If you’re like me then you’re closing in on winter break or maybe already on it (in that case, I loathe your very existence) and it is very important to approach this blessing of a month off from class with a game plan for your binge watching endeavors.
Even if you have moved on past your formative years, you’re bound to have a few days off where you’re desperately seeking refuge from your family.
So, I’ve compiled a list of potential targets to run through in the coming weeks, that not only will prep for when award season rolls around, but will also maximize the enjoyment and lack of productivity that will occur in this period.
The primary focus will be on shows that made their debut this year, since while we have a lot of time this break, we don’t have watch-all-of-Game-of-Thrones time. However, we ain’t here to play by the rules, so their may be some longer picks snuck in here and there.
Best Overall Watch - Atlanta
If you haven’t already been harassed by all of your friends to watch Donald Glover’s Atlanta, then you need to find some better friends.
And if you are a member of a respectable friend group then you’re well aware that you’re being judged for your blatant display of a lack of respect to yourself and others.
Come for Donald Glover and stay for the out of this world performances from your new favorite actors Brian Tyree Henry, Lakeith Stanfield, and Zazie Beetz, all of whom will surely be blowing up soon.
It’s only 11 1/2 hour episodes, so you have the time and if you don’t end up liking this show and willing to walk to Atlanta to get a full-length CDQ version of Paperboy then for once, please @ me, so I can fight you in real life.
Honorable Mention: OJ: Made in America
Best Half-Hour Comedy: The Good Place
There is nothing like a half-hour comedy to serve as the perfect passive viewing experience and The Office writer and Parks & Recreation creator, Mike Schur, returns to NBC alongside Ted Danson of Cheers fame and Kristen Bell, who we all know is cute as a button, as the leads.
Long-story short, Kristen Bell accidentally gets brought to the “Good Place,” which is more or less Heaven and hijinks ensues. Admittedly, you’re going to have a what the f- is this response when you first get in, but stick around for if nothing more, the return of Adam Scott basically as his character from Step Brothers.
Honorable Mention: The Great Indoors
Best Streaming Show: BoJack Horseman
I’m not too keen on cartoons and this show may have a little more ground to cover than the others, but it’s on Netflix and when episodes automatically play one after another you end up watching 17 before you know it.
What if I told you there was a show starring Will Arnett, Aaron Paul and Alison Brie? Would that be something you might be interested in? Yes, it obviously would be and that’s what BoJack is, they just happen to be in cartoon form and one of them happens to be a former sitcom actor who just happens to be a horse.
Honorable Mention: Fleabag, Bloodline, Peaky Blinders, OA, The Last Panthers
Yeah… there’s a lot of stuff available to stream in case you were unaware.
Best Network Procedural: Bull
Do you enjoy the safe space of a routine driven show? Do you low-key share the same TV tastes as your parents? Have you ever found yourself sitting down to NCIS or Castle on TNT/USA and blacking out to the tune of 8 consecutive episodes? Then Bull is for you.
Starring NCIS alum, Michael Weatherly, it is loosely based on the professional life of Dr. Phil (yes, I know that sounds lame) and involves trial science and jury selection and manipulation. Very interesting subject matter and full of gadgets and the ideal hodgepodge team of unique individuals teaming up to make sure the jury gets it right.
Best Network Drama: Designated Survivor
Conspiracy theories, government corruption, terrorism and Jack Bauer.
Keifer Sutherland plays the Head of Urban Development and after the Capitol Building is attacked during the Inauguration and he is appointed President (which becomes that much scarier when you think if this situation actually played out Ben Carson would become President…).
While he tries to navigate this new post shit basically hits the fan in every way possible and through the first 10 episodes thus far there have already been some A+ cliffhangers.
Best Premium Cable Show: Quarry
I may be biased here, I love crime shows and I fell in love with Tennessee after a trip to visit Vanderbilt, but all that aside this show is worth giving a shot.
Quarry follows Mac “Quarry” Conway, played by Tom Hardy impersonator Logan Marshall-Green, as he returns home to Memphis, Tennessee from Vietnam in 1972. He ends up becoming a hired gun, but the interesting part is that you don’t know who for – the good guys or the bad.
This show seems a little off the beaten path, but check it out and first get welcomed by Otis Redding’s “You Don’t Miss Your Water,” which echoes throughout the pilot episode and get hooked by the subject matter and intoxicating visuals of the 70’s south.
Honorable Mention: Westworld
Best Long-Haul Show: Veep
If there is a show worth sifting through multiple seasons this break, or at least beginning the trek, it is most certainly Veep.
While Atlanta was the best show of the year, Veep. Is. The. Best. Show. On. TV.
Veep examines the White House in a way, which I thought was satirical, but somehow appears to have been much closer to the mark than any of us could have thought. Do yourself a favor and head over to YouTube and search “veep jonah insults” and you’ll immediately know if this show is for you.
One thing it has in common with Atlanta is that your friends should have already been pressing you to watch it, except instead of only having a few months to do so, they’ve had 4 years, so now it’s on you to get it together.