Secondary Embarrassment: Five Shows to Binge Watch Over the Holidays

The holidays are a great time for a lot of things but for me, a few days off of work with no real obligations mean prime time for a good TV binge session. I’m all in for  the other holiday fun but don’t act like you don’t want to spend some time curled up on the couch, eating all the sweets that are around this time of year, in a Netflix/Hulu/Amazon Prime shame spiral.

And I feel like I should admit that yes, I have subscriptions to all of the above services. I’m well aware my television addiction is strong – feel free to judge, there’s no shame in my game.

All this warm weather kind of puts a damper on spending some QT with your remote but in the event temperatures dip in the next couple weeks, I’ve compiled a list of my favorite binge watch shows (including one I’m right in the middle of and OBSESSED with).

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* The Americans This show does not get the love it deserves. First off, Kerri Russell’s hair is a star in its own right but beyond that The Americans is amazing. Here’s the quick synopsis. It’s the height of the Cold War (Regan-era 80’s) and Kerri Russell and Matthews Rhys play Russian spies but the catch is they are living as assimilated Americans complete with two kids. There’s enough drama in that set alone but then an FBI agent moves in across the street.

This show is one constant anxiety attack (think Homeland-style) and half the time I’m surprised it airs on cable TV (it’s on FX) because of the type of stuff that makes it into the show. Lots of action, tons of suspense and seriously good acting. It’s also a pretty cool time capsule of the 80’s. The Americans just wrapped up its third season so you’ll have plenty to work with and trust me you’ll want to watch these back to back t0 back.

* How to Get Away with Murder You’re probably already watching this ABC hit but if not, now’s the time to catch up with a good binge. This is a show I watch solo so I usually get the chance to watch two or three at a time since I can’t catch them live. I definitely prefer it that way since I don’t have to wait to find out the scoop on each week’s cliff-hanger.

There’s not too much you can say without getting spoiler heavy but basically Viola Davis kills it (no pun intended) as Annalise Keating – a take no prisoners defense attorney who doubles as a law professor. It’s kind of like 48 Hours Mystery and Murder She Wrote had a baby and then that baby got married to 90210. Definitely a great binge watch right up until you get to this season’s winter finale. Then you’re stuck.

* The Man in the High Castle Okay so you heard me say I’ve got a new obsession – this is it. Obsessed might not even be a strong enough word to describe how much I’m into this show. Drew and I just started watching it on Sunday and I’m thinking we’ll wrap up the first season tonight. I will say that we were both home sick yesterday (the stomach bug going around here right now is ROUGH) so we were able to sneak in a few episodes.

This one is on Amazon Prime, so if you get that free two-day shipping, you get this show. And if you have a Smart TV, you’re all set to start your obsession. Here’s the premise (based on a book by Phillip K. Dick), it’s 1962 and the United States lost World War II so the Nazis control the East Coast and the Japanese control the West Coast. The plot is pretty intricate and involved but basically there is a resistance movement attempting to overthrow the regimes.

It’s crazy to watch especially when they show New York City buildings covered in swastikas and watch them celebrate Nazi VA Day which looks like Fourth of July gone horribly wrong. With the current crazy political climate, it’s also oddly relevant. If you like Mad Men and Homeland, you’ll love this show.

* Mad Men Speaking of Mad Men, if you haven’t watched Mad Men (or gave up and abandoned the series), now is the time to finish it up. The show’s last season was one of my favorites and I wish I’d been able to watch them back to back instead of spaced out. I think this is a show you appreciate more when you can watch it more like a movie.

I know a lot of people complain that the show can feel slow, and I’ll admit I agreed around the fifth season, but it’s worth powering through. If you’ve never watched (my mother-in-law just started and has been in the midst of a solid binge – she loves it), you’ll fall in love with the 60’s style, the dimensional characters and most certainly Don Draper (guys and girls alike can’t help but love the guy).

I’m a sucker for anything with great historical references and Mad Men has that in spades. I also could never get enough of the characters – I’m still wishing for a Joan + Peggy spin off (that will certainly never happen). If nothing else, you’ll appreciate mid-century modern furniture after catching a season or two.

* 30 Rock Okay so I realize a lot of the shows above are pretty serious so to add in a little of the funnies, I’m throwing in this oldie but goodie. I know a lot of people didn’t watch 30 Rock when it was on the air (the ratings proved that time and time again) but it was, by far, one of the funniest shows on television.

Tina Fey’s Liz Lemon is endlessly quotable and the show only cemented by love for Tracy Morgan. With Fey’s new movie Sisters about to hit theatres, why not catch up on some LOLZ from this gem of a show. If you do nothing else, watch the episode ‘Dealbreakers Talk Show #0001‘ (Season 4, Episode 7) and prepare yourself for one of the funniest green screen segments ever.

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I realize there’s a TON more shows out there that are binge worthy but I tried to stick to ones I’ve watched all the way through plus ones that I haven’t already waxed poetic about over here already. I know you’re tired of hearing me talk about Pretty Little Liars and Game of Thrones. I also left out ones that you’ve probably already binged like Orange is the New Black or House of Cards (both good but disappointing in their most recent seasons – at least to me).

I’ve got a list of shows I’m thinking about starting myself over the break – Walking Dead, You’re the Worst and The Affair (just started it) – so if you have any other suggestions, throw them in the comments.

Until then, grab your popcorn and all the candy and settle in for the season.

6 Comments

  1. Reply

    Heather

    December 16, 2015

    Mad Men is my all-time favorite show!

    A few weeks ago, we had a really bad cold and binged Jessica Jones. Forget everything you think about comic book/ superhero shows. It is amazing!!! (Especially if you liked Veronica Mars.)

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