Best Shows to Binge Watch While Stuck at Home
We Live in the Age of Instant Entertainment
So you are stuck at home. Perhaps you have the flu and need a few days off. Maybe you are between jobs. Possibly you are hiding from a global pandemic. Whatever the reason you find yourself a prisoner in your own home, one thing is certain: you will be bored out of your mind.
Most turn to television or video streaming to fill the void while they wait out whatever it is that has them sequestered. Hopefully, you have some sort of streaming service because no illness or disease is worse than having only daytime television to watch.
Assuming you do have access to at least one venue of entertainment streaming, have you given some thought about what to watch? If you have a few days, weeks or months to burn, you should consider binge watching something. Binge watching is taking in many or all episodes of a series in a short period of time. While most folks have to wait for weekly installments from network TV to watch a particular show, thanks to the miracle of the internet, you can take in a show from beginning to end (assuming the series has aired its last episode).
There is something oddly satisfying to view every episode of a highly acclaimed show. And when you digest all of the episodes in a short period of time, you do not have to try to remember who characters are or certain storyline events because the last time you viewed it was a year ago. You can take it all in, start to finish, and call it done. And the next time a popular shows comes up during water cooler banter, you won't feel out of the loop because you are not up to speed on the latest and greatest TV shows
Below you will find the best shows, from various streaming services, that you can watch from the first episode to the finale. And when you finally emerge from your stint of house arrest, you can step onto the porch, bang your chest and proclaim that you, yes you, have seen every installment of whatever it is that you binge watched. The neighbors will be impressed, trust me.
Longmire, Netflix 63 episodes
Think of this show as a modern day western. Based on the novels by Craig Johnson, Longmire follows the professional and personal life of a sheriff in a sparsely populated county in Wyoming. You would think that the crime rate in rural Wyoming would be low, but based on the number of murders and other crimes in this show, it is more dangerous than Yemen.
Walt Longmire is a no-nonsense sheriff with a highly diverse crew of deputies. His way of handling things will have you wanting him to run for president. The tight scripts and cinematic beauty make this a must watch. While set in Wyoming, it was filmed in and around Santa Fe, New Mexico.
Star Trek, Netflix 79 episodes
Not Voyager, not Deep Space Nine, not The Next Generation, not Enterprise, but the original Star Trek that ran in the late 1960s. The escapades of Kirk, Spock and McCoy are legendary and deeply woven into the fabric of American pop culture. Everyone has seen at lease a few episodes throughout their life.
What you probably have never done is watch ALL of the episode in sequence. If nothing else, watch it for the 1960s view of the future, where, apparently, centuries after the 60s, miniskirts are still in vogue. The version on Netflix also has some enhanced special effects, most notably as it shows the Enterprise in orbit or in battle.
Breaking Bad, Netflix 62 episodes
This is on everyones' list. Mainly because it really is that good. Gruesome at times, superb casting, acting and scripts make for an engaging show that will have you up until 4am and drooling for the next episode. It follows a hapless, but brilliant, high school chemistry teacher's journey from being a meek part time car wash attendant to full blown drug lord.
It is unique in that it is not set in Los Angeles, Chicago, or New York, but sleepy Albuquerque, New Mexico. It also offers some spectacular and refreshing cinematography.
12 O'Clock High, YouTube 78 episodes
Available in the free section of YouTube, this show, filmed in the mid 1960s, follows the exploits and nightmarish combat encounters of a B-17 bomber group. The series accurately deals with the horrific attrition rates the bomber crews experienced while conducting mission from their bases in England to all points on the main European continent.
While often repeated, it uses significant actual combat footage filmed during B-17 missions during the Second World War. Pay close attention to the guest cast, it features many actors that would eventually become very well known.
The Americans, Amazon 75 episodes
If you lived through the 1980s, you will love this series. It is a very accurate portrayal of life during that decade. If features a normal family that runs a travel agency, with one exception: the parents, unknown to their children, are deeply planted Soviet KGB agents. They were paired based on ability, not attraction to each other, and trained to pass for ordinary Americans.
While not booking trips to the Caribbean, they are stealing state secrets, assassinating rouge agents and other threats to the USSR. All unbeknownst to dad's best friend: an FBI Counter Intelligence agent.
That 70s Show, Netflix 200 episodes
If you are in for a long haul indoors, this comedy about a group of teenagers stumbling through 1970s Milwaukee, has enough episodes to keep you in stitches for weeks. And because each installment is 30 minutes long, you can eat the binge watching elephant in smaller bites.
While silly at times, That 70s Show has some really funny episodes, and some that have become iconic. Other than the laughs, what makes this show worth watching is that the cast meshes really well and make you feel like one of the gang.
House of Cards, Netflix 73 episodes
Yeah, yeah, I know. The main actor has some serious real-life allegations against him. If that makes you not want to watch, that's your choice. But this series really touches the on evil and conniving that takes place among our elected officials. Great acting and a riveting storyline about a president who ascends to the highest office without ever being elected is truly mesmerizing. You watch and think, “is that how it really is in Washington?” Then you decide that it probably is and you end up needing a shower at the end of every episode.
A head's up. While worth binge watching. The lead actor was fired during the filming of the last season. He was written out of every episode. The writers had to scramble to come up with a new script and finale, and the final product is less than satisfying. But the previous seasons make it a must watch.
Battlestar Galactica, Hulu 76 episodes
The distant cousin of the 1970s series of the same name. An excellent science fiction storyline with awesome special effects. After their home planets are destroyed by a cyborg race, what is left of the humans from a eclectic fleet of space ships and flee, looking for a new home. All the while, the cyborgs are hunting them down to finish the extermination job.
Science fiction doesn't get any better than Battlestar Galactica, but be forewarned, while an addictive show, it also has a finale that is lacking.
Orange is the New Black, Netflix 91 episodes
This tale of a young white women thrust into a women's prison with an interesting population has some really comical moments, some serious drama, and a few really disgusting scenes. I personally didn't care for the show, it had a lot of potential but never really panned out for me. But apparently it did for many others.
I still recommend it, not for the main story, but for the back stories of the rest of the inmates. It gets better after the first few seasons when it quits focusing on a pale princess who thinks it is okay to smuggle heroin. Best bonus of this show is the prison guard known as “pornstache.”
Dexter, Netflix 96 episodes
What could be more interesting than a show about a serial killer of serial killers? Set in Miami, the main character is a blood splatter expert for the police department. And he would know, as he splatters ample blood throughout the series.
His instances of almost getting caught and outed as a serial killer himself will have you on the edge of the sofa. It is an engaging, albeit gruesome, show. Pro tip: do not eat while watching.
Mad Men, Netflix 92 episodes
If you thought women get a bad shake in the future on Star Trek, this show really touches on how badly women were treated in the workplace during the 1960s. If your mom or grandmother was in the workforce during this era, you really need to give them accolades for hanging in there. If men acted this way in the office today, sexual harassment lawsuits would be a cottage industry.
If the misogyny isn't enough, the smoking and drinking in the workplace also depicts what a wild place your place of employment could be. For all of its faults in bad behavior, it is an accurate portrayal of the era, and it is a gem of a time period show. Smoking while pregnant? Not an issue in the 60s. Drinking on the job? Expected. It also has extremely good acting and scripts. If you never experienced the 1960s, this show will give you a good taste of what it was like
Big Bang Theory 279 episodes
If there was ever a comedy series full of witty banter that never gets old, this is it. The quirkiness of the characters make for a kaleidoscope of weirdness and geekiness. But you cannot help but to love these guys. Everyone knew someone in high school that was voted most likely to invent time travel. These are those guys all grown up.
The Bad Side of Binge Watching
While there is a ton of other great stuff for streaming, that is the best of it. Speaking of tons. Languishing in your living room all day is not especially good for your health. Avoid having to buy a wardrobe that fits after you are done with your quarantine and figure out how to weave some exercise into binge watching.
How about 10 pushups between every episode? Or only allowing yourself to watch only while walking on a treadmill? Figure something out to keep your from suffering from couch potato disease, which if left untreated, could lead to an early demise.