24 of the greatest TV shows and series to binge watch
Bet you can't watch just one.
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In a year (and some change) where escapism has been a solace, binge-watching reigns supreme. I know I've spent a lot of my time rewatching episodes of Bake Off and/or frantically consuming WandaVision. Whether you're a superhero stan or an avid consumer of period dramas, there's something streaming for you.
However, the abundance of streaming services and shows can be a bit daunting. Rather than scrolling aimlessly before eventually settling on rewatching Graham Norton videos (yes, I'm coughing in my own general direction), check out these incredibly binge-able shows and series you can find on the subscription platforms you know and love.
Issa Rae's award-winning series is a perfect binge—it's funny, poignant, and beautifully shot. Starring Issa Rae as Issa Dee and Yvonne Orji as Molly, Insecure follows Issa Dee's story as she navigates life in Los Angeles. The series also features guest appearances from Neil Brown, Jr. as well as musical artists like Amine. You can catch all four seasons of Insecure on HBO Max.
2. Schitt’s Creek
I think about the line "Do you expect an hedge clippers to be drawn from my purse?" almost daily. That, and so many more lines from this absolutely iconic show. Schitt's Creek has been the talk of the town (read: Twitter and pretty much every group chat) for almost the entirety of last year for good reason. Funny, charming, and punctuated by Moira's flawless vocabulary, Schitt's Creek is a perfect show if you're looking for your next comedy show or simply want something new and fun to watch. Starring Dan Levy, Eugene Levy, Catherine O'Hara, and Annie Murphy as the Rose family, you can binge Schitt's Creek in its entirety on Netflix.
3. Killing Eve
The pink dress from season 1 of Killing Eve haunts my dreams. Murder, spy craft, and truly some of the best outfits to grace our screens are all at your disposal in BBC America's hit show Killing Eve. Starring Sandra Oh as Eve, an MI-5 agent, and Jodie Comer as serial killer Villanelle, Killing Eve is one of those shows that will stay with you long after it's ended. Phoebe Waller-Bridge directed season 1 of the hit series and you can binge seasons 1-3 with a subscription to Hulu.
4. The Crown
Following the English monarchy from King George VI's death through to the present, the ambitious drama The Crown has some of the best acting on television. With an all-star cast that changes out every two seasons and has included Claire Foy, Matt Smith, Vanessa Kirby, Matthew Goode, Olivia Colman, Tobias Menzies, Helena Bonham Carter, Gillian Anderson, and many more, The Crown is a stunning, often alarming lens on the British monarchy that will keep you riveted from episode 1 onward.
Regina King is a tour-de-force in this superhero series based on the Watchmen comics by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons. Watchmen is a gorgeous remix of the comic series' story that features important conversations about racism and racial injustice, all while taking place after the events of the comics in the same alternate reality. The story received 26 Emmy nominations when it was released, so trust us when we say that it's incredible.
6. The Great British Baking Show
Cupcakes! Tears! Soggy bottoms! Bake Off, or The Great British Baking Show as it's known in the U.S., is my one true love. My sport. If you're a fan of cooking shows and have yet to check out The Great British Baking Show, you're doing yourself a disservice. From the dazzling array of hosts and judges—Mary Berry forever—to the charming, utterly wonderful bakers themselves, The Great British Baking Show is a cozy competition that challenges Britain's greatest home bakers to put their skills to the test. You can check out many of the current seasons on Netflix, and there are also tons of holiday specials available, including a must-see Derry Girls episode.
7. The Expanse
If you're a fan of sci-fi epics and you need a new series to dive into, The Expanse should be on your radar. The space opera stars Cas Anvar, Thomas Jane, Steven Strait, Dominique Tipper, and more as players in a massive drama spanning Earth, Mars, and the Belt as they navigate the political landscape of space exploration and resources.
8. Peaky Blinders
Peaky Blinders is one of the best shows you can binge on Netflix, if not arguably one of the best shows to binge... ever. I will die on this hill.
If cinematic fight sequences, excellent (and terrible) haircuts, and Cillian Murphy's jawline are your thing, look no further than Peaky Blinders. The series stars the aforementioned Murphy as Thomas Shelby as well as Paul Anderson as Arthur Shelby, Helen McCrory as Aunt Polly, Sam Neill as Inspector Campbell, Sophie Rundle as Ada Shelby, Finn Cole as Michael Gray, and more in a family drama about a group of gangsters in early 20th century Birmingham, England. You can find all 5 seasons of the Shelby family's rise to power (and mayhem) on Netflix.
9. Lovecraft Country
Strap in and prepare to be spooked. Lovecraft Country is a horror drama, based on the novel of the same name by Matt Ruff, that follows a group of characters as they travel across the segregated 1950s United States to an area known as Lovecraft Country, where Lovecraftian monsters roam free. Visually, the series is fantastically terrifying, and the plot's twists and turns will keep you hooked from episode 1. Lovecraft Country stars Jurnee Smollett as Letitia "Leti" Lewis, Jonathan Majors as Atticus Freeman, and Courtney B. Vance as George Freeman.
10. The Office
The Office is perhaps the most classically binge-worthy series out there. It's massively long so you're unlikely to get through it quickly, it's hilarious, and if you haven't already been consumed by the cultural sensation that is Michael Scott's workplace, there's no time like the present to get started. Starring comedy superstars like Steve Carrell, John Krasinski, Rainn Wilson, Steve Carrell, Jenna Fisher, Angela Kinsey, and many more, The Office follows the employees of Dunder Mifflin Paper Company as they navigate life in the American workplace. The Office used to have its home on Netflix, but now you can find it on NBC's new streaming service, Peacock.
11. Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood
Whether you're just getting into anime or you're a longtime anime fan, it's likely that you've run into Fulllmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood at some point. The adventure series has a little something for everyone--it's action-packed, the characters are well-developed and instantly lovable, and the story is extremely original; it'll also rip your heart into tiny pieces and put it back together again.
Fleabag is a perfect binge; it's divided into two beautifully juxtaposed seasons, it's bite-sized (six 30-minute episodes per season), and it's heartbreakingly, wonderfully funny. Plus: Andrew Scott as the Priest, or Hot Priest (if you know you know). Fleabag follows the ups and downs of the title character as she deals with her traumatic past and looks to her future. Phoebe Waller-Bridge wrote and stars in the series alongside Olivia Coleman, Sian Clifford, and more. You can find Fleabag in its entirety on Amazon Prime.
WandaVision just wrapped up, and if you haven't hopped on the series yet because it was still airing now's a perfect time to binge the Marvel show in its entirety. WandaVision stars Elizabeth Olsen and Paul Bettany in a sitcom-themed exploration of the next part of Wanda Maximoff's story in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The series will set up some of the next films in the MCU and introduces key players including Monica Rambeau (Teyonah Parris).
14. The Boys
On the opposite side of the superhero spectrum, if you're feeling a bit disillusioned by the glitz and glam of Marvel-type superheroes, The Boys is the series for you. The Boys explores a reality in which heroes similar to Marvel's Avengers roam the world, and the very real consequences of having absolute power (looking at you, Homelander). The series stars Karl Urban as Billy Butcher, Erin Moriarty as Annie January, and Jack Quaid as Hughie Campbell, and the most recent season and season 1 are available on Amazon Prime.
15. Steven Universe
Here comes a thought: Watch Steven Universe. If you're looking for a highly consumable show that will only fill your heart with deep, deep joy and will have you singing along, Steven Universe is the move. Created by Rebecca Sugar, Steven Universe follows the story of Steven and the Crystal Gems as they work to save the universe in a pastel-colored, whimsical tale of found family. All four seasons of the series are available on Hulu.
Barry is one of the best (dark) comedies out there right now, and if you've been sleeping on it now's the time to tackle it. Barry stars Bill Hader as Barry, an assassin who wants to be an actor, as he takes acting classes from Gene Cousineau (Henry Winkler) and attempts to extract himself from the day to days of contract killing for people like his boss, Monroe Fuches (Stephen Root), and NoHo Hank (Anthony Carrigan in a scene-stealing role).
17. Parks and Recreation
Another entry for the mockumentary genre is Parks and Recreation. Leslie Knope (Amy Poehler) alone would be reason enough to check out this series, but the supporting cast of characters—Ben Wyatt (Adam Scott), April Ludgate (Aubrey Plaza), and more—make this show well and truly iconic. Parks and Recreation follows the lives of government workers in fictional Pawnee, Indiana, as they combat the mundanities of government bureaucracy.
Ramy follows the title character Ramy (Ramy Youssef) as he reconciles his modern day life with his Egyptian family's religion and the expectations of his culture. The series is an honest, hilarious look into generational and cultural differences, and features breakout characters and actors like May Calamawy in the role of Dena Hassan.
19. Breaking Bad
Walter White (Bryan Cranston) and Jesse Pinkman (Aaron Paul) are two of the most iconic characters on television, and you can catch them in all their seedy glory in Breaking Bad. When chemistry teacher Walter White begins making crystal meth in order to support his family, he begins a journey into criminality that spans all five seasons of the dramatic series. Watch Breaking Bad on Netflix and follow it up with the spin-off, Better Call Saul featuring Bob Odenkirk.
Donald Glover stars as Earnest Marks alongside Brian Tyree Henry as Paper Boi in Atlanta, a fantastic series from FX that follows Earn and Paper Boi's ascent through the Atlanta rap scene. The series also stars Lakeith Stanfield and Zazie Beetz as Darius and Vanessa. Atlanta has won countless awards over the years, and it's still slated to have a third (and fourth!) season, so catch up on seasons 1 and 2 for now and gear up to wait patiently (read: horribly impatiently) for the rest—thankfully, season 3 just started filming.
21. Bob’s Burgers
Bob's Burgers is quite possibly the most wholesome (and hilarious) television series out there. Created by Loren Bouchard and starring H. John Benjamin, Dan Mintz, Eugene Mirman, Kristen Schaal, Larry Murphy, and John Roberts, Bob's Burger's is home to some of the best comedic writing of the last few years. Come for the dynamic Bob and Linda Belcher and their children Tina, Louise, and Gene; stay to find out what Bob's Burger of the Day is (I desperately want to try the Don't You Four Cheddar 'Bout Me burger).
22. Downton Abbey
Downton Abbey has it all where period dramas are concerned: family struggles, intrigue, grand parties, class warfare, political debates, and sweeping, epic romances. But most of all, Downton Abbey has Dame Maggie Smith as Lady Grantham, delivering some of the best one-liners on television. Downton Abbey follows the tale of the Grantham family and their estate Downton Abbey in a turn-of-the-century drama that tackles the changes experienced by the English aristocracy as well as the English people during a time of technological advancement, shifting political landscapes, and world war. You can catch every moment of the iconic drama, with all its ups and downs, on Amazon Prime.
23. Planet Earth II
The original David Attenborough-narrated Planet Earth series was breathtaking in its own right, but Planet Earth II doubles down on the standard set by Planet Earth by utilizing new filming technology and exploring new locations in a beautiful documentary series that highlights the beauties of our planet and the challenges ahead due to climate change, pollution, and global warming.
24. The Nanny
Most of the internet is bingeing The Nanny right now, including me. The Nanny was a 3 AM Nick@Nite staple when I was a teen and it continues to compel me to stay up way later than I should. While some of show's humor is rather dated, much of the series is gorgeously nostalgic, and Fran Drescher is absolutely iconic as Fran Fine. The Nanny follows Fran Fine's warm, funny journey with the Sheffield family as she breaks them out of their reserved shells and forms an attachment with their father, Maxwell Sheffield (Charles Shaughnessy). Come for the one-liners from Niles and stay for the 90's fashion.
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