Let’s face it, with the cooler weather starting to settle in, the season of binge watching is upon us. Here’s where I do a little leap of excitement. I love watching telly. I really do. At the moment, however, my viewing is more of a graze. In fact I (usually) only watch a couple of episodes a day, just to keep myself nice. So virtuous, no?!
Don’t get me wrong, I still like to immerse myself pretty fully in the show I am watching, and I’m only occasionally cheating with another program to mix things up. I’m just finding this slowed down version of telly time is much less stressful and much more satisfying.
While binge watching might actually reduce the impact of the show we are gobbling up as we struggle to speedily see it all, this less fervent ‘grazing’ offers a bit more room to soak up the nuance and detail (and seems to result in heaps less mindless popcorn eating and couch impressions). Phew!
Here’s what I’ve loved watching over the couple of years or so. The choice to binge or graze is totally up to you! (At the moment I am finally watching Homeland. How great is it? So great. Yep).
Cheese with smarts. I love this show so much and I don’t know how I missed watching it when it was actually on TV! This show is like a quick-witted, fast-talking anti-depressant. The writing is so great, the plots are comforting (and at times confounding) and the fashion is the point-and-laugh type (I mean really, whoever dressed Lorelai Gilmore needs to be given a smack!) There are seven seasons and the first five are the best! I have watched this three times over. That’s how much I love it.
Okay. This show is violent. It has a lot of blood and some chain saws and stuff. I don’t like violence on my screen, but there is something cartoony about this show and Dexter’s character is so lovable. Somehow I not only reconciled the whole bloody mess, I actually really relished it. There are 8 seasons to take in. Just remember there is blood.
Lark Rise To Candleford
This is the very opposite of Dexter. A charming English drama, set in the 19th century countryside, chock full of firm English cakes, hot tea and bubbling cauldrons of somesuch. The cast is great, the stories are sweet and it’s the perfect show to cosy down with on a rainy day/week/month. There are 4 comforting seasons. (I love this show. I am going to watch it again!)
This is a new show (on Netflix) and I spoke about it a week or two ago. I love the tension and the beautiful-yet-menacing scenery and locations. Ben Mendelsohn, Kyle Chandler (coach from Friday Night Lights), Sissy Spacek… How can you go wrong? There’s just one season at the moment (season two is on the way) – 13 episodes make it a good weekend project, I think.
Argh. I love a family drama and this one is made super-great by the at-times-irritating, but always entertaining Braverman family. For me, this show is all about Bonnie Bedelia (Camille), May Whitman (Amber), Sarah Ramos (Haddie) and Max Burkholder (Max) – but there are some BIG names in here too. Parenthood’s finale is one of my favourites ever (apart from Six Feet Under!) Get your eyes on this show. Watch it and weep, peeps. Six seasons. (ALSO Tavi Gevinson shows up at one point! OMG!)
Six Feet Under
I don’t even know what to say about this show, except that if you haven’t watched it, you really should (or even re-watch it, if you have). There’s nothing predictable about Six Feet Under and everything to love about the amazing cast and fantastic writing. Rachel Griffiths is totally frustrating and fabulous. Peter Krause is WAY more interesting than he is in Parenthood. Michael C Hall is a complicated dream. Lauren Ambrose is a gift. Really, the whole cast is crazy-great. I love this show so much and the final episode is the best final ep EVER in the Universe! Five seasons.
Brothers & Sisters
I watched a tiny bit of this when it was on TV and recently watched all 5 seasons when I was mourning the completion of Parenthood. I am a real Sally Field fan (since The Flying Nun, in fact) but Rachel Griffiths and Calista Flockart are also great in this. Also… you get Rob Lowe. I mean really, who could resist? Granted this show is at times all American in its perspective, but there are lots of relationship dramas that are universal and I especially love watching Kevin Walker find his feet (whilst repeatedly tripping up). Really ace and moreish.
Like a darker, more realistic, less goof-ball version of Offspring, Tangle offers an outstanding cast, heartbreaking but affirming storytelling and an ace Australian backdrop. Kat Stewart, Justine Clarke, Ben Mendelsohn and Catherine McClements are just a few of the stellar actors who make this compelling viewing. Just three seasons, but each episode is a corker.
Aw man. I was so sad when this show finished. Not only are Idris Elba and Ruth Wilson crazy-good in it (literally), it’s got that great English cop-show sensibility that the Brits do best. Part psychological thriller, part-Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, Luther has a tense edge to it that will leave you breathlessly reaching for you mug of tea. So good. Four seasons to gobble up.
The Killing (Danish version)
The Killing. It’s restrained yet edge-of-your-seat stuff, perhaps typical of the intelligent series coming out of this part of the world. The lead character is impeccably played by Sarah Linden and this is a definite binge-watch because it’s just impossible to turn off. Four seasons worth of shiver-y, slow-paced goodness.
The Bridge (Danish version)
I loved this even more than The Killing. Lead character Saga Noren was my homegirl for a while and I think you’ll love her too. Sofia Helin brings this show to life, with a bit of help from the Kim Bodnia’s Martin and some freaking gorgeous Danish/Swedish interiors. Super watchable. Super amazing. Three seasons. Tense. Confusing. Ace.
Sons of Anarchy
Naw. I have such a soft spot for this show, even though it’s jam-packed with fist-fights and porn shoots and guns and drugs. It’s all so unreal that it somehow shifts from shocking to entertaining and the whole heart-of-gold backbone to its drama keeps it on the right side of ‘wrong’ for me. THAT SAID, the final season is pretty awful. It kind of went too far. Still, if you want a rollicking bikey drama with gents of all levels of attractiveness wrestling and boozing their way through the ups and downs of gang life, this is your thing!!!
I actually have a whole heap more that I could add to this list, but I wanted to leave some room for YOUR suggestions. What do you recommend in the graze/binge department of television? Are any of these the kind of thing you’re into?
Share your faves with me?!
Some other things I liked watching:
Even more Lorelai Gilmore – The Gilmorealong
I Love Liberty – the Liberty Of London TV show
The Bumper List Of Kids Movies – because it’s still the school holidays here!