Binge-watching is a new phenomenon. It’s basically watching more than 2 episodes of the same TV show in one sitting. Binge-watching became popular when video streaming services like Netflix and Hulu allowed viewers to watch television shows and movies on-demand, with no limit. I am a notorious binge-watcher. It started with Doctor Who and just sort of snowballed. And I’m always looking for new shows to watch! Here are a few of my personal favorites:
Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt: The show follows the story of a woman in her late 20s and how she adjusts to being in the world again after being stuck underground in a “doomsday” cult, for over 15 years! I was hesitant about the show at first and I’m not sure why honestly. It has been nominated for several Emmys and was created by Tina Fey and Robert Carlock. Ellie Kemper, who plays Kimmy, was also on The Office. And the absolute best part of the show – the person that got me hooked on the show, Titus Andromedon, played by the wonderful Titus Burgess.
I didn’t think I could learn from life lessons from a show about a “mole woman” who escapes an underground bunk, but I did! A show that is hysterical and teaches you life lessons? YES! These lessons include:
- Don’t sell yourself short. You are capable of more than you think.
- Take time to unwind and dance like no one you haven’t danced in 15 years.
- Always have you friends back and support their dreams.
- Don’t let the bad things in life bring you down.
- Adulthood is actually the worst.
- Don’t let anyone make you feel bad for being who you are.
- In stressful situations, take life 10 seconds at a time.
The Good Place: I started watching this show mainly for Kristen Bell. I was a big Veronica Mars fan growing up. The show follows a group of four people who have died and ended up in a version of the afterlife called the “Good Place.” The reoccurring them of the show is “ethics” and apparently the creator of the show, Michael Schur, reading books by philosophers and there are literal ethics lessons sprinkled throughout the show. So, Kristen Bell’s character, Eleanor, seems to think she’s in the Good Place by mistake because…. she’s a terrible person. How can a awful person end up in the good place, you ask? I don’t want to give away too much of the show! So, if you do decide to watch the show, don’t look for spoilers because it will ruin the surprise!
Jane the Virgin: This was another show I was super hesitant watching. A show about a virgin? No thanks. A show about a girl in her early 20s who hasn’t had sex yet and get artificially inseminated? Hell yes! The main character, Jane, played by Gina Rodriguez, is so funny and kind and emotional – watching her character felt like I was watching a friend. This is show is over the top on purpose because is inspired by telenovelas. Jane is also a writer – which made me connect to her even more! The show explores the complexity of living, culture, religion, and love – all with a predominantly Latinx cast.
I love that the show is bilingual, and the lead women of color characters are strong and independent. It is a show that can show those watching it that Latinx families and people are just like everyone else. In America, this is important. The show even touched on immigration! I love the theme of family in this story and it made me sad because I wished I had people like Jane’s family in my life. But like the character Petra, I have learned that I have the option to choose my family.
Arrested Development: Arrested Development was such a confusing show to me. I don’t think that I am super attached to it, but it is a funny show. It has some dark humor to it and there are a lot of cringe-worthy moments.
Essentially, the character Michael Bluth, is dragged back into his family’s drama and has to help them get their shit together. His father is arrested, and all their assets are frozen – so they go from being filthy rich to broke AF! It first aired in 2003 but got canceled but was eventually revived on Netflix. It’s weird, but worth the binge to me.
The IT Crowd: I first got wind of this show on Tumblr. I saw a GIF that sparked my interest.
It revolves around the three staff members of a tech companies IT department. The main characters are awkward Maurice Moss (played by Richard Ayoade), the often ridiculous Roy Trenneman (Chris O’Dowd), and Jen Barber (Katherine Parkinson), who was definitely not qualified to be in charge of the IT department. The thing that is great about this show is that it’s so random. But I think that’s why Americans love British humor. It’s full of irony and sarcasm and has a dry humor to the writing. It pokes fun at geek culture without being obvious and I think that its something that is so British that it’s inaccessible to international audiences, which makes it unique and definitely should not be remade for American audiences. *cough cough* Skins.
Criminal Minds: Growing up, I was obsessed with Law and Order. I watched the original show and the SVU version as well. We were all obsessed with that show at some point and the fact that it’s on it’s 20th season is so crazy! While shows like that aren’t particularly philosophical or revolutionary, they are usually witty, creative, and really entertaining. Who else has spent 6 hours watching an SVU marathon? I think that’s why it was so easy for me to get into Criminal Minds.
Criminal Minds is one of those shows that seemed a little gimmicky in the first few seasons, but it continually got better with each season. I like how authentic the show and the characters were and I like how much we got to know the characters. My favorite characters were Dr. Spencer Reid and Penelope Garcia, who was this combination of a pop culture nerd, emo chick, hippie, and computer whizz. While they always somehow get the bad guy (who is almost always a crazed out white dude), the storytelling is good.
Pose: A show about the 1980s ball scene in New York City is a show you need to go and watch right now.
If you don’t know about the ball scene it’s essentially a competitive challenge that involve different categories (from royalty to realness). It was a way for gay and transgender, black and Hispanic people, to give themselves a space to be free. The actors in it are mainly POC and the characters that are trans are actually trans. SHOCKING. There are trans actors out there that can play trans characters??!!
I can relate to a lot of what the characters go through, or at least empathize. These characters are struggling – with money, with illness, with identity. The AIDs crisis looms over them are they try to achieve their aspirations. It’s genuine, resilient and entertaining, and the visuals are stunning.
I love Blanca, I love Angel, I love Damon. I love every single character in this and cannot recommend it enough.