Shameless confession: I get way too involved with my TV shows. If you are like me, you commit to a show and don’t stop until it’s over. The upside is, you become invested in the plot lines and it’s that much more rewarding when something awesome happens. The downside is that you keep watching even if the show has gone on way past its peak. That said, how are you supposed to know which shows are worth your time, so that you’re not still watching Grey’s Anatomy, 10 years after its inception? (Side note: Dear Shonda Rhimes, please end Grey’s and put me out of my misery). Here are my favorite shows to binge watch from start to finish on a cozy fall day.
Twin Peaks (1990-1991) – The Cult Classic
Equal parts quirky, eerie, and fantastical – Twin Peaks follows the quiet town of Twin Peaks, Washington as FBI agent Dale Cooper (Kyle MacLachlan) investigates the murder of beloved homecoming queen Laura Palmer. Come for the intriguing plot, stay for the lovably weird characters. Plus, Showtime is rebooting this in the near future, so you will want to know what the buzz is all about.
Happyish (2015) – The Dark Satire
Middle aged Thom Payne (Steve Coogan) has everything he needs – a wife and child, a beautiful house in the woods, and a somewhat stable career as an ad executive. But when his agency gets new 20-something Swedish bosses who want to rebrand their company for Millennials, Thom must decide whether he too should change with the times, or settle for being “happyish.” For anyone who has ever worked in marketing, this show is hilariously but frighteningly relatable. Besides, it’s also only ten episodes, so binge watching it will be a breeze.
Friday Night Lights (2006-2011) – The Small Town with a Big Heart
Friday Night Lights is a show about heart and grit, guised under the premise of a small town run by high school football. Even if you know nothing about football, you will still be able to relate to the show’s plainly communicated themes. The show is also very interestingly done cinematically – entire scenes were filmed in one take, with only three cameras for each shoot – providing a gritty, documentary-style feel. In one word, Friday Night Lights is authentic.
Brothers and Sisters (2006-2011) – The Functionally Dysfunctional Family
Unlike Parenthood or Modern Family, Brothers and Sisters is a show about adult families. After the death of their husband and father, the Walker family – comprised of overbearing, but well-intentioned matriarch Nora Walker (Sally Field) and her five adult children – tries to navigate their shifting family dynamic. Each character is well developed, and the acting is superb. As Wikipedia puts it, “Most conflicts were resolved with a renewed call for family unity and a lot of wine.” By the end of Brothers and Sisters, you’ll realize we all still have growing up to do.
Firefly (2002) – The Futuristic Western
Set 500 years into the future, Firefly is a cross between sci-fi and American Westerns. Created by Joss Whedon, of Buffy the Vampire Slayer fame, Firefly has all the same components. In the year 2517, the losers of a devastating Civil War must find their place on the fringe of society, at a time when only two superpowers exist – the U.S. and China. Firefly seeks to depict that even in the future, with space ships and fancy gadgets, humankind will still encounter the same moral, ethical, and interpersonal dilemmas. The effects are also way ahead of their time (Get it?).
When there are so many tried and true shows to pick from, this fall’s series premieres seem so overrated. That’s all I have, folks. Have a suggestion for a series to marathon? Leave it in the comments.