August 11, 2022

The way we consume our media has seen a fundamental paradigm shift over the last decade. It happened in incremental steps — TiVo, VOD, the rise of streaming networks; those advances and many more are all pivotal steps in restructuring the way we approach serialized storytelling formats. At the same time came the rise of smartphone and tablet culture, and the opportunity that comes when most people have a screen in front of their faces for the majority of their waking hours. Naturally, soon after came the rise of binge-watching.

This isn’t to suggest, of course, that people haven’t been bingeing television for decades. As long as there have been nerds and a means of recording, people have been mass consuming their favorite TV shows, whether on DVD or self-recorded VHS. But more recently, binge-watching has become not only something people do, but a driving factor that shapes the way some entertainment is formed on a core level. Netflix, in particular, is known for crafting binge-worthy shows in a way that compels viewers to digest the whole narrative in one or two sittings and, as a result, often blurs the lines between film and television story formats.

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But whether you’ve been binge-watching your whole life or recently slid into the habit, there are some shows that are just perfect to mainline as quickly as possible. If you’re scrolling through streaming and wondering “What show should I watch?”, the Collider staff has put together handy list of our favorite shows to binge-watch below.

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Editor’s Note: This article was last updated March 2022 to include Mare of Easttown, Yellowjackets, Succession, The Wheel of Time, Bridgerton, Euphoria, Foundation, Invincible, Arcane, Hawkeye, Hacks, Only Murders in the Building, The Leftovers, Legion.

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Mare of Easttown


Kate Winslet, Evan Peters in HBO's Mare of Easttown
Image via HBO

Streaming On: HBO Max

Grab a hoagie and some water because it’s time to take a trip to Easttown, Pennsylvania. Written and created by Brad Ingelsby, the critically acclaimed crime drama series Mare of Easttown stars Oscar winner Kate Winslet as Mare Sheehan, a jaded, no-nonsense detective sergeant who’s seen it all. Despite being revered by most as a local hero, she’s routinely haunted by a missing persons case she was unable to solve and struggles to keep her personal life from falling through the cracks. The tough (but lovable) detective takes on the murder case of young mother Erin McMenamin (Cailee Spaeny) and reluctantly works with eager county detective Colin Zabel (Evan Peters) to uncover more of the disturbing truths that are buried in the quaint town. The series also features stellar performances from Jean Smart, Julianne Nicholson, and Angourie Rice. — Emily Bernard


Yellowjackets


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Streaming on: Showtime

One of the most unexpected hits of this year, the worst thing about Yellowjackets is that there isn’t any more of it to watch. Blending genre and setting, it follows two timelines of the same characters. The younger version of the characters find themselves stranded after their plane crashed on the way to a soccer tournament. The older versions we see have now built lives, families, and careers. However, there is a lingering sense that their past will not stay buried forever and will soon demand a reckoning from all the characters. It has a dynamite cast though it is Melanie Lynskey in particular who steals every scene as the elder Shauna. It is both thrilling in its story and emotional in its characters, ratcheting up the tension with every single episode. By the time you get to the mic drop of a conclusion, you’ll be both shocked at how the time has flown by and hungry for more. — Chase Hutchinson


Succession


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Image via HBO

Streaming On: HBO Max

Succession somehow manages to exist both in the present day and in its own bubble universe. This duality exists because of the world that the Roy family has created for themselves. This leading family is in charge of a multinational media and entertainment company and is therefore obscenely wealthy. They have an incredible amount of influence on the outside world, and yet so much of the series centers on their family dynamics and dysfunction that it’s hard to believe that such a world exists. The characters of Succession are chaotic, messy, and selfish, but that’s what makes the show so captivating. The Roy siblings all want to run the company when their father, Logan (Brian Cox), inevitably steps down one day. As their allegiances to each other and their father change each season, it’s hard to know who to root for and who to root against because they are really not good people (except maybe Cousin Greg). Not everyone can relate to the troubles of horrible, wealthy people struggling to trust their own family members, but Succession isn’t aiming to be relatable. It’s drama for the sake of drama, and it’s almost impossible to stop watching once you’ve been sucked in. — Brynna Arens


The Wheel of Time


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Streaming On: Amazon Prime

Based on the popular book series from Robert Jordan, this epic fantasy series follows Moiraine (Rosamund Pike) on her quest to find the identity of the Dragon, a powerful channeller prophesied to either save the world from the Dark One or break the world. When she narrows her search down to five young villagers, their lives and the world itself are forever changed. Things are not as they seem and across eight episodes, the true intentions of characters begin to unfold as the forces of light and dark hang in the balance. It’s grand in scope, immersing you into a world of magic while also offering Game of Thrones-level action, not just for the fantasy fans. — Meredith Loftus

Bridgerton


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Image via Netflix

Streaming On: Netflix

What happens when you combine the regency world of Jane Austen with the seduction and scandal of Gossip Girl? You get this addictive series. Adapted from the popular book series from Julia Quinn comes the period romance series that centers around the Bridgertons, an affluent family among London’s elite. While the eldest daughter, Daphne (Phoebe Dynevor), is on the market to find a husband, the rest of her siblings are trying to find their place in society. But can they escape the watchful eye of the mysterious Lady Whistledown (Julie Andrews), London’s premier gossip columnist? Come for the extravagant costumes and escapism of 19th century England; stay to solve Lady Whistledown’s secret identity and fall in love with Daphne and Simon (Regé-Jean Page)’s love story (as well as the steamy hookups!) — Meredith Loftus


Euphoria


Zendaya as Rue in season 1 finale of Euphoria, Rue's relapse
Image via HBO

Streaming On: HBO Max

Euphoria is one of those shows that, no matter how many episodes in, you find yourself ready to watch more; based on the Israeli television miniseries of the same name, the show follows a group of teens as they struggle through high school. Of course, these students face more than just difficult tests and unrequited crushes – drugs, sex, identity crisis, and even murder come into play as Ruby “Rue” Bennett (Zendaya) sloshes through the high school slog, recently out of rehab and desperate to find her place in the world. It’s difficult not to wince at the choices characters make in their attempts to survive some of the toughest years of their lives, but the cinematography, soundtrack, and story, as well as amazing performances on the part of the actors, keep the viewer rooted to the spot – even when the subjects brought up are sometimes difficult to confront. — Olivia Fitzpatrick

Foundation


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Image via Apple TV+

Streaming on: Apple TV+

A science-fiction epic that is unlike anything out there, the first season of Foundation is one of the most ambitious and emotional works in the genre of recent memory. It took on a difficult task in adapting the work of Isaac Asimov that many considered impossible to take on. It doesn’t shy away from the more heady ideas as it really embraces the hard sci-fi elements of its source material. With all that in mind, it also is completely enthralling to see play out in such an unrestrained way. As it grapples with these ideas, it also creates a visual spectacle that is both terrifying and awe-inspiring at the same time. Starting from the declaration that the world is about to end and all unraveling from there, it captures a future that may seem far away though is far closer in its crisis than we may realize. It is dense but in a good way, leaving you plenty to chew on before the show returns for its next season. — Chase Hutchinson


Invincible


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Streaming On: Prime Video

If you go into Invincible believing it will being just like any other animated superhero show, you’re in for a bit of a shock; while the show has its fair share of action and drama, as well as teenage struggles, it also features a surprising amount of mystery and nuance. The show confronts some of the most popular superhero tropes and asks the viewer to really think about the price of such powers. Plus, bold animation and no hesitance when it comes to getting violent and bloody means that this show is as visually stunning as it’s story is encapsulating. Paired with an all-star cast, Invincible seems just that – practically unbeatable when it comes to adult superhero shows! — Olivia Fitzpatrick

Arcane


Young Jinx and Vi

Streaming on: Netflix

Who would have thought that a video game adaptation could be one of the best shows of the last decade? Arcane is definitely a League of the Legends series, as it reuses some of the game’s most beloved characters and locations. However, instead of being restricted by the game’s rules, Arcane creates an original story that explores how social inequality and the threat of war affects individuals’ lives. At the center of the story is the sisterly dispute between Vi (voiced by Hailee Steinfeld) and Jinx (voiced by Ella Purnell), which increases the stakes of each fight. Lastly, since Arcane is more concerned with telling a good story than selling a game, the result is a show that’s highly addictive and that anyone can enjoy. Add revolutionary animation style to the mix, and you got yourself the perfect TV show to binge-watch. — Marco Vito Oddo


Hawkeye


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Image via Disney

Streaming On: Disney+

If you love superheroes and Christmas, then this series is a bullseye. Taking place one year after the Thanos-filled events of Avengers: Endgame, the Disney+ series Hawkeye follows our favorite archer Clint Barton (Jeremy Renner) who’s still reeling from his messy past as Ronin and is trying to move on from his dangerous life as an Avenger and S.H.I.E.L.D. agent. All the damaged hero wants to do is return home to his family in time for Christmas, but his plans are derailed once he crosses paths with 22-year-old Kate Bishop (Hailee Steinfeld), a self-taught expert archer and quite possibly Clint’s biggest fan. The unlikely pair works together to take down the Tracksuit Mafia, crime lord Wilson Fisk (Vincent D’Onofrio), and Black Widow’s sister, Yelena Belova (Florence Pugh). — Emily Bernard

Hacks


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Image via HBO Max

Streaming On: HBO Max

Created by Lucia Aniello, Paul W. Downs, and Jen Statsky, Hacks is the Emmy-winning dark comedy series that follows Deborah Vance (Jean Smart), a legendary stand-up comedian with diva tendencies who’s struggling to keep her act relevant for her Las Vegas residency. Meanwhile, Ava (Hannah Einbinder), an up-and-coming, stubborn comedy writer is suffering the consequences of writing an insensitive tweet and is desperate to prove herself in the industry. Thanks to a strong nudge by their mutual manager Jimmy (Paul W. Downs), the two attempt to work together and improve Deborah’s act, and end up forging an unexpected and downright lovely bond along the chaotic way. Soon you’ll learn that they are the furthest things from hacks. — Emily Bernard

Only Murders in the Building


Steve Martin, Martin Short, and Selena Gomez in Only Murders In The Building TV series
Image via CNN

Streaming On: Hulu

There has been a murder! And if you’re like these true-crime lovers, then you’ll be itching to solve it. Created by John Hoffman and Steve Martin, the SAG award-nominated crime comedy Only Murders in the Building follows retired actor Charles-Hayden Savage (Steve Martin), failed Broadway director Oliver Putnam (Martin Short), and young artist Mabel Mora (Selena Gomez), three very different neighbors who team up and create their own murder mystery podcast in an effort to catch the killer that’s lurking in their building. This endearing whodunnit will have you chuckling and gasping as it explores the generational differences between the tenants and tries to answer the question: who did it? — Emily Bernard

The Leftovers


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Image via HBO

Streaming On: HBO Max

If you enjoyed the recurring mysteries of Lost and HBO’s Watchmen, Damon Lindelof’s other twisty television series is also well worth checking out. Based on the novel by Tom Perrotta, the series takes place three years after 2% of the world’s population disappeared in a mysterious event known as the “Sudden Departure.” The residents of a small community cope with their collective loss as they search for answers. The Leftovers goes to some dark places, but the terrific performances by Justin Theroux, Carrie Coon, Regina King, Christopher Eccelston, and many others spotlight the resilient side of the human spirit. It’s both a chilling and comforting series for a post-COVID world. — Liam Gaughan


Legion


Dan Stevens as David Haller

Streaming On: Hulu

If you enjoy your superhero stories best when they’re unafraid to get weird, then Noah Hawley’s bizarre adaptation of the X-Men spinoff series by Chris Claremont and Bill Sienkiewicz is the show for you. The FX series follows the mental patient David Haller (Dan Stevens), who is held in a highly secure facility because he can’t stop hearing mysterious voices. In actuality, David is descended from a famous superhero. He has control over multiple identities, each with their own unique abilities. Over the course of three seasons, Legion explores mental health issues as David explores his powers. — Liam Gaughan

Lucifer


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Streaming on: Netflix

Based on the comic series of the same name, Lucifer follows the titular devil himself as he takes a “vacation” from Hell and sets up a home in Los Angeles as a high-end club owner. After a friend is killed at his club, he inserts himself into the police investigation and finds that he loves the work… almost as much as he loves the detective on the case, Chloe Decker. The show began on Fox, where it was canceled after three seasons. After a tremendous outpouring of fan love, Netflix picked up the show and gave it three more seasons. Lucifer is light, breezy entertainment with just a hint of the supernatural to prevent it from becoming too much of a procedural. In addition to solving murders, the show introduces us to the first woman, Eve; God and his wife, the Goddess of all creation; Lucifer’s conniving twin brother, Michael; Lucifer’s best friend, a demon named Mazikeen; and the devil’s therapist. — Alyse Wax


WandaVision


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Image via Disney

Streaming on: Disney+

Set just after Avengers: Endgame, WandaVision sees Scarlet Witch, aka Wanda, living the perfect suburban life with her husband, Vision. It quickly becomes clear that, using her magic, Wanda has entranced an entire town and has them locked into her version of a perfect life – based off her consumption of American TV shows. This series is great for both superhero afficianados as well as TV geeks, as each episode satirizes a different TV show from a different decade, including I Love Lucy, The Brady Bunch, Full House, Malcolm in the Middle, and Modern Family. It’s like the history of television in one eight-hour series. — Alyse Wax

The Boys


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Image via Amazon Prime

Streaming on: Prime Video

The Amazon superhero series The Boys is really the perfect combination of a “prestige”-type program with the engine of a well-oiled serialized network drama. Based on the comics of the same name, the show takes place in a world in which superheroes not only exist, but they’re celebrities. As it turns out, however, most of those superheroes are drunk with power, committing atrocities all the time with zero consequences. Enter The Boys: a ragtag group of regular ol’ humans with their own personal grudges against the superhero team known as The Seven. The show is extremely violent, darkly funny, and definitely not for kids – but it’s also more thoughtful than you’d expect as it tackles themes like capitalism, fame, and even sexual misconduct. And while it goes to some very dark places, above all The Boys is just tremendously fun. – Adam Chitwood


Hannibal


Mads Mikelsen in Hannibal

Streaming on: Hulu

I guarantee you’ve never seen a show quite like Hannibal, and if you’re into artfully told serial killer stories with strong sexual tension, you’re gonna love it. Based on the Thomas Harris novel of the same name, the show began as a Hannibal Lecter series of sorts—Mads Mikkelsen plays forensic psychiatrist Dr. Hannibal Lecter who is called upon by gifted criminal profiler Will Graham (Hugh Dancy) and the Behavioral Sciences Unit of the FBI to help track down a serial killer. Will and Hannibal develop a wildly inappropriate, deeply bonded relationship, which only further complicates matters when Will begins to suspect that Hannibal might have a role to play in these murders. And for Harris fans, the show covers various beloved storylines from his Lecter books (like Red Dragon). One part crime procedural mystery, one part twist-filled psychological thriller romance, and one part full-on horror story, Hannibal is a wholly unique series that gets weirder and weirder as it goes on, but keeps you enraptured the entire time. You’ll soon start to wonder how in the world a show this graphic, this poetic, and this strange aired on NBC for three seasons. – Adam Chitwood


The Witcher


Geralt and Ciri

Streaming on: Netflix

The Witcher is an absolute blast and a half. The fantasy series is indeed very fantasy—it’s more Lord of the Rings than Game of Thrones—but it also doesn’t take itself too seriously and whole-heartedly embraces all aspects of fantasy storytelling and gaming, including fun side-quests, POV battles, and even a bard who follows Henry Cavill’s titular human/creature hybrid around singing songs about his glories. The show’s first season follows three stories destined to converge: Cavill’s Witcher is a muscle-for-hire monster hunter who begins to question why so many princesses have been turning into creatures; Yennefer of Vengerberg (Anya Chalotra) is a powerful sorceress in training who struggles to keep her emotions in check; and princess Ciri (Freya Allan) is on the run after the sacking of her city, but harbors secrets of her own. Steeped in lore and world-building but always engaging, The Witcher is a perfect kind of binge-viewing show. – Adam Chitwood

Schitt’s Creek


Schitt's Creek Cast

Streaming on: Netflix, Prime Video, and Hulu

Imagine a less cynical Arrested Development crossed with an inverted Beverly Hillbillies, and you’re close to Schitt’s Creek—one of the most joyful shows on all of television. The Canadian sitcom tells the story of a wealthy family who loses everything when they’re defrauded by their business manager. The only thing they do own is a tiny, backwoods town the patriarch (Eugene Levy) bought for his son (Daniel Levy) as a joke gift back in 1991, and they’re then forced to move there and live out of a motel. They slowly begin to accept their new lives and even love their new town, despite their many, many quirks. The comedy is delightful, anchored by a phenomenal performance from Catherine O’Hara as the family matriarch, a former soap actress in denial about her social status. It’s also a delightfully forward-thinking series, as the son’s pansexuality is met not with scorn or judgment, but with a full loving embrace. Hilarious, witty, and oh-so-sweet, Schitt’s Creek is the perfect show for when you need a pick-me-up. – Adam Chitwood


Game of Thrones


Ned Stark on Iron Throne

Streaming on: HBO Max

You know a show is going to be a good binge-watch when you’re tearing your hair out waiting for new episodes week to week, and new seasons year to year. Building on the structure of shock drama and high fantasy in George R. R. Martin‘s best-selling book series, David Benioff and D.B. Weiss‘ adaptation Game of Thrones translates all the political machinations, royal intrigue, and apocalyptic fantasy underpinnings into TV gold. Backed by a game-changing budget from HBO, Game of Thrones might be the most spectacular sight to ever hit the airwave and that luxurious attention crafts a completely immersive world where anything can happen, anyone may perish, and each new twisted cliffhanger and moment of violent punctuation leaves you clamoring to see what’s next. — Haleigh Foutch

Parks and Recreation


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Image Via NBC

Streaming on: Peacock

Parks and Recreation is a great show to binge-watch because the series evolved so heavily throughout its run. Showrunner Mike Schur was never content to just stick to the status quo, and this love letter to public service revels in shaking up its characters and their circumstances in compelling and engaging ways. Moreover, the tremendous arc of Amy Poehler’s Leslie Knope from Parks and Recreation Department deputy director to potentially President of the United States is executed perfectly. Aside from the rocky first season, there’s really not a false note to be found in this show, and its compassion for its characters and ever-changing circumstances makes it a great binge-watch at any time. – Adam Chitwood

Veronica Mars


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Image via Warner Bros. Television Distribution

Streaming on: Hulu

Veronica Mars shouldn’t be as good as it is. There are so many ways a teen-centric private eye show can go wrong, and yet creator/showrunner Rob Thomas always keeps his series firmly planted in reality, grounded by a star-making performance from Kristen Bell. The titular high schooler never feels like a conduit for a middle-aged adult’s zingers, and that’s a testament both to Thomas’ writing and Bell’s maturity as a performer. On top of that, the mysteries are genuinely compelling, the teen drama alluring, and the ensemble is (mostly) filled out with charismatic actors who soak up the screen. Think The O.C. meets True Detective and you’ve got Veronica Mars. – Adam Chitwood

True Detective (Season 1)


Matthew McConaughey in True Detective

Streaming on: HBO Max

Nic Pizzolatto and Cary Fukunaga’s engrossing anthology is a rabbit hole of a mystery that had viewers spending an exceptional amount of time trying to guess who the (potentially mythical) killer was. But the visually sumptuous exploration of this Louisiana-Set crime story is really about the two troubled men investigating it over time, played by Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson. As True Detective’s story weaves through the horrors committed by The Yellow King, it also zeroes in on the complicated relationship between its two detective leads, which ultimately pulls it together after a wholly southern gothic crescendo. It’s an experience that is both engrossing and hypnotic, and it set a standard that its own Season 2 (with a new cast, directors, and setting) could not come close to matching. — Allison Keene


Stranger Things


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Streaming on: Netflix

Here’s where the lines start to blur between TV and film. A show like House of Cards is clearly built and presented like a traditional TV series, just one meant to be binge-watched. But the smash-hit Stranger Things is much more filmic in nature, not just in its reduced number of episodes, but the structure of each. They play like parts of a whole instead of standalone episodes, and bingeing Stranger Things is more akin to reading a great novel in one day than watching a bunch of TV at once. Indeed each season of the show is seen by its creators, brothers Matt and Ross Duffer, as more of a film than a TV series, which makes it possibly the most satisfying binge-watch on this list. Even if the final episode leaves the door open for more questions, each of the first two seasons have a clear beginning and end. – Adam Chitwood

Breaking Bad


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Image via AMC

Streaming on: Netflix

Binge-watching Vince Gilligan and Peter Gould‘s definitive Golden Age series Breaking Bad can feel like an emotional marathon, but the payoff is well worth the tumult of the journey. A masterpiece of long-format storytelling, Breaking Bad is a series that veers left every time you think you have a read on it and is never afraid to swing for the fences with despicable human behavior and the far-reaching fallout from wicked deeds. As Walter White, the high school chemistry teacher turned drug kingpin, Bryan Cranston is a revelation and he’s supported at every turn by an ensemble of prodigiously talented peers. Breaking Bad is a perfectly crafted show, each season feeling like both a tightly-contained unit of storytelling and a part of a bigger whole. It will keep your nerves on end and put a pit in your stomach for a breathless rollercoaster of character drama through crime and punishment. — Haleigh Foutch


Buffy the Vampire Slayer


Spike and Buffy lying together in Season 7

Streaming on: Hulu and Prime Video

Joss Whedon reinvented the rules of genre television with Buffy the Vampire Slayer, the timeless teenage drama that chronicled coming of age through the conquest of literal monsters, big and, on at least one occasion, very very small. Twenty years later, Buffy is still an absolute delight to watch, charting the long-haul coming of age of a group of beloved characters from the angst of high school to the disappointments of early adulthood. At the same time, it’s a thrilling monster series, delivering one hellish creature after the next with fantastic practical effects and pure passion for genre storytelling. Buffy is my OG binge, long before the term became a thing. I think I used to call it “marathoning Buffy,” watching the seasons back to back on my well-worn DVDs. Even so, it never grows old. — Haleigh Foutch

Twin Peaks


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Image Via ABC

Streaming on: Prime Video and Paramount+

While there’s certainly never been a better time to mainline David Lynch’s landmark network series (as well as its jaw-dropping revival run), you certainly don’t need much more of a reason to watch than for the series’ unique combo of semi-traditional and propulsive genre pleasure and pure Lynch-brand surrealism. Led by Kyle Maclachlan at his charmer height and nestled in a magical realist dreamscape somewhere in the foggy pacific northwest, Twin Peaks is likely the most accessible of Lynch’s oeuvre, but it’s also possibly his most personal. Emotionally affecting and deceptively deep beneath the glittering madness, if Twin Peaks isn’t quite Lynch at his best, it’s certainly at his most iconic. — Aubrey Page


The Haunting of Hill House


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Image via Netflix

Streaming on: Netflix

Hush and Gerald’s Game filmmaker Mike Flanagan delivers his most ambitious Netflix project yet (and that’s really saying something when you’re talking about someone who successfully adapted Gerald’s Game) with The Haunting of Hill House. Inspired by Shirley Jackson’s seminal ghost story, the series carries over almost none of Jackson’s narrative (though occasionally too much of her prose), and focuses instead on the haunted lives of the withering Crain family. Bouncing back and forth between the summer the Crain’s spent in the titular haunted mansion and the years of grief and family trauma they endured in the aftermath. Flanagan has proven in previous works that he’s got a knack for upsetting visuals and well-composed scares, but his great success in The Haunting of Hill House is the way he ties the scares into a rich, intertwining tale of family tinged with tragedy. Led by a spectacular ensemble, the series veers between emotional revelation and moments of horror that give you full-body chills. It’s the most moving and honest portrayal of mortality and grief this side of Six Feet Under, but it’ll give you a whole lot more nightmares. — Haleigh Foutch


Archer


Streaming on: Hulu

It’s rare that a TV show runs for seven seasons (and counting) and remains fresh, but Archer is consistently hilarious, stylish, and surprising. Binge-watching the FX series is ideal as creator Adam Reed is incredibly fond of frequent callback jokes or running gags. Watching H. Jon Benjamin’s highly skilled and incredibly incompetent spy bumble his way through various missions is a delight each and every time. The show also has a penchant for reinventing itself a season at a time, focusing on one long story arc for the duration of an entire season, which also makes binge-watching this animated series an out and out pleasure. Seriously, Archer is basically one giant joy-manufacturing machine. – Adam Chitwood

Westworld


Ed Harris in Westworld
Image via HBO

Streaming on: HBO Max

God knows, the tantalizing mysteries of Westworld were delicious when doled out at a weekly pace and it was a delight to have enough time between each chapter to work out the pieces of the puzzle Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy lovingly crafted. That said, the series also rewards tearing through the episodes, especially as a rewatch that allows you to see the full scope of the twisting, time-bending narrative. Set in an Old West theme park where robots are at human disposal for whatever dark urges they may possess, Westworld is a pitch-perfect hybrid of pulpy fantasy and cerebral sci-fi, packing in HBO’s signature sex and death spectacle alongside a heavy dose of complex brain-twisters, and whether you’re watching it week to week or all in one go, both vantage points offer new facets to appreciate. — Haleigh Foutch



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Image via NBC

Streaming on: Hulu, Netflix, and Prime Video

Sure, we got our six seasons, but we’re still waiting on that movie. In the meantime, a Community binge watch is always a delight. Dan Harmon‘s irreverent comedy series had its ups and downs over the seasons, but it was always one of the sharpest and most unusual comedies on television, and it never shied from skewering the conventions of the half-hour comedy structure or completely shattering the mold altogether. Ostensibly about a study group at a consummately unimpressive community college, Community waltzes through genres with complete chameleon freedom, but never loses sight over the long term arcs. Ultimately, binge-watching Community kind of feels like hanging out with a group of your weirdest friends, and what’s not great about that? — Haleigh Foutch

Castle Rock


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Image via Hulu

Streaming on: Hulu

Castle Rock pays homage to the master of horror, Stephen King, by telling stories within his created world, populated by his famous sometimes infamous characters, locations, and supernatural forces. This is not a simple wink-and-nudge kind of homage but rather an original tale that feels like it came from the pages of a King story itself. Longtime fans of King’s work will find themselves pulling double duty by trying to keep track of all the story and character references while also keeping up with the fantastic mystery at the core of Castle Rock. More casual fans might just discover that they really like all the little nods and references, ultimately deciding they’d like to dig into King’s collected works a bit more. That’s a win-win. Showrunners Sam Shaw and Dustin Thomason sure know how to craft a King-ly story, and J.J. Abrams is no slouch when it comes to unpacking the mystery box.


Like many of King’s tales, Castle Rock has a dark mystery, and a darker evil, at the center of a small town. The main crux of the mystery story in this first season centers on the disappearance of young Henry Deaver back in 1991, and the current appearance of Skarsgard’s The Kid in 2018. It’s that simple. But like any King story, the real meaning is found not just in the mystery but in how the people involved in it react to events, how they treat each other, and ultimately how they’re judged for their actions. Castle Rock is a can’t-miss series for Stephen King fans and a must-watch horror show for fans of dark, thrilling, character-focused mysteries. — Dave Trumbore

Weeds


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Image via Showtime

Streaming on: Peacock, Prime Video, and Hulu

Before binge-watching was a thing, there was Weeds, Showtime’s half-hour dark comedy about a suburban single mother who turns to dealing and selling weed as a source of income. Mary-Louise Parker is endlessly watchable in the lead role, and it’s no surprise that creator/showrunner Jenji Kohan would go on to create another highly binge-able show in Orange Is the New Black. Weeds was unique for a half-hour series, regularly taking ambitious leaps in story and focusing as much on shocking plot twists as it did on characters. Some say it never should have left the suburban location, but there’s still quality to be found in the later seasons of the series when the Botwin family took their empire on the road. – Adam Chitwood


Broadchurch (Season 1)


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Image via ITV

Streaming on: Prime Video

A young boy in a quiet English coastal town goes missing, and then is found dead on the beach. From there, the villagers of Broadchurch see all of their worlds turned upside down by the investigation into the killer, who belonged to this tight-knit community. Broadchurch’s success, at least in its first season, is in the way its crime story comes second to the character drama it dives into, thanks to an exceptional cast. From the two sparring detectives (played by David Tennant and Olivia Colman) to the grieving mother (Jodie Whittaker) trying to pull her family back from the brink, the series’ picturesque setting is juxtaposed sharply with the darkness within it, leading to a shocking and brutal conclusion (that should have ideally ended the series). — Allison Keene

Rick and Morty


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Image via Adult Swim

Streaming on: Hulu and HBO Max

There are pros and cons to bingeing Rick and Morty. On the pro side, it’s a sometimes painfully hilarious series that delivers a crazy amount of laughs per episode along with surprisingly robust character arcs. On the con side, you may break your brain. Rick and Morty is hard sci-fi with sharp edges, and the bingeing pace can make it hard to keep up with one mind-bending concept after the next. The thing is, you won’t be able to help yourself. While it’s fun to sit with an episode for a while to break down the layers and implications of everything that buzzes by on-screen in each tight half-hour episode, the series is so propulsive, engaging, and utterly twisted, you just can’t ignore the compulsion to hit play on the next bit of insanity. — Haleigh Foutch


Orphan Black


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Streaming on: Prime Video

It’s about clones, and that’s really all you need to know. But no matter how crazy the plots get in Orphan Black, or how many clones it keeps adding to the original pack, the thing that will always hold the series together is Tatiana Maslany’s absorbing performance as multiple members of Clone Club. She is so distinct with each performance that Alison, Cosima, Sarah, Helena, Rachel, and the others all feel like completely different people, even as they share the same scenes (some of the best ones are when they switch places, so it’s Maslany playing Sarah as Helena, or Alison as Cosima). The mind-bending plots and pseudo-science are best left not closely investigated, but when binged the show takes on a different rhythm that focuses on the character drama, which can be very deeply affecting. Join in, sestra … — Allison Keene

Upload


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Image via Prime Video

Streaming on: Prime Video

Imagine a sci-fi version of The Good Place, and you have Upload. But what makes this Amazon original series special is its creator Greg Daniels, who you might also know as the guy who created and ran the American version of The Office and co-created Parks and Recreation. Daniels’ penchant for blending comedy with romance is alive and well in Upload, which takes place in a near-future in which humans have the ability to have their consciousness uploaded into a digital afterlife—provided they can afford it. When a programmer (Robbie Amell) dies and uploads, he has trouble adjusting to his swanky new afterlife while also dealing with his shallow (and still living) girlfriend and romantic feelings for his customer service representative. Oh, and he may or may not be trying to figure out if he was murdered. Comedy, romance, and a mystery, Upload has it all, and since the show has been renewed for a second season, you can rest assured the finale cliffhanger will be resolved. – Adam Chitwood


Marcella


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Image via Netflix

Streaming on: Netflix

One of the things that binge-watching does, for better or worse, is it tends to erase one’s focus on the details of each episode. Marcella is not a great series, but it is a great binge watch, because its pacing and central mystery allow you to get swept up with its story while being able to better ignore some of its faults. Anna Friel gives a fantastic performance as a gender-swapped version of the age-old crime story protagonist: brilliant, haunted, with a failing private life because of her devotion to her job catching heinous killers. And yet, Marcella herself is also prone to blackouts and violent behavior, adding another layer to the mystery as to what crimes she might actually be committing (as well as her dubious choices to cover them up). On the whole, few crime shows become as quickly engrossing as Marcella, which keeps you guessing until the end. — Allison Keene

Futurama


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Image via Fox

Streaming on: Hulu

For whatever reason, animated series feel like much more satisfying binge-watches than half-hour live-action comedies. This is certainly true of Futurama, which is just as prone to standalone episodes as it is to multi-episode arcs. The strong sci-fi nature of the show makes it incredibly fun to consume in large batches, as you’re transported to different worlds, meet new characters, and explore fascinating sci-fi ideas and themes in each episode. But what makes Futurama compelling is the strength of its core characters, and the writers’ penchant for getting emotional when appropriate makes the show all the more engaging. – Adam Chitwood

Bodyguard


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Image via Netflix

Streaming on: Netflix

The opening scene of the first episode of Bodyguard sinks its hooks in you, and the show never really lets up throughout its six-episode first season. The series premiered in the UK to staggering numbers before making its US debut on Netflix, and it follows a metropolitan police officer named David Budd (Richard Madden) who is tasked with guarding the life of Conservative Home Secretary Julia Montague (Keeley Hawes) in the midst of a political crisis—namely the debate over how to deal with terrorism. Budd’s personal life and background are slowly revealed throughout the show, forcing the audience to consistently question whether he’s a true hero or a potential villain. If you loved the first season of Homeland, this show is absolutely for you. – Adam Chitwood

GLOW


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Streaming on: Netflix

The Netflix original series GLOW has one of the more original premises in recent TV history: It chronicles the life of a fledgling professional wrestling promotion called the Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling, as various aspiring actresses and generally women down on their luck audition and agree to take a stab at a wholly new field. Marc Maron plays the schlock B-movie director tasked with turning GLOW into a show, Alison Brie plays a theater nerd and aspiring actress taking it all way too seriously, and Betty Gilpin plays Brie’s former friend and soap opera star who becomes the centerpiece of the wrestling event. Season 1 is delightful, but Season 2 is one of the best seasons of a Netflix TV show ever made. It’s purely joyous, focused, character-rich, and wildly entertaining, and did I mention the bangin’ 80s soundtrack? – Adam Chitwood


Skins (UK)


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Image via All3Media

Streaming on: Hulu

What started out as a UK series that wanted to portray teenagers on their own terms (the writing staff was young, the music is perfectly fine-tuned, the stories are all about raging hormones and parties and awkwardness), Skins became something a little different as it wore on and the cast continued to change. But the first few seasons are still full of exceptional moxie, fun, and the joys of being young and free — even if you feel weighed down by school, parents, and unrequited love. Skins is not always perfect and doesn’t even always make sense, but it’s a raucous journey alongside a number of young actors who have gone on to lead some major blockbusters. — Allison Keene

Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt


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Streaming on: Netflix

While Netflix’s ever-expanding programming has brought us a variety of shows designed to be binge-watched, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt is still the streaming service’s gold standard in terms of half-hours. The comedy from Robert Carlock and Tina Fey tackles issues of PTSD and trauma in a way that’s hilarious but also truthful. Ellie Kemper’s joy is infectious, and this is a show that you can easily end up watching in five, six, seven-episode batches without realizing. – Adam Chitwood


The Expanse


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Image via Syfy

Streaming on: Prime Video

At its new home on Amazon Prime Video, the former Syfy series The Expanse continues its impressive run as one of the most challenging, rewarding, and complex sci-fi shows on the air, now with more resources and creative freedom than ever. Adapted from James S.A. Corey’s award-winning, ongoing series of sci-fi novels, The Expanse is set 200 years in the future in a colonized solar system where the citizens of Earth, Mars and the asteroid belt wage constant conflict over territories, freedoms, and the future of mankind, while nefarious government secrets and conspiracies threaten the galaxy in the background.

It’s dense and rich material, attuned to the real-world realities of politicking and pandering while building an immersive and intricately nuanced science fiction world. And the latest batch of episodes doesn’t just bring The Expanse to its new streaming home, it brings the characters to a new world, where the series gets to craft its colonialist examination with more real-time fallout than ever. And it all remains utterly fascinating; a complex autopsy of political systems and the manipulation of warring beliefs that never skimps on meaty character drama or good, old-fashioned space spectacle. — Haleigh Foutch


Gossip Girl


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Image via The CW

Streaming on: HBO Max

Pure propulsive soap and glamorous high-fashion spectacle. Peak teen drama in the mold of Melrose Place and 90210 before it, Gossip Girl is as juicy and high drama as its name suggests, chronicling the lives of high society private school kids in the Upper East Side of NYC. They’re wildly fashionable, indulgent, and so very pretty as they engaging in a never-ending, ever-evolving chain of courtships and betrayals, each bitchier and better dressed than the next, and more twisted than Blair Waldorf’s perfect curls. It’s delicious, decadent and utterly bingeable. — Haleigh Foutch

The West Wing


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Image Via NBC

Streaming on: HBO Max

Television in the 90s and early 2000s was certainly not made to be binge-watched, but that doesn’t keep The West Wing from being a swell fit for that specific mode of consumption. Granted, as one of the greatest TV series of all time there’s really no wrong way to watch The West Wing, but basking in Aaron Sorkin’s rat-a-tat dialogue for hours at a time is a particular delight—at least until that awful fifth season. – Adam Chitwood

Fleabag


Streaming on: Prime Video

Running an economical six half-hour episodes each in its first and second seasons, Fleabag stars Phoebe Waller-Bridge as the titular character who faces the pitfalls of dating in London while managing to avoid every trope of the genre. Disarmingly raw, honest, and genuinely emotional, Fleabag occasionally conspires with viewers by breaking the fourth wall and confirming that yes, everything we are seeing is real and absurd. Despite the humor of her dating escapades, through the course of the first season, we start to see a darker undercurrent surfacing about the unexpected death of her best friend. In Season 2, Fleabag gave the zeitgeist Andrew Scott‘s Hot Priest while taking Fleabag on a new healing journey, this time through love and religion as much as family and grief. The way it’s handled is masterful, making Fleabag one of TV’s best, smartest, and funniest series. — Allison Keene


Enlightened


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Image via HBO

Streaming on: HBO Max

Four years since the final episode aired on HBO, much of the talk around Mike White’s sharply funny and emotionally vulnerable series Enlightened references its untimely cancellation. And it’s true – the series, of a planned three season arc, was only given a piddly two by the network – but often lost in the shuffle is the artistry of a show too understated for its time. Hitting the airwaves during what could be titled the first phase of #PeakTV, Enlightened stars Laura Dern as the frustrated, flawed and utterly human Amy Jellicoe whose emotional breakdown at a bougie corporate firm triggers a well-meaning search for personal enlightenment. The catch? Amy is really, really bad at channeling her chill. Bravely political and almost uncomfortably real, Enlightened is a near-perfect series with a hyper-watchable expose-style hook that will keep you watching – even through the tears. —Aubrey Page

The Wire


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Streaming on: HBO Max

The Wire is one of those shows that people heard about more after it’d been on the air for a few seasons or already run through its scattershot schedule. There were occasional editorials about how it was one of the best shows ever made and needed a new season but the method of binging was via DVDs which somehow seems harder to fathom now with the modern method where Netflix or whatever program you use actually needs you to decide when to stop watching because they’ll autoplay you into oblivion, giving you mere seconds to decide if you’re going to continue or not. After finishing a five-season order that had more than one year-long break (because the ratings were so low) The Wire has achieved mythological status and is an instant conversation starter at parties. It was never designed for a binge but the buzz from friends and trusted critics made the binge necessary for many.


The Wire was my first true binge and it might be the most perfect series to binge. Using Baltimore as a setting (a city with drug issues, poverty lines, violence, and elected corruption all above the national average), each season offers up one side of a polygon about the drug trade and how it corrupts neighborhoods, politicians, trade, education, and journalism. David Simon‘s immensely intelligent series shifts settings and introduces entirely new characters but organically keeps the fan favorite drug dealers and investigators organically close enough to the story. They’re all bones in an immense skeleton. And what Simon is digging up is the shame of the war on drugs and how it’s weakened every aspect of American society.If you haven’t seen The Wire here’s your 1,000,000th plea to watch it. You might not think it’s a binge-worthy affair since it’s often described with such heady acclaim, but trust me, once you start you’ll have to clear your schedule, cancel social plans, call in sick because you’ll be hooked. There are 60+ hours of The Wire. Your friends and co-workers will wonder where you went. And you’ll emerge from your binge paler and unclean—but with more empathy for communities that have been ravaged by drugs. — Brian Formo


The Office (U.S.)


The Office: Everyone in the Parking Lot

Streaming on: Peacock

Let’s face it, most U.S. remakes of U.K. TV shows suck. And in fact, the initial launch of the American The Office wasn’t great. The 6-episode first season showed promise, mostly in the form of Steve Carell’s committed performance, but from a story and character point of view it was lacking. However, the last few episodes started building on what was working, leading to the show’s second season, which stands as one of the best seasons of comedy television in history. From there, the show was golden, launching a terrifically involved will they/won’t they with Jim and Pam, and fleshing Michael Scott out as an incredibly frustrating yet human character. It’s a crime Carell never won an Emmy for his phenomenal performance over the course of the show’s run, and while the series itself overstayed its welcome by two or three seasons, it remains a positively delightful—and worthwhile—watch, and one of the most rewatchable shows ever made. – Adam Chitwood

The Magicians


SYFY's The Magicians

Streaming on; Netflix

You want sexy magicians doing sexy magic with some of the sharpest TV writing of the decade, instantly iconic costume design, and an ensemble cast who steal scenes from each other like it’s an Olympic sport? Look no further than The Magicians, the provocative, progressive, and emotionally complex Syfy fantasy series based on the celebrated book trilogy by Lev Grossman. Over the years, showrunners Sera Gamble and John McNamara have gotten even weirder and wilder with their sprawling mythology than the books (which is really saying something) and, in turn, used the real estate of serialized TV to fill out the characters with compassion and consideration. Dialogue doesn’t get snappier, fantasy doesn’t get more inventive, and a cast simply cannot get more charming than what you’ll find in The Magicians. — Haleigh Foutch


Russian Doll


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Image via Netflix

Streaming on: Netflix

Perfectly designed for the binge-watching format, Netflix’s existential comedy Russian Doll traps the viewer in a brutal time loop with Natasha Lyonne‘s Nadia, a woman who dies the night of her birthday party, only to wake up and keep reliving the night (and her many, many) deaths over and over again. Lyonne is never better, working from a script she created with Amy Poehler and Leslye Headland (who also directs, alongside Jamie Babbit and Lyonne herself), and proving that an actor’s best path to the role of their career is writing it themselves. Cheeky and provocative, not to mention deliciously foul-mouthed, Russian Doll is equally hilarious and heart-breaking, offering an insightful look into the self-destructive loops we catch ourselves in and the empathy and self-forgiveness required to break free. — Haleigh Foutch

The X-Files


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Image via Fox

Streaming on: Hulu

Though the original run of the show was shot nearly 30 years ago, there are an alarming amount of conspiracies presented in The X-Files that are still relevant today. Vaccinations that track and catalogue people? A population-decimating virus? Aliens? Sounds familiar. Of course, there are also topics that don’t have any relevancy (flukeworm/human hybrids; time travel; sea creatures) that are just plain fun. Led by Gillian Anderson and David Duchovny, who play FBI Agents Scully and Mulder, the X-files is a branch of the FBI that deals with unexplained phenomenon and inexplicable crimes. If you missed this show in the 1990s, you must not have been alive, because it was the biggest show in the world. The X-Files ran for over 200 episodes, nine seasons, two revival seasons, and two feature films. If you need a little more than “monsters of the week” and “conspiracy theories,” the love story between Mulder and Scully is the greatest, most subtle tale ever told. The term “ship” was literally created for them. — Alyse Wax



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