From a mock crime serial to a comedy about ethics, here are the best TV binges of 2017.
2017 gave us a lot of great television, but there’s nothing quite like a great binge. Snuggling into a couch and getting lost in a flurry of entertainment – especially in the winter months – is always a lovely treat. And I’m here to round up the best of the year for you and your eyeballs.
You may notice that two of the best series of the year, The Handmaid’s Tale and Big Little Lies, aren’t on this list. I didn’t include them as they’re super heavy dramas that function better when there’s a bit of a breather between each episode. To me, a binge is an effortless watch where each episode unspools so fast you can’t believe the next one is playing already, not one where your heart feels ripped out of your chest as the end credits roll. That’s not to say that Handmaid’s and BLL aren’t great shows – they are – but, for the sake of good mental health, I can’t recommend that you consume them in binge form.
Also worthy of note is the fact that the binges mentioned below are series that debuted (or returned) to TV this year. So while Stranger Things Season 2 was probably one of the most bingeable things to hit the small screen this year, it’s not on the list.
That means that all of the shows below (with the exception of one) are short and sweet binges that you can easily breeze through in a sitting or two. So, grab your Slanket and a pint of something delicious, sit back, and check out the most delightful TV binges of 2017.
The TV equivalent of movie popcorn, Ozark was the Netflix binge of the summer. The story of a family getting roped into a money laundering scheme by an ominous Mexican cartel, the series drew many parallels to Breaking Bad. With compelling performances by Jason Bateman, Laura Linney, and a star-making turn from actress Julia Garner as a clever redneck named Ruth, Ozark provided a scintillating narrative that surprised and delighted at every turn. For fans of darkly comic crime thrillers, Ozark is a binge you won’t want to miss.
Get Your Binge On: Season 1 of Ozark is available for streaming on Netflix. The series has been renewed for a second season, but no word on a potential release date yet.
Will and Grace
Before September of 2017, you couldn’t binge watch the classic Will and Grace episodes anywhere. But shortly ahead of the series’ much-touted return to NBC, the network came to a deal with Hulu. Faster than you can say “Just Jack!”, the episodes were available for a whole new generation of viewers to savor on both Hulu and NBC.com. Viewers flooded the sites to catch up with their favorite foursome and, despite some dated pop-culture references, the episodes hold up quite nicely for a deep and giddy dive into 90’s nostalgia.
Get Your Binge On: All episodes of Will and Grace (including the new ones) are available for streaming on both Hulu and NBC.com.
Bringing a show about sex workers in 1970’s NYC to life in this particular political climate was a risky little game, but David Simon and George Pelecanos (both of The Wire fame) pulled it off. When The Deuce was first introduced to critics, all eight episodes were made available for screening, and, I’ve gotta admit, I devoured them all in two sittings. (You can check out my full review here.) The series does get off to a bit of a slow start, choosing to focus on deep character portraits without the momentum of a solid plot, but once things get going it’s hard to tear yourself away from the gritty drama of it all.
Get Your Binge On: Season 1 of The Deuce is available for streaming on HBO GO and HBO NOW.
The Good Place
A series about a bunch of people stuck in heaven might sound like a snoozefest at first, but trust me, The Good Place is one of the most addictive comedies of the last few years. Many people missed the show when it first aired on NBC, but thanks to a pick up by both Hulu and Netflix, viewers were able to binge the entirety of the first season in all its glory. With tantalizing cliffhangers concluding almost every episode, hilarious writing, and a fantastic core of actors including Kristen Bell and Ted Danson, it’s a show that practically watches itself. And, with a bonkers twist capping the end of the first season, you’ll want to go back and binge all over again to catch all the goodies you missed.
Get Your Binge On: The first season of The Good Place is currently available for streaming on both Hulu and Netflix. Most of Season 2 (with the odd exception of the first two episodes of the season) is also available on Hulu. Pro-Tip: Do not – I repeat, do NOT – skip those episodes. They’re some of the best TV of the year.
Who drew the dicks? It was the question on everyone’s minds when American Vandal debuted early this fall. A send up of detective documentaries such as the popular podcast Serial, and Netflix’s own Making A Murderer, American Vandal never failed to entertain while simultaneously delivering knowing laughs to fans of the true-crime genre. A standout performance by YouTube star Jimmy Tatro held the entire thing together, and watching his antics unfold made pressing ‘play’ on the next episode nearly irresistible.
Get Your Binge On: American Vandal is currently available for streaming on Netflix, and a second season of the anthology series is slated to premiere in 2018.