It’s no secret to anyone who knows me in real life that I watch a lot of TV. It’s how I decompress from a crazy day and what I usually have on in the background when I knit at home. Now that we’re in the age of streaming everything, I tend to only watch shows once they have mutliple seasons avaialble via one of the big streaming services. I just can’t be bothered to remember to DVR and then watch something that’s currently on (though that’s not an issue now, since we only have basic cable).
In no particular order, the last 10 shows I’ve binged on, some you may already know but a few others will probably be new to you, unless you and I hit the Netflix algorithms the exact same way:
- Allie McBeal: You know those shows you were aware of when they were first one but were too young to see? I’ll fully admit I started watching this to see what all of the late-90s fuss was about. See Allie date, with at least one court case being worked but her way-too-close, morally ambiguous law firm. Excellent reminders of pop culture things you only sort of remember if you’re in your early 30s.
- Lark Rise to Candleford: If there’s a BBC-produced period show out there, I’ve probably seen it. This one went off the air a few years ago and I didn’t even hear about it until it came up in my recommendations. Laura leaves the country for the prestigious job as the primary assistant to the town’s postmistress in the late 1800s (I think). Ignore the anachronisms and you’ll be fine. If you saw Downtown, you’ll recognize Bates and a few others.
- Archer: Okay, the show is really raunchy and inappropriate, but it’s also hilarious. Archer is a spy whose really quite horrible at his job but always manages to make it out of his missions alive, thanks to his sometimes-girlfriend, Lana, and not thanks to his misfit coworkers. Did I mention it’s a cartoon and he works for his mother?
- Crazy Ex-Girlfriend: Netflix kept recommending this to me but I saw it was a musical comedy and ignored the recommendation. Then it was put on in our ski cabin and I fell in love. The main character needs a change in scenery/work/life and follows her camp boyfriend to his hometown (Sunny West Covina, California!). Lots of random singing/dancing in a variety of styles. Is very silly but they don’t tend to take jokes too far.
- Dance Academy: I found this when I was at home sick one day and felt like watching something about dance but had watched Center Stage too recently. Tara is a farmer’s daughter lacking in ballet technique but whose emotions – which tend towards fairy tales – show when she dances. Lots of stereotypes in her friends/classmates but they’re endearing. Teenage drama ensues often.
- Lovesick: I liked it’s old name, Scrotal Recall, but I think Netflix got hate mail over it, so it changed titles between seasons one and two. Dillon finds out he has an STD and has to tell each of his former partners. Being the sweet guy he is, he does this in person, rather than via the NHS-provided postcards. You find yourself wondering just who “Abigail” is after her name flashes on the screen.
- West Wing: Okay, so you probably heard about this before, but it’s always good to re-watch. When I get aggravated at our current political climate, I go back and re-watch seasons 1 to 4 to be comforted by Jud Bartlett. You’ll get a great taste for the show in the very first episode. Unlike many shows, it’s great from the first scene. (Features Rob Lowe in a very swoon-worthy performance.)
- Offspring: Okay, so I’ve got two British shows and this is my second Australian one. Main character is an OB/GYN with a crazy family and demanding job. She attempts to date but everything gets in her way. Not much medicine, as she really is the focus of the show, not the nuts and bolts of her job. Equally opportunity eye candy.
- Burn Notice: Great for those who always stop when they see A-Team re-runs when scrolling through channels at a relatives house. (I’m probably the only one who does that, I now realize. Lots of explosions but also great characters, beautiful scenery, and a different Big Bad most weeks, with occasional long arcs.) Michael is a “burned” spy – meaning they basically fired him and ruined his life. At least he’s still got a few friends (tiny woman who is into explosives, Bruce Campbell being himself) and his mom/brother around to help him out. Narrated by Michael, with lots of tradecraft explanations. Don’t worry, Phe’s horrible accent goes away by the end of episode 1.
- Better Off Ted: Okay, it’s only a single season and got cancelled years ago, but I think it’s still worthy of a binge. Ted is a marketing manager for a company who, well, is really bad at scientific research and could well be evil. His boss is played by a very serious Portia de Rossi. You’ll really start to pull for the scientists, Phil and Lem, who just want to do the right thing.