Thanks to broadband, we're part of a generation that has many choices when it comes to entertainment. This also means we have the option of binge-watching (haha! take that, TV audience). The thing with binge-watching is, it's not always about how good a TV show is, as long as it manages to "hook us in" for a few episodes, we're slaves to it.
Here are some shows that are best enjoyed when you gobble up the episodes at one go.
You cannot make a list like this without including Friends, a show that ran through a decade and is perhaps the most responsible for the success of sitcoms among the Indian audience. (Thank you, Star World) Yes, it aired on TV, but you're just not a true fan of the show unless if you've binge watched it at least once.
Seinfeld started it all and possibly, it's the funniest sitcom ever. It's like a template for future American sitcoms to follow. There will always be a Friends Vs Seinfeld argument out there, and as a fan of the latter, let me just say that George is the rudest, most selfish and funniest character ever written for TV and I say this as a fan of both Chandler Bing and Tobias Fünke.
3. Arrested Development
The most dysfunctional family on TV ever is not the Simpsons or the people from Modern Family; it's the Bluth family. Whether it's the awkwardness of George-Michael Bluth, the tricks of Gob Bluth or the optimism of Tobias Fünke, this show always got it right by narrating the story of family that got everything wrong. Every episode in it is like watching a different variation of Murphy's Law. Agreed, it got a little 'meh' in the fourth season but the original run of the first three season still makes it one of the best shows ever.
4. That 70's Show
This show explains why our parents wore bell-bottoms and floral shirts. Because it was damn cool back in the day and so was the cast of this show. Eric Foreman's basement was perhaps the coolest hang-out we could imagine. The quality fizzed out when Topher Grace and Ashton Kutcher left the cast after the 7th season, but the first few seasons of the show are definitely binge-worthy.
5. The Simpsons
Yes, it's possibly the funniest American animated show that has been running for so long but what makes this show really amazing, especially if you watch the seasons back to back, is that you can actually see how the writers tackled so many real issues in the episodes. Before names like Jon Stewart, Stephen Colbert and John Oliver started mocking the American society, it was the writers on this show that started out with the not-so-subtle jabs.
6. Freaks and Geeks
One season, 18 episodes. That's all it took for Judd Apatow to turn this show into one of the best things about the nostalgic 90's. Mainly dealing with two groups of teenagers in the same school and how they deal with growing pains, this comedy drama was also a launchpad for future stars like James Franco, Jason Segel and Seth Rogen.
Whatever the Americans do, the Brits do it better. Coupling ran for four seasons, but in that short time, it turned out to be one of the funniest and sharpest thing on TV. I mean, in no other show, will you hear the line - " Under the sexual arena of earthly delight , there lurks a deadly pit of socks ".
Maybe it's not the best show on TV, but it's definitely one of the best looking ones out there. Suits is like the corporate law version of Batman and Robin except they're far better looking with funnier lines. Note - Real people in swanky offices are not always this attractive.
9. The Knick
This beautiful period piece is just one season old but what a season it was. Created by Steven Soderbergh, this stars British actor Clive Owen in the lead role, who plays the role of the chief surgeon in the Knickerbocker Hospital in early 20th century New York. That was a time when cocaine was readily available in chemist shops, appendicitis was still a mystery and most doctors did not know about different blood groups.
10. The Walking Dead
Currently in its fifth season, The Walking Dead is finally getting the recognition it deserves, especially now that AMC's other gems like Breaking Bad and Mad Men have ended or are ending. Almost every episode leaves you on a cliff hanger, proving that some of the best binge-worthy shows are not necessarily the best ones and yet we cling on to them. (I'm also looking at you, Lost)
This is a drama that makes you feel thankful that you have a normal family. All the members, led by their alcoholic patriarch, Frank Gallagher (William H Macy), are deeply flawed and yet, despite the high dysfunction quotient, they manage to somehow pull their limitless problems. Based on the critically acclaimed British show of the same name, Shameless is a show that according to Paul Abbott (the creator of the original show) is "not blue collar. It's no collar."
12. Breaking Bad
Everything that can be said about this show, has been said. The story of this high school chemistry teacher and the choices he makes once cancer rears its ugly head, is perhaps the best character study on prime time television ever. Can't wait for the spin-off show, Better Call Saul, to start.
13. The Sopranos
If you've grown up on mafia films like The Godfather or Goodfellas, The Sopranos might disappoint you, but if you stick through the first few episodes, the different layers of the crime syndicate will lure you in into this modern day epic. And who can forget that oh-so-slick opening theme ?
14. Mad Men
This is perhaps the most intelligent show on TV right now. Matthew Weiner's brainchild, Mad Men is what a perfect period piece should be like - not trying to be politically correct just because the times have changed. This show might seem like it's just about advertising but it's much more than that. The way it sometimes touches the audience in a way they least expected, tells you a lot. Case in point, this scene .
15. Game of Thrones
Even though most of us watch the episodes of Game of Thrones as soon as they're released online, some of us still binge watch it after we have collected all 10 episodes each season. If any show makes a week feel longer than it actually is, it is this. And yes, people die, we cry, curse George RR Martin and then come back again next week.
I love HBO, but I still hate them for cutting this brilliant period piece short. Julius Caesar, in his first hand account of the Gallic Wars, mentions two soldiers, Lucius Vorenus and Titus Pullo. The show's writers created fictional versions of them and retold the story of the rise and fall of Julius Caesar and the accession to the senate throne of his heir Augustus Caesar through their eyes. I know Game of Thrones is brilliant and The Wire is awesome, but when it comes to the quality of production in an HBO show, nothing beats Rome. Watch it over a weekend and see what I mean.
17. The Wire
This, to me, is the best show ever. David Simon, the creator, is a genius and the way he told the story of the different facets of Baltimore, Maryland - the drug business, the docks, the city hall, the rusty public education system and how the media covers it all through one single team of police officers, cannot be recreated. EVER. A lot of people have stopped watching The Wire because the first few episodes did not "look that interesting", but those who stuck around till the first 5-6 episodes of the first season, now have severe withdrawal symptoms. Nothing on TV will be as good as this.
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