Illustration by Shore Creative
Tis the season my friends, for Netflix and chill. I had no idea by the way, the meaning behind that phrase until a high school teacher filled me in, I literally thought it meant curling up on the couch, preferably with dogs, and watching Netflix. I like my version better. There are few things I enjoy about winter, but one highlight is the excuse it gives me to watch ALL THE SHOWS. Nothing like a good snowstorm to justify hours of binge watching, yes Netflix, stop asking me, I’m still here. If you’re in need of a new show, Jess, Caylin and I rounded up our favorites to watch right now. Having been away for a week, I am very much looking forward to a weekend of hanging on the couch curled up in front of the fire with the animals crushing a new series, TBD, so if you have any suggestions, let me know in the comments. Craig and I finished season 2 of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel on the plane ride home and we loved it.
Be prepared to get hooked. We blew through this show which was originally a BBC series brought to Netflix. It sort of reminded me of a slightly less intense Homeland. Main character David Budd is a military vet who ends up getting promoted to be the personal bodyguard for a conservative and controversial politician, Julia Montague. The show keeps you on the edge of your seat and is a crime show and psychological thriller all in one.
Making A Murderer Season 2 (Netflix)
If you watched the first season of Making A Murderer you definitely want to catch up on season 2. I spoke to a few people that had mixed emotions about watching the second season, but with some new key players, including Steven’s new attorney Kathleen Zellner, there’s a lot of new evidence brought to light, and it makes you re-think everything you thought about the case once again.
Narcos: Mexico (Netflix)
Craig and I started watching this in Portugal, a little hesitantly because we assumed it would be a cheap knock off of the original. We were so wrong. We were both hooked from the start, and agree that this one, in our opinion, is actually better than the first. This series introduces you to the beginning of the Mexican drug war in the 1980s. What I like about this one is that it’s less gruesome than the first. As the series progresses it gets a bit more violent, and you have to wonder how much is embellished for the sake of tv, but the acting is great and it’s an interesting look into the start of the drug war in Mexico (and the beginnings of the DEA).
Schitt’s Creek (Netflix)
My brothers had been telling me to watch Schitt’s Creek forever and I kept putting it off because I watched the first episode and just didn’t love it. So when I recently ran out of shows to watch I figured I’d give it another shot. I skipped to episode three and I was hooked, I think I finished the first seasons in less than two days. The show is based around a wealthy family that gets busted for tax evasion and is forced to move to a town named Schitt’s Creek, which Johnny, the Dad in the show bought for his son David as a joke for his birthday several years prior. The cast of characters is goofy and hilarious. If you’re a Christopher Guest fan, you won’t be disappointed by the reunion of Eugene Levy and Catherine O’Hara. And if you’re not a Christopher Guest fan, go do yourself a favor and watch some of his greats like Best in Show and Spinal Tap.
The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina (Netflix)
I’m not sure what this says about me but the crazier the real world gets the more I tend to gravitate to spooky/scary shows. I’m not sure if it’s the mindless escapism or a reminder that life could always be worse. This show is nothing like the 90’s version we grew up with. It’s definitely darker, Salem doesn’t talk (but is still a badass), and there’s lots of blood and guts. That said, the set is design is inspiring, right on down to the wallpaper. I want to live in all of the jackets and cozy sweaters. I also think the show is a mirror of our times. At its core, it’s about women searching for retribution. That and the age-old dilemma of having to choose between goodness and power. Oh and Kiernan Shipka kills it. I’m calling it now that she and Ross Lynch (he plays Harvey Kinkle) are totally dating IRL because their chemistry is unbelievable.
The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel (Amazon)
Not many shows I watch would be considered fun—but this one is. The general premise? A 1950’s housewife turns into a stand-up comic after her well-ordered domestic life gets turned upside down by her husband. The dialogue is quick and snappy (what else would you expect from Gilmore Girls creator, Amy Sherman-Palladino) and the costume design is so playful. What I really love is the duality of Midge’s character, she’s sort of this well-dressed walking contradiction. It’s always enjoyable to see a complex female lead, especially in a comedy.
The Blacklist (Netflix)
Just started watching this show and it hooked me from the first episode which takes a lot. You should see how many shows I’ve stopped watching after ten minutes…my continue watching list is five miles long. The show is about a career criminal who decides to help the FBI catch other notorious criminals off a list he’s made. The catch is that he’ll only work with one, specific newbie FBI agent. The show is action packed and sort of a combination of Homeland and Alias. The most entertaining character by far is Raymond Reddington who’s played by James Spader. He’s always eight steps ahead and is chock full of one liners. I’m only a season in, but I also love the formulaic nature of the episodes. I find it soothing for some reason? That might make me weird. But I’m okay with that.
This Is Us (NBC/Hulu)
I wanted to hate this show. I really did. Mainly because everyone was raving about it and always talking about how much they cried watching it. I never understood the appeal of that. But, because it’s part of my job to know/get cultural references, I figured I’d watch one episode. And I got totally hooked. The show tells the story of the Pearson family and bounces around to different points in the lives of their three kids. The storylines keep me guessing, the characters are equal parts flawed and lovable, and it just makes me feel all my feelings. Sterling K. Brown completely earned his Emmy playing Randall. I love his character most of all. He totally nails the whole dorky dad/ all around good guy. Just as a note: I don’t cry every episode and don’t really understand why people would? Feel free to enlighten me in the comments.
Patriot Act (Netflix)
Yay facts! Yay news! In a world full of articles that are essentially only a headline and zero substance, it feels really nice to do a deep dive on a topic. Comedian, Hassan Minhaj, hosts a new episode every Sunday and they’re a half hour long which feels like just enough time. Each show focuses on a specific issue, so far everything from immigration to Amazon, and then he does an in-depth look into it. You’re getting facts and data with a side of humor, plus for those of us who are more visually inclined he has really funny graphics, pictures, and videos. There’s nothing like walking away from a Netflix binge feeling smarter.
Jess L.’s Picks
A Million Little Things (ABC)
What might be considered ‘ABC’s version of This Is Us’– is still one that I can’t stop watching. Telling the story of four friends living in Boston, this series explores the everyday, and more traumatic, ups and downs of these characters’ lives. It plays up the recent trend, started by Girls IMO, of exposing ‘real life’ as opposed to more romanticized storylines. It’s emotional and sometimes heartbreaking, but also optimistic and feel-good, all at the same time.
This docu-series brought me on an emotional rollercoaster that I thought I was prepared for…until I started watching. (I wasn’t.) But, if you have a love of dogs, this series is a must watch. Although there were a lot of tears in my case, the overall mission of these individual episodes is to exemplify just how meaningful dogs are in the lives of 6 very different families. At the end of each episode, it is easy to see how dogs impact our lives in so many ways.
Shameless isn’t new to the tv-worth-binging scene, but it’s still one that I always recommend to anyone who hasn’t seen it yet. As outlandish as the plot of this series can sometimes be, you can’t help but become completely invested in the characters, and that’s what really pulled me in, and keeps me watching, even after nine seasons. If you’re in the mood for a generally lighthearted and good for a laugh binge, this is the one!
Shows you’ve likely heard of or seen, but just in case you haven’t they’re worthy of a mention. This list could honestly be way longer but I tried to edit myself, haha, we have a long winter ok, don’t judge me.
Grace & Frankie
House of Cards
I’m always behind in what’s popular in the moment, but I’ve been binge watching Suits. For anybody who hasn’t watched it, stop what you’re doing and go now. You’re welcome.
Yes! I got obsessed with Suits after Meghan Markle married Prince Harry. Love that show.
Great round up and ideas! I must add to this list My Brilliant Friend on HBO. This was a series created around Elena Ferrante’s hugely popular book series of the complex friendship of two girls who grow up in post-war Naples. It’s a must watch!
My fiancé and I just got into Stranger Things. This show is beyond weird, but it’s so weird it’s good. He was hooked after one episode without watching season 1. Something else for you to try 🙂
I’m a HUGE fan of Million Little Things. Definitely an amazing show!
I am obsessed with Peaky Blinders!! It’s set in Birmingham, England after WWI and follows the story of a powerful gang and their various illegal activities. The show is extremely well done – the only thing I would suggest is to watch with subtitles because sometimes the moody music and strong accents can overpower the words (this may be intentional..). It’s on Netflix!!
OMG loved Peaky Blinders. That was a good one.
Santa Clarita Diet on Netflix is so good. I don’t even know how to describe it. Funny, cringeworthy, entertaining for sure.
I HIGHLY recommend Blue Planet II out on Netflix now for all animal lovers and non-animal lovers alike. I just never appreciated how truly magnificent our oceans are and the creatures that live in them. Did you know fish can use tools?! Plus they weave in information about how climate change is effecting our oceans. Truly just a beautifully shot and masterfully put together series.
oh wow that sounds super cool. Thanks for sharing.
I watched Sense8 last year and was obsessed . I love Mrs. Maisel and I’m three episodes into Bodyguard (ma’am!)
Hahahah! Craig and I said Ma’am to each other for a solid 2 weeks after watching that show.
Check out Escape at Dannemora on Showtime!
Awesome, checking it out. Thanks!
I have watch so many of these – where I find the time I just don’t know!!
Rebecca | http://www.peppermitndolly.com
Have to add:
Mary kills people
12 Monkeys (so much better than the movie)
Vampire diaries (oldie but a goodie, at least the frist three seasons, surprisingly very good acting, whitty, and lots of twists)
Grimm (if you never watched it when it was on tv – one of those i can rewatch over and over)
Haven’t watched many of these. Thanks for sharing!
I just finished Camping on HBO. A very short series, also hysterical. Harry is my fave.
I agree with all of these and have added The Bodyguard and A million Little Things to my list.
I just binge watched Jack Ryan on Amazon Prime and I loved it. Reminded me a lot of Homeland!
Can’t wait to watch My Brilliant Friend. One of my favourite book series of all time.