I was sharing my previous post about tv shows to binge watch today when I realized that it was almost three years old at this point. I’m a tv addict. I’ve watched an awful lot of tv in the past three years, so I decided it’s time to write up another post on binge worthy tv. I’m leaving myself with the same rules I put in place for my first go around.
1. The shows listed here are all shows that have completed their run. I have a long list of shows I myself eventually want to watch but that are many seasons into their run. I get not wanting to watch something you’re eventually going to catch up to in real time, so I decided to leave anything still in production off the list. That does mean I get to add some shows that I was watching the last time but which were still airing at the time.
2. I am only including shows that I had positive feelings about overall by the end of show. This is not to say that many of these shows did not suffer from creative declines in their latter years as most shows do, but the ones included still have to have enough creative spark and enjoyment left in them by their end that I don’t hate them.
3. I’m sticking with more recent shows for this list. There are some great older shows like Cheers, The Cosby Show, and the Mary Tyler Moore show that I have enjoyed in reruns for years and can now be watched either on streaming or DVD, but I decided to stay more current with this list.
Light-hearted Shows/Soapy Dramas
Hart of Dixie
I’ve written about Hart of Dixie before on this site, but it has to be included in the list of things I think you should watch if you haven’t already. I loved this show so much. I’m still sad that it’s gone. It was completely ridiculous, but it was so light-hearted and fun in a way that tv just really isn’t these days anymore. Plus there are lots of shirtless hot guys and much dress porn. If I could have a closet full of AB’s dresses I would.
It’s about a doctor named Zoe Hart who moves from NYC to a small town in Alabama after the father she didn’t know she had leaves her his half of a medical practice. At first it’s your sort of Doc Hollywood fish out of water thing, but it becomes more than that. There’s lots of love triangles and quadrangles and goofy plotlines. There’s also lots of really great music if you like country and folk, which I very much do. If you’re looking for some light-hearted, fun television I couldn’t recommend this show more highly.
Gossip Girl is one of those shows I binge watched to an almost unhealthy degree. I got a little obsessed with this show while I was watching it. I like nothing more than a trashy, relationship-based, soapy teen drama and Gossip Girl delivers on all those counts. If that kind of show is your thing, this one will suck you right in.
Parenthood is another show I really miss having on my tv every week. I still wonder what the Braverman family is up to. As the name suggests the show is loosely based on the movie. It follows the lives of Zeek and Camille Braverman, their four kids, and their grandkids. It’s a beautiful family drama full of joy and heartbreak. It’s made by the same person who did Friday Night Lights and shares some of the same DNA in the almost painfully real moments the show portrays sometimes. It’s a kind of show you don’t see much on tv anymore, and I miss it terribly.
As I’m sure anyone who is reading this knows, Mad Men is about Don Draper, an advertising executive in the 1960s. I generally enjoyed its entire run, but I did enjoy the earlier seasons that focused more on the advertising business more interesting than the Don’s existential crisis ones of the later seasons. Those elements are there throughout all the seasons, but the amount of time devoted to them flip flops over the course of the series. It’s got really great costuming and set design if you’re into recreations of other time periods.
Justified is about a US Marshall in Kentucky who toes the lines of legality with his actions, but gets the job done. It took me a little while to get into Justified. Everything I kept hearing about it made me think that is was a show with ongoing story arcs instead of just episodic television like your Law and Orders and CSIs, which I don’t much care for. The first season was pretty much that, but I hung in there because I always heard that season two was fantastic. Season two is where it kicks off into a much larger storyline and moves away from the case of the week episodes of season one. Season two is also by far the best season of the show, so if nothing else just watch that one.
Hannibal, as one might suspect from the name, is part of the series about Hannibal Lector. I don’t know enough about it to know what books this is based on nor where it falls in the timeline of the series other than that it takes place before the events of Silence of Lambs. I think it covers Red Dragon, but don’t quote me on that. This show is the stuff of nightmares, beautiful, beautiful nightmares. The murder scenes in this show are crazy and horrifying and yet also insanely beautiful in some way, and of course the food was always amazing to look at. I liked it when this show and Hart of Dixie were both airing on Friday nights. I’d watch Hannibal and then scrub my brain clean with Hart of Dixie.
Blue Sky TV
Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries
Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries is a fun little Australian show set in the 1920s. Phryne Fisher is an independent woman who decides to become a private investigator constantly inserting herself into murder investigations much to the chagrin of the police chief. They have a bit of a will they or won’t they relationship. The mysteries are fun and the clothes Phyrne wears are to die for.
White Collar started off as one of USA’s blue sky shows, but over its run got a little less episodic and started to have more season long arcs that played more into the storylines of the episodes. Matt Bomer, who is one of my tv boyfriends, stars as Neil Caffrey a con-artist, art forger who gets caught and winds up working as a criminal informant for the FBI’s white collar division as the partner of Peter Burke, the guy who caught him. Their relationship is really the heart of the show, but I especially enjoyed the couple of seasons where Hilarie Burton played Neil’s love interest. It’s a fun little show.
Melissa and Joey
Aside from my husband, I only know one other person who ever watched this show that used to be on ABC Family. It’s a sit-com starring Melissa Joan Hart and Joey Lawrence trading on their 90s sitcom fame. She stars a city councilwoman who winds up having to raise her teenage niece and nephew after their parents are sent to prison for some Ponzi-like scheme. He used to work for them and is now out of a job and no one wants to hire him so he winds up becoming the kids nanny. It pretty much harkens back to the sitcoms they starred in back in the 90s in tone and style. It was always a fun little diversion.
Parks and Recreation
I’m generally not a fan of the mockumentary style sit-com that was all the rage for awhile, but I really loved Parks and Rec. I don’t know why I finally decided to give it a try, but I’m glad I did. In addition to being funny it’s also full of a lot of heart. The characters are great. It’s a wonderful workplace comedy set in the Department of Parks and Recreation in Pawnee, Indiana.