Productive Binge-Watching: Binge-Worthy TV Shows Ideal for Social Distancing
Hello, my name is Brooke, and I’m guilty of rewatching the same episodes of my favorite shows until I can quote them word for word. Despite having dozens of unwatched series saved to my Netflix list, I always manage to watch the same episodes of The Office or Friends that I’ve seen countless times before. However, with all my newly found free time, I’m resolved to cross as many shows off my list as possible by binge-watching productively. In order to guide others in this endeavor as well, I have created a list of shows which you may not have watched yet, but definitely should.
- Ghost Whisperer
Number of Seasons: 5
Estimated Time to Finish: 2.5 weeks1
Ghost Whisperer is best described as a “guilty-pleasure” show. It can be delightfully cheesy and light-hearted with its charming characters, but it also incorporates grim elements which can make for a dark, intriguing plot line.
Melinda Gordon’s (Jennifer Love Hewitt) life seems like any other twenty-something’s after she marries and moves into a house with her new husband, Jim (David Conrad). However, Melinda has a secret. Since she was a child, she has had the ability to communicate with spirits, specifically those who have not yet moved on to the afterlife. As a result of this gift, Melinda dedicates herself to helping those spirits find peace by resolving their unfinished business.
In its early seasons each episode possesses an individual conflict and storyline and hardly any long-term arch plots. However, as the series progresses you become invested in the characters’ issues which eventually span across multiple episodes and sometimes whole seasons. This is a show which requires some commitment, but is definitely worth watching.
Number of Seasons: 8
Estimated Time to Finish: One month
Ghost Whisperer is a series which has entertaining, stand-alone episodes which allow you to become immersed in a world of fantasy and mystique. However, if ghosts aren’t your cup of tea, then Charmed is just as qualified to fulfill your appetite for a dramatic, sometimes cheesy, but enjoyable show. Following three sisters born into witchcraft known as “The Charmed Ones” due to their awesome power derived from their bond, Piper (Holly Marie Combs), Phoebe (Alyssa Milano), and Prue (Shannen Doherty) Halliwell regularly battle demons and other supernatural creatures in order to protect “innocents” and restore the balance between good and evil.
Although this is mostly a light-hearted show, it is easy to become invested as the characters go through loss, heartbreak, and traumatic experiences during the more somber episodes. With 8 seasons, Charmed is the ideal show for a long-term obsession which will undoubtedly take control of your life and leave you shamelessly watching far past your bedtime.
- Penny Dreadful
Number of Seasons: 3
Estimated Time to Finish: 4 days
As a lover of all things macabre, Penny Dreadful is bound to be one of my favorites, and may be one of yours too. Set in old victorian London, the show follows multiple characters including beautiful, but haunted, Vanessa Ives (Eva Green) as well as the charming yet tormented Ethan Chandler (Josh Hartnett). Incorporating many famous literary works of the grim nature, including Frankenstein, The Picture of Dorian Gray, and The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, the plot is both unsettling and captivating as it follows its characters through their adventures of combating an impending supernatural darkness which threatens to take over the world.
Although it only has three seasons (such a shame), this makes it the perfect show to binge watch over a few days. With such an intriguing plot, you can’t help but click “next episode.”
- Dead to Me
Genre: (Dark) Comedy
Number of Seasons: 1
Estimated Time to Finish: One day
With only one season released in 2019, Dead to Me is the perfect show to watch if you want to follow a new show and have something to look forward to in the future. Following a newly widowed, middle-aged mother and a woman she recently befriended at a personal loss therapy group, this show is wonderfully hilarious, thought-provoking, and mildly, but marvelously, offensive. Riddled with dark secrets, concealed relationships, and earth-shattering acts of violence, this is a show made for those with a dark humor who can appreciate the grotesqueness and irony of life.
- The Guild
Genre: (Light-hearted) Comedy
Number of Seasons: 6
Estimated Time to Finish: 3 days
After including a show as morbid as Dead to Me, it’s only fair that I include one to watch afterwards to make you feel better. The Guild, starring Felicia Day as the character Codex, is a hilarious representation of the gaming world and the people within it. With awkward yet endearing characters who have difficulties navigating life outside of video games, this series is bound to captivate your attention and suck you into the black hole of binge-watching. Following the characters’ unorthodox yet entertaining lives and the unconventional roadblocks they face along the way, The Guild qualifies as a “feel good” show and is best accompanied by a favorite pet and lots of snacks.
Number of Seasons: 1
Estimated Time to Finish: 1.5 days
Having just been released in 2019, Reprisal is a drama/thriller which portrays a relentless femme fatale seeking revenge for an unforgivable act committed against her decades ago. Katherine Harlow (Abigail Spencer) once belonged to a gang known as the Banished Brawlers, which was headed by her brother and his second-hand man, who was also Katherine’s husband. After being left for dead by those she once trusted the most, Katherine begins a modest, under-stated existence and marries a man who can provide a safe and comfortable life. However, after her husband dies, she has the means and opportunity to concoct a plan and cause the downfall of those who have wronged her, and as a strong, fearless female lead, she takes it without hesitation.
However, the interesting thing about this show is that it not only follows Katherine’s life, but it also the lives of the Banished Brawlers and the men who once betrayed her. With fascinating characters and an enthralling premise, Reprisal is the epitome of a binge-friendly show.
- The Haunting of Hill House
Number of Seasons: 1
Estimated Time to Finish: 1.5 days
The Haunting of Hill House is one of the few true horror series I’ve seen that has made me uneasy watching in an empty house. As a result, it qualifies as one of my top favorite shows.
Five siblings, who as children spent time living in the notoriously haunted Hill House, must face their biggest fears when a tragedy forces them to return as adults and confront their past. However, it is not only the quality jumpscares and appealing cinematography which makes this series a gem, but also the riveting and authentic characters. With each sibling possessing their own secrets, weaknesses, and traumatic experiences, the series accomplishes a difficult feat in making you become invested in each of their, sometimes devastating, stories.
Although I have watched this series alone, I recommend watching with a quarantine buddy so that you aren’t paranoid about every bump in the night.
- The League
Genre: (Goofy) Sitcom/Comedy
Number of Seasons: 7
Estimated Time to Finish: One week
If you’re like me, you need a fun-loving, light-hearted show to decompress after watching a series as intense and terrifying as Haunting of Hill House. The League is the perfect remedy. When a group of friends begin participating in a fantasy football league, it quickly becomes a cut-throat, win-at-all costs competition. This sitcom shows the characters trying, but often failing, to balance their work, family, and personal life with their extreme league life, making for some hysterically funny situations.
- Killing Eve
Genre: Ironic Comedy/Drama
Number of Seasons: 2
Estimated Time to Finish: Three days
As my favorite show of all time, I had to save the best for last. With the trailer for its third season having been released and the season preview being teased for April 12, this has created a ripple of excitement across its fan base.
Killing Eve follows the lives of two women, Eve Polastri (Sandra Oh) and Villanelle (Jodie Comer), who are polar opposites. Eve, an intelligent but underestimated woman, is given a way out of her drab position as a desk bound security officer in the UK’s intelligence agency, MI5, when she is recruited to apprehend the evasive and highly-trained killer, Villanelle. However, these two characters find their lives intertwined and on a course towards love, hate, obsession, and revenge. Not only does Killing Eve have an action rich plot and hilarious but crude and ironic humor, but it also shows an important depth in the relationship between the intensely different women as Eve is plunged into a life of secrecy and espionage while Villanelle struggles to understand her emotions of infatuation towards Eve, while also indulging her psychotic tendencies.
As a plot dense show, it is crucial that you fully commit. Turn off all electronics, close your blinds, and remove all distractions so you may focus on the masterpiece that is Killing Eve.
1. Time to watch is calculated by allocating 6 hours to watching TV each day↩