartstopper is packed with beautifully tender performances, queer joy and an incredible love story. While I highly recommend also reading the graphic novels (the cast are spot on look likes for their graphic counterparts), this show is worth every moment of watching regardless of if you’ve read the source material or not.

Dash & Lily

Streaming On: Netflix

A delightful show that unfortunately did not receive a second season, Dash & Lily is the perfect holiday watch. Packed with the joy of the holiday season, adorably wonderful characters, and a plot revolving around a bookstore, this is the perfect cozy watch for the holiday season. 

The Sex Lives of College Girls

Streaming On: HBO

This HBO series, created by Mindy Kaling, (and whose second season premiered on November 17th!) is witty, hilarious and also full of love. The show follows four suite-mates, Kimberly, Bela, Leighton and Whitney, throughout their first semester at Essex College. Each girl is given a distinct personality (that you are bound to fall in love with), and their group dynamic becomes increasingly enjoyable throughout the series. It also features one of the most beautiful and realistic coming out scenes in recent memory. This show has been one of my favorites since the first moment I watched it, and if you’re looking for a good laugh and something that will also make your heart smile, this is definitely your show.

Abbott Elementary

Streaming On: Hulu & HBO Max

Like many of the series on this list, Abbott Elementary is currently airing its second season. This show, which could not be more delightful, is helmed by Quinta Brunson (who also plays one of the lead roles as Janine Teagues). Abbott Elementary, which centers around the teachers at Abbott Elementary, a small public school in Philadelphia, frequently highlights injustice in the public school system, while also guaranteeing to make you laugh out loud at least once every episode. It’s a wonderful sitcom that is easily on par with shows like Parks and Rec and The Office

Yellowjackets

Streaming On: Showtime

My personal favorite recent release, this show tells the story of a girls’ soccer team stranded in the wilderness for 19 months, while also showing some of the girls’ lives 25 years after the wilderness. This show is packed with intense mystery, incredible action and a beautiful portrayal of girlhood (even when the circumstances are less than ideal). Yellowjackets does feature a decent amount of gore, but if that doesn’t bother you too much it is more than worth the watch. Season one of this show is complete, and season two is currently in production. 

Big Little Lies

Streaming On: HBO Max

An incredible show packed with amazing actors, show stopping performances, an intense mystery and an impeccable soundtrack–- Big Little Lies is the perfect atmospheric drama. The show, which centers around the lives of a small group of upper-class women in a small town, and the murder that unravels them all, is intense, demanding and sometimes painful. Be aware that the show centers heavily on domestic abuse and does not shy away from difficult situations. This show will suck you in, confuse and excite you and be on your mind for weeks after finishing it. 

White Lotus

Streaming On: HBO Max

This miniseries turned multi-season show features biting satire, complex characters and a twisty mystery. With stars like Sydney Sweeney, Alexandra Daddario and Connie Britton in the first season, and Aubrey Plaza, Haley Lu Richardson and Jennifer Coolidge (who is reprising her role from the first season) starring in the second season this show is a must watch. As fascinating as it is funny, this show is guaranteed to be the perfect binge.

3-4 Seasons

Avatar the Last Airbender

Streaming On: Netflix

Do not brush Avatar off as a kids show. Yes, it is animated, and yes, it was on Nickelodeon. However, it is packed with rich storytelling, the best redemption arc I’ve ever seen and incredible character development. This 3-season show is guaranteed to delight. It will make you laugh and cry and literally take you on a roller coaster of emotions. I watched this as a kid and loved it, and having watched it again more recently I can assuredly say that I still feel the same. This show, which really will not take all that much time to watch, is pretty close to perfect, and there’s nothing quite like it–- in other words, it is by far worth the watch. 

Derry Girls

Streaming On: Netflix

Derry Girls is a show that I have yet to finish, but that is probably going to be the show that I binge watch over break. It is set in Ireland in the 1990s during the final years of The Troubles (a time of turmoil in Northern Ireland) and follows a group of friends throughout their high school years. Derry Girls is guaranteed to make you laugh, be it from the girls’ charming personalities, the messy family dynamics or from the ridiculous situations they get themselves into. It’s guaranteed to charm you (and also probably have you attempting an Irish accent). 

The Good Place

Streaming On: Netflix & Apple TV+

This quirky and inventive show, created by Michael Schur (who also worked on projects such as Parks and Rec and Brooklyn 99), premiered in 2016 and ran for four seasons. This show features semi-toxic characters who undergo massive character growth, a few adorable romances and most of all an insightful and creative lesson on philosophy. This is a sitcom that rises above the rest, through the complex questions it raises, to the ways it balances laughs with impending doom. If you like to read, get anxious stomach aches or love a mean girl with a secret heart of gold, this show is perfect for you. 

Sex Education

Streaming On: Netflix

This three season show (whose fourth season is in production) balances being raunchy, hilarious and charming seamlessly. Full of a will-they-won’t-they love scenario, charming friendships and unashamed discovery of sexual identity, this show will capture your heart, and get you hooked in the process. 

Never Have I Ever

Streaming On: Netflix

The idea of “supporting women’s rights and women’s wrongs” can possibly not be attributed to any character so perfectly as it can to Devi Vishwakumar. Another Mindy Kaling project, this time set in high school, this series features a love triangle that is likely to have you rooting for all three characters, a self-sabotaging heroine and also a moving portrayal of familial grief. This show is as beautiful as it is funny, tender as it is hilarious and is guaranteed to have you captivated from the first episode.

Happy break and happy viewing!

Lauren is an English literature & communications major at the University of Pittsburgh. She loves all things coming of age, reading, and iced coffee related.