The way people have watched television has drastically changed. The introduction and normalization of streaming services such as Netflix and Hulu have pushed people toward binge-watching shows.
Binge-watching is when a person watches a show’s episodes in a rapid succession. Some people watch entire seasons of shows in days, sometimes even hours. Televised entertainment now needs to cater to these viewers along with the week-to-week one.
Here are my top 10 binge-worthy shows.
10. “Firefly” (2002-2003) Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime:
It would be hard to make a list of shows to binge on and not put this cult classic on it.
“Firefly” ended up being everything an overindulgent viewer could ask for. The entire series is short, only 14 episodes making it to air, and each one is less than an hour. You could watch this entire show in one evening.
This Joss Whedon-ran show also creates an entire, exciting sci-fi universe in just 14 episodes. It is easy to connect and love characters like Malcolm Reynolds and Kaylee Frye. The only con to this series is how short it is — something that was not in the creators’ control.
9. “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” (2013-) Netflix and Hulu:
On first glance, “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” looked like it might be a terrible show. It started around the time lead Andy Samberg was in bombs such as “That’s My Boy,” “Grown Ups 2” and “Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2.”
Fox, the channel that airs the show, also has a history of producing terrible comedies like “The Pitts” and “Andy Richter Controls the Universe,” which were cancelled almost right away.
But the show is one of the most consistently funny shows out there and is an easy one to get lost in. The talents of Terry Crews, Chelsea Peretti and Andre Braugher help create lovable and entertaining characters.
8. “Master of None” (2015-) Netflix:
This Netflix exclusive was another show that turned out to be a surprise.
While it is no shocker “Master of None” is funny, the show hits levels of maturity and complex themes more common in shows such as “Louie.” This Aziz Ansari-led shows feels more like an early Woody Allen film than a 2015 comedy.
The themes of relationships and missed opportunities are heavy throughout the show, but it is very episodic in nature, each one feeling like a single story on its own, making it easy to take down.
7. “The Flash” (2014-) / ”Arrow” (2012-) / “Daredevil” (2015-) / “Jessica Jones” (2015-) Netflix and Hulu:
This is the era of live-action superhero fiction. But with Marvel, and now DC, playing the movie game pretty hard, people tend to forget how fantastic comic book heroes are represented on the small screen.
Because of this, it felt wrong to single out one particular show. Marvel and DC are producing vastly different, but amazing TV shows.
With DC hitting the campier, but traditional avenue of adaptations and Marvel creating grittier pieces of entertainment, all four products will captivate viewers in distinct ways and make them forget they are watching 10 episodes in one sitting.
6. “Justified” (2010-2015) Amazon Prime:
“Justified” is not only a great series to binge-watch, but also one of the most underrated TV shows of all-time.
This crime drama was overshadowed by classics like “Mad Men” and “Breaking Bad,” which came out a couple years before and deserve tons of praise, but can hold its own when it comes to season by season storylines and performances.
Each episode, while having a bigger overarching storyline, feels episodic and monster-of-the-week like, making it easier to watch than a “Mad Men.”
5. “The Office” (2005-2013) / “Parks and Recreation” (2009-2015) Netflix and Hulu:
With “The Office,” the viewer gets some of the best awkward and situational comedy out there. “Parks and Recreation,” on the other hand, creates the best world-based comedy since “The Simpsons” and has tons of interesting and hilarious side characters.
Both shows will go down as two of the greatest comedy shows ever.
4. “Curb Your Enthusiasm” (1999-) Amazon Prime and HBO Go:
If I had to have a vote for my favorite comedy show of all time, “Curb Your Enthusiasm” would be it, and half the reason is because of how easy it is to pop in a random episode and just watch.
Much like “The Office” or “Parks and Recreation,” this show has longstanding storylines throughout seasons, and certain characters may not appear again, but overall every episode is different than the next.
Larry David’s brand of comedy helped create two of the greatest shows of all-time and everyone should at least give this show a chance. The awkward humor may throw some off, but for others it will hit right off the bat.
3. “Breaking Bad” (2008-2013) Netflix:
What can I say that has not been said about “Breaking Bad?”
This is one of the best shows of all time and one of the standards for the recent golden age of television. Everything from the writing down to the performances is at an Emmy-level of greatness; even something as unnoticed as the set design pushes the show forward.
A lot of this show’s prominence comes from binge-watching. Before hitting Netflix, it got just decent ratings. Now, not only is it considered a classic, it is also almost a ritual for any Netflix user to marathon on.
2. “The Sopranos” (1999-2007) Amazon Prime and HBO Go:
Calling the next two shows on the list masterpieces of the small screen might be short-changing them.
To say “The Sopranos” is the best mafia fiction ever is not far-fetched. While something like “The Godfather” may tell a better single story, this show tells a better overall story, with characters you will hate and love at the same time.
People should watch “The Sopranos” as a critical experience. It’s not a great show to go and watch bits and pieces, but when you watch each season, it is an experience that can not be matched.
1. “The Wire” (2002-2008) Amazon Prime and HBO Go:
“The Wire” is constantly put on top-10 lists for greatest shows of all time, and that’s because it just might be.
The show, which talks about topics of crime and violence that are extremely relevant, is probably the hardest-hitting series involving police out there. Every character in “The Wire” is dynamic and well-developed.
Again, watch this show as something to think about it. If you watch it random episodes and do not pay attention, you will not have the best experience possible. But binge-watching the show pilot to series finale would be a great way to spend some time.