How many hours of TV have you binge-watched in the last month? To level-set, much like binge-drinking, “THEY” define binge-watching as consuming two or more episodes of a TV in one sitting. Child’s play. I’m no stranger to the “Hold My Calls for the Next Few Days, Louise” marathon weekends. Those weekends when Netflix judges me multiple times a day, popping up on my screen and asking, “Are you [really] still watching “Peaky Blinders“?
For better or worse, binge watching is a staple of our TV viewing habits. I say better because I love me some complex and nuanced stories with season-long story arcs. But worse because I also give some shows a little too much of my time and will gloss over a poor decision from the writer’s room or moments of just plain bad writing because I can zip right through to the next episode without thinking about the mistake. I’ll not name any names, but eh-hmm…Creators of the Magical Dumpster of the Zombie Apocalypse, I’m looking in your general direction.
My streaming service judging me and me judging writers who clearly have more talent than I aside when the siren song of the binge calls I run the ship to the rocks and abide. Because I like to share things with people, here are a few outstanding shows that are flying under the radar, and I think they deserve a little more time in everyone’s “Continue Watching” list. So I present for your approval, five shows you should binge watching now.
The Basics – Set during the Interwar Period England, this gritty drama show follows the rise of the Shelby Brothers and their Aunt Polly, a Birmingham gangster family, who are known for the trademark razor blades sewn into their flat caps.
Why You’ll Love It – It is gritty, moody, and addicting and an entirely different take on organized crime in the Prohibition Era. The family is loosely based on an actual gang that called themselves the Peaky Blinders, though the accuracy of the flat cap/razor (shivers) has been debated. You’ll love Pol, the money handling matriarch who is as broken as the rest of the crew, but held the crew together during WWI. Also, I believe watching this has been ordered by the Peaky Blinders.
The Basics – Set in the early 1980s, and with a killer time appropriate soundtrack, this story follows Joyce Byers, a mother searching for her missing son, who is pulled into a reality that would make Fox Mulder proud.
Why You’ll Love It – Many of us have this stuff in our blood. It is kind of like the X-Files and Stephen King had a beautiful, haunting and terrible pop-culture baby and gave it to The Smiths to raise. It is refreshing in the face of so many reboots to have the nostalgia and novelty that this show brings to the table so spectacularly. Also, Eleven and Joyce are pretty radical, dude.
Marvel’s Agent Carter
The Basics – Agent Peggy Carter never got her dance, but she did get her share of adventure after her turn in the Captain America films that caught the eyes of many fans. Set in Post World War II, Agent Carter fights the good fight to preserve the American Way.
Why You’ll Love It – That all sounds very patriotic, but you’ll like seeing a smart, single lady navigate a time typically dominated by Rosie the Riveters and War Hero types. With the timeframe, and the costumes and the gadgets, somehow this just feels more like what you’d think that Golden Age of Comics would be like when brought to life. Plus, with Marvel announcing at SDCC that they will not be renewing, you have to see why people are sad to see it go and understand the buzz about Hayley Attwell.
The Basics – A Doctor Who spin-off with Russell T Davies at the helm, follow the shadow Torchwood Institute operations led by Captain Jack Harkness and his brilliant team of investigators as they save humanity from all of the alien threats (except the ones the Doctor saves us from).
Why You’ll Love It – We Whovians have a long, Doctor-less year ahead of us, but it’s like a campy adult version of the RTD-era Who. If you aren’t a Whovian, I believe that it stands on its own as a fun and heartfelt sci-fi drama. And hopefully this show pushes you to come to the Whovian side, it’s bigger on the inside.
The Basics – Eliot Alderson is the type of genius you’d expect to find in Silicon Valley. Eliot, who wears the lanyard for a cyber-security firm, is recruited by a vigilante hacker group working to bring the country’s biggest corporation to its knees.
Why You’ll Love It – Season one is though provoking, heart pounding, and the twists and turns will have you pausing to debate all of the things with your couch mate. I am going to put it out there, though, so far I can’t recommend season two, but one stands enough on its own that I am going to tough out two for a couple more episodes and still recommend it. The writing, camerawork, acting, everything is that good.
Melody Meiners is a freelance writer, developmental editor, and ghostwriter for hire located in St Louis, MO. When she isn’t writing or reading words, she spends her time devouring all of the pop-culture or teaching fiction writing and literature classes for STLCC @ Meramec’s CE program. You can find her on Twitter (@cosmosgirl) when she really should be writing, and you can read her pithy jokes about her children on her blog (MrsSmartyPants.com).