I joke that I don’t date because my primary relationship (outside of my children) is with my streaming video services. Netflix and Hulu are my boyfriends, I guess.
I need to get out more.
I see a ton of posts on social media asking for recommendations for shows to binge while one is sick/bedridden/unemployed/bored, so to help all y’all out, as of APRIL 25, 2018, here is a not-so-comprehensive list of shows I recommend (and why, so you can make your own decisions).
DISCLAIMER: I often enjoy odd shows. I tried to keep it a little more “mainstream”, but a rogue weirdo show may have made its way into the list.
(Netflix shows are listed in RED, Hulu in GREEN)
- Longmire – Dramatic cowboy cop show, set in present-day Wyoming. Some love interests, mystery-solving, intrigue and lots of small town wild west action. Storyline woven throughout the whole show, not standalone episodes like CSI or Law & Order.
- Cutthroat Kitchen – Competition cooking show, with a twist. Alton Brown is a maniacal overlord of this particular kitchen conundrum, doling out cash to each competitor at the beginning of the show that they will then use to bid on evil genius tricks to unleash on their competition (i.e. cooking all of your dish on a tiny functioning toy kitchen, or having to wear a sumo suit to cook in). Standalone episodes.
- Community – A ridiculous comedy about a community college. Features episodes with heavy references to movies like Die Hard and Goonies, and little details that add an extra level of fun to things. Also, there’s a whole Muppet-style episode. NOT standalone episodes; you’ll be a little confused if you don’t start from the beginning.
- Parks and Recreation – Kind of like Community, but in a Parks & Rec department in Pawnee, Indiana. Pokes fun at government and features one of my favorite characters on all of television: Ron Swanson. Continuous storyline show – if you don’t like it, please email me and tell me why because I honestly don’t understand.
- Luther – British cop drama, featuring Idris Elba. Do I need to say more? I do? OK, well he’s a disgraced detective with a huge mess of baggage and he just wants to save people and hates following rules. Some storyline woven throughout the seasons, but they’re short (it’s British and they do that).
- Portlandia – Whackadoo sketch comedy show based in Portland. Funny little vignettes about life in Portland that are pretty close to being true. Put a bird on it. Some themes consistent throughout the series, but episodes are pretty much standalone.
- Elementary – Sherlock with a gender-bent Watson and a New York state of mind. Jonny Lee Miller takes up the Sherlock helm in this mystery/crime series, with his own twist on the extraordinary sleuthing skills of the deerstalker-capped hero of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. It is a series, but (for the most part) each episode has its own mystery to solve.
- UnREAL – An unadulterated peek behind the curtain of reality television (a la “The Bachelor”). Shows how producers could create artificial drama and fiddle with the contestants of a show, while providing some serious drama for themselves. (A bit crass, some boobs and a WHOLE LOT of sex, just in case you’re not into that.)
- Paranoid – Series about a killer in a small town in the UK. Short run (just 8 episodes), has a single crime to solve for the entire series. Not suggested for times when you are feeling low, as it is pretty grey and dark.
- Disjointed – Clean bubbly sitcom fun with stoners. Kathy Bates plays a different role than pretty much anything she has ever done, as the perpetually-stoned lawyer-slash-owner of a dispensary in California. Silly, yet political at times. Storyline running throughout the series – drug use (duh) and a lot of poop humor (which I don’t really find funny, but to each his own).
- The Good Wife – Law & Order meets Desperate Housewives (without the comedy). Julianne Moore plays a wife who suddenly finds out her politico husband cheats on her, and she has to go back to work. She has a law degree, so that comes in handy, but she’s out of practice. Each episode has a different case to follow through the courts, but there’s some plotlines running throughout the series.
- Lucifer – The Devil comes down to Los Angeles, with some laughs. Handsome devil (ha) Tom Ellis plays the titular character, trying to do right while vacationing from his duties as the King of Hell. He pairs up with a detective and they solve crimes together (often relying on Lucifer’s mind control powers). Some concurrent themes throughout.
- House of Cards – Political drama, with tons of intrigue. I am assuming most of you have seen this, but there are so many tiny details you miss the first watch, it might be worth a second go round. Plus, Kevin Spacey is being written off the show, so I can’t wait to see what Claire does.
- Face Off – Competition reality show. Each season has a new crop of special FX makeup artists competing for a big cash prize while body painting, sculpting and mask-ing their way to glory. Some amazing talent and really interesting to see how those monsters are made.
- Riverdale – Basically bubblegum on television. It’s the Archie comics of my youth, brought to life with a really dark bent. It is definitely geared towards the teen set, but it’s like secretly eating potato chips – bet you can’t watch just one episode.
There’s my recommendations for April 2018, (And I checked my sources – these shows should all stay available in the US through the end of May!)