As the holidays approach people generally are spending more time off work, or relaxing from school or [like me] finishing semester finals. I like to spend a lot of my lazy winter days and nights blowing through a bunch of tv shows on Netflix and catching up with my live shows. I’ve been doing pretty good with the live television, only needing to catch up with The Walking Dead and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., but have been recently exploring Netflix to check out those shows I’ve always eyed up but never watched. Here are the 5 shows that I think are best to binge watch over the holiday period.
Spaced | 8.7/10
This is the short lived comedy show written and starring Simon Pegg and Jessica Hynes and directed by Edgar Wright. The show has two awesome seven episode seasons with the episodes only running 24 minutes.
Pegg and Hynes star as Tim and Daisy, a scraping by writer and comic book artist who fake being a couple in order to rent an affordable apartment. During their time in the flat, they hang out with a familiar motley crew that contains familiar faces from Wright and Pegg’s Cornetto Trilogy; Nick Frost plays Tim’s best friend, Mike Watt, a man solely focused on getting into the army, while Mark Heap plays the odd modern artist Brian Topp, who is hilarious and a lives secluded in the basement.
The show is very goofy, especially a couple episodes in once it develops, and also reminds us to stay relaxed even if our futures may seem uncertain. If you enjoyed any of Wright’s other works, you should really enjoy this as well. Most of the characters pop up in Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz, or The World’s End, and the directing feels exactly the same as those films. With only 14 total episodes and an 8.7 out of 10 star rating on IMDB, Spaced is a great show to quickly move through and ease into your winter binge watching.
Peep Show | 8.5/10
Peep Show is a British comedy that I’m definitely the most unfamiliar with. It’s been on my list of shows to check out, but since my roommate blew through the entire series, he has been raving about it to me, so that pushed me to watch. This is the show that I’m currently watching after finishing up Spaced, and so far I’m enjoying it.
The show focuses on two twenty-something year old roommates, Mark and Jeremy, who have absolutely nothing in common. The show follows the two around catching all of the cringe-y but funny moments that occur within their daily lives. The unique aspect that this show brings to the table is constantly swapping between first and third person and provides some great camera views and an original style.
I’m only nearing the end of the first season but Peep Show was definitely a good show selection. It has been going strong since 2003 and has eight completed seasons (all on Netflix), with a ninth on the way. Peep Show has a very solid 8.5 out of 10 on IMDB, and only having six episodes in a season that are 24 minutes long makes it manageable to power through, especially if you get hooked.
Arrow | 8.1/10
If you want to move into a more involved 40 minute action show, then Arrow is a must see, especially if you love the superhero genre. DC has been making a strong push with their cinematic universe and a television presence, and Arrow has been consistently getting better! The first season is very enjoyable and available on Netflix. It brings a completely new origin story to the Green Arrow character that combines the idea of Smallville with elements mimicked from Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight Trilogy.
The show is on the CW and has a cast I’m largely unfamiliar with. Stephen Amell takes up the role of Oliver Queen, while John Barrowman (Capt. Jack from Torchwood/Doctor Who) plays the familiar Merlyn and Manu Bennett (Crixus in Starz’s Spartacus) as Slade Wilson. The show interestingly has two plots running at once that focuses on the “Hood”, as he is called in the show, saving Starling City, while a second plot provides a background story for the archer.
I really like the dark tone of the show and the fact that for being on the CW it’s not filled with any unnecessary drama. The second season has taken the show to the next level and is setting up for some awesome plot lines in the future as well as already bringing in other DC characters, like Barry Allen, a.k.a. The Flash. Arrow currently sits with an 8.1 out of 10 stars on IMDB and is the top superhero show currently on television in my opinion; however, it might take a little longer to catch up with because of it’s 40 minute length and full season order of 23 episodes.
House of Cards | 8.8/10
I know that a lot of people have already checked out Netflix’s first original series, House of Cards. With it’s star studded cast Starring Kevin Spacey, Robin Wright, Michael Kelly, and Kate Mara, House of Cards has one amazing first season with 13 hour long episodes that reveal the twisted manipulating world of politics.
The main character, Congressman Francis Underwood (Spacey), is a smart and powerful man who breaks the fourth wall (addresses the audience directly) to explain the situations he finds himself in and the decisions he makes to gain more power for himself. It’s a very unique show but definitely can hang with other premium television channels like HBO and Showtime. Francis is ruthless and conniving, yet awesome and super interesting at the same time; Spacey is phenomenal in the role.
House of Cards has a very high 8.8 out of 10 rating on IMDB and did great for it’s first season. As I said, I know many people have seen the show already, but if you enjoy re-watching television or haven’t gotten to check it out yet, now is the perfect time. House of Cards is set to return for its second season on Valentine’s Day 2014, and being only 13 episodes it is easily binge-able and becomes very addicting!
Party Down | 8.2/10
The last show I’m going to leave you all with is one of my favorite comedies that sadly ran for only two seasons back in 2009/10; Party Down. A group of actors who haven’t quite made it yet are paying the bills by working for a catering company. The show is the different types of parties that they work and the hilarious and strange situations that they encounter.
The cast of this show is awesome and stars Adam Scott (Parks & Rec, Step Brothers), Ken Marino (Role Models, Eastbound & Down), Martin Starr (Adventureland, Knocked Up), and Lizzy Caplan (Mean Girls, Masters of Sex). Adam Scott is great in the lead but can curse because this was a Starz show it was able to be a little raunchier with its humor. The catering scenarios that this group gets assigned to are ridiculous but explore all of the weird corners in Hollywood.
The show only has two 10 episode seasons and each episode is 30 minutes and has an 8.2 out of 10 on IMDB. I wish this show hadn’t been cancelled, but it just feels like it might have been a year or two ahead of its time. There are rumors that they are trying to put together a Party Down movie, but for now both seasons of this glorious gem can be found on Netflix.
Well, there you have it, five shows to check out depending on how much time you have over the [hopefully] relaxing holiday period. If you’re like me, a senior in college, then I’m sure laying in bed and watching Neftlix after these extremely late study filled nights sounds pretty enticing. Either way, these shows are all great to fill your free time with and don’t take too long to get through or catch up with!