Looking for something to binge watch during your home quarantine, now that you’ve seen Tiger King and Love is Blind? Well, as some of you may know, I watch a lot of TV. It’s been that way since I was a wee child and our TV sat on a wheeled cart that we swiveled back and forth between the dining room and the living room.
I’ve struggled to tame my media over-consumption for years now, and considerable progress has been made. My eyeballs are no longer glued to the screen unless I’m watching something I consider “must see TV.” But there’s a lot of good stuff out there, folks, and thanks to my husband we have every pay channel and streaming service known to humankind.
So, I am kindly sharing hundreds (if not thousands) of hours of research with you. Due to the sheer volume, my recommendations will be offered in parts—a limited series, if you will. This first part covers my favorite half-hour shows that first premiered during the past decade. Each show listing contains no more than 280 characters—just the basics to help you decide if each show is for you.
Enjoy! Much more to follow during these cloistered times…
Half-Hour Shows (recent-ish—started in 2011 or later):
HBO; 2 seasons so far (2018-?)
From IMDB: “A hit man from the Midwest moves to Los Angeles and gets caught up in the city’s theatre arts scene.”
My opinion: Probably one of the funniest shows I’ve ever seen. Brilliant, quirky cast. Moody, wacky, bingeable. Alert: Very violent.
NBC/Hulu; 7 seasons so far (2013-?)
From IMDB: “…an immature but talented N.Y.P.D. detective comes into conflict with his serious and stern new commanding officer.”
My opinion: Gleefully goofy, charming cast, both broad and subtle jokes. Just try not to smile!
Amazon Prime; 4 seasons (2015-2019)
Summary: Rob (from the U.S.) and Sharon (living in London) try to turn a hook up into a committed relationship.
My opinion: Hilarious, raunchy, unexpected, and engaging. If you’ve ever been part of a couple, you can’t help but relate.
Dead to Me
Netflix; 1 season, second one coming soon (2019-?)
From IMDB: “A powerful friendship blossoms between a tightly wound widow and a free spirit with a shocking secret.”
My opinion: Darkly funny, adult, lots of great twists, immensely bingeable. Two fabulous leading women.
Dear White People
Netflix; 3 seasons, fourth coming soon (2017-?)
From IMDB: “At a predominantly white Ivy League college, a group of black students navigate various forms of racial and other types of discrimination.”
My opinion: Funny, compelling, hugely entertaining, winning cast.
HBO/Amazon Prime; 2 seasons (2011-2013)
Summary: After a breakdown followed by a spiritual awakening, a woman makes it her mission to enlighten others and reform her workplace.
My opinion: Overlooked gem! Funny, bizarre, suspenseful, awkward. Laura Dern is fearless.
Amazon Prime; 2 seasons (2016, 2019)
From IMDB: “…a young woman trying to cope with life in London whilst coming to terms with a recent tragedy.”
My opinion: LOVE! Brilliant, hilarious, saucy, and touching. Second season is darn near perfect. Alert: Fourth-wall breaking.
The Good Place
NBC; 4 seasons total (2016-2020)
Summary: An eclectic group of characters explore what happens after death.
My opinion: Amazing cast, incredible concept, funny, intelligent, big-hearted, and full of interesting twists—what more could you ask for? A+ series finale.
Hulu; 1 season so far (2020-?)
Summary: A record-store owner recounts her worst breakups while talking music w/friends.
My opinion: Zoe Kravitz is utterly cool AND relatable. Fun, hip, engaging, NYC-drenched. Alert: Lots of drinking/substance use, fourth-wall breaking.
Amazon Prime; 1 season, second one coming soon (2018-?)
From IMDB: “Heidi [Julia Roberts] works at Homecoming, a facility helping soldiers transition to civilian life.” Or are they?
My opinion: Intense, creepy, riveting, thought-provoking. A must for conspiracy fans.
The Last Man on Earth
Fox/Hulu; 4 seasons (2015-2018)
From IMDB: “…after a virus wiped out most of the human race, Phil wishes for some company, but soon gets more than he bargained for.”
My opinion: Hilarious, dark AND silly. Perhaps too timely? End of series leaves things hanging.
HBO; 1 season so far (2019-?)
From IMDB: “A single mom whose son moves out for college begins a new life on her own.”
My opinion: Fun, provocative, complicated, and surprisingly tender. Alert: If “unconventionally sexy” gives you pause, maybe skip this one.
Netflix; 1 season so far (2019-?)
Summary: A woman in Manhattan keeps reliving her same birthday party, trying to figure out how to break the time loop.
My opinion: Funny, edgy, mind-blowing, totally binge-worthy, top-notch cast, tight plot. A must for New Yorkers.
Apple TV+; 1 season so far (2019-?)
Summary: A husband tries a unique approach for dealing with a family tragedy while his wife hires a mysterious nanny.
My opinion: Super creepy, gothic, juicy performances, food fixation, keeps you guessing. Alert: Not for weak stomachs.
Hulu; 2 seasons (2019-2020)
Summary: A young woman seeks creative and professional fulfillment and a satisfying relationship.
My opinion: Aidy Bryant rules! The whole cast is incredible. Funny, touching, surprising, inspiring, unapologetically fat-positive. Don’t miss out!
Your feedback is welcome. Did my brief recommendations sufficiently steer you in the right direction? Got any recent half-hour shows you think I should watch?