15 Bingeworthy TV Shows – on Netflix or Amazon Prime

I’m excellent at procrastination and lately the way I’ve been avoiding my work/feeding my insomnia is the rabbit hole known as the Netflix binge.

 

Binge watching television

Clearly not advice that I’m taking.
Image: Duncan

 

I did the “House of Cards” binge (S1 in two nights but S2 took longer), the “Orange Is The New Black” binge (S1 only, I’m saving S2) and I’m currently knee deep in the teen drama “One Tree Hill“.  Don’t judge!  I didn’t watch the show the first time around but it’s reminiscent of the 80’s teen dramas I love so much (like “Dawson’s Creek” which I could watch over and over again…for Pacey Witter NOT Dawson).

 

Since I know that I’m not the only one who gets sucked into to the newest socially acceptable form of bingeing and because I see requests on Facebook and Twitter nearly every day for recommendations of what shows to binge-watch next, I’m sharing some shows you might want to start watching before the Fall TV season kicks in.

 

Because once you’re done with “Breaking Bad“, “Mad Men“, “Sons of Anarchy“, “Dexter“, “Scandal“, or “The Walking Dead” (which I hear is good but I can’t get into), you really do need a next show to watch!

 

15 Bingeworthy TV Shows, Netflix, Amazon Prime

(in no specific order)

If you like gritty, masculine energy dramas:

 

The Shield” – Amazon Prime

The Shield, Michael Chiklis, Bingeworthy TV

This LA based cop-drama shows not only the camaraderie between officers who work and risk their lives together fighting crime (most often drug related crime), it also shows how dirty cops can get.  Michael Chiklis is stellar as Vic Mackey but don’t miss the amazing Walton Goggins (Shane Vendrell).  Kurt Sutter, the producer of “Sons of Anarchy“, was a producer, writer and director on “The Shield“.

 

Rescue Me” – Netflix

Rescue Me, 9/11, Denis Leary, firefighters

I thought I hated Denis Leary until I watched this show.  As a New York based firefighter post 9/11, Tommy Gavin, is guilty at the loss of his cousin during the Twin Tower tragedy, he’s divorced from his wife and kids but he’s married to his job.  You get a bit of wit, darkness, humor and mystery while feeling like you’re one of the guys.  I was sad when I watched the last episode of this show.  A classic IMHO.

 

Oz” – Amazon Prime

OZ, HBO, Chris Meloni, bingeworthy television

Some people love HBO’s “The Wire“, it bored me to tears but “Oz” appeals to my dark side.  This prison drama is beyond dark.  This show is violent, raw and deep and with some stellar dramatic acting.  It also has Chris Meloni naked.  Enough said.

 

 

If you love teen dramas with edge:

 

Skins” (UK S1 and UK S2 ONLY) – Netflix

UK Skins, bingeworthy television, TV

English teen drama with kids that get away with a crap ton.  I only like the first two seasons of this show.  Nicholas Hoult (of “About A Boy” and the recent X-Men movies) has the main role and he’s brilliant.  Once the series starts with his sister in the main role, I got bored.

 

Pretty Little Liars” – Netflix

Pretty Little Liars, bingeworthy TV

Based on the series of young adult novels, PLL, follows four high school girls that seem to have drama and mystery following them (not in a ridiculous Disney TV show kind of way) but in a semi-suspend-disbelief-for-the-sake-of-drama kind of way that’s enjoyable.  These girls are smarter than your average teen and have wardrobes that I would have killed for when I was younger (read: I’d take their wardrobes now too).  Odd tidbit: I have a penchant for interesting character names (without being soap-opera overdone), so I kind of love that there’s a character is named Aria on the show.

 

 

If you like drama that’s not too heavy but isn’t entirely mind numbing:

 

Friday Night Lights” – Netflix and Amazon Prime

Friday Night Lights, TV

Image: tchuntfr

Is it wrong to admit that this show actually taught me about football and I liked it?  I never watched this show when it was on the first time around and a friend kept telling me to try it.  I tried the first episode 3 times and couldn’t get through it.  After skipping the first episode and going straight to the second, I was hooked.   This teen and adult drama set in town in a Texas with one focus – the high school football team.  The actors are all stellar and the story lines (both adult and teen) are compelling.  Kyle Chandler and Connie Britton are fabulous and their portrayal of a southern couple (warts and all) is exceptionally compelling.  The series falls a little toward the last season or two but the characters are all very rich.  Landry and Tyra were my favorite characters – these two teenagers were played with more heart, strength and intelligence than I’ve seen on television in awhile.

 

Parenthood” – Netflix and Amazon Prime

Parenthood, NBC, bingeworthy TV

This family centered drama has the same head writer and executive producer as “Friday Night Lights” and it shows.  The characters are multifaceted and the story lines reflect different versions of parenting and being part of a family.  I resisted watching this show because it was (loosely) based on the movie “Parenthood” with Steve Martin (which I really liked) but after watching “FNL”, I gave it a shot and now I can’t wait for it to return this fall.   Also, you’ll get over Craig T. Nelson as Coach (from the late 80’s/early 90’s TV show of the same name) and Peter Krause as Nate from “Six Feet Under” quickly.

 

Private Practice” – Netflix

Private Practice, Shonda Rimes, bingworthy tv

This was a show I saw no reason for when this “Grey’s Anatomy” spin-off was on the air but once I got into “Scandal”, I decided to give the show a go and was pleasantly surprised.  While Kate Walsh’s Addison remains annoying, I fell in love with some of the characters on this show (Charlotte King and Cooper Friedman).  The Shonda Rimes magic is woven throughout this show…and there’s Tim Daly (who I can watch on screen forever!)

 

The West Wing” – Netflix and Amazon Prime

The West Wing, Aaron Sorkin, bingeworthy tv

Before there was “The Newsroom” on HBO, there was this exceptionally brilliant White House drama.  Aaron Sorkin’s fast moving dialogue and interesting characters made politics interesting (for me at least).  Yes, Rob Lowe is in the show and he’s gorgeous and all but it’s the banter and the characters that make this show a don’t-miss!  Jed Bartlett for President!  PS – For the “Grease” fans, it’s also fun to see Stockard Channing as NOT Rizzo.

 

 

If you appreciate the quirky:

Scrubs” – Netflix

Scrubs, Zach Braff, bingeworthy tv

I heart Zach Braff and this show is what put him and his amazing musical taste on the map (Can you believe it’s been 10 years since “Garden State“?!?).  This hilarious hospital based comedy is a buddy show that isn’t always ridiculous but when it is, it’s fantastic.  Great soundtrack and some phenomenal character angles.  Skip the last season though.

 

Wings” – Netflix

Wings, Empty, bingeworthy

Silly comedy that takes place in a small Nantucket airport focusing on the regional airline operated by two brothers.  There are some wacky characters played by some actors that are now well known like Thomas Haden Church and Tony Shaloub.  If you don’t know who they are, don’t tell me.  This show has one of my favorite television episodes of all time.  All you have to say is “Empty!” loud and with anger and I’ll crack up.  I even found a YouTube video of a mini clip of this episode called “The Houseguest” and I’m laughing as I write this.

 

Dead Like Me” – Amazon Prime only

 Dead Like Me, Showtime, bingeworthy

Before Mandy Patinkin was helping out Claire Danes on “Homeland”, he was in charge of a group of grim reapers who help remove souls before they die to guide them to the afterlife.  The main character is a girl named George who becomes the newest grim reaper after being killed by a toilet seat.  This comedy-drama only ran for two seasons but it was an interesting story and had some interesting perspectives on death and what death is like for the living.  Skip the direct to DVD movie though.

 

If you want to roll the dice and try something completely different (aka a Wild Card):

 

Queer As Folk” – Netflix

Queer As Folk, Showtime

Based on the British television series, this show focuses on a group of gay men and women living in Philadelphia.  There’s a lot of graphic sex and debauchery featured in the series but the show is really about love and friendship.  This is another very character driven show with heart.  Sharon Gless (of “Cagney and Lacey” fame) who plays Debbie, Peter Paige (Emmett) and Gale Harold (Brian) are phenomenal.

 

Absolutely Fabulous” – Amazon Prime

Absolutely Fabulous, Edina, Patsy,

Image: IMDB

This British sit-com is one of my favorite shows.  Little could be funnier than two oblivious middle aged women desperately try to remain hip and relevant by constantly trying to recreate a party atmosphere (at all times) while maintaining a religious adherence to the latest in fashion. Watching Patsy and Edina attempt to muddle through life (accompanied by some zany characters) is hilarious.  The ridiculousness and over-the-top characters definitely take you away from the real world in a way that no other American television show can.

 

**Not available but should be: “Nip/Tuck

Nip/Tuck, Ryan Murphy

Image: Wikipedia

This show used to be available on Netflix and it is usually my go-to repeat show to watch.  The show could be described as a drama focusing on two plastic surgeons in Miami (and later Los Angeles), their families and their patients but that wouldn’t be fully accurate.  This show featured graphic plastic surgery operations, a lot of sex, some drugs, alcohol and many other off the wall things but overall, this show was about two best friends and their lives.   Every episode revolved around one main patient but the patient’s life also had a way of weaving itself into the lives of the two main characters.  Created by Ryan Murphy (“Glee” and “American Horror Story”), the show is slick, strange and definitely interesting. It’s too bad that this show isn’t available for free right now.  It’s worth buying IMHO though.

 

So there you have it.  My picks for your next television binge.  Have you seen any or all of these yet?  Let me know.

What’s the last show you binged on?  What’s your next intended show?

Comments

  1. says

    Love love love Parenthood! I also liked Private Practice although sometimes the story line gets a little annoying. Ab Fab is hilarious! I actually love this list because I’m thinking of downloading a whole series to watch on the iPad when we go to the hospital in case we need something to distract us for awhile at the beginning!
    Britt@MyOwnBalance recently posted…Bridal BootcampMy Profile

    • says

      Good idea to download a series for the hospital (and for future late nights awake). I agree that PP did get a bit ridiculous but I did love some of those characters.

      Parenthood is amazing and the fact that you’re a fellow AbFab lover makes me smile!

    • says

      I tend to agree with you about the characters on PP vs GA. I stick with Grey’s because it’s just kind of there but the characters overall are pretty annoying.

    • says

      I believe Jay is a Wonderfalls lover but I haven’t seen it. I will put it on my list though. Glad that you love AbFab and early Scrubs too (it explains the mutual love for BNL as well). I love Dawson’s Creek and secretly wish they had a Pacey spinoff.

  2. Susie says

    First, THE WALKING DEAD – LOVE LOVE LOVE. Don’t ask me why, because I am so not the target audience for this show. I come for the drama, not the gore. :) Also, trivia–TWD’s ex-showrunner, Glen Mazzara, also worked on THE SHIELD.

    Second, how is it possible that I know you as long as I do without knowing you are a WINGS fan? I heart Lowell. And in case you don’t recall even further back, Crystal Bernard’s sister was one of the waitresses on IT’S A LIVING. (Yes, I’m that old.)

    OZ was always brilliant–and Beecher just had a brief arc on THE AMERICANS (highly recommend this, and it bears binge-watching!) And I am dying to get into PLL – the books are amazing. I read all 14 (ahem) during Xmas week, and was more excited than all the tween girls when #15 came out last month. Am I pathetic, or what?!

    Also binge-worthy–LOST. MI-5 (phenomenal UK spy series.) ALIAS (S1-S3, meh after that.) I heard FRINGE got great after I stopped watching, so I may revisit.

    God, I think I need to put down the remote . . .

    • says

      Lady, great minds think alike. I’m with you on nearly everything except TWD. I have a feeling that once I’m done with all my immediate shows, we’ll start to watch TWD.

  3. says

    We have scarily similar taste – of course!!! I really wish I had more time for TV binging. However, I just recently started watching The Leftovers on HBO. Holy WOW – it is awesome!!!
    This was a great idea BTW. I’m always looking for something to start when Mike is away on business:-)
    Allie Burdick recently posted…I Choose Not To Have BalanceMy Profile

    • says

      I started to watch The Leftovers with Jay when I got home from FitBloggin’ but the beginning with the baby freaked me out. Normally shows don’t do that to me but I just couldn’t watch. Maybe I’ll have to try again! Right now I’m suffering a bit through “True Detective” with Jay. S l o w.

      LMK if you try any new shows.

    • says

      Oz is fantastic but super gritty. HOC was good for S1 but S2 disappointed me greatly. Would love to know what you wind up choosing. People’s TV choices, books, music and baby name choices always interest me!

  4. Ashley @ Brocblog says

    Haha I’m so happy you specified that Skins is UK Seasons 1 and 2 only. I was so emotionally wrecked from the first two seasons of skins UK that I couldn’t start a new class of kids but it was the best.

  5. says

    Oh man – I totally forgot about Wings! Loved that show when it was on back in the day (yes, I’m showing my age.) The other show I’d add to your list is Arrested Development – hands down my favorite TV show of all time. The most recent season went in a different direction but those first 3 seasons are “off the hook.”

    • says

      Deanna: I’ve given Arrested Development a few tries but I feel like I’m missing something. It’s the same feeling I get when I watch 30 Rock, Parks & Recreation or The Office – like I’m missing the joke. Those shows make me feel like an idiot. I normally love dry humor but something about those shows just doesn’t connect with me. It makes me sad because they seem like shows I’d love too!

    • says

      The Walking Dead is one I’m sure I’ll watch someday. Everyone says it’s so good but every time I see Andrew Lincoln on screen I expect him to have cards in his hand silently proclaiming his love to Keira Knightley. “Love Actually” is one of my favorite movies of all time.

  6. says

    I liked Parenthood. I was watching it obsessively until the mom got sick and then it got too realistic and I had to stop and take an emotional break. I’ll go back to it sometime when I’ve built my nerve up. It’s a great series. I watched Private practice too. I hate that they all sleep with each other because I can’t imagine people doing that in real life but Shonda has a way of keeping me engaged in the story line,
    Runwright recently posted…Transformation Tuesday – The Vegetarian EditionMy Profile

    • says

      Karen: I get what you’re saying about “Parenthood” and I absolutely agree with the nearly incestual things that happen on all Shonda Rimes programs (almost all programs though right – “Friends” was notorious for that!).

      I’m glad to discover your blog. Your photo on your front page on the streets of NYC brought me right home. I’ve been in LA for almost 2 years but I’m a New Yorker at heart. To me, there’s nothing like running in NYC (especially over the Brooklyn Bridge).

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